#TBT So amazed by all that @joenellefutrell accomplished this past summer! As a National FFA Officer she presented her research at a national conference and facilitated National Leadership Conferences for State Officers! And here she is with fellow sisters at Bid Day rockin' the Peacock theme (shout out to Hera).
This fabulous blog post is perfect as we enjoy our first chapter meeting of 2014! Thank you Liz (OCU, Gamma Tau) and our Alpha Chi Omega Ritual Specialists. Let us Seek the Heights in 2014-2015 and keep our lives in tune with the world around us!
8 Reasons Why I Love Lyres, Red Carnations and Lyrebirds (and why you should too)
By Liz Ragland, Gamma Tau
I can’t pretend that it’s not true. It’s not a dirty secret or anything to be embarrassed about so I’m just going to put it out there: I’m kind of obsessed with all of the things that remind me of Alpha Chi.
I’m taking a detour from the typical ritual-themed post and borrowing a trick from Buzzfeed - a list! There is no sensational title or pictures of boy bands, or cats (or boy bands with cats) just an honest list of why our symbols, rituals, traditions, and history remind me of our common bond as sisters. Next time you see a red carnation, lyre, or a lyrebird out in the wild I hope you’ll think of our sisterhood!
Red carnations are everywhere – If you have ever been tasked with buying red carnations for bid day or any Alpha Chi ceremony you may think that they are hard to find but really, they are almost always available! It’s kind of awkward to get sentimental standing in the floral section at Trader Joe’s, but every time I spot a red carnation it reminds me of the important events in my life as an Alpha Chi. It takes me back to many times I was handed a red carnation: Bid Day, after Initiation, after Hall of Commitment, and after my last formal meeting.
Lyre spotting makes me smile – Next time you are in museum, go lyre spotting. Our beloved symbol was used in many styles of art and architecture and it’s always fun to count how many times you can find our symbol in art, or even at Walt Disney World. Next time you do spot a lyre, snap a picture be sure to send it to Coffeewithcelia@gmail.com so we can feature it on Facebook!
Stars are always present (and so are your sisters) – Look up. You may not see the stars right now but they are there. Just like your sisters, stars are always present even when it’s daylight. In good times and in bad, remind yourself that your sisters are always there to help you along your journey even when they might not be totally visible, they are there. Perhaps it’s time you get away from the pollution of light and a busy life and seek them out.
Fall, full of olive greens and scarlet reds, reminds me of a fresh start – Our sisterhood was founded during the season of olive green and scarlet red. To me, Fall is a fresh start. This is most likely because it’s the beginning of the school year but there is something in the crisp air that reminds me to refocus and reorganize. Do you know what I mean? Perhaps this Fall you can use the season as an opportunity to reboot your attitude, your studies (or your work’s to do list), and your commitment to help your sisters seek the heights.
Hera Day makes you a better you – Part of being a Real. Stong. Woman. Is donating your time and skills to make someone else’s life better. Every March 1, in honor of our patron goddess Hera, we are called to do work that brings happiness and well-being to others by engaging in projects in our own communities. When was the last time you donated an hour or two of your time to make someone else’s life better? If it’s been too long, find an opportunity! Visit serve.org for some ideas.
Life would be dull without the arts – Music, dance, theatre, and visual art bring joy to our lives and help us explore new ideas or shine a light on an old idea. Our founders were bonded by their mutual love for music and I think any sister who has experienced a piece of music that gives you goose bumps or brings a tear to your eye understands why their passion for music was so strong and why it’s important to our heritage.
Who doesn’t want to “seek the heights”? – Our open motto was just as relevant in the late 1800s as it is now. Together, as sisters, we are called to support and inspire each other to seek the heights in every way possible. We seek the heights in our professional and personal lives. We seek the heights so we can continue to grow emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Next time you’re faced with a challenge or stuck in a rut, remember our open motto and reach out for help if you need some support so you can reach your own “height” whatever that may be.
When I was younger some of my best memories were made at summer camp.
From singing fun songs, staying up late at night, trying crazy new things, being away from home, and making long-lasting friendships; Summer camp was the best!
Now looking back it was ultimately just preparing me for sorority life! Today I do all those things in the sorority house with my AXΩ sisters by my side!
Many of my fellow sisters loved summer camp just as much as I did, and decided this summer to lend their talents to be camp counselors! We have sisters all across the country working as counselors so others can have the same great experiences we had when we were younger.
Below is what some of them had to say about their adventures:
"I'm lucky enough to work at Eagles Nest camp and I live in a cabin with 12-15 year old girls. It's truly amazing seeing them grow into strong powerful women! We just went on a campout and made our own fire. The other day I took campers down the blue ridge parkway to explore some of the south east's most luscious waterfalls. It's so awesome seeing kids loving nature!!
As a counselor, I've learned great skills that I can bring back to Alpha Chi such as risk management, how to manage groups, working together, and teaching people new skills. It's been a really great summer so far but I can't wait to see my sisters in August!!"
"I always knew as a kid that I would come back as a counselor at Camp Illahee because I spent so much of my childhood there. Illahee means "Heavenly World" in the Cherokee language and going back this summer really reminded me of how rewarding of an experience it is to be there."
