Category Archives: headquarters staff

Becoming A Consultant

I Never Thought…

By Scott Smith (Central Arkansas)

Shekhar and Zach

I never thought I would work for the Fraternity. Sure, I served in multiple officer positions, was involved in other organizations on campus, and even attended Grand Chapter and College of Chapters, but I didn’t initially consider employment with Sigma Nu as a viable option post-graduation.

You might not be surprised to hear that this is a common sentiment among our collegiate members. But why? The vast majority of Sigma Nus would agree that they owe the Fraternity for helping to make them the man they are today and that they have a desire to give back to the organization.

There are many ways to support Sigma Nu that don’t require becoming a full-time paid employee of the organization (volunteering with a collegiate chapter, giving to the Educational Foundation, joining your alumni chapter or local alumni club, to name a few). But those that advance the Fraternity from its Lexington offices will tell you that their lives were changed, even while they were giving back to Sigma Nu. In their own words, they would tell you things like this – I never thought…

  • I would have the opportunity to make an impact on someone else’s fraternity experience and even change their life.
  • I could have a job that I didn’t see as a “job.”
  • My coworkers would become as close as many of my chapter brothers.
  • That working for the Fraternity would prepare me as much for the future as it has.
  • That such an awesome work environment existed.

Start Thinking

Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. is hiring enthusiastic leaders to serve as members of our team at the Headquarters Office in Lexington, Va. October 15, 2014 is the priority application deadline for January positions and for early-decision June positions. The Fraternity is now using an “early-decision” model for spring graduates where applications are submitted, interviews conducted, and offers made prior to the start of the spring semester. Additional interviews will only be conducted in the spring if positions remain available following the priority hiring period in the fall. Early decision applicants will have an opportunity to secure employment well in advance of graduation.

Staff Infographic

Positions Available – Learn More

Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. is excited to announce openings for entry level staff positions for 2015. Both leadership and expansion and recruitment consultant positions are available. Interested applicants should visit the employment page of the Fraternity’s website, www.sigmanu.org/employment, for more information about openings, the work and life of a General Fraternity consultant, and next steps for applying and interviewing.

Recent and soon-to-be graduates are encouraged to consider employment with the General Fraternity. Consultant positions offer a competitive salary and benefits package as well as opportunities for travel, networking, advancement within the Fraternity, and preparation for jobs in higher education and related fields (e.g. business, law, non-profit work, and graduate school).

Interested applicants graduating after May 2015 are also encouraged to notify the General Fraternity to learn more about potential employment in the 2015-2017 academic years.

Consultant Trunks

Still have questions?

Contact Director of Leadership Development Scott Smith at scott.smith@sigmanu.org or at 540.463.1869 extension 350. For testimonials about working for staff, check out previous interviews with past staff members Bill Morosco and Justin Wenger and current Associate Director of Leadership Development Chris Brenton.

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A tale of two chapters – the opportunity cost of hazing

While your chapter was designing this year’s recruitment t-shirt (another beer logo, of course), my chapter was having lunch with prospective members and their parents.

While your chapter was creating demeaning nicknames for each pledge, my chapter was taking the time to learn each candidate’s name, hometown and life story.

While your chapter was debating what embarrassing costume each pledge should wear for this weekend’s party, my chapter was helping each candidate set personal goals for the semester.

While your chapter was out buying family drinks for Big Brother night, my chapter was arranging a mentoring program for each candidate to work with an alumnus in his field of study.

While your chapter was holding the weekly line-up in the basement to grill pledges on arbitrary questions they can’t answer, our brothers were at the library studying with the candidates (our candidates learn Fraternity history from the brothers).

While your pledges were out stealing road signs, defacing property, and breaking into campus buildings during the annual scavenger hunt, our candidates were listening to a guest speaker talk about time management skills and effective study habits at our weekly chapter meeting.

While your pledges were running errands and performing arbitrary tasks to complete their interview books, we were hosting a parents’ dinner to learn more about our candidates and their families.

While your brothers were harassing pledges in front of their dates at last weekend’s mixer, our chapter was hosting an etiquette dinner with the top sorority on campus.

