Alumni News - Vol. 3, Issue 2
Alumni Caucus Update, Jason Smolka
As we gear up for BetaCon 2022, I want to invite all Alumni to come and join in the festivities of the event. While we of course welcome you as a chilligate and encourage you to join the golf tournament on Wednesday, we do want to make the most of the time that the Alumni will be with us. The Alumni Caucus will be hosting an Alumni Day on Thursday, June 30th, before the House of Delegates meeting on Friday the 31st.
The focus of the day will be split between three main themes; engagement of alumni on the national level, engagement of alumni on the local level, and Alumni Network Operations and best practice sharing. For those Alumni Networks who are unable to make it in a day early, the opportunity for you to join virtually will be present. For those in physical attendance, we will have additional networking opportunities arranged as well. We look forward to this opportunity for alumni to engage with members of the EBOD, Executive Office, Regional Directors, and other Alumni Network chairmen and representatives.
The final order of business on Thursday, June 30th, will be the election of the Alumni Caucus Chairman and Vice-Chairman. For those interested in the position additional information will be contained within the nominations packet that is forthcoming from the Executive Office. A survey will be sent to all Alumni Network chairmen in May with information on prep work for the day as well as questions to help guide our in-person discussion. I look forward to seeing those of you who can make it to BetaCon.
Omega Fund Update, Jason Smolka
Do you have a will?”
It’s not always the type of question we are prepared to answer, and as we get older and older, many of us find we are stuck between “I know I should have one already,” and, “I’ll get to it one day.” And that nagging sense that “one day” may never actually come, pops up in our heads whenever we have to answer the, “do you have a will,” question, with a, “no”.
The Sigma Lambda Beta Omega Fund would like to challenge all brothers that by the end of April, if anyone were to be able to ask, “do you have a will?” you would be able to answer, “yes”.
The requirements for a valid will differ slightly from state to state so be sure to check your state requirements. You may find that a valid will in your state requires only your written attestation and the signature of two non-beneficiary witnesses while others may only need your signature and a notary. And while simply having a will won’t necessarily keep your estate out of probate, taking this first step in your end-of-life planning can get the ball rolling to ensure other actions and next steps are taken appropriately.
We’d love to see Brothers keep the money purple, but if you don’t have a brother who is a tax, estate, or probate lawyer in your network, even a Google search can get you to the next step. It’s never easy to think about our deaths, but when we plan properly, we can ensure that the burden we pass on to those we love can be lessened.
A Letter from the CEO of GreekTrack (Stallion Network), Tony Schmidt
Dear Brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta,
This is an exciting time to be a brother of Sigma Lambda Beta. Our partnership marks the next chapter for the fraternity where members stay more connected than ever before. Alumni Associations and Networks now have powerful online tools to foster tighter bonds
of brotherhood through the Stallion Network, powered by GreekTrack.
By posting your events in the Stallion Network, you may reach more brothers than ever before and with national calendars, everyone may browse all the events going on across the fraternity.
Stay informed of fraternity news by keeping your contact information updated, and use the email system to reach out to other members of your association or network.
And finally, advance your career by adding your employment information to your profile to be added to the Alumni Directory and then browse to find other brothers in your industry and even post or view job listings on the Stallion Network's Job Board.
With these powerful tools now available, I'm very excited to see how Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity continues to grow and make an impact in our world.
GreekTrack Founder & CEO
2022 Founder's Month Challenge
Each April the Sigma Lambda Beta Education Foundation (SLBEF)
issues a Founder’s Month Challenge – asking our brothers and
friends to step up and contribute to a specific cause.
This year we are excited to partner with Sigma Lambda Beta
International Fraternity, Inc. to focus the challenge on BetaCon 2022!
Here’s the challenge:
The SLBEF will match Founders Challenge contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 as a grant for BetaCon! That’s right, that means your dollars are doubled! How will it work? All new contributions made to the SLBEF General Fund at slbfoundation.com during April will go directly to offset the cost of this BetaCon. With YOUR help we can support the only 2022 SLB event that will have representatives from ALL of our entities by providing our honorable fraternity with over $10,000!!! We challenge all brothers and friends of SLB to go to slbfoundation.com and click on the 2022 Founder’s Month Challenge link and contribute
what you can!
