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Published by Alpha Omicron Pi, 2017-11-07 12:31:39

2012 Spring - To Dragma

2012 Spring - To Dragma

To Dragmaof Alpha Omicron Pi
Vol. 76 No. 2 Spring 2012


As part of Theta Beta’s 25th Anniversary Weekend Celebration, a group
of alumnae turned out for Towson University’s Homecoming game.

To DragmaofAlphaOmicronPi

7 Viewpoint

10 AOII Launches New Website

12 Youngstown State U Installation

10 14 Media Mavens Make Connections
18 Connecting the Generations

24 My AOII Family Tree

28 Fly Home To Me

32 Tell Me About It - LA 2012

36 A Wild and Wonderful Adventure

40 Conquering An Ironman: Gina’s Journey

44 NPC 2011 Meeting Report

13 48 Member Profile - Andree Terry
36 50 From the Archives
40 52 Foundation Focus - Stella’s Wish

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 55 Our Purpose

56 Alumnae News

60 Member Profile - Margaret Barber

62 Things We Love

67 Life Loyal AOIIs


To Dragma • 3

To DragmaofAlphaOmicronPi From the Editor

To Dragma is the official magazine of Alpha Omicron Pi I recently became aware of a concept called “Ubertrends.” Also
Fraternity, and has been published since 1905. The mission known as “the next big thing,” ubertrends are over arching lifestyle
of To Dragma of Alpha Omicron Pi is: to inform, educate and tendencies that ripple across society, leaving many related subtrends in
inspire our readers on subjects relevant to our Fraternity, our their wake. They actually have the power to change values and impact
chapters, our members, or Greek life; to encourage lifetime our future. One of the current ubertrends that is uber-important to
AOII involvement; to salute excellence; and to serve as a AOII these days is the “Digital Lifestyle.”
permanent record of our Fraternity’s history.
Everyone seems to be on the digital lifestyle bandwagon. It seems as
How to Contact To Dragma: though the entire world is social networking and/or social sharing
To Dragma, 5390 Virginia Way, Brentwood, TN 37027 on social media all the time. AOII is definitely in the digital mix
(615) 370-0920, fax: (615) 371-9736,, and if you have not joined us, you should. We’ve seen an explosion
[email protected] in followers to AOIIs Facebook, Blog and Twitter pages and in case
you missed it, AOII launched a new website in March. It’s all part of
How to Update Your Name or Address: that ubertrend’s ripple effect. AOII’s powerful new digital tools are all
Go to Update Info tab on the AOII website (www. intended to make the membership experience the best it can be for, email your new address to update@ AOII collegiate and alumnae members because they are designed to, or call (615) 370-0920. improve connectiveness.

How to Subscribe to To Dragma: Fittingly, “Connections” is the central theme of this issue of
Subscriptions are $25.00 annually and can be paid by check To Dragma. I know you will enjoy reading “Connecting the
or credit card. Checks, made payable to AOII, should be Generations” by Dr. Mark Taylor. He’s a generational expert and
mailed to 5390 Virginia Way, Brentwood, TN 37027, Attn: a great AOII dad. Whether you read his article from an AOII
Accounting. Credit card subscribers (Visa, Master Card or perspective or with a desire to better understand your kids, I am
Discover only) should email [email protected]. confident you will find it fascinating. This issue contains several
wonderful member profiles such as a story on an amazing multi-
How to Join Life Loyal AOII: generational AOII family and an article about the creative way
Visit the AOII website or contact lifeloyalaoii@ biological AOII twins living thousands of miles apart have chosen to stay connected. Additionally, I feel certain that the separate journey’s
How to Join an AOII Alumnae Chapter: taken by Gina Fish and Laura Zint will both inspire you and make you
Visit the AOII website for contact information on an alumnae proud to be part of an organization of amazing women.
chapter near you.
The first issue of To Dragma was published the old fashioned way - on
Director of To Dragma and Archives paper - in 1905. As of 2012, To Dragma is published digitally, too.
Mariellen Perkinson Sasseen, Alpha Delta (U of Alabama) Our magazine has always been about connections, so through a link
off of the new AOII website, all members will maintain access to the
Creative Director digital version of the entire magazine. The timing is excellent since
Whitney Frazier, Rho Omicron (Middle TN State U) this issue marks the last paper version mailed to anyone other than
current collegians, dues-paying alumnae chapter members, Life Loyal
Women Enriched through Lifelong Friendship. AOII members or annual subscribers. Don’t miss out, just check out To
Dragma online at
Alpha Omicron Pi was founded at Barnard College in
New York City, January 2, 1897, by Jessie Wallace Hughan, AOII will continue to invest the needed resources to provide our
Helen St. Clair Mullan, Stella George Stern Perry & members with a great membership experience as well as the means to
Elizabeth Heywood Wyman. keep us all connected - but we are only one half of the equation. The
other half is you. If you have not done so, seek us out, like us, follow
International President us! Harness the power of the digital lifestyle to connect with the
Allison Allgier, Epsilon Omega (Eastern Kentucky U) Fraternity or re-connect with your AOII sisters. Fitting to our digital
lifestyle, The Cambridge Dictionary recently added OMG and LOL
Executive Director to its lexicon. Whether you’re of the generation that prefers to use
Troylyn LeForge, Beta Phi (Indiana U) “laugh out loud” to LOL, it shouldn’t matter. When was the last time
you shared a laugh with an AOII sister? Get connected today!
Alpha Omicron Pi is a member of the National Panhellenic
Conference and the Fraternity Communications Association. Fraternally,

4 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

This is your last To Dragma unless you are

An AOII collegian

A current alumnae chapter
dues paying member

A Life Loyal AOII member
An annual To Dragma subscriber

How to Join an AOII Alumnae Chapter:

Visit the AOII website for contact information for an alumnae chapter near you.

How to Join Life Loyal AOII:

Go to the Life Loyal area of the AOII website at or contact
[email protected].

How to Subscribe to To Dragma:

Annual subscriptions are $25.00 and can be paid by check or credit card.
Checks, made payable to AOII, should be mailed to 5390 Virginia Way, Brentwood, TN 37027,
Attn: Accounting. Credit card subscribers (Visa, Master Card or Discover only) should email
[email protected].

To Dragmaof Alpha Omicron Pi To DragmaofAlphaOmicronPi To Dragmaof Alpha Omicron Pi
Vol. 75 No.1 Fall/Winter 2010 Vol. 75 No.2 Spring 2011 Vol. 76 No. 1 Fall/Winter 2011

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pTSliamenrevifcoer for a

Make Time Count

cover_spring_2011.indd 1 4/20/11 2:02 PM cover_fall_winter2011.indd 1 12/8/11 4:27 PM

cover3_fall_winter_2010.indd 1 12/15/10 1:41 PM

Members of Beta Kappa (U of British
Columbia) prepare for their 2011 “Strike Out
Arthritis!” event last fall.


As we focus on AOII “connections” in this issue, it brings to mind our mission statement, “Women

enriched through lifelong friendship.” It has been a great pleasure to witness many positive examples
of this phrase while attending several collegiate and alumnae chapter anniversaries this year. The
highlight of each event was observing the reunion and camaraderie of our members celebrating lasting
friendships. Some connected while collegians and others began their friendship when joining their
alumnae chapter. In many cases, those relationships have blossomed and grown over 50+ years. It was

heart-warming to hear shared stories of weddings, babies,
and children growing up together, as well as supporting one
another during difficult life circumstances.
Each AOII connection is a testament to the foundation of
friendship and sense of purpose delicately put into place by
our Founders. Stella said, “Of all the blessings we count
over, it seems to me none is greater than the consciousness of
belonging to a family of thousands of sisters.”
Speaking of a family of sisters, please read Amy Tiemann’s
story of the amazing AOII connections found within her
own family. It was an honor to meet four generations of
the Tiemann family at the celebration of Austin Alumnae
Chapter’s 50th Anniversary. With one niece eager to attend
the University of Arkansas this fall (who will hopefully be
an AOII), it was fun to hear Amy’s daughter, Isabella, plan
to become the 10th AOII in their family. I, for one, highly
support this outstanding plan!
Whether we are biological family or chosen sisters, it is evident
that our members are enriched through their AOII relations.
These connections are supported through the pledge given
to one another when we promise to maintain a spirit of fraternity and love for all members. With that
pledge, we are instantly linked to one another.
Connections are made through our members – each one of us. All everyone wants is to feel special, be
treated with respect, and be seen as an individual. People base decisions on their interests, their values,
and most importantly, on the way they are treated. In his book “Creating Magic,” Disney executive
Lee Cockerell explains how members who feel respected and are encouraged to develop to their
fullest potential will stay engaged, not because they have to, because they want to. The best avenue for
continued growth is to further develop our “people-centered culture” and to take care of our members.
We are in the midst of improving avenues for member communication. The new AOII website offers
much improved functionality and will soon include easy searching for member information. We are
hopeful this will provide you with one more place to interact and contact one another.
Member connections all come down to building relationships. Be nice, make friends, have fun, and
treat others as you would like to be treated. It doesn’t take an army to make a difference; it just takes
one person with purpose and passion. At Epsilon Omega chapter, the sub-motto is “Each one plays a
great part.” What part will you promise to play in engaging our members, maintaining strong
relationships, and positively impacting our great organization? I challenge you to “connect!”

Allison Allgier
International President

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 7

Fraternity News

NEW MIF Process is Online Two New AOII Alumnae Chapters Installed

As we gear up for fall recruitment season, AOII is Chattanooga Area Alumnae Chapter
excited to announce a new (and much-improved) The AOII Executive Board is pleased to announce the installation
Membership Information Form (MIF) process. of the Chattanooga Area Alumnae Chapter on April 14, 2012.
Vice President Kandyce Harber served as the installing officer.
For many of our collegiate chapters, recruitment Congratulatory notes can be sent to Alumnae President Laura Parker,
success is highly dependent on the receipt of 4021 Platinum Way, Ooltewah, TN 37363, [email protected].
Membership Information Forms from AOII alumnae.
All alumnae in good standing with the Fraternity are Port City Alumnae Chapter
encouraged to participate in the process that benefits The board is also proud to announce the installation of the Port City
both the chapter and the potential new member. Alumnae Chapter by Vice President Karen Galehan on April 15,
While only collegiate members have the privilege 2012. You may send congratulations to Catherine Cease Scheidler,
of selecting new members of our fraternity, an Alumnae President, 7301 Woodhall Drive, Wilmington, NC 28411,
alumna’s roll is also essential. Information provided [email protected].
by alumnae ensures that all potential new members
are given serious consideration for membership. Milestone Anniversaries
Alpha Omicron Pi strongly encourages the pledging
of verified legacies whenever possible, so submitting Congratulations to each of these chapters on years of sisterhood,
Legacy Information is also crucial. Collegiate memories and life-long commitment to Alpha Omicron Pi!
members in good standing can write MIFs for
potential members attending another institution. 25 Years
Epsilon Chi (Elon University) – installed May 9, 1987
In an effort to streamline the MIF process, the forms Piedmont, NC Alumnae – installed May 9, 1987
are now electronic and can be found on the AOII
website under “Alumnae.” Please note, Legacy 50 Years
Information is now included on the new MIF form Delta Pi (U of Central Missouri) – installed May 5, 1962
and not in a separate form.

News with More Details to Follow in the Summer To Dragma:

Due to press deadlines, look for feature stories in our next issue on the installation activities
surrounding AOII’s three newest collegiate chapters.

Installation of Beta Upsilon Installation of Omega Sigma California State U, San Marcos
Bryant U Oklahoma State U Chapter Installation

Alpha Omicron Pi is excited to On Sunday, April 22, Alpha Omicron Alpha Omicron Pi is pleased to
announce the installation of our Pi will proudly install our 192nd announce the installation of our 193rd
191st collegiate chapter, Beta collegiate chapter, Omega Sigma, at collegiate chapter on the campus of
Upsilon, at Bryant U on Saturday, Oklahoma State U. Allison Allgier, AOII California State U, San Marcos. AOII
April 14, 2012. Allison Allgier, International President, will serve as the International President, Allison Allgier,
AOII International President, will installing officer. will install the chapter on Saturday,
serve as the installing officer. May 5, 2012.

8 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Who Are the Nominating Trustees?

Believe it or not, the process to elect the Executive Board for the 2013-2015 Biennium is just
around the corner. The Nominating Trustees have been selected and are preparing plans for
candidate interest starting at Leadership Institute and into the fall.
The 2011 Convention survey feedback from Council members indicated some questions
regarding the roles and responsibilities of the Nominating Trustees (NTs). As a result of this
feedback, the 2010-11 NTs took action to further define the role, terms, and composition of the
Nominating Trustees by revising the Formal Election Process Document. These changes were
approved by the Executive Board in early 2012.

