On this episode, Kelly chats with Lexi Carter Johnson, Beta Theta, Director of Communications & Marketing.
Disclaimer: This transcript was developed with an automated transcription program, spelling and grammar errors may occur.
Welcome to theAlpha Connect sisterhood series podcast. I'm your host Kelly McGinnis Beck, national president. This podcast is all about sharing the stories of our members and our connection through Alpha Sigma Alpha. Thank you for joining us today. Welcome to the podcast, Lexi Johnson.
Lexi Carter 0:24
So how does that feel? Lexi Johnson since you just recently got married.
Lexi Carter 0:30
It is getting, it's weird still. And it's weird for me to say it. But I'm getting used to it and almost two months now so I'm slowly but surely getting used to it.
So, I have to ask because I remember the first time I got married, so two things one is it took me a really long time to get used to seeing my name and maybe it was because when I got married the first time my last name went from McGinnis to Morello, so it was still an M. I remember, like introducing myself in a business setting like Hi, I'm Kelly M... Morello like I had to stop myself telling me this because it took me a long time and that I found signing my name was easier than saying my name, but it took a while. Have you had something similar?
Lexi Carter 1:18
Kind of like when we were training with the leadership consultants, I stumbled a little. I'll be like oh, like, I'm Lexi Car...Johnson. You probably know me as Lexi Carter. And they're like oh, yeah, yeah. I really haven't, so I haven't had to like sign Lexi Johnson on anything besides my marriage certificate because I haven't changed my last name yet actually. I haven't officially done it yet. There's lots of steps that are involved with doing that and I should just do it. But yeah, I haven't actually had to sign anything Lexi Johnson yet and I think that's going to be weird for me. Just because I like feel like I've tried to like perfect my signature as much as you can perfect the signature over the years to not look like you know, a third grader doing it. So I think that's going to be weird for me changing from Carter to Johnson, but thankfully like Johnson's obviously, like, the most common last name. And it's not like it's a normal spelling. So it'll be something that's hopefully easy for me to do.
That's, that is that is funny. Yeah. But I remember that. I think I did it in a business setting. And somebody was like, do you not know your name? And I was like, I'm sorry I just recently got married and changed my name.
Lexi Carter 2:38
That's how Ifeel about like for my birthday. You know, when I turned 25 I kept saying I was 24 for like several months. And everyone's like, you're 25 you're not 24 anymore. I'm like, oh, shoot, I keep forgetting.
Well, it's funny you say that because I kind of similar like I don't, I don't think about a lot. When somebody says how old are you I have to stop and think about how old I am. It doesn't just roll of my tongue.
Lexi Carter 3:08
I really, really have to think about it. I guess I'm just like, never paying attention. And maybe that's a good thing. It's a good thing. Maybe as I get older, I'll just like start saying I'm 25 as I, as I age and I'll just always be 25.
Well, and I think too as we get older, right? The milestone ages are mostly behind us. You can't wait 16 because you can dry you can't wait to be 18 because you're considered an adult and can vote, you can't wait to be 21 because you can legally drink after that.
Lexi Carter 3:36
What is there?
Like your privileges in terms of legally so itt becomes less important.
Lexi Carter 3:44
I know, I'll celebrate the big ones. I'll make sure that I do. I'll try to appreciate it.
So how about we start, you know, in terms of our podcast focus, why don't you tell everyone where you're from? So name, chapter and school, what your role is at headquarters, and then tell us your ASA story. How did you become a member?