How to Find Out if a Potential Employer is Committed to Diversity, from Principal Financial Group.
The 2020 United States Census gave Americans a view of just how diverse the nation has become. Those who identify as more than one race, for example, are the fastest-growing racial and ethnic category and represent more than 40% of the country’s population. That’s particularly true for younger generations.
As the face of the nation changes, the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace has become more important to employees, too. Almost eight out of 10 people value diversity, equity, and inclusion in their employers. (Bonus: The data tells us that more diverse leadership teams equal above-average profitability.)
From Xavier's Desk...
It feels somewhat surreal to recognize that April is just around the corner as our collegiate men return to their campuses after Spring Break. There is a sense on university campuses that collegiate communities are adapting well to this new COVID environment although all campuses recognize that this is very much a day-by-day & month-by-month reality. Campuses have turned their attention and strategies to learning to live with COVID, not unlike the annual flu. In turn, campuses are coming to life with new and ongoing student life programs of which Greek life is a critical component. And when one speaks with campus leadership and particularly Fraternity & Sorority Life advisors the narrative is largely the same. That Greeks were hit very hard in terms of membership over the past two years. And of all Greek's there is a very real sense that Multicultural Greeks were hit the hardest. Theories abound of course as to why this is the case but in conversation after conversation, I am hearing the very same narrative from FSL, Dean of Students & Vice President for Student Life offices in that the Pandemic profoundly impacted Multicultural Greeks more than other Greek communities. As to "why" theories abound but nothing yet on point.
However, much has been accomplished and learned these past six months. Because of the hard work of our Regional Directors, Executive Office staff & engagement of our Board Chairman, we were able to largely eliminate debt across the board except three chapters which is not only remarkable but what we hope is the "new normal." As this is as it should be. Chapter leadership in addition to Alumni Network & Alumni Association engagement were also important factors in helping us move to this "new normal." The key now is how to "operationalize" this utilizing our new Stallion Network which will make "paperwork" more straightforward and less cumbersome for our collegiate membership.
We also learned that a good many historical challenges continue to hinder our chapters. Specifically, we continue to be challenged with (i) recruitment, (ii) chapter leadership transitions, and the ebb & flow of chapter membership size which unintentionally can create rather significant havoc in our smaller chapters. Two examples...imagine the predicament one of our chapters finds themselves in believing that they were at a healthy chapter size of eight. So far so good. Imagine learning that four of the eight will be graduating this spring with the remaining four spending their upcoming fall term abroad. Ergo a campus presence of zero. Consider yet another example where the Director of Fraternity & Sorority Advisement calls to inform me that while our collegiate chapter is very well respected on campus, highly engaged, and "present" on campus...that they fear that our chapter will "graduate itself into closure." WHAT??? Yup...a great group of eight or nine men who have forged exceptionally strong bonds. In fact, they found that they enjoyed one another so much that they found that they had no interest in the recruitment of new members. WHAT??? Not exactly the ideal scenario for chapter health. Rest assured that the Regional Directors, Executive Office, and even EBOD members are actively engaged with chapter leadership in addressing these same concerns in the here and now. Obviously, these are not "new" challenges but challenges that we must begin to address with real structural remedies and solutions for our collegiate men.
Two additional items that I want to bring to your attention. The first being the Stallion Network. So...the "feedback" coming back from our collegiate membership has been largely positive and as anticipated there are those who are having "fun" as they learn to navigate what is a very different experience for all. We continue to learn more day by day and our experience with tech support & assistance has been very positive. Not perfect per se but what a fundamentally different experience for us all. We have been very pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement by GREEK TRACK staff with us in the Executive Office. We hope that you are finding this to be your experience as well. But if not, we want to know! In fact, Darius McDowel*, Director of Member Services, is collecting "feedback" from our experiences to date. Please do share with us any feedback that you may have. We have found GREEK TRACK very interested in our collective experiences with a desire to address any challenges that we may come across. And if you have not yet built your profile then please do so by all means. By the way, you will find a short piece from the GREEK TRACK CEO, Tony Schmidt, in this ALUMNI NEWS. He was rather keen to address our alumni community!