So, who are the NTs? What are the Nominating
Trustees working on right now?
The Nominating Trustees are a five-member appointed committee
that is comprised of the following representation: During the spring and summer of
non-Convention years, the NTs work on
A Past International President (PIP) developing the election timeline and
A Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry (RT&J) Committee member revising the Interest and Candidate
An Alumnae President from an Alumnae Chapter that reached Information Forms, as well as identifying
Ruby Level Standards of Excellence for the past biennium potential Executive Board candidates.
A Chapter Adviser from a Collegiate Chapter that reached Ruby Interested Executive Board candidates
Level Standards of Excellence for the past biennium will be asked to submit an Interest Form
A member-at-large, which can be any initiated member of AOII in the fall of 2012.
(including,but not limited to, Network Volunteers, or any other Alumnae
or Collegiate Chapter volunteers or members)

Who selects the Nominating Trustees How can I get involved in the Executive Board
and is there additional criteria? election process?

The outgoing Nominating Trustees select the new Encourage sisters to identify others that would make great
members of the committee. However, the PIPs candidates for the Executive Board.
and the RT&J Committee may recommend their Encourage sisters to talk to volunteers and current XB
representative. The incoming Nominating Trustees members to learn about the role and encourage anyone
must have at least one member from the previous interested to submit an Interest Form.
committee, but no more than two returning for a Discuss the election process and candidates during your
second term. A Nominating Trustee may only serve alumnae or collegiate chapter meetings.
two consecutive terms. Stay connected to the process by reading updates about
the process on the NT webpage on the AOII website.
Stop by the HRC table at Leadership Institute and suggest
an alumna who you think would represent the Fraternity
well on the Executive Board, or email your suggestion to
[email protected]. The NTs will contact the alumna to
encourage her to submit an Interest Form.

Please contact the NTs at [email protected] with any questions or comments!

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 9

AOII’s new website is a
“Site” to Behold

Our new website is all about Group,” collegiate and alumnae members will
bringing AOII to your fingertips. be able to create their own profiles, personal
groups, and connect with other AOIIs--all while
With virtual technology widening the scope having access to AOII resources.
of visibility for AOII to our members and other
audiences, AOII has developed a two-fold In order to complete these advancements,
technology plan to enhance the membership AOII has worked in partnership with
experience of our alumnae and collegians. WebGreek, a San Francisco-based web
development company, in the creation of the
AOII’s web launch is the first half of a two- new website and membership database. In
phased approach to update our resources to addition to working with AOII to develop the
make AOII more accessible for its members. new, public side of our website, WebGreek will
The new website brings a new-and-improved be developing an online database system to
look of AOII to your personal computer or streamline the information from members to
electronic device. The site features more Alpha Omicron Pi. This is slated to occur early
user-friendly navigation, increased visibility fall 2012.
of chapter and member accomplishments,
a virtual copy of To Dragma and a live RSS- WebGreek’s history also includes developing
feed so that members can keep up with our websites for individual collegiate and alumnae
social media discussions. Along with more chapters, so AOII collegiate chapters are
interactive components, the new website encouraged to contact WebGreek at sales@
focuses on improving the membership in order to create chapter-
experience for our members. specific websites that correlate with the
branding of AOII’s new website.
The second-phase of updating AOII’s
technological resources will include a We hope that you
membership database that will be integrated will connect with AOII
with our website for additional functionality. wherever you are!
While helping to streamline AOII’s data
distribution and collection processes, Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012
members will be able to experience a private,
members-only world of AOII-much like a
private Facebook group. With the “AOII

10 • To Dragma

Here are just a few of the features that you should explore:

o Homepage - vibrant and user friendly
o Inspire, Volunteer, Donate - personal stories from our members
o Interactive calendar - spotlighting upcoming events
o Live RSS feed - featuring our recent Tweets
o One-stop links - visit AOII’s Marketplace,

Resources, To Dragma on-line, the AOII
Foundation, and AOII Corporation Services

o Connect with us - through Facebook,

Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Blogger and Pinterest

o Chapter Locators - alumnae and collegiate

chapter info and location by country and state
and/or province

Alpha Omicron Pi is pleased to announce the re-
installation of our 72nd chartered chapter. The Phi Lambda
Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi at Youngstown State U was
re-installed on December 10, 2011. Allison Allgier, AOII
International President, served as the installing officer.
Forty women were initiated into AOII membership,
including thirty-six collegiate members and four
alumnae initiates.

Located in Youngstown, Pennsylvania, the chapter was
originally installed on September 28, 1957 and boasted
an energetic membership until the chapter closed in 1982
due to economic hardships of the times. The chapter will
continue to be represented by the phrase, “Forever Loyal,”
as their sub-motto, a name that typifies the chapter’s
unique character indefinitely. Initiation and installation
activities concluded with a formal Rose Reception for the
new initiates and their families at the Kilcawley Center’s
Chestnut Room on the campus of Youngstown State

The formal Rose Reception was attended by leaders Additionally, members of the Chi Epsilon Chapter at The
within university environment, including: Carrie Ohio State U and the Alpha Psi Chapter at Bowling Green
Anderson, Coordinator of Student Programming. State U attended and assisted with the weekend’s festivities
Representatives of other Greek organizations and various as sponsors for the new initiates, while other area alumnae
family and friends of the new members also attended the and collegians sent their support through congratulatory
celebratory event. Other special guests included Allison letters and gifts.
Allgier, AOII International President; Karen Galehan,
AOII Executive Board Vice President; Jenny Meade,
AOII Network Specialist of Development; Melanie
Angiuli, Phi Lambda Chapter Advisor; Carrie Youell,
Director of Extension; Molly Fenton, Assistant Director
of Extension and New Chapter Development; Andrea
Theobald, Assistant Director of Chapter Services; and
Liz Pelletier, AOII Educational Leadership Consultant.

12 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

The charter members of the Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi are:

Mandy Alcorn, Kayla Cardenas, Taylor Clark, Abagail Cooper, Elizabeth Crisp, Kelsey DeWolf, Casey Fitch,
Lindsey Green, Brittany Henry, Erika Hricik, Lillian Justice, Alyssa Justis, Megan Kredel, Erin Lamb, Robin Lester,
Breanne Maltony, Samantha Marscio, Corin Miller, Corinne Pavlicko, Ashley Perri, Angelina Radilovic, Marissa Rea,
Candice Richburg, Susan Rowe, Brie Schreiber, Shannon Smrek, Chelsea Stoffel, Samantha Streb, Liza Suich,
Lauren Summer, Courtney Swegan, Paige Taylor, Kristi Valentini, Heather Vicola, Kellie Wenick, Tara Yeager.
Alumnae initiates of the Phi Lambda Chapter are: Stephanie Fulmer, Sarah Kluska, Christina Minadeo and Andrea Mucci.

Welcome Home Phi Lambda

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 13

AOII Media Mavens
Make Connections Matter

by Rachel Boison, Kappa Kappa (Ball State U), Assistant Director of Public Relations

Social media has taken the world by storm, and
it’s no surprise that other traditional forms of
media are transforming – television news and
entertainment are accessible to anyone, anywhere,
at almost any time and extend far beyond their
scheduled broadcast hours.

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be
successful as a broadcasting or television
personality, make sure you add “social media
guru” to the list of requirements. Facebook,
Twitter, and blogging (to name a few outlets)
help us get closer to our favorite on-air friends,
making them a bigger part of our lives and the
community than ever before.

Angie Go , Chrissy Mueller and Courtney Cason
are examples of such multimedia personalities
who have a presence on-air and sometimes an
even larger presence online. If you watch NBC4
in Washington, D.C., watch KHQA in the Tri-States
area of Illinois, Missouri and Iowa, or are a regular
QVC viewer, you may not have known that your
favorite personalities are also AOIIs!

14 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Angie Goff

Angie Go , an alumna of AOII’s Gamma
Alpha Chapter at George Mason University,
originally wanted to attend the United States
Military Academy at West Point. When she
didn’t get in to West Point, Angie struggled to

nd her niche at GMU. Her father, an Army
man himself, took her to a career counselor –
after that meeting, all signs pointed to a career
in journalism as Angie’s best t.

Instantly, Angie’s GPA shot up. She was nally through her “Oh My Go ” blog at ohmygo .tv – a must-read
excelling in her classes, and had ve di erent spot for news, community happenings, and fun anecdotes from
internships that led to her current career in Angie herself.
a liate news. An Entertainment Tonight
position right after college gave Angie her o cial start. One of “Twitter and Facebook attract the most attention and are the most
Angie’s internships had been at ET, and the relationship she’d user-friendly; my biggest advice would be to take one or two and
formed with ET journalist and anchor Mark Steines led him to do them really well to stay connected,” Angie recommends. “The
o er her a spot as his personal assistant. She next went from the blog is the center of it all. Viewers can navigate to other outlets
beaches of Los Angeles and Emmy parties to driving a U-Haul in that way, ask questions or give opinions, and I can respond with
Iowa after landing her rst news/reporting job where transporting my iPhone or iPad.” Angie’s social media is equal parts personal
your own equipment and lming your own tape was not and work driven; she covered her pregnancy on-air, so many of
uncommon. Although seemingly less glamorous, Angie says that her most loyal followers have grown to know her baby and thus
this was her most rewarding experience. known her even more personally. “I feel comfortable enough
with the public to share parts of my every-day life, and that’s what
“In broadcasting, sometimes you have to make sacri ces,” Angie people want to see – what we’re really like!”
explained. “You have to move places you don’t want to or ll a
role you aren’t necessarily striving for.” Angie’s goal was to be in Angie loves to use her AOII connections – several sisters have
Washington where she’d interned at the NBC a liate station. reached out to her for advice, and Angie gladly takes them
When a spot opened for a tra c personality at the CBS a liate in under her wing to help groom them for the eld. “During the
Washington D.C., Angie took the position as an opportunity to SuperBowl, a commercial aired for my blog and I got a TON
be back where she belonged. She also talked with her agent about of tweets from AOIIs who saw it – I had no idea that so many
the possibility of getting back into news after gaining some more AOIIs knew who I was!” A former Chapter President, Angie was
experience in the city. As a tra c personality, she tried things out Panhellenic Adviser for Gamma Alpha for a while, and utilizes
with her presence online, starting with a blog and posting videos. her know-how from the industry in helping the women build
She gathered a following online that increased her popularity on con dence and character for recruitment. “It’s so great to connect
the air. When Facebook and Twitter became more mainstream, it all back and help them from my television experience.”
Angie viewed these tools as a great way to connect with viewers.
She developed a lot of trust from those who followed her online,
and even began collecting video and news submissions from
viewers in and around the D.C. area that she turned into a brief
daily news segment focused on the surrounding communities.

“Having an online presence increases the value of an individual
in this industry – that’s what helped me get noticed,” Angie said.
From there she was able to get back to NBC4, the number one
station in Washington. Networking with other journalists via
social media helps increase value as well – on weekend mornings,
Angie broadcasts with David Gregory before “Meet the Press,”
which enables them to cross promote each other online. Now
Angie is widely recognized as a multimedia personality, mainly

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 15

Chrissy Mueller

< Chrissy Mueller (left) creatively uses the station’s Facebook page to keep viewers up-to-date, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Chrissy Mueller followed a di erent path into the television piece to further enhance their viewing experience. Sometimes,
industry – she’d been planning on a career as a television news Chrissy and her fellow reporters even get news submissions
reporter since the age of 12. She was editor of the student through Facebook and Twitter that they otherwise may not have
newspaper in high school and started a broadcast station at her had the opportunity to cover.
high school as well. While studying at Quincy University in
Illinois, she anchored the school’s student newscast and got an KHQA also has a newly-developed account on Pinterest that
internship in the Quincy area through a family friend who used features things the reporters have been doing in the community
to be the director of a local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation and allows viewers/followers to easily share their favorite pieces
and knew about Chrissy’s AOII involvement. with others. Individual on-air personalities maintain blogs, which
Chrissy thinks is helpful because it allows them to post their news
While Chrissy was Chapter President of Epsilon Sigma Chapter stories while also adding personal information that helps develop
at Quincy, she says she learned a lot of responsibility and their personality within the community.
organizational skills that helped her become successful in her
desired career path. Several AOIIs were involved in the same Social media is a reliable extension and outlet during the times
program and had left a great reputation for AOIIs into the future that reporters aren’t broadcasting. “There’s a big gap between the
as young women who were hard working and reliable, which 6 o’clock news and 10 o’clock news in the evening, and recently
helped Chrissy to excel and continue that legacy. a huge issue developed that greatly a ected the community and
generated a high level of interest during a time that we weren’t on
According to Chrissy, working in a small-market station that is the air,” Chrissy said. This particular issue had to do with budget
tight-sta ed requires every reporter to operate almost like a one- cuts for schools, which normally would have members of the
man band. She sometimes shoots her own segments, edits them, community waiting until the next scheduled newscast to get their
and helps package them for broadcast. Through the nature of questions answered. “We were able to keep our viewers updated
the station, social media has helped enhance Chrissy’s reporting. through Twitter and Facebook as decisions were being made. Our
“When you apply for reporter-type positions in the industry viewers are really begining to trust that we will be available when
today, especially in small markets, the positions are presented as a things like this happen.”
‘multi-platform journalist’ position so that people understand it is
no longer just a televised broadcast,” Chrissy said. “You have to be “Social media knowledge and use is absolutely necessary for
familiar with posting on Twitter and Facebook and writing web people in this industry,” Chrissy said. “Now, you just don’t nd
stories to get your information out there.” At KHQA, reporters a TV station anywhere that doesn’t highly recommend, if not
commonly broadcast a story and then also post it on Facebook require, that TV reporters and personalities be on social media as
where viewers can comment and ask any questions about the a part of their role.”