Lexi Carter 4:11
Yeah, absolutely. So I went to Central Michigan University. So the Beta Theta Chapter at CMU. And I loved my time there. I'll tell, I could talk about it for hours. I'll tell everybody whether they understand sorority or fraternity at all. I'll tell everybody about it. I am the communications coordinator at national headquarters so I handle all of, kind of, I like to just say our digital communication. They do a lot of stuff with print too and editing. But my main focus is in the digital communication. So mass emails, social media, website, blog, all of that stuff, which is super, super fun and ever changing. Yeah, And I guess so I joined ASA in 2014. And I did not go through formal recruitment, I didn't go through from our recruitment at CMU, I joined with continuous recruitment. So I kind of missed that window for recruitment and I was super bummed about it, because I had talked myself into signing up then I talked myself out of it. And then I was like, Oh, I missed it, I'm gonna have to wait until the spring or until the fall again. And CMU has something called leadership Safari, which is kind of like an orientation, I guess you could say, for first year students at CMU, or transfer students at CMU. And my guide for that was actually an Alpha Sigma Alpha. And she was like, you should really come to these events that we're having. And I'm like, well, why not? Like I like people, I'll go. And I went to a few of them and it just, they were wonderful. And they weren't, I was really, they were perfect, but like they weren't perfect, like no one's perfect, right? And it was just an awesome experience, because they were all so welcoming. I didn't feel like I had to be perfect and put on a perfect face and dress in perfect clothes and all that stuff. So it was just a really welcoming environment. And then, a few weeks later, I accepted them and then I jumped headfirst into it.
So you were a, were you a first semester freshman or second semester freshman? I missed.
Lexi Carter 6:38
I was, I was a first semester freshman. So I joined literally, like a few weeks after recruitment had ended. So I had like, just missed the window, I was super bummed about it. And then I had another opportunity kind of fall into my lap. So, it worked out.
It didn't work out. That's awesome. So you went to CMU, you originally were hired as the communications coordinator, and recently were promoted to the director of communications and marketing, congratulations. Tell us what it was that prompted you to apply originally for the opening and join staff.
Lexi Carter 7:16
Yeah, so I have always loved like every aspect of communications. I love that it's constantly changing. So I knew that I wanted a career, my degree was in public relations. I knew I wanted a career in some sort of communications realm. I love social media, I'll take that back I don't love my own social media, I like doing social media for other people. I love doing that you know, I kind of love all the aspects of communication and I would be great if I could just find the job that kind of encompasses everything that I want to do. And a chapter sister said to me like Hey, did you know that Alpha Sigma Alpha is hiring a communications coordinator kind of checks all your boxes and I was like, that's awesome. Like I couldn't I couldn't imagine going from being a you know in a chapter and then working for ASA full time. I was like, that's the dream, but there's no way I'm going to get that, there's no way I'm going to get that. That's like you probably have to like extreme to get that and I applied and obviously I got the job thankfully. So it was just kind of like that draw of Okay, this job has everything that I want to do and you know, there's a lot of growth for me in this position. And there's some stuff that I'm an expert in some stuff that I'm not an expert in where maybe able to grow in this field. And then also getting to work for the sorority that I'm a part of, and kind of like expanding on that lifelong membership in ways that some people don't get to so there were just so many things that were drawing me in to work for headquarters and I think so far it's kind of just continued to check those boxes for me.
And how long have you been on staff now?
Lexi Carter 9:06
I have been on staff for just over three years I think Yeah. 2018, yeah so just over three years. It's flying by, it really is. Like I we when we talk about like staff anniversaries and they said three years in May for me and I was like holy cow like this is really like flying by for me.
It is I remember when we hired you that's how I was like oh my gosh.
Lexi Carter 9:32
I know. I've grown up ,I feel like I've grown up with Alpha Sigma Alpha for my college years and my young adult years so like, it's every year is different. Every experience has been different. So it's kind of fun to I feel like I've grown into adulthood without Alpha Sigma Alpha.
So tell everyone what a day in the life of the Director of Communications and Marketing looks like. What does day in and day out entail for you?
Lexi Carter 10:00
Yeah, I think the fun thing about working in the communications realm, just in general is that every day is super different. And I've seen that with both of my positions. You know, one day I could be working on a social media campaign and the next day, I'd be working on stuff for the Phoenix. I'd say pretty standard ismaking sure that all of our email campaigns are good to go. And we have those edited and ready that any outstanding communications pieces are put together, so we can get that to our members, and then working on the Phoenix. The Phoenix is a never ending project that I am super excited about taking that over and just rolling with that. So a lot of my days look at planning for the future issues of the Phoenix because the Phoenix magazine never stops, you just have to keep planning gfor that one. So it's super, super fun to do that. And then little odds and ends, just collaborating with other staff members reviewing any content that has to go out and you big communications and marketing projects that we have going on. It's different. I mean, I did the vision and purpose stuff that we just rolled out, that was something that took up a large chunk of my time, but was so exciting to work on and have my hands on all of those pieces. And especially as that continues to move forward. And with events, it's always different too, I'm always working on stuff for that when we have those going on. So it's really, really different every single day, which is what makes it so much fun.