What's really great is that fellow Gamma Iota Lauren Martin (PC 13) is also working at Camp Illahee this summer! Together they are having a blast and showing their campers how great it is to be an Alpha Chi!
We know you all love the chapter's newsletter: Carnation Chronicle.
The company that produces if or us, Pennington, reminded us the deadline for fall approaches quickly!
Please gather and send your good-quality photographs from Spring and Summer of social functions, legacies, meetings with sisters from alumnae chapters, tailgates, philanthropy, or get-togethers. (Reminder: Please keep the photographs classy and free of alcohol, etc.)
is tight, stress levels are high, and the visions of instant success don’t
happen like you thought, it’s easy to let those emotions get to you, and
thereby your team. Take a breath, calm yourself down, and remind yourself of
the leader you are and would like to become. Here are some key qualities that
every good leader should possess, and learn to emphasize.
Whatever ethical plane you hold yourself to, when you are
responsible for a team of people, it’s important to raise the bar even higher.
Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make
honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit.
Ability to Delegate
It’s important to remember that trusting your team with your idea is a sign of
strength, not weakness. The key to delegation is identifying the strengths of
your team, and capitalizing on them. Find out what each team member enjoys
doing most. Chances are if they find that task more enjoyable, they will likely
put more thought and effort behind it. This will not only prove to your team
that you trust and believe in them, but will also free up your time to focus on
the higher level tasks, that should not be delegated. It’s a fine balance, but
one that will have a huge impact on the productivity of your business.
Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done
is extremely important. If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t
all be working towards the same goal. Training new members and creating a
productive work environment all depend on healthy lines of communication.
Whether that stems from an open door policy to your office, or making it a point
to talk to your staff on a daily basis, making yourself available to discuss
interoffice issues is vital. Your team will learn to trust and depend on you,
and will be less hesitant to work harder.
Sense of Humor
If your website crashes, you lose that major client, or your
funding dries up, guiding your team through the process without panicking is as
challenging as it is important. Morale is linked to productivity, and it’s your
job as the team leader to instill a positive energy. That’s where your sense of
humor will finally pay off. Encourage your team to laugh at the mistakes
instead of crying. If you are constantly learning to find the humor in the
struggles, your work environment will become a happy and healthy space, where
your employees look forward to working in, rather than dreading it. Make it a
point to crack jokes with your team and encourage personal discussions of
weekend plans and trips. It’s these short breaks from the task at hand that
help keep productivity levels high and morale even higher.
There may be days where the future of your brand is worrisome and things aren’t
going according to plan. Part of your job as a leader is to put out fires and
maintain the team morale. Keep up your confidence level, and assure everyone
that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger
goal. As the leader, by staying calm and confident, you will help keep the team
feeling the same. Remember, your team will take cues from you, so if you exude
a level of calm damage control, your team will pick up on that feeling. The key
objective is to keep everyone working and moving ahead.
expect your team to work hard and produce quality content, you’re going to need
to lead by example. There is no greater motivation than seeing the boss down in
the trenches working alongside everyone else, showing that hard work is being
done on every level. By proving your commitment to the brand and your role, you
will not only earn the respect of your team, but will also instill that same
hardworking energy among your staff. It’s important to show your commitment not
only to the work at hand, but also to your promises. If you pledged to host a
holiday party, or uphold summer Fridays, keep your word. You want to create a
reputation for not just working hard, but also be known as a fair leader. Once
you have gained the respect of your team, they are more likely to deliver the
peak amount of quality work possible.
You want to keep your team motivated towards the continued success
of the company, and keep the energy levels up. Whether that means providing
snacks, coffee, relationship advice, or even just an occasional beer in the
office, remember that everyone on your team is a person. Keep the office mood a
fine balance between productivity and playfulness.
Some decisions will not always be so clear-cut. You may be forced
at times to deviate from your set course and make an on the fly decision. This
is where your creativity will prove to be vital. It is during these critical
situations that your team will look to you for guidance and you may be forced
to make a quick decision. As a leader, it’s important to learn to think outside
the box and to choose which of two bad choices is the best option. Don’t
immediately choose the first or easiest possibility; sometimes it’s best to give
these issues some thought, and even turn to your team for guidance. By
utilizing all possible options before making a rash decision, you can typically
reach the end conclusion you were aiming for.
When leading a team through uncharted waters, there is no roadmap on what to
do. Everything is uncertain, and the higher the risk, the higher the pressure.
That is where your natural intuition has to kick in. When something unexpected
occurs, or you are thrown into a new scenario, your team will look to you for
guidance. Drawing on past experience is a good reflex, as is reaching out to
your mentors for support. Eventually though, the tough decisions will be up to
you to decide and you will need to depend on your gut instinct for answers.
Learning to trust yourself is as important as your team learning to trust you.
Ability to Inspire
Make your team feel invested in the accomplishments of the
company. Whether everyone owns a piece of equity, or you operate on a bonus
system, generating enthusiasm for the hard work you are all putting in is so
important. Being able to inspire your team is great for focusing on the future
goals, but it is also important for the current issues. When you are all mired
deep in work, morale is low, and energy levels are fading, recognize that
everyone needs a break now and then. Acknowledge the work that everyone has
dedicated and commend the team on each of their efforts. It is your job to keep
spirits up, and that begins with an appreciation for the hard work.