16 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Courtney Cason

Courtney came in second, which landed her a 30-second spot
with the Georgia Lottery on weekends. In addition to that,
Courtney worked at a local radio station planning and executing
events. When she applied to and was ÿrst hired by QVC, she
began as the network’s ÿrst-ever “social media host” which
required her to adapt her broadcasts to the social media realm
where she would post videos, questions and polls for the audience,
and add material that built upon what was televised. She became
a true social media personality and remains highly regarded on
social media today, even though her position has changed from
social media host to program host.

Outlets like Twitter and Facebook have deÿnitely changed the
way QVC can be marketed to new audiences – “Hashtags and
‘trending’ on Twitter have drawn in younger viewers and viewers
who are more interactive,” Courtney says. “When we do New
York Fashion Week or di° erent award shows, we use hashtags
about QVC on the red carpet or develop trends like Fashion’s
Night Out. It has changed the way people perceive QVC, and
it’s no longer something their grandmother used to watch!”
Courtney thinks that making QVC hosts more personable
and accessible through social media has also given viewers the
opportunity to feel like they’re attending an event that they
otherwise don’t have access to, and makes them feel as though
they’re part of the moment with their favorite QVC personalities.

QVC host Courtney Cason would agree with the sentiments of Courtney’s success on QVC and accessibility on social media
both Angie and Chrissy that social media now goes hand-in- has also drawn the attention of some of her biggest fans - fellow
hand with being on television. “Social media is a huge part of AOIIs! “So many AOIIs have reached out to me and told me that
anyone’s role in broadcast – it’s your own marketing tool not only they’re proud of me – even
to promote when you’ll be going on air so that your particular if we’ve never met in person.
followers can be connected to you, but it helps the network They don’t have to take the
gain exposure overall,” Courtney said of how social media has time out of their day to do
increased the accessibility and appeal of QVC to varied audiences. that, but they do it because
Courtney not only uses her presence on social media to promote we’re sisters – it shows that
what’s coming up on QVC, but also to post photos of vacations AOII really matters to them!”
and travel, or personal and fun things like photos of her pets to
build more personal connections with viewers who can relate to Courtney attributes some
what she’s doing on her own time as well. of her success to the support
system she found in AOII.
“I’m very extroverted, and it made sense to do what comes “All of my best friends are
naturally. When I graduated, my mom told me there was an AOIIs. We all had di° erent
opening at the Georgia Lottery to be an on-air personality.” interests and majors – because
Courtney, an alumna of AOII’s Nu Beta Chapter at the we were all so di° erent, we
University of Mississippi, auditioned with over 5,000 other could encourage each other
people for the spot. and help one another
in di° erent ways. It has been
my biggest support system!”

Lisa Robertson, Rachel Boesing and AOII’s Courtney Cason at QVC’s <
The Buzz on the Red Carpet – Live from L.A. broadcast this past February.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 17

Connecting the

Generational Issues and Opportunities

by Dr. Mark Taylor, Taylor Programs

This is a special time for legacy organizations, like AOII, as members from

four unique generations are involved in the sisterhood; Traditionals (seniors),

Baby Boomers (who attended college in the 70s and 80s), the Generation

Xers (who are about 27 to 45 years old now), and our current collegians and

recent graduates from Generation NeXt. Members of each cohort - or group

- are the products of different social environments and tend to have different

values, expectations, communication styles and reasons for being involved.

Understanding these differences, as well as the

commonalities that brought them to AOII and

still keeps them involved, benefits AOII at

every level to keep collegiate and Generational Cohorts- A Brief Disclaimer
alumnae members engaged, facilitate It should be stressed that making
communication, reduce the likelihood of generalizations about any group, including
cross-generational conflict, and leverage generational cohorts, is a slippery prospect.
the proclivities and strengths of sisters Experience shows that stereotypes about any
from each age cohort. group can be dangerous and are often used
to prejudge. However, describing the central
18 • To Dragma tendencies of the characteristics found in a
generational cohort can be useful if people
remember that there is great variation within
any group and that not everyone will have
all of the characteristics. While each person
must be understood individually, these
described traits can help as a starting place in
understanding and working with each group.

Traditionals TI hinerTeeiasmN!O

Traditionals are the oldest alumnae members, born before 1944.
Though there are fewer of them than of any other cohort group since
fewer women went to college in the 1950s and 1960s, many are

retired and eager to stay active and to give back. Having them involved can

have very positive impacts on younger alumnae and collegians. They embody many

“old school” values that are often viewed as quaint today, though underlie the stability

of lifetime, legacy organizations like AOII.

Duty, discipline, thrift. They were taught to follow the rules, do what you are supposed to do,
practice self control, and save your money. While these values may seem antiquated in
today’s world, they do facilitate a stable organization, effective outcomes, and long
term personal, professional and fiscal success. Traditionals are the
perfect role models for the transmission of these stabilizing values.

Serious, formal. For Traditionals, going to college was a serious Communication Concerns with Traditionals.
undertaking, so they might not identify with the “girls just wanna
have fun” orientation of some collegians. They are excellent at Having grown up in analog times, Traditionals
helping girls understand the more formal expectations of the prefer face-to-face and more formal written
workplace and organizational hierarchy. communications, like handwritten notes, to
online, electronic or informal messages. They
Loyalty, conformity. Traditionals were taught to consider the may respond negatively to jargon and slang.
needs of the group before their individual needs so they are very Interactions can often be formal and stylized;
loyal members. They can be wonderful facilitators of the legacy,
rituals and commonalities that create group cohesiveness and bring they like to visit, but some topics are probably
AOII collegians and alumnae together. off limits. Traditionals respond best to formal
address; they should not be addressed
Experience. These women were raised in times of stricter gender
roles, fewer women in the workplace (especially in professional roles), by their first names unless they invite
and more institutionalized discrimination against women and people it specifically.
of color. It was largely because of their efforts that women today,
especially collegians, have the opportunities they do have.
Traditionals can help collegians and younger alumnae develop
this historical perspective and thankfulness for the opportunities
they do have.

Resilient. Traditionals are wonderful archives of social and
institutional memory and tradition. They have figuratively
and literally paid their dues and have a wealth of experience
with both success and failure. Traditionals can be
powerful role models to collegiate and alumnae
members learning to cope and adjust with the
stresses and realities of life - both in college and
beyond - as they struggle to balance multiple family,
work and social roles and expectations.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 19

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers were born between the end of World War II in Idealistic. Boomers want to change the world for the better,
1945 and 1964, so they primarily attended college during the and probably believe that they can. This makes them a great fit
tumultuous 1960s and 1970s; times of dramatic social change. for looking at the long term developmental impact membership
Boomers were raised in conditions that were strikingly different can have on members, and inspiring and leading others toward
than earlier generations, caused largely by the relative affluence service initiatives.
of the US and Canada in the decades following World War II.
The “Cleaver” family profile of dad working, and mom at home Sensitive. Boomers are often reluctant to give negative feedback
with children was typical, with young Boomers experiencing the or to criticize. Related to their relationship orientation, they
most care-free childhood of any generational group. They spent may believe that any conflict or criticism can be damaging to
lots of time outside, unsupervised in groups of youngsters where relationships. Consequently they don’t want to hurt anyone’s
they developed outstanding relationship, social and interpersonal feelings. They often don’t take criticism well; they don’t want
skills at an early age. Boomer alumnae saw the shift from the their feelings hurt either. Boomers feedback is often at a general,
traditional values of duty and conformity to the modern values mission level so it may not offer the specifics “nuts and bolts”
of progress and individuality, and can be expected to bring these guidance younger collegians and alumnae need. They may
ideologies to their ongoing involvement with AOII. need assurance that feedback will not have long term negative
relationship impact and help offering suggestions at a level of
detail that will be useful in guiding behavior.

I would suggest Busy. Boomer AOII alumnae in 2012 are often midcareer
you work a professionals with demanding jobs, children still (or back again)
little harder... at home and/or grandchildren and aging parents who need
you’re doing increasing levels of assistance. They want to stay involved, to
great though! help, to give back and to develop and maintain relationships in
the sisterhood, but time is a issue. This might be complicated
by the synergies of the traits described above that lead them to
over-commit. Efforts to help them be engaged in manageable,
time prescribed ways that respect their other responsibilities can
help ensure their ongoing involvement and their contributions to
mission and relationship development.

Relationships. Boomers are natural joiners. They like teams, Communication Concerns with Boomers.
are good at collaboration and in seeking consensus, are motivated
by their responsibilities to others, and respond well to attention Boomers like lots of direct communication, much of which
and recognition. Their “forever young” attitude and ongoing is dedicated to relationship development, getting to know
identification with their “college selves” suggest true lifelong each other, much to the consternation of more task oriented
involvement with the sisterhood and their willingness to develop younger alumnae. Fewer topics are off limits to Boomers
deep and meaningful mentoring relationships with collegians than Traditonals, and younger members may even find them
intrusive. They respond well to “thoughtful remembrances”,
and younger alumnae. like notes and phone calls, that demonstrate, develop and
solidify relationships. While active on e-mail and often
Mission oriented. Boomers don’t do any little things or text savvy, they are less likely to be involved in Tweeting,
get involved in small causes. They see the big picture and are Facebook and other social networking. It might also be
very good at helping others take a broader, long term noted that Boomers are the most responsive of any cohort
perspective, and to look at the multiple impacts of choices and to recognition and honors so they can be motivated with
actions. Before Boomers get involved or act, they need to know titles, plaques and awards.
why it matters, how it fits into the big picture, and what impacts
it will have both short and long term. Once Boomers see the Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012
impact, they are fully committed.

20 • To Dragma

Generation X

Generation X alumnae are the products of the “Baby Bust” of 1965 to 1984. They came up in the

shadow of the Baby Boom. Comedian Dennis Miller said many Xers felt like they were late to the

Baby Boomer’s party; by the time they arrived, all that was left were a couple of smoky

links and a half bottle of Zima. For many Xers it was a tough time to be a kid.

Families were struggling to adapt to new social realities and expectations,

especially the expectation that women work out of the home. As children, Communication Concerns with Xers.
many Xers felt like they had to struggle to keep up with busy families.

As the “latch key” generation, they were expected from a very early Where Traditionals might be polite in

age to get up, get ready and leave the house with everyone else, then communication and Boomers might be delicate,
come home and self-supervise until a parent returned from work. Xers tend to be honest, direct, clear, and often
Where Boomers saw change at big, social levels, like civil rights and blunt. While an excess of either politeness or
women’s rights, Xers saw change at very intimate levels when Mom caution can impact effectiveness by keeping people
from being honest, bluntness can hurt feelings and
when to work or their parents (or friend’s parents) divorced. In
natural consequence, Xers tend to be more independent and less reduce cooperation, compliance and ongoing
idealistic than than Boomers. Several of their typical cohort involvement by members of the other cohort groups.
traits make them excellent at helping really get things done in Ongoing involvement with Xers might involve their
developing communication skills with members of the
chapters and the organization.
other cohorts in their work at AOII, and in their careers

and social life. Xers don’t need any “fluff” in their
messages, are often very tech savvy and prefer

Independent. Very unlike Boomers, Xers don’t necessarily want to electronic to paper communications.
work closely with others and may prefer to work alone. AOII Xers are E-mail and text can be effective, though
Xers may view social media as an
probably more social than other Xers, but still less so than Boomers who
interactive time-waster.

often have what Xers see as a relentless need to interact about non-project

related topics, like families and feelings. The fact that one of a Boomers main

motivations for ongoing participation in AOII may be for the social To Do List:
involvement can be confusing to an Xer. Limiting “non-productive”
talk-time can help keep Xers involved.

Task/ goal oriented. Xers tend to be pragmatic task managers

with good short term problem solving skills. They want to get

to the job at hand and get it done. While Boomers may need
extended social time and “interpersonal warm-up” before they
start a task, Xers prefer to get right to work and socialize later
(if at all). They are also applying this task orientation to their

careers, where they may either be trying to advance, or to maintain Puipcckomuipngsigfnusndfroariser.
a career/ life balance. This task orientation, combined with their SwcithehduMleollym.eeting
independence, suggests that, when projects can be broken down into
discrete tasks, Xers can complete these efficiently and alone without the
relentless consensus seeking common to Boomers.