Absolutely I it's one of the things I love about my job too, right? Every day is a little different. And we can read that works. Tell us I know you're newer in your role. But tell us a little bit more like what goes into planning the Phoenix because it's a quarterly magazine, right? We send it out four times a year, but I know that there's a lot of work that goes into that behind the scenes that maybe not everybody appreciates. So maybe you could share a little bit about what that looks like.
Lexi Carter 11:56
Yeah, absolutely. So I'll be honest, I'm, obviously I've worked in the background of this but this is a very new project for me as well, so I'm still kind of learning all of the ropes to it. I'd say the biggest piece of it is obviously the content that's in it, right? So kind of coming up with a theme for the magazine and basing our articles around that a little bit. If, you know, staff members are responsible for any articles that are going into it making sure that they have those assignments. If we are having volunteers write for it, which we often do, making sure that they have those assignments and meeting with them and answering any questions that they might have. But it's really I mean the chunk of that obviously is that content there so making sure that that is kind of in the pristine place that it needs to be in to move forward. And then obviously there is the design element of that and then working with postage and printing and all of the nitty gritty stuff that goes into it to make sure that our members physically get that in front of them. The Phoenix magazine is our biggest touch point to a lot of our members. I mean that could be the only way that we're connecting with them is through that Phoenix magazine so all the nitty gritties are importnat to make sure they actually get it delivered to their mailbox too. So it's a really, really large project but so far it's been really, really fun to work on.
Well and you you left out the other fun and I'll say that with air quotes piece to it which is the editing.
Lexi Carter 13:27
Yeah, maybe I left that out on purpose.
And spending time you know I knew there are multiple people myself included that are on the list to edit the Phoenix and read through it. And it never fails that no matter how many of us read that sometimes we miss, we all miss the same thing which, you know, then it comes out and somebody points it out and then we all cringe and like dang how did we miss that but
Lexi Carter 13:53
How did all of us miss it? But yeah, no, the editing part is, the editing part is I mean it's it's a lot but that part's also fun too because it's the first time that you're kind of seeing the words you know, on the printed paper or maybe just the PDF that we're looking at right? But it's the first time that we're kind of seeing that all come together. You go through several rounds of edits so it is a lot but it is still kind of a fun little piece to it that I enjoy but I don't know if everybody else enjoys that.
I do enjoy it because your right, it is the first time you see that, how it's going to appear and the visual impact that that can have an I think about the last one that I just edited and I just remember the colors were so vibrant and jumped off the page that it made me so excited for it to go to print and get into the hands of our members.
Lexi Carter 14:42
Yeah I thought the same thing that I was editing it I wasn't These colors are amazing. I love this and I'm going to keep these colors in my back pocket now.
It is an important touch point though. I think because you're right so many of our members or all of our members I guess that we have a good address for so here's our plug that if you haven't, if you haven't updated your address, go on to MyASA and make sure that you do or email to make sure that we have the correct address, because that is the one piece that goes to all of our members. And then what happens to make it available on the website digitally? Is that something that you work with the vendor to do.
Lexi Carter 15:27
So what will happen with that is we get the final PDF of the project. So it's an Adobe PDF, and then I'm able to take that link, go to another website, plug all of that stuff in, and then copy that link and put it on our website. So it's a super simple concept. So if you didn't know, you can access the Phoenix magazine in a digital way on our website, too.
Which is really cool. Because we've got, correct me if I'm wrong, I think we've got every copy that we have in our archives available on the website. So you can go and see what was there in 1925 or whatnot. course it was not called the Phoenix back then that that might still been the Aegis or however you say that but just the history piece of seeing what you see at printed and sent out compared to where we are today.
