I’m a newly turned 22 year boarding a plane. I’m holding a bag donned with Greek letters and filled with two laptops, a college sweatshirt, and a notebook. I pull out one iPhone to scroll on Instagram, then I pull out another to check my boarding pass.
“Two phones, huh? What do you do for a living?”
“Oh yes, one is my personal phone and the other is my work phone. I am a chapter consultant for Alpha Chi Omega, my sorority. I’m living at in Hattiesburg, Mississippi this year to work with a chapter we recently opened last year.”
This is usually when people either understand or don’t. Many just simply say “Oh, I had no idea that was a job,” while others ask questions to realize the world of Greek letter organizations actually takes a lot more work than just a group of collegians having a weekly meeting and posting cute pictures. Then, of course, there’s always the person that says “So what…do you teach them how to party?” to which I politely say “No sir, I’m actually here to make sure that they are getting the most out of their experience while also following protocol and procedures necessary to be safe and successful.”
So what exactly does a chapter consultant do? The answer is: a whole lot!
More than I even expected when I took the job, and I had the privilege of being mentored by two for the majority of my college experience. While there is an official job description of being an Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant, much like every profession, my day-to-day life is so much more than the bullet points.
Here are a few of the things I spend my days doing:
Enforce polices and procedures…and sometimes make the unpopular choice. This is something I learned as president and its a very handy thing to know how to do as I make my way into adult life. It may not always be the easiest thing to do, but it’s the best for the sake of the chapter, organization, and members.
Franchise management. Alpha Chi Omega is a non-profit organization built around empowering women, cultivating leaders in a positive collegiate and lifetime experience, and providing members an opportunity to give back to something bigger than themselves. In a larger sense, it is a franchise and each chapter is a branch. I am here to make sure it runs successfully.
Discover potential in every single member. I get the privilege of pouring into every member of the chapter I am working with and encouraging the members, my sisters, to do more and be more. I get to see their potential and I get to encourage and help grow them. From simply telling someone I’m proud of their rockstar recruiting skills to pushing them to take their officer position even further, I’m always looking for new opportunities for discovery.
Manage expectations and relationships. Building relationships and becoming trusted is an awesome goal and perk for consultants, but it can also become difficult when tough situations arise. I genuinely love the sisters and advisors I work with, but we don’t always agree. It’s very much like working with family, where there is a delicate balance between completing a task and helping to mend and build relationships between myself, the members, and those they are working with.
Report and be “the boots on the ground.” One thing you may not know…consultants do a lot of reporting. We have weekly reports on our resident projects and our travelers have reports every time they visit a chapter. We are the ones closest to the collegians and we are the ones who are the messengers up the chain. This is where some of our writing skills come in handy!
Respond to emails…lots and lots of emails. Speaking of writing skills, consultants learn to check their emails like text messages (they’re practically the same thing anyways). In my case, I am working with a team of 14 executive board members, 14 advisors, a supervisor, a new chapter development specialist, and all of the staff at headquarters who help in getting my problems solved. That’s a lot of communication!
Strategic planning. I work with multiple people who are all invested in a chapter’s future and well-being, along with all of the women in it. We spend all our days discussing the best decisions for the members and how to make them the best organization they can be. This involves a lot of big-picture-thinking and staying ahead of the game.
Assist the chapter and its members in whatever they need…and I mean whatever. Yes of course I help with planning and preparing for events, but I’m also there to put together flower arrangements on the morning of a recruitment event. I am there when they need help making a hard decision and aren’t sure what options they have. I am there when they need someone to talk to because they are going through a tough time and just want to go to dinner. Early in the morning or late at night when a crisis arises and they’re scared and not sure how to respond, I’m there. When they have huge dreams and lofty goals but are trying to figure out how to make it all happen, I’m there. When they want to run for a position within the chapter but are nervous about giving a speech, I’m there. When they are so excited to have the chance to start a new tradition and want to make sure they get it exactly right, I’m there. When they’ve successfully initiated their first large new member class and want me to go out to eat with them to celebrate their hard work, I’m there. Whatever they need, I’m there.
Being a chapter consultant was and still is my dream job. I admired my own chapter consultants more than I’ve ever admired anyone (other than my mom). They were graceful, confident, all-knowing, classy, out-going, beautiful, and authentic. Even when some days are frustrating and being away from home is tough, I am so grateful to be a part of the team that gets to bring the experience that changed my life and who I am for the absolute better to other collegiate (and alumnae initiate) women.
If you are interested in making this dream your reality, visit alphachiomega.org to learn more about the application process! If you are in a different organization, I encourage you to apply for their program because it will undoubtedly be one of the best ways to spend your first or second year after graduation.
Interested in reading more about what inspires me and the thoughts that run through my head?
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I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.
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