Utilitarian. Related to their task orientation, Xers value efficiency
and expediency. Consequently, they need very clear goals, markers f
or progress and signs of success and completion. Since they are also busy,

Xers will need to be able to see the benefit of ongoing involvement

in AOII. Unlike Boomers or Traditionals, they may not want to be

involved just to be involved. Benefits like networking, skills development

and leadership development need to be made clear and stressed as

personally valuable beyond the immediate impact on others.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 21

Generation NeXt

Generation NeXt is a large generational cohort that includes “play equity” where everyone got the same size trophy
AOII collegians and recent graduates, up to about 26 years for participation, so may overrate their skills and
old. The cohort started when the culture adjusted to women underrate the effort required to be successful. Their
in the workplace and the birthrate started to rise in the mid- expectations of reward, assistance, or that someone else
1980s. They are also disproportionately involved as Chapter will be responsible for task completion or deadlines,
Advisers, so developing their leadership skills is especially is often baffling to older people, especially those from
critical. Unlike the independent, self-sufficient “latch- key” Generation X. Helping NeXters
kids of Generation X, these NeXters were raised in the era develop responsible autonomy should
of the wanted, precious, protected child, when self-esteem be a central goal of campus
was often valued over self-reliance or resilience. They were programming. To facilitate the
less likely to feel that they had to struggle to keep up with development of NeXters, the r
busy families, and more likely felt that the family revolved escuing tendencies of Boomers
around them. “Baby on board” stickers (not to mention the might need to be kept in check.
minivans they were attached to) signified their importance
to the culture. While not everyone in the Generation NeXt Wired. Also referred to as
age cohort was a supervised, programmed trophy child, most “digital natives” and “generation
who find their way into sorority life probably were. net”, these young people are
deeply involved with and
Close to Parents. When these kids appeared, Boomers distracted by the online world.
apparently felt the need to reinvent parenting, as they had From watching videos as infants through playing video
reinvented every other area of their lives. The old authority games as adolescents and into a social life dominated by
model of parenting went out, replaced by the “peer-ent” relentless online engagement through text messaging
facilitator. As children, helicopter parents monitored and social networking, they often do not have clear
children’s activities, and were invited into their schools. boundaries between the real and virtual world. While
Many NeXters see their parents as among their best friends. engaging them through technology is imperative,
As such, they may relate easily with older alumnae in chapter helping them disconnect to be fully present and involved
activities, though they may be less likely to in activities is also important.
acquiesce any authority to them. Leaders
and advisors should also not be surprised Pressured. NeXters have very high
when parents intervene on their expectations for themselves. Having
daughter’s behalf. Purposeful
involvement of parents can be been involved in many activities
very effective in recruiting as children, they may over extend in
and the ongoing
involvement and academic, campus and sorority
continued membership activities. This generally comes
of collegians from
Generation NeXt. at the expense of successfully
completing all of the
Helped. Parents of this expectations, leading
generation, more than any inevitably to conflict
other American generation, with advisers, officers,
have done for or helped mentors and involved
NeXters with many tasks alumnae. Helping
they could have done for NeXters plan and balance
themselves, from tying shoes multiple on-campus
to science projects. NeXters expectations can help them
were on teams with later manage the inevitable

conflict and balancing necessary
in adult life. NeXter advisers

22 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

might also be counseled to avoid overextending, and helped to Communication Concerns with NeXters.
circumscribe their chapter involvement to manageable levels.
NeXters prefer communication through social media over
Positive. NeXters assume they will be successful and that they every other channel. While very engaged online, some
have adequate skills to face the challenges they face. They have NeXters have developed e-communication skills at the
taken the natural youthful exuberance of the other cohorts to expense of traditional written and oral skills. Text lingo and
new levels. Given happy relations with parents, no spankings, flexible rules of grammar may not be a good fit with the
good grades and a boundary free digital world, it makes perfect expectations of “professionalism” by alumnae, especially
sense that they would be so optimistic. They are fun-loving, Traditionals. Helping NeXters understand what form of
and they want and expect people to get along. A nicer, more language, from text “abbrevs” to proper “Queen’s English”,
upbeat group of collegiate members is hard to imagine. While can be helpful in chapter management and keeping
the real, after-college world does have some harsh realities, members of the other cohorts involved, as well as helping
even these are mitigated by supportive parents with an open- girls develop functional skills for the after-college world and
door policy. While managing a successful chapter will entail the multi-generational workplace they will enter. Contact
offering these NeXters constructive and corrective feedback via social media between members and non-members
on communication, priorities, deadlines and task completion, with its special language and style can be very effective.
efforts should be made to stay positive and always focus on the Guidance about appropriate personal sharing in the digital
expectation of success, especially by Xers. world, and that nothing ever really “goes away” online,
might involve counseling them on making good choices as
AOII members, and guidance on appropriate posting on
official AOII social media, and with potential new members.

Each of the generational groups has special talents to bring to their ongoing
involvement with AOII. Differences between the generational groups in
communication media preferences and styles is one of the core challenges in
effective, consistent messaging, and task completion. Traditionals may drop
out when paper correspondence moves to e-mail, Boomers like the
intimacy of voice and phone, Xers prefer the expediency of e-mail
and NeXters live on social media. Learning to respect not only the
generational traits of each group, but to communicate across
media and styles, is beneficial to both our members’ and AOII’s
long term success.

Dr. Mark Taylor is recognized across the USA and Canada, as expert, educator, consultant and speaker who is on the
forefront of transformations in workplace management and educational practice. His work with organizations and
companies focuses on helping people understand and work more effectively with the generational groups. As an expert
on the traits, developmental issues and learning outcomes of today’s students, he is dedicated to helping colleges and
universities better understand and serve our students for learning, development, persistence and successful integration
into the “after college” world. Building on experience in higher education, management and the helping professions, Dr.
Taylor has worked with over 500 organizations, businesses and schools in 46 states and provinces, made presentations
at state, regional, and national events, and published in professional journals including his recent articles on “Teaching
Generation NeXt”. He has consulted with business clients like 20th Century Fox Motion Pictures, Wal-Mart, FEMA and the
U.S. Army. Dr. Taylor holds graduate degrees from the University of Arkansas and academic appointments at Arkansas
State University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Graduate School, and has an AOII daughter at Kappa Omicron
Chapter (Rhodes College) in Memphis. For more information, visit:

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 23

memberproÿle <<

My AOII Family Tree

by Amy Tiemann, Upsilon Lambda (U of Texas at San Antonio)

My AOII family history is long and rich,

but even I didn’t understand the depth until the fall of
1989. In early August of that year, my mom and I were
walking on the campus of the University of Texas at San
Antonio after I had just moved in to begin the school
year. We were in one of the main buildings and my
mother saw a sign for rush and AOII. She turned to me
and said, “Amy, they have an AOII chapter here! You
must join!” Thus began a family history lesson about
the significance of AOII in my family.

< Ermina Smith Price at her initiation into Iota (U of Illinois) in 1919.
Donna Smith Ryan (center) with friends from the University of Illinois.
Elizabeth “Betty” Voltz (left) and Ermina, at Betty’s initiation into Pi Kappa,
(U of Texas) in 1946.

24 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

< Jodie Sasser (left) with her grandmother Ermina Smith
Price (right) at Rho Alpha’s (Pan American U) initiation.

< Ermina Smith Price (center) with daughter Patricia
Price Sasser (right) at her initiation into Rho Alpha
(Pan American U) chapter in 1969.

My family’s connection with AOII began with and Betty pledged AOII and were initiated into Pi
my great-grandmother Ermina Smith Price. She Kappa Chapter in 1946. Our AOII family tree was
was initiated into Iota Chapter at the University of beginning to spread.
Illinois in 1919 only eight years after the chapter’s
founding. In 1919, there weren’t many people who In 1945, my great-grandfather performed surgery
went to college, much less women. The university on the wife of a dean at the University of Texas. He
had been founded in 1867 and four years later, only was asked to relocate his family and practice to the
22 women were reported to be students. Greek Rio Grande Valley because her parents had a large
fraternities were also present since its inception ranch there and the area was severely lacking in
and important to student life at the university; medical services. They moved from Marlin, Texas
however, the school didn’t o cially recognize them to McAllen, Texas in 1946.
until 1891. By the time my great-grandmother
arrived on campus, World War I was in the heaviest Later, when my mother, Jodie Sasser, was attending
Pan American University in nearby Edinburg,
ghting. Many students had withdrawn in 1917 Texas, my great-grandmother, Ermina, helped
to go ght in the war or return home to work on to colonize an AOII chapter there in 1969, Rho
farms for family members headed o to war. On Alpha. My grandmother, Patricia Price Sasser, and
campus, sorority life provided stability during a time my mother, Jodie Sasser, were initiated with the
it was desperately needed. Her sister, Donna Smith new colony members. A third AOII generation was
Ryan, also was initiated into the Omega Chapter at created with my mother’s initiation.
Miami University in 1920.

My grandmother, Patricia Price Sasser, can Flash forward to 1989. My mother and I are
distinctly remember my great-grandmother’s love standing in the building on the UTSA campus and
for AOII, which she passed on to her children, I am now fully appreciating how special this family
Jodie, Patricia and Chester. During World War II history is. I was to become the fourth generation
in 1944, my great-grandparents Ermina and Dr. and the 6th member of my family to become an
Arthur Price were working in Cincinnati, Ohio AOII. Of course, I knew it was unique to have so
and were asked to move to Marlin, Texas because many family members in one sorority, but I didn’t
of the shortage of doctors there. Just before they understand the impact it held, until I walked up to
moved, Chester married his high school sweetheart, the table that the AOII chapter had advertising for
Elizabeth (Betty) Voltz, and he was deployed with rush. I remember meeting Rachel Chavira, the
the army to England shortly after their wedding. chapter president, and Debbie Melber (Drury), who
would later be my big sister. I asked when rush was
My grandmother’s sister, Jodie, and her new sister- (it was called rush then, not recruitment as it is now)
in-law, Betty, attended the University of Texas and I mentioned to them that other members of my
beginning in the fall 1944. Jodie married Ken family were AOIIs. I remember the shocked looks
Heinz in 1945. He was attending Texas getting on their faces when I told them how many and
his pharmacy degree. While at UT, both Jodie realized I was an important legacy.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 25

26 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

< Amy’s grandmother, Patricia; great
grandmother, Ermina; and great-aunt,
Jodie at her great-grandmother’s
90th birthday celebration.

< Four generations of AOIIs in one family. Pictured from left to right are: Amy as a
collegiate freshman in 1990, Amy’s mother, Jodie; her grandmother, Patricia; and her
great-grandmother, Ermina.

I remember going through rush and the other Carty Jungmichel, was also an AOII. Evelyn was
sororities were pursuing me diligently to join their initiated at Omicron Chapter at the University of
organizations. It would be a scandal if a legacy Tennessee in 1937. Small world that it is, she had
didn’t join AOII, right? I remember sitting at the worked for AOII Headquarters and been sent to the
table and telling the other Greek women not to University of Texas to help colonize the Pi Kappa
waste their time. I wasn’t going to join any sorority, Chapter there. She was still working there when
but AOII. my great-aunt and great-aunt-in-law were initiated.
I still recall how shortly after I was married, she
My initiation was in January of 1990. All dressed gave me her AOII bracelet of roses.
in white with me were my mom, my grandmother
and great-aunt, Jodie, who ew in from San Diego And the history is sure to continue… My niece,
to be with me. My great-grandmother, Ermina, Lindsey Polvado, is set to attend the University of
who was 96, so wanted to be there, but she passed Arkansas this fall where AOII has a chapter. And
away just one month earlier in December. It then there is my own daughter, Isabella Tiemann
was so touching to be initiated with my family who will be an AOII legacy through her mother,
participating in the ceremony. I watched as a tear grandmother, two great-grandmothers and a
fell from my grandmother’s eyes when I received great-great-grandmother. Isabella and I were
my badge. recently attending the Austin Alumnae Chapter’s
50th Anniversary dinner, when Ginger Banks,
At a dinner following the ceremony, I was admiring Past International President, asked Isabella if she
my great-aunt Jodie’s badge. It had pearls on all was going to be an AOII? My daughter earnestly
the letters and I thought it was beautiful compared replies, “Well, of course!” I’ve already done the
to my plain one. She was very sweet and traded math, Isabella will start college in 2019 - 100 years
badges with me. I was taken aback, but she insisted. after her great-great-grandmother Ermina began
I can remember visiting her the summer of 1990 in our family’s century-long connection with AOII.
California. She was battling lung cancer and she
passed away a few years after. I still wear her badge AOII is a special gift that should be shared with
to this day. your family. For all AOII legacies who are taking
part in recruitment this fall, enjoy yourself and I
In 1999, I met Jason Tiemann, the man who would hope my story inspires you to continue your own
later become my husband. When I was meeting his family’s AOII tradition. Maybe one day, your
family, it turned out that his grandmother, Evelyn daughter, granddaughter or great-granddaughter
will be connected, too.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 27