While your chapter was trying to coordinate manufactured stories for the upcoming “nationals” visit, my chapter was updating our strategic plan to free up time for feedback and guidance during the leadership consultant’s visit.

While your chapter was searching for loopholes in the risk reduction policy for this weekend’s off-campus party, my chapter was hosting a speaker on alcohol education open to the entire campus. (We hosted a party that weekend too, except we followed our insurance guidelines.)

While your members were swapping stories of drunken female conquests from the previous night, my chapter was hosting a campus-wide program on preventing sexual assault.

While your chapter accepted mediocrity, we sought excellence.

While your chapter slowly fumbled everything away, we gradually earned our way to the top.

And while your chapter looked for someone to blame, we resolved to reach for the next level.

Rock Chapter recipients proudly display their awards during the 64th Grand Chapter in Boston.

Self-governance in Action at Boise State

Every two years Sigma Nus from across the country convene at Grand Chapter–the supreme governing body of the Fraternity–where collegiate and alumni delegates vote on changes to The Law and elect new national leadership, among other matters.

As every Sigma Nu should know, the votes at Grand Chapter are overwhelmingly controlled by the collegians. This means that no bylaw is passed and no leader is elected without the collective approval of the undergraduate members.

It was established from the beginning that the General Fraternity would regard undergraduate chapters as self-governing entities; this is the essence of the Honor system.

Even the best chapters make mistakes on occasion. With sound chapter operations, these groups are prepared to handle their own problems, whether it be through a local honor court or a more formal Trial Court. Excellent chapters are willing to discipline their own members.

The High Council (Sigma Nu’s elected board of directors) and the General Fraternity are obligated to take action only when a chapter is so operationally dysfunctional that it’s incapable of holding its own members accountable.

Boise State’s response to the recent NCAA allegations serves as a positive example in self-governance. After multiple NCAA violations surfaced at Boise State this spring, school officials were quick to take action and self-impose sanctions:

Boise State has self-imposed sanctions on its football program as it faces NCAA allegations charging the school’s athletic program with a lack of institutional control.

We pride ourselves on doing things the right way at Boise State. As soon as we became aware that these inadvertent infractions were not in accordance with NCAA rules, we acted swiftly and without hesitation,” football coach Chris Petersen said Monday in a statement released by the school.

“The university, our staff and the involved student-athletes worked together with the NCAA to resolve the situation, including reimbursement of the benefits received, and that money was donated to a local charity,” Petersen said.

After being notified by the NCAA of the potential violations, Boise State officials launched their own inquiry in 2009 and ultimately self-reported some previously unknown infractions. But before a resolution could be reached with the NCAA, Boise State officials discovered more serious problems in the women’s tennis program last fall.

If your chapter slips up, how will your leadership react? Exercise self-governance and acknowledge the mistake, take appropriate action and move on?

Or deny all wrongdoing, orchestrate a cover-up and let the problem worsen?

There are too many stories of now dormant chapters that chose the latter.

I Never Thought…

I never thought I would work for the Fraternity.  Sure, I served in multiple officer positions for my chapter and the IFC as an undergraduate. I was involved in other associations and leadership programs on campus; but I didn’t initially consider employment with Sigma Nu as a viable option post-graduation. Maybe graduate school or some kind of a sales job, but not working for my fraternity.Shekhar and Zach_66th GC

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that this is a very common sentiment; one that is common to many current andformer staff members. And why is that? Is the concept of continuing your involvement with the Fraternity in an official capacity; continuing to work side-by-side with brothers on a daily basis to improve the Legion of Honor; traveling around the country and seeing the best that Sigma Nu and the U.S. has to offer; being a part of a high-performing team; cultivating a national network; and taking on a high level of responsibility really a bad idea for a soon-to-be or recent college graduate?

I’ve been asking this question of our current and incoming staff members for the past few years to try to get to the bottom of the misconceptions and missed opportunities of those who think working for Sigma Nu isn’t an option for them or simply never considered it altogether. This is what I’ve found….

