February 6, 2014

On the Road: Appreciation

I have had the privilege of traveling for Alpha Phi as an Educational Leadership Consultant. With one semester down, I thought I would share what I appreciate most after the first six months.

  1. The value of hard work. This recruitment season, I set my phone background to a quote that reads, “Good things come to those who hustle.” Why? Because I have seen firsthand the outcome of hard work. One of my favorite ELC moments was listening to a senior from Washington State University (Beta Rho) motivate her chapter during polish week. She said, “This is our turn to work hard. We are all here today because Alpha Phis before us worked tirelessly to put together a perfect recruitment. These women gave so much to us without even knowing us.” This dedication is what delivers ecstatic new members to the front lawns of Alpha Phi chapter houses across North America. Hard work is the reason why our Fraternity continues to thrive.
  2. A hand-written note. As an ELC, a good portion of my work is remote. Some days, my primary form of communication is via email. Nothing puts a smile on my face faster than a hand-written card. In a world that is so attached to technology, a personal note is one of the most meaningful gestures.
  3. The work of the Alpha Phis who came before me.  One of the most important lessons I have learned on the road is that change does not happen overnight. Sometimes, it can take several years, multiple officers and countless volunteers to make what may seem like a minor change. Arriving to a chapter and seeing the effect of those who came before me is a reminder that we are a team. I am so appreciative of the women who have devoted themselves to an Alpha Phi project, knowing that they may not be there to witness the end result, but trusting that someone else will continue the job.
  4. Flexibility. ELCs immediately learn to be flexible due to our constantly changing schedule. No two days are the same, and that is part of what makes my job so fun! But some of the people I appreciate the most are the ones who do not have to be flexible, but who choose to out of kindness. For example, the airport employees who let me check my bag when it is over 50 pounds because they can tell I am in a hurry. Or the collegians that stay up the night before recruitment because there was a last minute change to the party schedule. My job has made me so much more thankful for those who are willing to go the extra mile to make someone else’s day a little better. Thank you, thank you, thank you to these individuals!
  5. My ELC group and network of ELCs.  I could go on for days about how much I love my ELC group. They are my FaceTime buddies, my biggest fans and greatest resource.  Although we are separated for months at a time, whenever we reunite it is like we never left each other’s side.  When I became an ELC, I did not just join this year’s group of 17 consultants, but the huge network of ELCs across the country. When I meet a past ELC on the road I immediately feel welcome. These women continue to give back to Alpha Phi and inspire members to apply to be an ELC. In fact, I would not have applied if it were not for several past ELCs who were my role models as a collegian.  I cannot express how grateful I am for the ELCs who I have looked up to, who have been my support system and who have made this job an unbelievable journey.

All in all, my job as an ELC has been an amazing experience that will stay with me forever. I have learned so much, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this semester holds!

Katie Madden (Alpha-Syracuse) is a first year Educational Leadership Consultant.

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