In 2011, when Allison Gilchrist Eriksson, Delta Delta by Mary Catherine Stewart, Delta Delta (Auburn U)
(Auburn U) married and moved back to her new Assistant Director of Resource Development
husband’s native Sweden, she left behind a supportive
family, friends and her loving twin sister Whitney between Allison, Whitney, and my entire family seem
Gilchrist Brown, Delta Delta (Auburn U). With an just that much smaller.”
ocean to separate them, no one was bashful to admit
that these changes would be di cult. Whitney had The twins’ dad Scott Gilchrist agrees, “First, although I
already been married a short while before Allie married, knew one day my beautiful young twins would marry
so she understood Allie’s need to be by her husband’s and move away, I still miss them! The blog gives me an
side, but that didn’t make the transition any easier. To idea of how they are doing with their work, funny home
compensate for the changes they faced, the girls set out to issues, and generally that they are doing well. I actually
never thought Whitney would successfully coerce, I
nd new and creative ways to stay in touch. mean convince, Allie to do the blog, but they both have
become very good with their storytelling.” Whitney
Through an online blog they cleverly titled “Fly Home now laughs when asked about their blog saying, “We
to Me,” Allie and Whitney found a fantastic way of forget that other people even read it!” “Fly Home to Me”
revealing their witty and charming personalities while is a true testament to the e orts taken by these twin sisters
staying uniquely connected to one - and AOII sisters - to stay connected.
another. Now, when any family
member or friend visits the site, they
are instantly drawn into the girls’
daily musings and humor. The site
is primarily for Allie and Whitney’s
relationship, but the connections
go much further. Their mother,
Mary Jo Gilchrist says, “What I
love is feeling like I am getting a
peek at their world, sort of ‘a y
on the wall’ experience, since they
are talking to each other and not
directly to us. As a parent, it is a
blessing anytime your children get
along so it is extra special when you
see them make the e ort to stay
close, love & encourage each other.”
Brother Austin adds, “Having a
place where I can see two of my
sisters talk almost as if they are
having a face to face conversation
with each other makes the distance

28 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Allie, what took you to Sweden? And Whitney, The sisters enjoy Whitney’s recent visit to see Allie in Sweden.
what took you to Birmingham?

A: My Swedish husband, Björn, is my reason for being here. I
previously spent time in Europe and studied for a semester in
Florence, Italy (where Björn and I met) so I was open to the idea of
living abroad. We talked a lot about where would be the best place
for us, and we decided that Sweden would be best for now, both
for his job and so we could travel.

W: Sam was already working a job in Birmingham when we got
engaged, and I had just graduated before we got married and was
on the job hunt. We decided to go where the job was for him;
we’ve been here ever since and are really enjoying it!

What gave you the idea to start communicating through a blog? How often do you get to
see each other?
A: Whitney was the one who came up with idea. I remember the day we talked about
it. We were in Birmingham not long before I got married and moved, and she was A: It seems to be about once or
sad about the distance. I tried to cheer her up by saying how easy it would be to call twice a year... de nitely wish it was
her on Skype and to e-mail, but we both knew it wasn’t really the same as getting to more! Whit rotates Christmases and
talk whenever you want and easily visit. She suggested a blog, but at rst I was a little Thanksgivings between our parents
reluctant. I wondered what I would say and who would even want to read it. I told and her in-laws, so I decided to have
Whitney that and she said, “Then write to me!” The thought of writing to her made it the same schedule. That means that
easy for me to post on the blog, it always felt really natural to write to my sister. last year we both came home during
Thanksgiving and next year we’ll both
W: I started a couple of other blogs in college and was already familiar with the format, be home during Christmas. She came
and thought it would be a neat way to share stories of our daily lives in two very last summer to visit me in Sweden and
di erent places. I really just wanted Allie to start posting pictures of what she was doing hopefully can come back sometime
over there so our family could see them. before next Christmas!

W: Well, it will work out to about one
visit a year, during holidays when we
rotate to our parent’s house. Trust me I
wish it could be more often.

What kind of stuff do you talk about on the blog?

A: We talk about the things that we would talk about if we got to
call whenever we wanted or visit normally. That’s one of my favorite
things about the blog, that I can hear about things in her life and also
see pictures of them. It’s hard to imagine the people or the places she’s
talking about when I can’t easily visit her and see them, so the blog
makes me feel more connected in a way.

W: I would say it’s mostly just daily life stu , weekend adventures
(hers are normally more interesting) and family happenings. We’re
all spread out now, so I like to make sure she sees pictures of us when
we’re together since she can’t be over here.

Delta Delta (Auburn U) twin sisters Allison (Allie) Gilchrist Eriksson To Dragma • 29
(left) and Whitney Gilchrist Brown.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

How did your families react to the big separation, specifically your siblings and parents?

A: I think it’s been very hard on our parents, especially at ÿrst. I know how hard it’s been on my side to get used to not seeing my
family as much, and I know it’s been just as big of an adjustment for them. I think it’s become a bit easier with time, mostly because
we’ve found a routine for communicating. We also try to have a set time to see each other. They knew I would come home this
last Thanksgiving and right after that they planned their trip to visit me in May. The separation is always easier to handle with
something to look forward to!

W: I think initially, we were all excited about the wedding and them living abroad,
but as time has gone on, it’s been a little more di˜ cult than we realized, getting
used to the “new normal” of not seeing Allie and Björn, but only once a year.
It’s especially hard on my parents having a daughter so far away. My dad now
regularly cautions other parents to
think twice before sending their
daughters over to study abroad
because they might very well
end up falling in love and living
over there!

Tell me about your
husbands and how they
help with the separation?

A: Björn has been so supportive
about the di˜ culties of living away
from my family. He’s spent long
periods of time living in other
countries and can relate to a lot of
the feelings I have. Because there’s
a seven-hour time di° erence, calls to and from Whit and the rest of my family have
come at all hours, and he’s more than happy for me to talk to them as much as I
can. He also makes it a priority to make sure everything works out for us to go back to the United States to visit during the
holidays. I think the biggest help is that he understands how I feel and he’s very willing to be supportive in any way he can.

W: Sam is awesome. We met on a blind date at Auburn my junior year, his senior year, and hit things o° really fast. He’s been
a huge help in this whole journey of life apart from Allie and Björn. I think just being able to talk to Sam about how it’s a
little harder some days, especially on days like our birthday and holidays, helps a lot. He’s my best friend and a great support.

30 • To Dragma At left: Björn and Allie Eriksson with Sam and Whitney
Brown. Above left : Allie (left) and Whitney (far right)
with another sister, Lindsay. Above right: Allison and
Whitney with their parents, Scott and Mary Jo Gilchrist.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Do you feel like your lives are totally separate? Or do you feel like even though
there is an ocean keeping you apart you still relate?

A: I don’t feel like they’re separate at all. There are so many ways we stay connected other than the blog. I have friends
in Sweden who almost think they know Whit because I include things about her in our conversations. Whitney sent me
a sweet video on our birthday of her co-workers singing “happy birthday” to me, even though I’ve only met them once.
Regardless of the distance, we go through a lot of the same things, and can relate to so many parts of each other’s lives. I
think as long as we make it important to include each other, our relationship can be as close as if we lived in the same town.

W: You know...even though we’ve already spent over a year and half apart, I feel
like the distance has helped our relationship tremendously. I think we relate a lot
more now that we’re both married. And yes, we do live very separate lives, and we
really always have, even though we have grown up so close together. But I feel like
I know her better now than I did before she left because being so far away forces
you to ÿnd ways to intentionally connect with someone. I’ve learned to start
appreciating the little time we have together and make the most of it.

What was it like to go through recruitment
as twins? Did you know you wanted to be in
the same sorority?

A: I think we were both really nervous going through
recruitment; it’s so hard to know what to expect!
We both knew that we wanted to be in the same
sorority, but I think we wondered what
would happen if we didn’t agree on the same
sorority at the end. It was a big relief when we
both felt at home at AOII.

W: Actually, we were going into it pretty open-
minded at ÿrst, and then when it came down to
our ÿnal three, we both had AOII and really
liked them, and were so excited that we got in
together. Now that we’ve been through college,
I am so glad we pledged together...just another
special thing we can share.

What do you miss the most about not Whitney (left) connects with Allison on a recent trip to Sweden.
being together? To Dragma • 31

A: I miss getting to see Whit because she is one of the most
entertaining people to spend time with. From her facial
expressions to her funny comments, she keeps me laughing
when we’re together.

W: Hmm, I really miss laughing until my stomach hurts...
we still share some laughs over the computer, but it’s not the
same as when we’re together and we can be completely
ridiculous with each other. I laugh harder when I’m around
Allie than anyone else, probably because she knows me so
well, and we play o° each other’s personalities....
(I’m laughing about that right now, actually.)

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Leadership by Rachel Boison, Kappa Kappa, (Ball State U)
Assistant Director of Public Relations

Academy 2012

Have you ever wondered why AOIIs make a huge
impact on their campus and in their community,
but only a few hear about all of the good that
comes from these actions? Well, Leadership
Academy 2012 - “Tell Me About It”was designed
to encourage and train AOII leaders how to
communicate and create better public relations
practices within their chapters, on their
campuses, and in their communities.

This insightful weekend of learning began with how we can project AOII’s values through our
a keynote from the National Elevator Pitch speech and our actions. During this time, Angela
Champion, Chris Westfall. He demonstrated King Taylor, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha
Sorority, Inc. and Director of Fraternity and
how to craft a relatable Sorority Life at Middle TN State University,
message that would explained the context, culture, and meaning
engage the listener, behind National Pan-Hellenic Conference
emphasizing that an (NPHC) hand signs. Specifically it was discussed
elevator pitch is less of how AOIIs can be respectful in their use of an
a speech and more of Alpha Love hand sign. Friday evening concluded
an introduction to a with activities emphasizing the importance of
conversation. To serve communication within the chapter and the
as examples of elevator messages our daily communication and actions say
pitches and to highlight about our values.
chapter achievement and
best practices, several On Saturday morning, Dr. Mark Taylor of Taylor
Chapter Spotlights were Programs explained ways to communicate the
conducted throughout value of the Fraternity/Sorority experience and
the weekend. These the impact that experience has on our members in
spotlights were selected terms of university retention, academic excellence,
from among the 2011 and transferable skills for the workplace that classes
AOII awards recipients in and schoolwork alone do not provide. Dr. Taylor
specific areas of chapter then met with the Chapter Advisers at AOII
operations. The women International Headquarters on how to work with
representing these the current generation of college learners.
chapters left attendees
with great ideas and even While Dr. Taylor was meeting with Chapter
more inspiration on how Advisers, AOII Chapter Presidents and Vice
to spread AOII’s message. Presidents of Communication were meeting
at AOII International Headquarters with their
Once attendees mastered respective officers. Chapter Presidents discussed
the mechanics of drafting their calendar and goals for the year and their team
an elevator pitch, International President Allison as well as their role as the “face” of the chapter.
Allgier led a discussion about including AOII’s
values into those conversations. Allison showed

32 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Tell Me About It! Vice Presidents of Communication discussed their
role in Public Relations, the tools for their office
What did you think of LA 2012? including the Public Relatons Manual and the
Crisis Communications Plan. After lunch, VPs of
“I had a great time, and learned so many Communications and Chapter Presidents attended
valuable things to take back to my a session on basic Public Relations training and the
chapter. Thank you so much for all of use of Public Relations in defining a brand or image.
your hard work in putting LA together. Another session, AOII Online, focused on the ways
I can’t wait for LI in June!” that digital media can be perceived as good, bad
and ugly, the positive ways online communications
“This event helped not only give me new may be used, and the capabilities of the Internet for
ideas and knowledge about how to better recruitment. Collegiate officers rotated through the
serve my fraternity, but also helped first two sessions and also enjoyed time for an AOII
remind me of why I am here, why I am International Headquarters tour and Emporium
dedicating my time to this chapter, and shopping. After the collegiate officers had completed
how important we really are on my campus.” the three rotations, Vice Presidents and Chapter
Presidents again separated for a valuable opportunity
“I loved this event so much! It is going to share best practices and ask questions about their
to make a huge difference to my chapter. I office or chapter.
have already spent a lot of time reflecting
on the experience. Thank you all!” The afternoon session for the Chapter Advisers
included a discussion on the importance of advisers
“I really appreciated that our International to the chapter and to the Fraternity and information
President, Allison Allgier, could be there on membership retention tools and data. Then, the
for the event!” new AAC training modules were rolled out, learning
objectives for these trainings were discussed, and
“I am so thankful I got to attend and I advisers were given the opportunity to complete
cannot wait to share what I learned with assessments on which trainings would most benefit
my chapter!” their AAC. The session ended with a time for

“I loved all the speakers! Everyone was Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012
so inspirational!”

34 • To Dragma

questions and best practice sharing before Chapter Tell Me About It!
Advisers were given their opportunity for tours and
Emporium shopping. What was your favorite part of LA 2012?