Lexi Carter 16:22
Yeah, absolutely. I know that I definitely comb through those, those past Phoenix magazines as well, whenever I'm doing something that maybe I want to dive into the archives a little bit or see what someone said about something, you know, in in 1976, or whatever, right? So those are super, super fun and interesting to look at. And just it's a cool piece of history that you know everyone has access to, just in the simplest way is if you have access to the internet, so
It is most definitely. So what has been some of your favorite things that you have done on staff.
Lexi Carter 16:58
Oh, that is such a loaded question. Oh, man, I actually, so although we had to move our convention last summer to a virtual setting, I actually really enjoyed working on that. It was a hard time, but it was a place where everyone kind of had to put their heads together and work on this convention reimagined, right? Honestly, I think I liked most of the Reimagined stuff that we did. So like Recruitment Reimagined, ASA reimagined. It was just such like a pivotal time on staff for us to all kind of work together, switch gears, put our heads together, and come up with something new and fun for our members. So I actually really enjoyed working on all of that stuff. I don't know if anyone would agree with me on having that virtual but it was a fun challenge. I think at the end of it when it was all done for all of those things.
Yeah, so I mean, certainly living through a pandemic, right, we had to, you know, to coined the term that we use reimagine the membership experience in a in a predominantly virtual environment. So from your lens, in your experience that took the work that you did, and completely turned it on its side.
Lexi Carter 18:13
Absolutely, absolutely. One thing that we've kind of got is our communications, our social media, all of that stuff kind of turned into a lifeline versus just like something where like, we could put stuff out and not, and it couldn't be fluffy anymore, right? It had to be, it wasn't all just feel good posts that had to be, you know, ways for us to get information to our members , where maybe that's the only way that they were getting this information is in the email that we're sending them or something like that, right? So it really made everything that we did in the communications realm, like just that much more important to help all of the other members on staff get their communications out to the members was way more important than it had been. It's always important, but it was like important times one hundred at that point, so
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it became, you know, heavily reliant on all of those messages because we couldn't be in person and reach people in different ways. How do you stay current on technology? Because I think about it changes in what the new the newest app or communication style and I think about our current students, and our alumnae, right? So you have to think about communications in so many different formats because our youngest members are likely not on Facebook and using that they might be on Instagram, they might be on Snapchat, I have no idea what ups, I have no idea what else is popular these days.
Lexi Carter 19:44
What are these Gen Z students doing right? Like who knows what their stuff is.
You get our more seasoned alumnae who might be on Facebook, but they might not be on social media at all. They may just get email or they may just get the Phoenix magazine so, how does that factor into when you're thinking about communications? I mean, that has to bring all kinds of elements in because you were thinking about different segments of our membership? And what is the best way to reach them? And that we reach as many as possible?
Lexi Carter 20:17
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's definitely ever changing, which I think I said that 1000 times it's ever changing. So trying to stay up to date with the latest technology is a lot of doing our own research and seeing what hits well with our members, whether it's like social email, you know, Phoenix, stuff like that, and then also just a lot of trial and error. So if we see something that we think is going to be cool, that our members are going to enjoy, we give it a try, and we do the best that we can. And sometimes it takes off and sometimes it doesn't. Or sometimes the trend has passed, we're doing this trend for a long time, and then it kind of passes and then we have to find a new way to engage with them. So it's watching, you know, what other people are doing too and what is working well with other organizations, or maybe like as high up is like Nike, like, what is Nike doing? And is that working? And what is, you know, what are all these other companies doing? And is that hitting wall with their fan base, as you will. So it's a lot a research, it's a lot of trial and error. It's a lot of even just like researching our members and how they're engaging with our posts, and what they're doing. And if we have low engagement on something, it's like, oh, maybe we should try this a different way next time. Or maybe we just shouldn't do this trend anymore, or those trends just didn't really take off with us. It's a mix of trial and error research. I saw we have a lot of wins, which is really rewarding for everybody to have those wins and those like high engagement numbers. Yeah, it's just a lot of change every single day, really.
I beds so I'm sure some folks might be curious on the Gen Z front, which is you know, what our current college students are, you know, I've got a 15 to 15 year olds at home and so that they're still I think, considered part of that generation. What, what is the method of communication? What is the social media that they're using? How do we reach them? Because I know they don't check email. I mean, I say it to my son. I sent you something, I forwarded it to your email. He's like, Mom, I don't I don't check my email.