  • There is no single or ideal track to becoming a consultant for the Fraternity. Some were top officers of great or even struggling chapters. Others served only on committees or in appointed chair positions. Others served their fraternity/sorority community in leadership positions more than their local chapter.
  • Great staff members have come from all types of chapters and campuses – small, large, private, public, residential, commuter – and from every region of the country.
  • All were looking to be part of a high-performing team, interested in making a difference (in whatever work they would be doing after college), and had a strong desire to give back to the organization they felt had given them so much.
  • Most had heard about and first considered the opportunity from a varied source – a memo posted at their chapter home or read at a meeting by their Commander, a personal suggestion from a Greek or Chapter Advisor, a conversation with a current staff member, an interest session at Grand Chapter or College of Chapters, or just by browsing the employment section of www.sigmanu.org. Others just happened to “find” Sigma Nu the employer on their own.

Maybe it’s a misconception that employment with Sigma Nu won’t be able to compete with the other opportunities awaiting you once you walk across the graduation stage. With a competitive salary and full benefits package (including health care) that begins on the first day of employment, a high level of responsibility, and opportunities for self-management, it is hard to imagine another entry-level position that could match those offered by the Fraternity.

Every one of the current and former staff members I’ve talked to have been able to rattle off their own list of “I Never Thoughts.” Some did so from an advanced position on the staff while others reflected back after having moved on to the next stage of their life.

I Never Thought…

  • I could grow and learn this much as a person in one short year.
  • That working for the Fraternity would prepare me as much for the future as it has.
  • My coworkers would become as close as many of my chapter brothers.
    • Chris Healy, Director of Expansion for Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
  • That I would be interested in [and prepared for] a career in student affairs until I joined the Fraternity’s staff.
  • Facilitating meetings, workshops, and LEAD sessions would make me a more polished public speaker.
    • James Ehrmann, Greek life graduate assistant and masters student in the Higher Education Administration and Policy program at Northwestern University
  • I could have a job that I didn’t see as a “job.”
  • I could enjoy being on the road for two and a half months at a time.
    • W. Brett Holt, MBA candidate at Miami University
  • That such an awesome work environment existed.
  • I would have the ability to make an impact on someone else’s fraternity experience and even change their life.
  • That my own life would change from working for the Fraternity.
    • Tim Braddick, Director of Fraternal Operations for Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.

Perhaps it’s time you started thinking about the opportunities available with Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. I’m confident that you, like those who came before you, will be glad that you did.

The Fraternity is always looking for a few good men to join its ranks. Entry-level consultant positions working with both established chapters and our newest colonies start each January and June.

Several resources are available to learn more about becoming a consultant (responsibilities, professional development opportunities, additional testimonials, and more) and the Fraternity’s current openings. Additional questions should be directed to Scott Smith, Director of Leadership Development, at extension 350.

Ignore the Outsider’s Advice at Your Peril

Here’s a recent conversation I overheard between a collegiate officer and one of my esteemed colleagues:

Collegian: We can’t just stop recruiting with alcohol.  We wouldn’t be able to compete with the other elite chapters on our campus.  Everyone does it and we have to keep up.

HQ Staff Member: What if I told you there were other chapters recruiting without alcohol that are not only getting by but are excelling more than any other chapter on campus?

Collegian: That may work some places but it could never work here.  It’s different here at _______ University.

HQ Staff Member: What if I told you that we recruited the men to start this very chapter without alcohol?  (And did quite well I might add.)

Collegian: Wait, hold on.  Where are you from?

HQ Staff Member: I grew up and attended school in the ______ region of the country.

Collegian: See, that explains everything.  Things are different here in the ________.  There’s just no way you could understand how things work if you’re not from here.

So goes the conversation, so predictable in its nature, that every Greek Life professional has had many times over with their student leaders.  Here is what the well-intentioned collegian really means:

TRANSLATION:  I don’t care if recruiting with alcohol attracts members who are causing us to fail.  I would rather continue to fail than accept information from an outsider.  I’ve made up my mind and I’m so stubborn and arrogant that no amount of contrary evidence is going to change my decision.

Sometimes it’s natural to be skeptical of outsiders, but eventually we all learn the hard way that automatically dismissing outsider’s advice makes us one step closer to failure.  A brief mention of two historical figures shows that outsiders can teach us more about ourselves than we ever imagined.

Take philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand, author of bestselling novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.  Rand, originally named Alisa Rosenbaum, grew up in communist Russia and eventually emigrated to the United States.  Surely a woman raised in such an authoritarian, collectivist culture could never be qualified to write novels about capitalism and individualism.  Who in their right mind would listen to her?  To the contrary, many would argue that this outsider (putting aside her controversies for this particular example) has taught us more about our way of life than any homegrown American philosopher or economist.

Or what about Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French politico best known for his work Democracy in America.  Born and educated in France, Tocqueville traveled the United States providing an outsider’s perspective on the American way of life.  Widely regarded as one of the most influential political philosophers of his time, Tocqueville is still quoted in speeches by American politicians to this day.

Consider this example that hits closer to home.  Out of all of our excellent College of Chapters facilitators, the majority of whom are initiated Knights, the female facilitators are often the most effective.  Mindy Sopher, Kristin Morgan, Lindsay Grifford, Krystal Clark, and Kayte Sexton Fry–to name a few–are revered by College of Chapters participants by week’s end.  Hardly outsiders, these women understand our organization as well if not better than we do.

Our founding principle of Truth is often confused with honesty, an equally important virtue to be sure.  However, in the context of Sigma Nu’s founding, Truth is more closely associated with seeking sound information to make the most informed decisions possible.  It calls for the willingness to abandon a false paradigm even if it might be psychologically painful.  Seeking the Truth encompasses the process by which we make good decisions, including the consideration of all viewpoints even if it means swallowing our pride and listening to a perceived outsider.

Five Musts For Leaders

Another great post over at the Washington Post leadership blog:

1. Be present and accessible. More than usual. More than ever. Helps a lot to be seen. “Management by Walking Around,” as Peters and Waterman wrote almost 30 years ago, is more critical now than ever before. C.P. Snow wrote in the late 50s that leaders “must never absent themselves during times of crisis.” Be there. Now. Visible.

Perhaps this advice applies more to the closed-door office manager who never gets any ‘facetime’ with the employees.  But this applies to fraternity officers too.  The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to finally rid your chapter of some questionable traditions.  Simply being present in a different way can make a big difference.

2. Communicate obsessively about:

— The challenges facing the organization and a frank and clear, step-by-step on what must be done.

— The fact that we’re all in this together, that our fates are correlated and that the only route to success is more transparency and more collaboration.

— What’s important — often forgotten, even in good times.

It’s so easy for chapter officers to get consumed by the day-to-day activities: submitting paperwork to the student activities office, completing annual reports, preparing for meetings and the list goes on.  But don’t forget about the important-but-not-urgent matters.  For instance, clarifying the vision and strategic goals of your chapter and including the members in this process.  Is it written down?  Posted in the chapter home?  Talked about at every meeting?

4. You are not alone. Abandon that susceptible ego, the dangerous delusion, that you alone can solve the problem or invent new strategies that will, with one wave of the wand, guarantee future success, that asking for help isn’t, er, manly.

There’s a common denominator between excellent chapters: they have excellent chapter advisors (and they actually utilize them).  It might be tough for some officers to admit, but you can’t do everything yourself.  So beginning this week, call your chapter advisors and invite them to lunch.  Stop by your Greek advisor’s office and say hello.  Tell them what’s going on and ask for some advice.

#4 Continued:

You have to quickly identify trusted colleagues within and others, outside the cocoon of the C-suite, for their advice. During crises, the tendency of top management is to circle the wagons.You must have a network of mavens and others whose experience and expertise can make a huge difference?

Sometimes people make mistakes, crises happen.  In such cases circling the wagons is one of the worst things you can do (remember, even excellent chapters make mistakes from time to time.  The difference is that they actually utilize their resources).  Don’t wait around for someone else–school administrators or the General Fraternity–to fix a problem for you.  Greek Life professionals are resources, not babysitters.  If you seek our advice to change something, we’ll drop everything to help.

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