After dinner and traveling back to the Franklin “My favorite aspect was definitely hearing
Marriott Cool Springs, Vice Presidents of about the different things other chapters
Communication worked on developing their do and learning new ways to incorporate
communications plans for the year. Chapter them into my chapter.”
Presidents and Chapter Advisers learned the new
Standards of Excellence accreditation and awards “Dr. Mark Taylor! I loved his explanation
application process. The evening was concluded with of how AOII can help girls become workplace
AOII Sing-A-Long where favorite AOII songs and ready. And the sing-a-long was so much
chants were shared with great enthusiasm. fun, too!”

On Sunday morning, Executive Director Troy “My favorite part was AOII Executive
LeForge challenged and inspired chapters to tell Director Troy LeForge’s session on Sunday
the story of AOII. She discussed the importance of morning. She wrapped up everything I
sharing the message of AOII with others, and the learned and inspired me.”
importance of inspiring their chapters by telling
them of the experiences they have shared during “I loved Chris Westfall’s Friday night
Leadership Academy. Then, the Educational session discussing “The New Elevator Pitch.”
Leadership Consultants led the audience in sharing
their own stories of AOII. The event concluded with “I really loved the social media session
a favorite AOII tradition of circling the room with at HQ. I think that information is going
arms linked to sing the “Epsilon Chapter Song.” With to really help my chapter promote itself
the incredible excitement of Leadership Academy and in a more positive light and help us
enthusiasm upon sharing stories, there is no doubt flourish and grow.”
that these women will inspire their chapters to truly
exceed the expectation of AOII. “My favorite part of Leadership Academy was
being able to meet sisters from all over
Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 the US and Canada.”

“I enjoyed all the keynote speakers,
especially the elevator pitch champion,
Chris Westfall. He taught me ways to better
sell my chapter to others, both during
recruitment and for general PR.”

“I loved the question and answer section.
I got a lot of great tips to take back to
my chapter.”

“I loved simply being able to talk to other
chapters, gain some of their insights and
ideas, as well as rejuvenate my own love
for AOII.”

To Dragma • 35

memberpro le

One AOII’s Wild and Wonderful Adventure

by Jordan McCarter, Delta (Tufts U), Director of Chapter Services and Membership Experience

There’s a saying that Thankfully, she was
goes, “When you not severely wounded
have your hand in and was able to treat
the lion’s mouth, the wounds without
ease it out; don’t rip medical help. Although
it out.” Most people stitches might have
probably don’t use been the wisest idea,
that phrase literally, Laura points out that
but for Laura Zint, the nearest hospital
Sigma Gamma was hours away.
(Appalachian State Unfortunately, the lion’s
U), it became a tooth got caught on the
reality last summer AOII ring Laura was
in South Africa. wearing. Laura had no
It wasn’t exactly a choice but to wiggle
surprise, since her her nger out of the
job was to feed, play ring and leave it in the
with, and care for lion’s mouth. The lion
a number of young didn’t seem interested
lions. Laura’s passion in Laura’s AOII ring
for her pre-vet major and promptly spit it
led her to spend a out. Now Laura has a
month volunteering scar on her hand and a
at Khulula Care souvenir scratch from
for Wild, a center a lion tooth across her
in South Africa AOII ring as reminders
that specializes in of two experiences that
rehabilitating or changed her life forever:
caring for young, going to South Africa
abandoned wildlife. and joining AOII.

One morning after Coming from the
breakfast, several small town of Mebane,
volunteers were North Carolina, Laura
outside “rough-housing” with the lions. One female describes herself as a homebody who was shy before coming to
white lion aggressively swiped at Laura’s face. Laura college. While several men in her family are fraternity members,
was able to block the paw from hitting her face, but she had no Panhellenic relatives and didn’t think she’d be a good
the lion became aggressive and bit her hand. Others t for Greek life. Her only images of sororities came from TV
tried to pry the lion o while she tried to remain and movies, where sorority girls are catty, carbon copies of each
calm. After several minutes of sitting patiently with other. Then, as a sophomore, she was talked into going through
her hand in a lion’s mouth, she knew it was time to recruitment by two childhood friends. Because they were all in
act. She decided to quickly yank her hand out and di erent recruitment groups, they didn’t see each other much
hope for the best. during the week. They had also made a deal not to talk about
their choices or experiences, so that they wouldn’t in uence
36 • To Dragma each other.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Throughout recruitment, Laura found that it was In fact, she even surprised herself
not what she expected; in fact, the women of AOII at how calm she had stayed
were kind, intelligent, and real. At the Bid Day during her trip. That confidence,
celebration, she was ÿnally reunited with her two Laura says, came from AOII.
friends. To her great surprise, they all came out in
AOII letters! It was great to know that “the values To Dragma • 37
we had growing up are the same values we share
today,” Laura said.

Laura joined the Sigma Gamma chapter following
the chapter’s ÿrst formal recruitment. Being in
the ÿrst new member class following the colony
members has been particularly special. Laura has
been able to help the chapter develop and grow,
not just in membership numbers but in campus
contributions. Just a few years ago, AOII was new
and unknown at Appalachian State, but with the
help of sisters like Laura, they’ve shown the campus
what AOII is all about.

Now a senior, Laura has served on Leaders’
Council as Vice President of Chapter Development
and attended Leadership Academy in 2011. It was at
Leadership Academy that Laura learned great ideas
to implement in her chapter about making sisters
feel welcome and connected. Laura feels like during
these ÿrst few years as a chapter, they’ve been able
to create a great name for AOII on campus.

Laura has also worked hard at her pre-vet major,
something she’s known she wanted to do ever since
childhood. That’s what led her to South Africa. Just
like how she ended up in AOII, Laura says things
happen for a reason. After being denied from her
ÿrst-choice program in Australia, she learned about
the African Conservation Experience (ACE) from
another student at a pre-professional’s meeting. She
was intrigued and, after doing her research on the
program, applied without telling anyone- even
her parents.

She was accepted soon after and had her choice
of several programs. After deciding on work with
infant and abandoned animals at Khulula Care for
Wild, her summer plans were all set for a month
in South Africa. When she ÿnally told her parents,
they were worried, to say the least. Laura had never
been this far from home before and certainly not
for this long. Even as a child, Laura had not gone
away to camp. Now, not only would Laura be
gone for a month to a totally new place, but she
was getting there on her own as well. When she
arrived, she didn’t even have anyone to meet her
at the airport. She hailed taxis to take her to her
destination over four hours from Johannesburg in
Mpumulanga Province.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

With no teeth yet and no mother to nurse him,
one of Laura’s jobs was to bottle feed Sam seven
times a day. They played together and took naps in
a hammock. After breakfast, Laura and the other
volunteers would play outdoors with the lions. It
was then that the rare white lion, a cub older
than Sam and the other lions, took a bite out
of Laura’s hand.

Whether it was taking a taxi in a foreign country
alone or remaining calm when the lion bit her,
Laura remained cool and collected. In fact, she
even surprised herself at how calm she had stayed
during her trip. That confidence, Laura says, came
from AOII.

Laura spent a month at the center, living in a “castle” constructed Although she always felt like she possessed leadership skills, Laura
in the 1960s by a man who wanted to build a fortress against the was much more shy before joining AOII. Being in AOII, Laura
South African government. The center owner purchased the land says, almost forces you to gain people skills. You have to let your
and the building and has re-made it into a facility dedicated to guard down. You have to be open. You gain confidence. Coming
the care of orphaned and abandoned animals who, for one reason into AOII, many women are new to Greek life or are away from
or another, would not be able to survive in the wild. Each week, home for the first time. A new member class could be filled with
another crew of volunteers rotates in for their stint at the center. total strangers, not to mention a whole chapter of new people.
They stay in a volunteer section of the house, but mingle about on The support that Laura received from AOII helped her overcome
the property with the owner’s family, other volunteers, and any any of those reservations. “AOII gave me the security of who I am
number of wild animals just beyond the back door. and who I want to be,” Laura says.

From monkeys to ostriches to rhinos and yes, lions, most come to While they may have been surprised by her summer plans, Laura
the center with a sad story. Some are orphaned after their mothers says that her sisters were behind her 100%. That security and
are killed by poachers (a rhino’s horn is worth about a year’s wage support carried overseas as well. During her trip, she received
on the South African black market). Some are captured and kept letters from sisters and had someone writing positive messages on
as pets and some are used as sideshow acts in a local bar; these her Facebook wall all the time.
animals are often rescued by police and brought to Khulula. An
infant lion named Sam (pictured at far right), just three weeks old Laura also had the support of her fellow volunteers. Hailing from
when he came to the center, had been stolen from his mother and countries ranging from Norway, to Spain to Australia, volunteers
given to someone as a birthday present. circulated in and out during the summer. Even now, she’s

38 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

maintaining those connections In fact, it seems the white lion who took a bite out of Laura’s hand
via Facebook and they’re even may be the only one left to convince. Laura says she wasn’t upset
planning a reunion. She made at the lion, though. That’s the lion’s nature. She is supposed to
some connections for them as well. hunt and her aggression was a sign she was closer to being released
Just as Laura’s only knowledge of back into the wild. During Laura’s trip, they did release the lion.
sororities came from media, the Perhaps that lion will keep memories of her encounter with an
international perspective is even AOII, too. After all, the white lion’s name was Pearl.
more biased. Since they don’t have
sororities, the only thing they’ve African Conservation
ever heard comes from movies like Experience
“The House Bunny.” Many of the
volunteers assumed that all sorority African Conversation Experience (ACE) is an organization
girls are catty and “share the dedicated to providing volunteer and financial support
same brain.” to conservation projects in southern Africa. Through
When Laura began sporting her their efforts, they link volunteers to a variety of wildlife
AOII gear and event t-shirts, they were surprised experiences, including Khulula Care for Wild. Projects
to learn she was in a sorority because Laura was range from marine conversation to veterinary work. Anyone
definitely not what they expected. Their stereotypes from students to retirees to family groups can give back to
began to break down and they were pleasantly southern Africa. Short and long term projects are available.
surprised by this intelligent sorority woman. Laura
pointed out that her international friends began to To Dragma • 39
realize that sorority women are “hardworking and
real and down to earth.” Thanks to Laura’s positive
example, AOII is making a great impression, too.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Gina’s JourneyConquering an Ironman
by Mariellen Sasseen, Alpha Delta (U of Alabama), Editor

An Ironman Triathlon is a gruelling race requiring < In the spring of 2005 her niece, Kate Graham, was
participants to complete a 2.4-mile open-water swim, talking about participating with friends in a Mermaid
a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon < Triathlon and approached Gina to join them. These
– all in succession – all completed in under 17 hours. smaller, but still seriously significant women-only
Participants are usually hard-bodied, hard-core athletes competitions, presented numerous hurdles for Gina
who dedicate years to training schedules, diet regimens to overcome. None greater than the fact she was not
and building mental toughness. The popular Arizona a strong swimmer! She had dabbled at biking but not
Ironman Triathlon takes place in Tempe and the to competition standards, and as for running, that
surrounding Sonoran Desert each November. This past was sure to be a challenge with bad knees, a bad back
year, an inspiring 54-year-old AOII sister, Gina Zofrea and an arthritic hip. Somehow Kate still managed
Fish, Lambda Beta (California State U - Long Beach) to convince Gina that the experience would be fun
completed her first Ironman – proving that age is merely and, together, they entered the race. She finished that
a number, not a handicap. first race by side-stroking the entire 400 meter swim,
Gina’s amazing journey to Tempe had its roots planted toddling along the 11-mile bike route and walking the
way back in 1982 while watching Julie Moss compete 3.2-mile run – but she loved every minute! Everyone
in her first Ironman on TV. She remembered her was so supportive and the insane competitiveness that
parents commenting, “Why would anyone do that to she had always witnessed in team sports was not present.
themselves?” at the same time Gina recalls thinking, Ultimately, this cooperative spirit was one of the aspects
“Wow, I wish I could try that someday!” It was an that would most shape her life going forward.
unlikely reality for a Gina who was married, pregnant
with her second child and finishing her nursing degree, Over the next several years, Gina entered numerous
so that spark of interest was suppressed for the next Mermaid Triathlons, learned to swim, lost 40 pounds,
twenty-three years. and grew to love the open water swimming that
had initially terrified her about this sport. More
40 • To Dragma importantly, she gained immense confidence that she
believes has made her a better wife, mother, friend and
woman. In the back of her mind, however, competing
in a full Ironman competition always loomed large.
When her friend Mary Keane learned Gina was
considering the 2011 Arizona Ironman, she encouraged
Gina to sign up as a volunteer giving her access to
register before the general population. This event sold
out in 20 minutes – 2,800 participants.

Months of training were ahead for Gina and three of
her friends who were also signed up for the race. She
overcame many ups and downs, not the least of which
was her nagging arthritic hip and pain radiating down
her legs from nerve damage from a previous back
injury. Contemplating an Ironman was a stretch by any
standard, but friends, family and her Team Mermaid
teammates encouraged her all through the process.
Gina’s Lambda Beta sisters were huge supporters,
too. Gina added, “AOII has taught me the value of

Gina at packet pick up for her first Ironman competition.