Lexi Carter 22:21
I have a 16 year old sister and a 17 year old brother and yeah, no, they I know that they're not checking. their email.
But they're still gonna have to learn email because it gets used in school. in the workplace, still, but what methods are we using? Are they, still Snapchat big? Is it something different?
Lexi Carter 22:40
I'd say the biggest way that we are reaching them right now is via Instagram. I think that's probably where we're at with that right now. I would love to, we haven't done this yet. I would love to dive in and see if we can make TikTok something usable for us. It's would take some work to figure out how that fits into you know, sorority and some research and me tapping into my other communications coordinators at other organizations and seeing how they're utilizing that. But TikTok might be our new thing. I'm not making any promises yet. That might be kind of something that we have to dive into and see if we can get that off the ground with our members and you know, I think when we have in person events again, I can see TikTok working super well. So yeah, there's a lot of I think we have potential TikTok. I think that's where that's where a lot of our Gen Z numbers are. I'm gonna be honest, I think we have a lot of millennials on TikTok too. Everyone's gonna make fun of me. I really liked TikTok. I would love to jupm into that.
You can really get sucked into that.
Lexi Carter 23:55
You really can, you really can, it's scary how to do it.
I watched my 12 year old daughter and she could sit and just watch TikTok videos all day. I'm like, Oh my goodness, I ate there's probably something I think so what you're saying in terms of that, you know, the current generation and the one that's going to come into college in the next you know, five to ten years, you know, TikTok probably won't be it by the time some of them come. But there's as a way to capture them. Because you know, the interesting piece I see my 15 year old, my son is into Instagram. So you're right, I see that is the message, part of Instagram to send messages, which is interesting to me. More so then then texting back and forth, they'll message each other Instagram, Snapchat, and then Twitter is like a big thing he follows which I'm surprised.
Lexi Carter 24:50
Twitter actually, I just learned recently, I did a certification course for social media. A lot of people think that Twitter is dead and it is most certainly not. Which was interesting to me to learn because I've read so many conflicting things about it so kind of learning that no Twitter's still really hot right now. We should keep using it and to know that the Gen Z group is using it to.
Yeah it's interesting right? Because I don't know that you see the same level of engagement on Twitter to measure its impact because I think people scroll through it they read it they may not they may not like it they may not retweet it, but that like I see my son like he scrolls through Twitter and gets a lot of news around, mostly I think sports related, but I do see him you know, pay attention to Twitter quite heavily and get updates and information that way which is interesting.
Lexi Carter 25:45
I think I think that's super interesting. And I think it's just a way for people to I mean, Twitter is for quick quick little bites right? For people that post those things so that that's a way that you know, our members, or just anyone getting, because I mean I see my husband scrolling through Twitter all the time. I don't maybe he tweeted like two years ago, I don't know I see I'm scrolling through all the time. But it's just so interesting how everything is just kind of all social media evolves over time and they find new ways to engage with it or they stopped using it and I think one day TikTok will probably turn into the ever elusive vine app with like the six second videos that is no longer, I think TikTok will eventually like go into that. But right now it's strong so I mean, I get like recipes from TikTok you know, they post news and pop culture stuff on TikTok so lots of funny silly videos, but I think I get some value out of it. So I could potentially see us there in the near future, if all goes well in that realm.
Yeah, interesting. So what you know coming on the staff what has been the most surprising thing to you now that you work at national headquarters,
Lexi Carter 27:02
I always laugh when I think about this. The most surprising thing to me was and this was very naive of me, I think, was learning that not every chapter does things the same exact way. I will always say that just because it was such like it was just such a shock to me and I should have known that like there's different regional things I mean, even in Michigan, all the chapters are different, right? Like every campus is different, every chapter is different. And I had to learn that super quick. But it was that was weird for me I didn't know that that was really a thing and that was probably very naive of me. But I just assumed that we all kind of operated the same way which you know, at the core of things we do, but not everything so that was kind of a shock, shock to me to learn that not everybody was like Beta Theta at Central Michigan University.