Finally, there is that rather remarkable experience called BETACON'22. As you are noting, information is coming out weekly in regards to BETACON'22. I am quite literally just off the telephone with Alumni Caucus Chairman, Jason Smolka. Information will be forthcoming in regards to the first gathering of the Fraternity Alumni Caucus. The programming/meeting agenda is presently in development based on feedback gained at the Alumni Caucus/Networks/Association conversation that took place earlier this week on the 17th of March. Exciting to hear about the development of the Alumni Caucus agenda as we are working hard to develop specific alumni engagement programming opportunities associated with BETACON'22. From a golf-outing to Alumni Caucus development with a focus on what YOU, the SLB Alumni, want to see and experience. Please keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks!
As we slowly make our way collectively to Spring I hope that this finds you and your families well, safe, and keenly aware that we are not out of the COVID woods as of yet. So be safe out there!
How can Alumni Networks & Associations use the Stallion Network?
My name is Darius, and I am the Director of Member Services. I am here to give a quick overview of how Alumni Networks/Associations can use the Stallion Network to manage their individual pages. Now the first step has already been completed for all Networks and Associations, which was the creation of the page on the Stallion Network. I added all the chairmen based on the records we had so it’s very important to first check to make sure the page has the correct chairman. This is important because in the beginning the chairman is the only one with access to manage the page and will receive the initial activation link via email.
After checking that then the chairman can add members by pressing the “members” tab and choosing add members. This is only used if the brother hasn’t already signed up for an account on the Stallion Network. You will input all the information that is asked on the screen.
Please see below:
If the brother already has an account, then they can request to be a part of the alumni network by logging into their profile and going to their personal profile on the Stallion Network. This will take them to the edit profile information page. Once there just scroll down to the bottom of the page and they will see “Add affiliation” which they will use to add the alumni network/association that they are a part of. After clicking “Add affiliation there will be a drop-down that they will complete and then press update profile. This will give the Director of Member Services a notification to approve the request. Please see the examples below:
As always if there is any confusion please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Executive Office.
A Note from Bro. Joel Rhea
With Founders’ Day approaching, I reflect on our history of engaging our Alumni Brothers. Please understand this is from my perspective having seen many of these developments firsthand. When Sigma Lambda Beta started, we were very focused on growing from Coast to Coast. This was a very grassroots effort because there were no emails or internet. So, we as alumni were focused on the new Chapters we were starting. In 1991, we decided it was time for alumni to run our organization. The following year, 1992, we held our first Convention at our Theta Chapter at Indiana University. At this event, we elected our first ever Brother only Board of Directors. This was our first alumni engagement on a national level.
Unfortunately, the focus continued with our undergraduate entities. There were never any pieces of training or educational sessions for our undergraduate members to transition into Alumni members. This vacuum created many issues within the organization. As we state, “We are Brothers for life!” Though for many brothers, once they became Alumni, there were no services or organizations on a local or national level for them to use after graduation. So, we lost a lot of great Alumni who vanished into their careers, families, or other endeavors. Some Alumni had very strong connections within their Chapters. This led to them only associating with their Chapter and Chapter Alumni. This created a very territorial relationship throughout the organization.
In the mid to late 1990s, we started to see the formation of Alumni Associations in geographical regions (like our current Alumni Networks.) Alumni continued to run our National Board of Directors. Still, no other Alumni engagement or services were provided. We continued to grow with new campuses contacting us constantly. The technology of emails and the internet had spread the word of SLB. The creation of our current Alumni Networks and Alumni Associations has helped organize some Alumni members in geographic areas and within Chapters. We are also currently in the development stages of our new National Alumni Caucus.
Almost 36 years of our Brotherhood and we are now truly focusing on our Alumni. In January 2022, I was hired as the Alumni Engagement Coordinator. What is this? This position is working with Alumni members in a few areas. One, we are looking to see what kind of services our members need. It is important getting input from our members to provide services that will be used. Two, having Alumni members involved by participating in Alumni Networks or Alumni Associations. We want our members to be active within the organization after they graduate. Third, helping to alleviate the financial burden placed on our undergraduate members. Our organization has been financed predominately by our undergraduate dues over the years. They have been 60-90% of our annual income over the years.
Alumni donations and financial support will help Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity Inc. take that next step in our growth process.
What can we do as Alumni now? First and foremost, join the Stallion Network (the new and improved Brother Network.) Here is the website to update or join:
This will help us keep Alumni informed about what is going on and how you can help SLB. Other ways to become active: join or start an Alumni Network or Alumni Association, become an at-large Active Alumni or a member of the 86 Club, donate to Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity or help sponsor our events. If you have any ideas, questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me, Brother Joel Rhea, at email@example.com or 708-431-4545. I look forward to working with everyone to help improve our great organization for future generations of Alumni. #1SLB
Brother Joel L. Rhea
"What I Have Learned in Eight Months at Sigma Lambda Beta...", Savannah Buys
When Xavier and I sat down to discuss this Alumni News' articles and authors, he told me he wanted everyone in the Executive Office to write an article to introduce themselves to you all. That was when he told me that he would like me to write about what I've learned in my
eight months here at Sigma Lambda Beta.
Great. Okay. What have I learned? I've learned how to use Microsoft Excel, how to put together a desk... I'm still learning the phones. Jokes aside, I think SLB has taught me a lot. As someone fresh out of college, too, I hope my perspective helps some of you, as well. So, here are two things I've learned in my time at Sigma Lambda Beta. The first thing I've learned is that you won't please everyone, and you can't control how other people react. To understand where I come from, here is an example: mass emails produced by the Executive Office are sent first to the EO Team as drafts to look for inaccurate information, typos, and bad links. Nine times out of ten, these drafts are good to go and are sent out. However, that one time that mistakes are not caught, it's bad. We get emails, texts, etc. about the one typo on the mass email. What can we do? We fix the mistake and move to do better next time. You can't please everyone, and you can't control how other people are going to react.
While I cannot speak for everyone, I believe that it's important to continue doing the right thing. Make a mistake? Correct it. Work to improve so that next time, you don't make the same mistake twice.
My mom always asks me the same question whenever I call. "What can you control?" The answer is always the same - "Myself." We can't control other people or their reactions. All we can control is ourselves. To relate that back to my first point: You can't please everyone, and you cannot control how other people react. If you make a mistake, work to do better
next time and correct the mistake.
The second and last thing I've learned during my eight months at SLB is that relationships are everything. During my time as Director of Alumni & Donor Development, I was in charge of the 86 Club, sponsorships, and fundraising. This meant that I needed to be meeting Alumni (you all) and companies to bring in money for the organization. Sometimes it was easy. People are kind, they care about Sigma Lambda Beta, and they want to see the organization succeed. Regarding my relationship with companies, most of our meetings were based on the idea of mutual benefits. However, people aren't always easy.
Building relationships can be hard, even for extroverts. I learned that when building those relationships is proving difficult, the best thing I could do was focus on the person, not my end goal. For example, Sigma Lambda Beta's sponsorship program has some successes and some failures. The failures are when not enough time was put in to get to know the company or the contact. But, those successes are wonderful.
Principal Financial Group, for example, is a huge success because of my relationship with the
Principal ladies (shoutout to Margot and Cindy!), and then our work to build the relationship down to the regional directors and their regional representatives. The time spent building our relationship will benefit Sigma Lambda Beta, for sure, but it's also benefitted me.
It's allowed me to form new relationships with people I wouldn't have met otherwise. And let me tell you, our monthly morning meetings are pretty fun. All in all, my time at SLB has taught me much more, and I'm very grateful to share my experiences with you all. I hope you all have a very happy April, and I'll see you in Reno-Sparks for BetaCon 2022!
A Note from Linsey Hogue, our Director of Operations
My name is Linsey Hogue, and I am the Director of Operations here at the Executive Office. As the Operational manager and Director, I have the pleasure of interacting with the membership, Alumni included on a daily basis.
The main components of my interaction with the Alumni revolve around finances, reports, expense reimbursements, and budgets. I also assist in membership product availability, purchase, and shipping of said products to the Alumni.
I work closely with Savannah and Joel Rhea for events, membership options for Alumni, and the strategic planning of new initiatives.
Although my role does not require a significant amount of contact with the Alumni, I sincerely enjoy the contact that I do have, allowing me to become better acquainted with our current Alumni Members.
My door is always open to questions, concerns, or initiatives that the Alumni may need assistance with. I look forward to building a strong and increased rapport with the Alumni membership as our organization evolves and moves forward.