The 26.2-mile marathon is just one third of the competition.
Gina takes it all in stride.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 41

sisterhood and how sisters support each other through (U of Chicago), were not training partners but had
thick and thin. While the women on Team Mermaid found their connections to each other and to this race
are not AOIIs, we are a sisterhood. As an AOII, I am through Gina’s coach Heidi, and Facebook. They were
called to carry in to the world what I have learned as an a tremendous source of support that Gina appreciated.
AOII and I take that call to heart. It is a big part of who Gina remembers, “We were all calm yet a bundle of
I am. I believe I am a better Team Mermaid member, nerves all rolled in to one! Thank goodness they were
in part, because of my
membership in AOII.” there because I think we
helped each other live
A whirlwind of activities in the moment.” Gina,
filled the final weeks Heather and Aimee met
that led up to the race, in their hotel lobby at
especially after Gina 5:45, which in hindsight
arrived in Arizona with might have been cutting
her husband Mike, it a little too close. She
daughters and numerous recalls, “We headed down
family and friend to transition and each of
supporters. The race us had to pump up the
logistics are intense. Five tires on our bikes, get last
different bags would minute stuff into our T-1
need to be organized, and T-2 bags and then get
packed and delivered our special needs bags out
to race stations. Her to the special needs area.
swim to bike bag (T-1), Heather and I headed out
bike to run bag (T-2), there to deliver the bags
special needs bike bag, and hit the porta-potty one
special needs run bag more time….again cutting
and a morning clothes it very close! I think we
bag had to include got to the corral area for
anything she might need the swim with only 10
for each leg of the race, minutes
including the calculated to spare.”
number of Payday candy
bars, Nutella and jelly Gina, Heather and Aimee
sandwiches, slices of were all near the back of
apples, Gatorades, salt the pack and knew only 10
tablets and Extra Strength Tylenol! minutes would be allowed
for all the participants to be in the water – no small
The size of the crowd attending the outdoor athletes task for 2,800 people and an entry that required a jump
dinner on Friday night was amazing. Gina was stunned from a ledge. When their turn came, Heather and
when they asked the participants who had participated Gina grabbed hands and took the leap together. Once
in 10 or more Ironman competitions to stand - and over in the water, there was just time for good luck wishes all
half the crowd stood. The count to find the participant around before the cannon sounded the start of this
who had completed the most Ironman events did not great adventure.
end until 67. Since the first Ironman race was held in
1978, that meant the winner had participated in an Gina settled into a slow but steady pace suitable to her
average of two per year every year since. Gina said, swimming ability. She recalls, “Before long, the sun
“That night, even as the fireworks and cannon fire were was rising and the glare was pretty intense. I had been
going off at a nearby football game, I slept with ease. I kicked in the ribs, punched in the head and hit in the
knew I had the backing of so many people and that no face, all by accident, but just the nature of a mass swim
matter what happened, no matter how the next day start with 2,800 people. I was nearing the turnaround
ended, life was good! I was blessed to have family and when all of the sudden everyone stopped swimming.
friends who loved me for me and not for what I had The buzz was that someone was having trouble up
done. I was a lucky woman indeed!” ahead. We all treaded water for a couple of minutes
and then magically the mass started swimming again.
Race morning began at 3:45 a.m. having breakfast I just hoped that whoever was having the problem was
with friends Heather and Aimee. These two, along ok and would be able to finish the race. It was at that
with a fellow AOII sister Molly McNamara, Phi Chi point I remembered how all my teammates and friends
who struggled with swimming had persevered. How
42 • To Dragma
Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

grateful I was for their example - and then, the bridges < was 6.2 miles – a 10 K, which she had run on numerous
that I had passed coming out, were passing overhead. I occasions. “I had challenged myself to do something
was nearing the end, I was in one piece and I was I had dreamed of doing but never thought possible,”
not exhausted!” Gina said. “I was so very grateful. And I vowed to
finish what I had begun, just hoping that I had the time
As she exited the water, a volunteer was available to left to do so.” On the homestretch, fewer spectators
help Gina out of a clingy wetsuit and she could hear lined the dark streets than there had been earlier in the
encouragement from family and friends yelling, “Go day, but lights illuminated the finish line. Painfully
Gina!” Grabbing her T-1 bag, she entered the changing pushing herself forward, Gina
tent shivering and needing to warm up before moving crossed the finish line in 13:36:58,
to the transition area for the 112-mile bike leg. Spurred blistering her goal of 16:59:59 and
on by more cheering, she mounted her bike for the first heard the words she had worked
of three long loops from Tempe, AZ out to the Beeline so hard to hear, “Gina Fish, you
Highway and eventually climbing nearly 10 miles are an Ironman!” Soon, she was
through the Sonoran desert. Gina describes the bike surrounded by family greeting her
course as “ beautiful in a desert sort of way!” adding, with smiles, screams and lots of
“On the first loop, I chatted with the other cyclists hugs. is about encouraging others
who passed me or whom I passed. We each wished to be the best they can be. It is
each other a good ride. Sometimes we would hold about showing others that age is
conversations as we leap-frogged back and forth on the merely a number and if you want to
course. It’s hard to talk too much as we have to keep do something bad enough, you can.
4 bike lengths between us otherwise we get a penalty. Don’t make excuses. Just work with
There’s no drafting in triathlons!” what you have, make it work for
you and enjoy the journey!”
The first loop went well, especially after the turnaround
when she had the wind at her back for the ride back [Gina Fish, Lambda Beta (California State U
to town to greet a huge crowd cheering on all the - Long Beach) has served AOII as an adviser
participants. During the second loop, the much- for Lambda Beta Chapter and Corporation
appreciated tail wind shifted leaving Gina to take the
long steady climb with a strong wind in her face. But, Board Treasurer for Delta Sigma Chapter.
she stayed confident and reached the end of the third Additionally she has been a member
and final loop, tired, but with amazement in herself and of several alumnae chapters since her
tremendous appreciation for every supporter, volunteer
and participant. graduation, including several stints as the
San Jose Alumnae Chapter President.]
Despite a sore back, Gina was finally off her bike
and struggled to get her legs working again for the < The Ironman finish line!
full marathon that still loomed before her. The race Gina waits for her friends to finish with
atmosphere was explosive and exciting. After a change her niece and her Coach Heidi.
and a potty break, she was off on the first of 3 nearly
nine-mile loops. Themed water stations along the To Dragma • 43
route were a nice diversion and all the participants were
still encouraging each other along with their best effort
at controlled enthusiasm. Gina says, “The second loop
seemed harder. I still had no idea of my time (because
without her glasses, she could not read her watch), and
it was starting to get dark. I was getting tired and some
of the thoughts of not being able to finish started to
crossed my mind. I kept telling myself that I can do
this! At the bottom of the second loop, I see my family
screaming, giving high-fives and I am reminded how
much this all means to them, too.”

Out on the final lap, Gina passed a point she had never
passed before. Never had she run more than 20 miles at
a single stretch, let alone connected that distance to the
swimming and biking legs she had already completed.
She relished in that thought and her body responded
better than she could have hoped for. All that was left

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

National The National Panhellenic Conference delegation
Panhellenic members, executive directors, inter/national
Conference presidents, editors, NPC office staff members,
speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and guests gathered
 at the Hilton Austin Airport in Austin, Texas, Oct.
14–16 for the 2011 annual meeting. Throughout the
2011 Annual three-day event, various groups and committees met
Meeting Report to discuss the business of the Conference, learn from
guest speakers and plan for the future.

OCT. 14–16, 2011 AUSTIN, TEXAS “Advancing Sorority Together” was the theme
of the annual meeting. In her opening remarks,
by Jennifer M. Siler, Alpha Delta Pi, editor of the Adelphean NPC Chairman Eve Riley, Delta Delta Delta, told
attendees that “The Conference is doing very well
in our vision, mission and value statements and in
our organizational effectiveness.” She added that
sorority women are telling their stories effectively,
and that can be measured by the increased number
of women participating in formal recruitment — a
figure that is up by 8 percent this year over last year.
In addition to increased numbers, NPC member
organizations are doing a better job of retaining
their members.

Important accomplishments during this biennium
include a total review of the NPC bylaws, a partial
review of the Unanimous Agreements and a
report on the results of the Measurable Outcomes
Committee. “But we must wake up. The world has
fundamentally changed, and we must adapt, for our
future depends on it,” said Riley. “For the sorority
experience to continue to be relevant, local alumnae
advisors must be trained to better prepare them to
serve as role models and work with our collegiate
members to get more done,” she continued.

“We have to step out of our comfort zone and do
what needs to be done and make sure the experience
we provide is true to our founders,” said Riley.
“The state of NPC is great. I’m pleased with our
accomplishments of the past and excited about the
possibilities for the future.”

44 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Friday evening, Dr. Lori S. White, Sigma Kappa, audience, constituents, customers or members. “It National Panhellenic Conference
vice president for student affairs at Southern is who you are and what you hope to deliver to the
Methodist University, discussed the future of higher world,” said Niederpruem.
education in the 21st century and the impact of
NPC. She asked and answered three questions: For successful branding, ask your audience what is
•What is our target population for recruitment? important, and rank the list; do research and get
•How do we identify potential new members, and feedback; make sure each message speaks to your most
what process do we use to select them? important brand requirement, and continue to check
•To what extent are we adding value to, and your brand relevance. “Branding fails when research
teaching values as part of, the educational experience doesn’t support the brand; when a key message isn’t
of collegiate women? based in reality and when the core audience doesn’t
believe the brand promise,” said Niederpruem. “A
Reports in higher education project growth solid and reputable brand backed by key messages — a
primarily in the number of Hispanic, African memorable, easy-to-repeat, strong and simple, fact
American, Asian and international students and that is incontrovertible — weathers most media crises,
less growth among Caucasian students. “Students if you keep the brand promise.”
will be more diverse with different aspirations and
expectations. They will be more employment- Niederpruem then detailed what she’s doing next
oriented,” said White. “Colleges will be more for NPC:
expensive, and students will have less time and • Updating the brand message and platform
money for extra activities.” • Creating FAQs for use by member groups
• Producing a fill-in-the-blank crisis
To answer her three questions, White said that to
reach the target group, NPC organizations need communication plan for member groups
to widen their nets to be viable to the diverse • Conducting a media training refresher
student population. “We must be careful not to
price ourselves out of the market,” she added. For course for groups coming to Indianapolis
the second question, she posed another question to
the audience: Why hasn’t our recruitment model Nemenoff, chairman of the Measurable Outcomes
changed over time? “If future students are going Committee and a doctoral research fellow with the
to be so different, we should consider doing things Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at the
differently to attract women,” she said. University of Missouri-Kansas City, reported on the
2010–2011 NPC survey compiled by the committee.
To the question of adding value to a student’s Survey results show organizational, operational
educational experience, White explained that the and programming information — along with
growing and changing student population will not bragging points.
have as much exposure to fraternity/sorority life.
“With different economic and ethnic backgrounds, Highlights include:
it will be important to make sure Greek life is a
value-added experience by offering a greater focus • 26 NPC member groups reported a total of
and positive impact on a person’s career goals. Pay 4,292,824 initiated women.
more attention to women’s self-esteem and address
gender-related issues,” she advised. “If you were a • 26 NPC member groups reported 3,031
business, optimize what the world is going to look collegiate chapters.
like and not hold on to your current brand.”
• 22 NPC member groups reported 67
Saturday morning featured a town hall meeting chartered chapters.
with presentations by Kyle Niederpruem, Kappa
Delta; Erin Nemenoff, Theta Phi Alpha; and Anne • 24 NPC member groups reported that 92,294 of
Emmerth, Chi Omega. Niederpruem, owner of the women pledged were initiated (102,284 total
Kyle Communications, a public relations and social women pledged), for a 90.2 percent initiation/
media strategy firm in Indianapolis, addressed retention rate.
“The Brand Promise.” A brand is a promise to your
• 12 NPC member groups reported that the average
Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 new member GPA for fall 2010 was 3.09.

• 19 NPC member groups reported that 1,063
scholarships were awarded for undergraduate study.

• 16 NPC member groups reported that 30,380
undergraduates are housed in property owned by
an NCP member organization.

• NPC member groups’ national philanthropic
activities raised $16,659,749.

To Dragma • 45

Legislation Passed at the Meeting

A complete review of the bylaws resulted in the following legislation being adopted during the annual meeting.

• Associate member groups may now have one non-voting representative on the board of directors and no more
than three alternate representatives.
• The number of board of director votes needed to accept an active or associate member was changed from
five-sixths to three-fourths.
• Active member groups delinquent in paying dues may be present at the meeting but will have no vote.
• Any vacancy to the appointed positions on the Executive Committee that occurs in the first six months of a
term will be considered a full term when calculating time served.
• The bylaws can be amended by a three-fourths vote of the members of the board of directors.
• Regarding the Unanimous Agreements (UAs), it was clarified under the section titled Jurisdiction of
Panhellenic Associations (Section II, 1, C, vi) that in the area of infringements, polling means “Surveying
to collect data that reflects a chapter’s internal information or requiring documents that are considered
confidential material regarding the chapter’s internal operations.”
• In the Panhellenic Compact, legislation was passed that defined further the membership acceptance
guidelines and clarified the so-called calendar year rule allowing an eligible woman to participate in primary
recruitment if she had previously declined a bid, did not receive a bid, had her pledge broken, or had a COB
pledge broken. The clarification states that she is ineligible to be pledged until the beginning of the next
year’s primary membership recruitment period.
• Collegiate membership dues paid by NPC member groups will increase by 3 percent per collegiate member,
effective January 1, 2013. It was also resolved that annual reviews conducted by the Budget and Finance
Committee recommending further increases to collegiate membership dues will be presented to the board of
directors at the annual meeting.

The Conference also passed the following changes to the UAs:
• Sovereign Rights Protection: This UA ensures that all College Panhellenic documents and policies do not
infringe on the sovereignty, rights and privileges of the individual NPC member fraternities and the NPC
Unanimous Agreements.
• NPC Hazing Policy: This UA added the NPC Resolution on Hazing to the Standards of Ethical Conduct section.

These legislative items were referred to committee:
• An amendment to change the number of five-sixths votes to a unanimous vote of the board of directors to
pass Unanimous Agreements.
• A clarification in the section on Jurisdiction of Panhellenic Associations under College Panhellenic Associations
(Section II, 1,C, iii) to allow a College Panhellenic to set a minimum GPA for potential new members.

Emmerth, formerly the executive director of Chi Emmerth explained that the pilot study showed that
Omega, reported on the Measurable Outcomes NPC member groups do a great job of initiating
Committee retention pilot study that measured their members, and retention through graduation
Panhellenic-wide retention at six target campuses. varies significantly by campus. Although unable
The campuses were selected based on the following to make a blanket statement about NPC member
criteria: at least three NPC sororities in the system; a groups’ contribution to campus retention, campus-
variety of campuses (large, small, private and public) by-campus, we could make a strong case that
and each NPC group would contribute data for at sororities help schools retain students. Emmerth
least two campuses. The data collected tracked all suggested that the next steps for this pilot study
new members pledged in a single academic year could be to identify campuses for additional analysis.
(2006–2007) beginning with the new member
period, through initiation and on to graduation. Nicki Meneley, Alpha Chi Omega, NPC executive
The data collected was compared with data publicly director, showcased the RecruitmentPREP toolkit
available through the Integrated Postsecondary that will help prepare women for recruitment.
Education Data System (IPEDS).
Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012
46 • To Dragma

2011-2013 NPC Executive Committee

Developed in conjunction with Interactive Chairman: Jane Sutton, Alpha Xi Delta
Collegiate Solutions (, this
interactive website allows women to learn about Vice Chairman: Jean Mrasek, Chi Omega
the recruitment process in general and o ers
campus-speci c recruitment information resulting Alumnae Panhellenics Committee Chairman:
in a personalized handbook for the potential new
member. The soft launch of Recruitment PREP Mary Jane Beach, Kappa Alpha Theta
was in November 2011, with 10 campuses slated
to use the product in spring 2012. The tool will Budget and Finance Committee Chairman:
be available for all campuses and NPC member
organizations in fall 2012. Josette Kaufman, Phi Sigma Sigma

The Alumnae Awards Luncheon Saturday featured College Panhellenics Committee Chairman:
guest speaker Jan Langbein, Chi Omega. Langbein
is executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter Julie Johnson, Kappa Delta
in Dallas and until 2009 held a presidential
appointment as a senior policy advisor to the Alpha Omicron Pi 2011-2013 NPC Delegation
director of the U.S. Department of Justice O ce
on Violence Against Women. She encouraged Front row: Carole Jurenko Jones, Delegate, Alpha Delta (U of Alabama);
everyone to make the world a better place. “We are Allison Allgier, International President, Epsilon Omega (Eastern Kentucky
empowering young women everywhere, and what U); Back row: Lisa Moore, 3rd Alternate Delegate, Chi Lambda (U of
they leave behind will be a light burning brightly. Evansville); Mary Ann Stark, 1st Alternate Delegate, Delta Delta (Auburn
U); Kerry Soller, 2nd Alternate Delegate, Phi Sigma (U of Nebraska
“Sorority is the idea of excellence for women,” she Kearney); Troylyn LeForge, Executive Director, Beta Phi (Indiana U).
continued. “Women do so much now, and we can’t
take that for granted. We should never think that
we are immune to domestic violence, alcoholism
and abuse. We need to help make a di erence to
guarantee the idea that excellence of women is never
tarnished or given away.”

Langbein added that violence is the leading cause of
injury to women in the United States, and that we
should stand for women everywhere. “Individual
women must be strong for our chapters to be
strong,” she said.

During the closing banquet Saturday night, Pete
Smithhisler, president and CEO of the North-
American Interfraternity Conference (NIC),
received the Executive Committee Interfraternal
Service Award. Lissa Bradford, Kappa Alpha Theta,
received the Executive Committee Distinguished
Service Award.

After the new Executive Committee was installed,
Jane Sutton, Alpha Xi Delta, NPC chairman for
the 2011-2013 biennium, closed the meeting
with these words: “We can re ect on the past,
but we must realize that the world is moving faster
than ever. We must adapt to changing times, but
hold fast to the principles that have gotten us this
far. When it comes down to it, look to the sister
on your left and your right and ask how they
will strengthen your potential.”

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 47


Entrepreneur Prefers
Soft Sell Approach

by Courtney Dillard, Tau Omicron (U of Tennessee, Martin), Communications Coordinator

If you were to visualize the face of an entrepreneur,< fellowship that allowed her to receive her master’s
what exactly would pop into your mind? Maybe it’s degree by the age of 20. Andree’s work ethic and
the face of an IT guru feverishly building computers drive to succeed can be attributed to her parents’ strong
in his basement or local neighborhood children selling emphasis on education, but these qualities wouldn’t be
lemonade on the corner. Although very different limited to education alone.
in comparison, most of us attribute the idea of
entrepreneurship to someone with a burning desire to Andree would ultimately channel this increased
be their own boss and make their own money. From emphasis on education into building a classroom of her
the street-front window of Andree Terry’s quaint, local own, even serving as an administrator for ten years. It
store, the average customer sees a cutely decorated shop was during her time as an administrator that she cut her
with a myriad of delicately decorated specialty soaps, administrative tenure short to be able to spend more
creams, candles and baskets. After crossing the threshold time with her own children, while taking care of her
of the store, customers soon learn the backstory of aging mother.
Andree’s Essential Soaps. Andree Terry, Lambda Sigma
(U of Georgia), is sure to show you just what drives Although starting her own business was not a lifelong
someone to start their own business—and sometimes, dream, Andree realized this necessity when her mother
the answer is surprising. began a long battle with thyroid, uterine, and later,
colon cancers. As many chemo and radiation patients
As a child of parents who made their living working experience, her mother’s skin became incredibly
in a woolen mill in Georgia, Andree and her siblings dry - with more irritation ultimately accompanying
shadowed their parents’ talents of making clothes, quilts any efforts to provide moisture and relief. When
and furniture, while managing a substantial garden Andree started to research over-the-counter labels
and household repairs shop. As she now recalls, “I was from recommended brands, it became apparent that
raised to know that sometimes you have to make what most lotions and soaps include sodium tallowate, a
you need.” Although quite savvy and independent, form of beef fat. Since cattle are fed hormones and
education was a central focus in Andree’s childhood antibiotics, in addition to the toxins that are included
in the fatty tissue of animals, Andree began to look
home. She for alternatives. When her searches came up empty-
successfully handed, she remembered her experiences as a child
measured up to know that sometimes you have to make what you
to her parents need. As Andree said, “my mother’s doctor was very
expectations, direct in saying there was no soap out there that was
graduating with moisturizing. It was something that needed to
honors from the be done.”
University of
Georgia at the In 1997, Andree began a fact-finding journey to the
young age of 19. land where cosmetics initially originated, Egypt. She
Her initiative explored plant and botanical-based products and
and ambition learned cosmetic chemistry, successfully getting the
was never more right feel for her first soap after two years of testing.
obvious when Even with all of her findings, perfecting a cream
she was awarded proved to be much more difficult to formulate. After
a coveted an immense amount of lab testing, a light cream was
formulated. Within the week, Andree received a
Andree Terry is passionate about her products and
those who benefit from them. Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

48 • To Dragma

dozen requests from hospitals for use with their patients board, “we truly are sisters for a lifetime,” she says.
receiving similar treatments. She quickly realized “AOII adopted me and gave me a new home.”
that a business venture was imminent in order to be Whether supporting her through family tragedies and
able to purchase the necessary products and insurance business ventures, her AOII family has been an ever-
needed to supply a prominent need within the present fixture in her journey.
cancer community.
^ Andree’s Essential Soaps feature Fragrance-free botanical soaps and creams.
In 2000, Andree’s Essential Soaps, Inc. launched their
first website, carrying fragrance-free botanical soaps Andree relishes the fact that she is alive to be able to
and creams. For eight years, Andree shared her home witness many of her customers survive cancer and
with her new business, making all of the products ultimately live a full and complete life. As Andree
needed to supply hospitals and patients with dry skin, relives everyday, the atmosphere at her store reminds
cancer, psoriasis and eczema in her own kitchen. those that have just received such a startling diagnosis
that, “you can beat this.” Paying it forward, she even
Because the origin of Andree’s business was built on helped to establish a scholarship foundation with a
service for the effects of her mother’s illness, Andree friend for college-bound students that have lost their
has always tried to meet the needs of her community. mothers to breast cancer. The Mary Ellen Locher
For example, during the clean-up of the terrorist Foundation helps to ensure that children can still
attacks of September 11th, Andree heard of the attend college after losing a parent and has sent over
hot conditions on the ground for the workers and 200 students to college since its creation. Although
sent products to New York to help the emergency Andree’s friend and the foundation’s namesake
workers. When local boutique owners learned of ultimately lost her own battle with the disease after
Andree’s moisturizing creams, her products made their a relapse, Andree helps to ensure its future through
appearance in several Fifth Avenue boutiques. Her fundraising and creating awareness in the local area.
products were also featured in swag bags for the Emmy It is clear to see that Andree’s family has always been
Awards in 2006—all 700 pounds of product were her priority. Celebrating life with her husband of forty
made by Andree herself! years and her three adult children, she admits that
her passion for her family has allowed her to “think
With a budding business, Andree’s true mission outside the box”. Although never truly knowing
was never far from her heart. Unfortunately, her where this endeavor would take her, the journey to
mother lost her battle with cancer in 2003; however, entrepreneurship is full of smiling faces, open arms,
her determination to honor her mother went into and the honor of her loved ones that light the way.
overdrive as she pushed to help patients experiencing
similar illnesses more comfortable during their journey.
The momentum of Andree’s business endeavors would
slow a year later with a life-changing diagnosis of
her own - as she would ultimately fight and win the
same battle with cancer of which the majority of her
customers experienced. Even though this would have
halted production for most, Andree remarkably states
that fighting cancer helped her to better formulate and
customize her products.

Andree describes how local doctors and dermatologists
would initially send patients to her home for her
products. After all, working out of your home means
that you are never really off of work. By 2006, Andree
moved into a storefront area to better serve the public.
As Andree says, “this made my products so much more
accessible, and I am able to go home at night.”

Andree’s relationship with her AOII sisters was always
laced throughout her own family and obligations.
Whether it was helping with Lambda Sigma’s
recruitment, attending functions of the alumnae
chapter, or assisting within the former corporation

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012 To Dragma • 49

Fromthe Archives

In addition to items displayed in The grand hotels of the early If these photos could only talk,
the AOII Archival Museum or 20th Century, often with there is no telling what great
stored in the Heritage Center, classic cars of the era, usually stories they could tell. A favorite
numerous historical pieces adorn set the backgrounds for these is from the 1933 Convention
the walls of our International magnificent photographs. (pictured above) held at the
Headquarters building. Some of Fashions and facial expressions Mayflower Hotel in Washington,
the most popular items on display changed through the decades D.C. With everyone seated in the
are early event photographs. making these photos a trip gorgeous banquet hall and the
down memory lane for everyone first course of their dinner already
experiencing a headquarters plated, the somber looking
tour. With rare exception, you can guests were asked to patiently
always spot a few AOII Founders wait on First Lady Eleanor
right up front and center or Roosevelt, who was slated to
seating at head tables. greet attendees. The ladies’ less-
than-enthused expressions never
fail to earn a few chuckles from
Headquarters visitors.

50 • To Dragma Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

Top photo: This unmarked photo is likely related to the Panama-Pacific International To Dragma • 51
Exposition in 1915. Stella Perry’s husband was the event director and the couple is photographed
immediately behind the couple closest to the camera. Above: The 1949 Convention with Stella Perry,
Elizabeth Wyman and Jessie Hughan seated on the second row. At right: A photo from Convention 1912
in Evanston, Illinois.

Issue no. 2 • Spring 2012

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