That is very true. We have a lot of commonalities and certain, you know, the ritual definitely is that thread that connects us all but there are definitely nuances to each chapter and how they operate. I remember learning that as a leadership consultant too and you just you kind of assume that the way your chapter operates is how everybody else does until you kind of get out in the bigger world and you're like oh no that's really not.
Lexi Carter 28:19
Yeah, I had i think it was Jen, say to me, Jen Akright say to me like not everybody does everything the same like it's not, it's not just you. And I was like oh my gosh you're right.
Funny. All right, well let's see as we kind of get towards the end of our time together I am going to pull, I pulled together a handful of the 73 the rapid fire 73 questions that we did with counsel that I'd like to do with you as well.
Lexi Carter 28:51
All right, pressure.
So are you ready for them? No pressure this is supposed to be fun and you know you're just supposed to tell me that thing that comes to mind without a ton of you know analysis and thought into it but another fun way for people to get to know a different part of you.
Lexi Carter 29:10
Yeah, let's do it all right,
Here we go. We'll start off easy window or aisle seat.
Lexi Carter 29:17
What's a song you know all the words to?
Lexi Carter 29:22
Oh gosh, truth hurts by lizzo.
All right. What is something most people don't know about you?
Lexi Carter 29:31
Um, I I'm pretty open book. I love to read I have a giant to be read pile on my nightstand right now.
Okay, what's your what's your current read?
Lexi Carter 29:46
Okay, so I'm not currently, I just finished a book called Beach Read. It was like a romance, comedy romance type book. So I just finished that one. So I haven't picked up a new one yet. I have too many to pick from.
Would you recommend that for others?
Lexi Carter 30:02
I would. I liked it, I did like it.
alright suppose looking for a book recommendation There you go. Salty or sweet.
Lexi Carter 30:12
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Lexi Carter 30:19
When people use the wrong form of like there, too, your
I shouldn't be surprised by that answer if you're in communications.
Lexi Carter 30:33
Yeah, it really grinds my gears.
What is your favorite season?
Lexi Carter 30:39
What is your favorite holiday?
Lexi Carter 30:43
St. Patrick's Day?
That's a different one. What is your favorite word?
Lexi Carter 30:50
Um, I struggle with it. Probably a swear word. We'll keep it clean. I say like, exactly a lot like some little bit something. I'm like, oh, exactly. Or like you're exactly right. Like I use that word constantly.
Okay. What is your favorite type of flower?
Lexi Carter 31:11
Starbucks or dunkin donuts?
Lexi Carter 31:16
Starbucks, of course,
Beach or mountains?
Lexi Carter 31:19
Even though there was a Beach Read.
Lexi Carter 31:20
Yeah, even though there's a Beach Read. And I'm from a beach town too, in Michigan. But still mountains.
All right. And lastly, heels or sneakers?
Lexi Carter 31:34
Right? Well, Lexi, this has been fun. I'm glad we got to spend some time together.
Lexi Carter 31:42
Me too. I could spend forever talking.
I know we could go on and on. But I'm not sure that our listeners have the time for us to go on and on. So they can reach out and connect with you or see you at an event if they come to convention in Baltimore next summer, they will get a chance to connect with you. Is that your first in person convention?
Lexi Carter 32:02
No, it will be my second one.
So you had you've had that experience? Just not necessarily on staff yet.
Lexi Carter 32:09
I have had, so my first event ever on staff was in Phoenix.
Oh, okay. So you came on right before that convention? Okay.
Lexi Carter 32:17
Literally, right before. Right before right before I had no idea what was going on.
I imagine that that experience as a staff member is super intense and overwhelming. Just what from what I know, right? You guys are doing everything behind the scenes. You know, the prep leading up to it, but then like the on site piece that you guys are busy.
Lexi Carter 32:41
I look like a chicken with my head cut off running around with my laptop probably. People are probably like, Who is this crazy girl running around?
Well, we certainly appreciate all that you do to make that event run smoothly and successfully and certainly everything else that you do on staff and how you keep our members connected to the Sorority. So thank you for all of that.
Lexi Carter 33:02
Of course, it's so fun.
And to our listeners. We're going to wrap up today and until next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai