Alpha Connect Sisterhood Series

National Headquarters Series: Vanessa David, Delta Kappa, Director of Alumnae Engagement

October 22, 2021 Kelly McGinnis Beck Season 2 Episode 11
Alpha Connect Sisterhood Series
National Headquarters Series: Vanessa David, Delta Kappa, Director of Alumnae Engagement
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode, Kelly chats with Vanessa David, Delta Kappa, Director of Alumnae Engagement.  

Kelly  0:04 

Welcome to the Alpha 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, Vanessa.


Vanessa  0:24 

Thank you. Thank you for having me.


Kelly  0:26 

Absolutely. So why don't we start before we dive in, turn them away. Tell everybody who you are, what your role is at headquarters? How long you have been here.


Vanessa  0:36 

So yeah, so I'm Vanessa David, I am the Director of Alumnae Engagement at national headquarters. And I have been here a little over three years. So you know, with my role I work directly with all of our alumnae initiatives, as well as our volunteer services and yeah, that's pretty I love doing I love working with our alumnae and our volunteers across the country. It has helped me to meet so many women that I would never have met otherwise if it wasn't for Alpha Sigma Alpha and so...


Kelly  1:09 



Vanessa  1:09 



Kelly  1:10 

Well, we'll get into that more in a minute. But because that's definitely what we want to focus on first short we should start like I do with everybody tell us your Alpha Sigma Alpha story how you became a member where you became a member your chapter all that information.


Vanessa  1:25 

Awesome. So yeah, I I'm originally from Shrewsbury Massachusetts, and got about that, yes, yeah. So Central Massachusetts. It's, I think it's eight miles wide. So it's next to Worcester that's what people know more so...


Kelly  1:39 



Vanessa  1:40 

But anyways, so I my mom is from Evansville, Indiana. And I went there all growing up to visit my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, well, actually two aunts live there. But anyways, I just wanted to go away for school and I was okay, I still want to go somewhere that I know people and so decided to go 1100 miles away from from home and went to Evansville, where I joined the Delta Kappa chapter at University of Southern Indiana and it was totally not on my radar to join a sorority. My mom and aunt are both AOPi. Okay, technically a double legacy of AOPi. But of course, we didn't have a AOPi at at USI. But just I had a friend who was like, come with me to this event. And it's so funny because it really didn't mean anything to me. And then that that night, I will never forget getting my bid card. And I just cried. I was like, Oh my gosh, I think I just it was like the future me had come back to tell myself, this is gonna change your life. It was just like, it was just such an emotional moment for me. And I remember looking up afterward my bid card and seeing my future big sister and still my best friends seeing her face, and she's beaming at me. And it was just such a great moment. But I joined you know, because clearly I'd gone 1100 miles away from home. And so I didn't know anybody at USI and I joined my second semester because in the first semester, I just didn't really meet many people. And so for me it...


Kelly  3:05 

So was that informal recruitment?


Vanessa  3:06 

Yes. It was informal recruitment and so I'm kind of glad I did informal recruitment. I don't know how I would have done if it would've been formal recruitment.


Kelly  3:14 

It was pretty intense.


Vanessa  3:15 

Yes. Yeah, I don't I don't know what would have happened there. But yeah, so that was kind of my story.


Kelly  3:22 

So is your mom thrilled that you went back to her hometown to go to school?


Vanessa  3:27 

She was, she was.


Kelly  3:28 

It's probably awesome for her to travel and visit?


Vanessa  3:30 

Exactly. My dad was not as thrilled. He's from Philly. And so, I mean, granted, he you know, he likes Evansville, he went to IU. And that's where they met. But, you know, of course, this little little girl was going 1100 miles away from home. And he did not like that. But it was okay,


Kelly  3:48 

So you came Indiana and you stayed in Indiana.


Vanessa  3:52 

For the most part. I've left a couple times. But yeah, but I've come back. And so yeah, I know. I really, I love it here. I think I you know, I enjoy going home and visiting but just the Midwestern vibe and people are just so so nice here. And it's more laid back here. And


Kelly  4:12 

What do you say in us Northeast people aren't friendly?


Vanessa  4:15 

No, not at all.


Kelly  4:18 

More direct?


Vanessa  4:19 

Yes, definitely more direct. And I still have, you know, very, very close friends that I've known since I was 10 that still lived there and go back quite frequently. And so yeah, no, definitely. Yeah. We're more direct, and I appreciate that. But yeah, it's I feel like Indiana has more so where my personality aligns. Yeah.


Kelly  4:44 

A little bit. I think the Midwest is a little bit of a less rushed vibe.


Vanessa  4:51 



Kelly  4:51 

Than the northeast and I imagine even though you were outside of Boston, some of that still bled over into Central Massachusettes.


Vanessa  5:00 

Yeah. Oh, yeah, for sure. And I, I mean, I love it there. And I could totally see living there again, at some point who knows where the future will take me. But


Kelly  5:10 

Right now it's in Indianapolis, Indiana?


Vanessa  5:12 

It is I'm happy to be here.


Kelly  5:14 

There you go. So tell us a little bit more. You talked a little bit about your role. Maybe before we get into that, though, like what led you to want to come work for Alpha Sigma Alpha.


Vanessa  5:24 

So actually, at the time I, so I have my master's in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Western Kentucky University. And at the time that I applied for this role, I was working as the Assistant Director of fraternity and sorority life at a small private school in California, University of the Pacific.


Kelly  5:43 

Well, you've been all over coast to coast.


Vanessa  5:45 

Yes, yes, I have. I clearly I can't sit still I, I, I I'm someone who I just I love seeing and experiencing new places. And I'm really thankful for being able to be afforded the opportunities that I've been able to do that. And so yeah, so I was living in Stockton, California, which is really close to Sacramento, and San Francisco. Loved living out there as close to Lake Tahoe. To Napa. It was it was a great place. But besides the point, I was actually contacted by a few people here and national headquarters about hey, have you seen that we have this position open? And especially since my master's and my current job at the time was working with students and undergraduate students? Of course, I see alumnae and I'm like, I don't know if I could do that, I have no idea. But looking more into the position. And, you know, at the time, I hate to say, and other students were contacting me at all hours of the day or..


Kelly  6:53 

Tense role I imagine.


Vanessa  6:55 

It is, and I loved it. I loved working with the students. But I think it was just ready for me to take a little break. And so the thought of working with our alumnae across the country, and also just Alpha Sigma Alpha is so near and dear to my heart, being able to continue that part of our lives for the rest of our lives with our members across the country that just really spoke to me. So, you know, I think just quit this specific position that that helped me come back here. And so...


Kelly  7:32 

How do you use your degree in your role?


Vanessa  7:35 

I mean, I definitely still use my degree, just because, I mean, at the end of the day, we are, you know, Alpha Sigma Alpha, we have collegiate chapters, we have collegiate students. And so, you know, when we have big, big discussions about, you know, Alpha Sigma Alpha, and how what's going on on the college campuses, and our alumnae who are still very involved in the college campus life, whether it's their advising, or they, they go back for a lot of collegiate events, I've been able to use that knowledge that I've had from the past and kind of, you know, applied to those situations. And yeah, I mean, just in general with Greek life, it's it's been helpful. You know, I I have good knowledge about fraternities were like administration and that college campuses, and Panhellenic wise, I was very involved in Panhellenic as an undergraduate and then, you know, clearly I served as a Panhellenic advisor, as a as a professional staff member. So that knowledge to has kind of helped because I also work with alumnae Panhellenics and being able to promote that opportunity to grow on me. And so being able to properly advocate for that, that kind of opportunity, I feel like I've been able to do so because we have a lot of areas in our, in our country where we don't have an alumnae chapter, but there is an alumnae Panhellenic and that is a great opportunity for involvement. You know, yeah, there we have 26 National Panhellenic sororities, but at the end of the day, we are all, you know, wanting to help further womanhood. And also, you know, give back service and giving, wanting to help collegiate members in their sorority experience and so you know, it's great to be able to join a group of other sorority women who are trying to further those same ideals that Alpha Sigma Alpha has.


Kelly  9:31 

Well, I imagine the opportunity like to kind of help seniors graduating seniors bridge, I don't call the gap right, but cross that bridge from I'm a collegian to, I'm an alumna.


Vanessa  9:42 



Kelly  9:43 

You know, you you understand their collegiate experience and the alumnae experiences 100%


Vanessa  9:48 

100% Yeah.


Kelly  9:50 

And way less intense.


Vanessa  9:51 

Yes. Yes. As many alumnae have told me they have loved their alumnae experience even more so than their collegiate.


Kelly  9:58 

Yeah, cuz I mean, I remember talking to graduating seniors and like, oh, come to an alumnae chapter, they're like, I need a break from like, they imagine that it is the same chapter experience as what they had in college. You know, we're a bunch of grown women that have no lives and families and jobs. And we can't we don't have the ability to have that intensity.


Vanessa  10:22 



Kelly  10:22 

You know, and our meetings are maybe once a month and we go out to dinner, or go to a wine tasting or a book club or something else that's very different than here's your very structured chapter meeting, and then all the other activities you have to do during that week.


Vanessa  10:38 

Exactly. So yeah, it's, I know, I wish I wish more of our younger alumnae took advantage of alumnae chapters, because it really is an awesome opportunity to just meet other alumnae in the area. But there's, it's so much fun. I mean, I'm a part of the Indianapolis Alumnae Chapter. And, you know, we're women of all ages, all different chat from all different chapters, and being able to hear their stories from when they were a collegian, an AΣA. I mean, we went, we went to a local farm this past year, looked at pumpkins, like got some really good, like, cheese. We did. That was it was perfect. It was outdoors, the farm had everything well set up with... you know, they had a lot of hand sanitizer everywhere they had we wore masks, we everybody socially distanced. And then we you know, we have a Christmas ornament exchange,


Kelly  11:35 

We have some ornaments of my tree from those things.


Vanessa  11:39 

Oh, yeah. I mean, it's, it's so much fun. And just, you know, it helps you feel connected. And also, I was new to Indianapolis, when I moved here. I mean, Evansville is three hours away. So I wasn't really in Indy before. So it's helped me to meet women in this area, which I think is really important too, for our women who, whether they've just graduated or 20 years post grad, and they move to a new place, if they're able to meet other sisters in the area, it really helps to connect you there too.


Kelly  12:11 

Well, and I think about you know, the women that I've met in my area, from my alumnae chapter experience, and, you know, they're from different schools across the country. So we all share about our different collegiate experiences. But, you know, when I first got pregnant, right, I was like, alright, I need to get like, who's the right OB that I want to go see, right, um, got recommendations and had my son, okay, who do you guys recommend for a pediatrician? And so I joke with Marsha Duquette, because all of my doctors have pretty much come from her right? The pediatrician she used to take her kids to is where I take mine, the pediatric dentist, she takes her kids to that's where I take mine, that's but it was nice, right? Because you come into an area or you come into this phase of your life. You've no idea. Yeah. And you know, short of like picking somebody out of the directory, loves for some recommendation. And, you know, that for me, I think has been tremendous, too is those connections. I just had a chapter sister who moved to the area, like within the last couple of years reach out, you know, she is looking to get back into the workforce. She's like, Hey, I'm looking for a coach, do you know anybody? And I was like, Oh, I know this, this sorority sister over here that does that and can connect the two of them. So you know, kind of just cool ways that like you can be connected from that perspective.


Vanessa  13:38 

It really it really is amazing. I think one of my favorite, or my favorite things that's happening in the Indianapolis alumnae chapter since I've been there is we took this little fundraiser, of course for the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation, and we were just, we had Alpha Sigma Alpha items or just different items that everybody else in the chapter could auction we were auctioning off. I ended up and I am still thrilled to this day. This is like two years later. So Marilyn Bass, an Alpha Sigma Alpha alumna. I got her it is this like older Christmas sweater. And it has like these just cute buttons on it. I mean, you can tell it's, it is very intricate. And I love Christmas. And so I was just thrilled to get this and she told me she was like, oh, she said, I think I think she said like my husband got this for me decades ago. It's just been like sitting. And I mean I I think I got it for $5 and I was just and I've worn it a lot around Christmas time.


Kelly  14:46 

Alright, post a picture so we can all see.


Vanessa  14:49 

Oh, yes, absolutely. I'm happy to.


Kelly  14:52 

So tell us a little bit about so we talked about alumnae chapters.


Vanessa  14:54 



Kelly  14:54 

But what are some of the other alumnae related things that you focus on in your role? because it, you know, it's pretty expansive.


Vanessa  15:02 

It is.


Kelly  15:03 

So we don't have time to go through everyone in detail. But yeah, a couple minutes. Let's share with folks, you know, what is what do you focus on on a daily basis?


Vanessa  15:11 

Sure. Yeah. So definitely, it is pretty expansive. We do offer quite a bit for our alumnae. And so we're really lucky in that, that we're able to provide all of those opportunities. But, of course, I think one of the popular favorites is the book club.


Kelly  15:27 



Vanessa  15:28 

So I work or oversee our book club that is a virtual book club that takes place on Facebook primarily. So it actually has I believe this point about 1,400 members.


Kelly  15:43 



Vanessa  15:43 

Yes, yeah. So it's been great. We started that in March of 2019, I think, but just to have this virtual monthly book club, where members from all over the country like whether, like I said before, if they don't have an alumnae chapter nearby, or you know, they aren't physically close to sisters, but they want to still connect, they are able to participate in this book club. And we have, it's been great. We have had so many people reach out about just whether or not they participate in our live discussions, or they have taken the books that I pick each month and the questions that I get each month and done their own book club with it. We have fun. Yeah, we have a group in Alaska who they have really, they have wanted to participate a lot. And so I've actually changed some of the times of our change some of the times of our book club discussion so that they can participate too. And so it's been really cool, just all over the country to see how this book club has brought people together.


Kelly  16:55 

You do a lot of reading then don't you?


Vanessa  16:57  

Oh, yeah. You know, I think I've done more reading my past few years, and I had, like, continuous. But yes, that that's definitely one aspect that I have loved. Another thing I work with is AΣA night in or out.


Kelly  17:14 

Oh, that's true. I forgot about that.


Vanessa  17:16 

I have to say in or out now.


Kelly  17:19 

Like you're in-N-out burger.


Vanessa  17:21 

Yeah that's right. But you know, AΣA night out is our annual third Thursday of May. We just encourage women across the country to get together, our our Alpha Sigma Alpha sisters. And so literally can be anything it could be, you know, people in the area get together for dinner, or it could be and you know if if the years have passed, and you've lost touch with the sister, and you want to take some time to catch up, and you schedule a FaceTime call with them. It can be that there's so many different opportunities. We've had groups that, you know, they go to sports games, we've had groups do escape rooms, it's I've always loved working with that, because it's really neat to just see across the country, the groups of women getting together and the different things that they do to there have been some really creative ideas, especially when we had to do AΣA night in the past two years. Do the due to the pandemic, we had groups that similar the Virginia Alumnae Chapter, for example, last year, they hosted a cooking competition, it was


Kelly  18:29 

How do you do that on Zoom?


Vanessa  18:30 

Right? They figured it out. So they asked everybody to cook something with AΣA colors.


Kelly  18:41 



Vanessa  18:41 

Mm hmm. And then I think there was extra points for like creativity, regarding AΣA. And so they would share what they made on Zoom. And it was really cool. I remember seeing a cake, I think that somebody made and I think they wrote something on it having to do with Alpha Sigma Alpha. And it was pretty cool. But we also see in groups, do one of the other good ones was a home decor board. So they painted home decor boards, virtually together. That was really cool. Yeah. So I mean, just being able to see all the interesting ideas that people came up with, and especially for AΣA night in when we had to go to that virtual format. A lot of our groups just rose to the challenge and tried to think of something fun. That was really neat to see.


Kelly  19:33 

That is cool.


Vanessa  19:33 



Kelly  19:34 

Do you, I know, you mentioned earlier you work with volunteers.


Vanessa  19:37 



Kelly  19:38 

What does that look like? What does that mean in your world?


Vanessa  19:41 

Sure. So with our volunteers, I help with the recruitment, training, placements. Pretty much all aspects are of our volunteerism program. And so especially since most of our volunteers are Alpha Sigma Alpha alumnae, that's kind of where it closely aligns with my direct position. But so I help too with just outreach to our volunteers and making sure that our volunteers are getting the training that they need. But also, you know, we're constantly looking for new volunteers for Alpha Sigma Alpha, and women who you know, want to give back to the organization. And one of the great things about our volunteers, and of course, here I am plugging, but


Kelly  20:26 

Plug away


Vanessa  20:27 

Plug away. But really, there's something for everybody, whether you want to do something short term, or long term, or you know, you have 10 hours a week versus you have one hour every four months, right, there is literally something for everybody, most of our volunteer opportunities, they are virtual. So it's not something you have to travel for or go somewhere. And every single volunteer position that we have makes a difference. You can work with our finances, you can work with our service and giving, you can work with you know membership commitment, there's just virtual, there's just so many different opportunities.


Kelly  21:07 

And we've got lots of I know over the years, we've really tried to get those, almost what we call it one and done type ones, right, like, or show up and do like...


Vanessa  21:16 



Kelly  21:16 

I got time for this weekend to be a facilitator.


Vanessa  21:19 



Kelly  21:20 

And so that's what they apply for and volunteer for and can do that, versus I've got, you know, a couple hours a week, I can be an advisor to a chapter and, you know, certainly I think we've had some growing pains around it, but the ability to not every volunteer role or advisor role has to be that you can drive to that campus, right.


Vanessa  21:40 



Kelly  21:40 

And the use of technology has helped.


Vanessa  21:43 

So much so. Yeah, and the other thing too, and I, I love this aspect, cuz I did it myself, is especially when it comes to something like our region volunteer positions, you don't have to live in that region. So like, I used to be a region one, volunteer. And so being a Delta Kappa, from University of Southern Indiana, it was really cool to work with our collegiate chapters in the Western region, just to hear about their chapters and hear how things are done differently. But you know, a lot of our region volunteers, they're working with regions that they do not live in. So they're also getting to meet our collegiate women meet Alpha Sigma Alphas in very, you know, different parts of the country. And you know, they have different methods, traditions, whatever it may be within their chapter. So it's really cool, you get to experience more of Alpha Sigma Alpha, just in a different place than where you are. So that's, that's one of the cool things that's offered to us with that virtual volunteer piece.


Kelly  22:49 

So the selfless plug, where do people want to go? If they're interested in learning more, yet? We can't not put that out.


Vanessa  22:57 

Okay. Yeah, that is very true. So the easiest way would be to go to our website. So, there is a tab that says engage, so click on that engage tab. And then there is a full section there that says volunteer. And so we actually have, you know, the volunteer interest form, if you are interested in volunteering can just fill that out. And you can put different positions that you may be interested in, it's not a commitment binding thing at all. Basically, you know, after you fill that out, fill out that form, you just either I or you know, another staff member will give you a call and talk to you about, you know, just see what you're interested in and what you have time for and what you'd be looking for out of a volunteer experience. And then we can see if there's something that's a good fit for you. But other than that, you can just look at that volunteer part of our website. And we have the open positions that we currently have available, we have position descriptions there. So you can kind of look around and see what might be a good fit for you. There's a lot of good information there. So that's where I encourage,


Kelly  24:02 

Well I would say too while we do post open positions, I don't want that to be the deterring for somebody to say, Oh, they don't have anything open yet, like still fill out the form because we put together committees and task forces and other volunteer opportunities. And so having in the database, knowing who's interested in what or has one skill set might enable us to pull them for something that might not be thought of any time that they go to the website.


Vanessa  24:29 

Exactly. And the open volunteer positions. We mentioned it on that page that that page is not an exhaustive list at all. So we you know, another great thing about the VIF, our volunteer interest form, if you are interested in even writing for the Phoenix or interested in writing a blog for our Alpha Sigma Alpha blog, that's something that's mentioned on there too. So we have people who go on there just to check that they one day may be interested in writing for the blog or the Phoenix and so, you know, we keep track of that and we reach out to them whenever, you know we'd we'd like for them to write for us. So there's a lot of different things there.


Kelly  25:06 

Awesome. So what is what is something that has surprised you since joining staff? I can't ask you what the favorite parts are, because you've already covered that.


Vanessa  25:18 

I think someth- something that has definitely surprised me since joining staff is just to see Alpha Sigma Alpha's impact across the country. I think meeting all of the alumnae that I have, providing the initiatives and the programs for alumnae that I've been able to do, this sorority has been able to do in seeing the impact on women's lives, whether they're 22, fresh out of college, or a five plus, that has been a surprising aspect. But so of course fulfilling and definitely my favorite part of this job. I don't think I realized how many people I would meet.


Kelly  26:06 

Were you on staff for the Phoenix convention?


Vanessa  26:08 

I was. The Phoenix Convention was something that I first got to meet some of the women across the country. Yeah, I just joined staff about three months before that. So that was like a first dive right in. Here's our alumnae.


Kelly  26:25 

Had you been to a convention before Phoenix,:


Vanessa  26:28 

No, I had not. I had not. I had wanted to many times, but


Kelly  26:32 

So your very first convention ever is coming to Phoenix as a staff member


Vanessa  26:37 

As the Director of Alumnae Engagement where 50% of the attendees are pretty much alumnae. So yeah,


Kelly  26:43 

Did they swarm on to you to talk about alumnae?


Vanessa  26:46 

No, I -- thankfully, I was so new in the role.


Kelly  26:52 

Wait until Baltimore.


Vanessa  26:53 

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, me. I'm so excited for that. Yeah, I always wanted to go to convention. But whether I was in graduate school, or living in California, which was difficult to get anywhere, of course, it's a little farther away. I just never been able to. So I I'm kind of excited that my first experience was on staff to be at a convention. And I think it was a great thing, because I really got to see all of the ins and outs of it. And just to see just how amazing like all the planning, and everything came together to be this just spectacular event.


Kelly  27:28 

Very cool. Probably one of my favorite events as well, just because you get to interact with people all over the country.


Vanessa  27:36 



Kelly  27:37 

And for our collegiate women like the opportunity to get as many collegiate women to come to that event. Because I know for me personally, that was what put the fact that you know, I come from this little chapter in in the middle of Pennsylvania, Alpha Sigma Alpha is a national sorority. And I knew when I was going through, I wanted to join a national sorority, not because I understood the impact of you know, chapters across the country in terms of having those relationships, but because at the time at Millersville, I was convinced I was transferring to another school. Because my first semester freshman freshman year, I was homesick.


Vanessa  28:18 



Kelly  28:19 

And I don't know if I was as much homesick as I missed a lot of my friends who were either at Penn State or the University of Delaware. And so I we couldn't transfer... So I did formal recruitment, second semester, freshman year, I still thought I might transfer. And so I was very intent on finding a national sorority, so that if I joined, and I did transfer, they would have a chapter at the other school and I could transfer into that chapter. So that was, that was the connection I met, I ended up joining Alpha Sigma Alpha. And that for me kind of solidified my collegiate experience to say, I'm not leaving Millersville.


Vanessa  28:56 



Kelly  28:57 

If it wasn't for Alpha Sigma Alpha, I would have transferred.


Vanessa  29:00 



Kelly  29:00 

But because I joined when I did, and had those relationships. I no longer wanted to go somewhere else. Like I had found my home. And my friends and I had had some friends prior to that, but I really felt like this was my group. These were my people.


Vanessa  29:17 



Kelly  29:17 

Right. And this is where I wanted to stay. And so for me, that was huge. And then next year, you know, I go to the saddlebrook convention in Florida, and I see all of these women from across the country. And it wasn't just the collegiate women, you know, that I got to hang out with, but it was seeing Betty Wallach and Jean Grady and Bonnie Heenan and you know, all of these alumnae who loved the sorority so much Sidney Allen and and whatnot and like it then it clicked for me like look at all these women and how involved they are, you know, decades after their college experience, how much the sorority means to them and and how much they keep coming. back and I was like, I want to do that.


Vanessa  30:03 

I'm so jealous, you got to be there for that. That's the kind of thing that I always hear. You know, these, you always hear about these amazing alumnae, right, and our sorority and the things that they did and the things that they accomplished for us. And I just wish I'd been around sooner to be able to, you know, see that in action and meet them and talk to them one on one. So I'm jealous of you for that.


Kelly  30:25 

I have some great pictures. So what I remember about that convention, one of the activities we did was these Alpha Olympics, and we were all broken into teams, and had these silly competitions and we had create, like a cheer chain or something. But the judges were Bonnie Keenum and Betty Walsh... I forget who else and they come out and we're in Florida, right? They've got these towels. And of course, nobody on podcasts can see me but they're like swishing the towel behind their butt dancing to their seat. I have pictures. It was hilarious. But again, for me as a young college student seeing this, I was like, oh, sorority is so much more than what I'm doing on my campus.


Vanessa  31:11 



Kelly  31:12 

And it's hilarious. And I look at these those pictures now. And it just makes me laugh. But it's what I remember, like seeing those types of things. And being at the business meeting, like that was just amazing, you know, to hear Kim Meier, who is our national president then talking and see Suzanne Kilgannon get elected to be national president. And that whole experience like these were, well, you know, I was like, in awe.


Vanessa  31:37 

Oh, yeah.


Kelly  31:38 

And, and it was just for me, and then that was what made me say, Okay, I want to stay involved forever, right. And so the opportunity for us to have more of our collegiate women get some sort of visual experience connection to that, I think, also helps that in addition to the role that our volunteers play, right, they see our volunteers like, I was fortunate, I had an incredibly active advisor.


Vanessa  32:03 



Kelly  32:03 

And so she also modeled that lifetime commitments to me. And so that was the other component. So where, you know, that's where I think our alumnae have such a huge impact is when they're working or talking with our collegiate women and helping them make that connection. Like, you know, I'm an Alpha Sigma Alpha. Yeah, I might have gone to school 20-30 years before you. But we've been through the same ritual, we have the same connection.


Vanessa  32:30 

Yeah, yeah.


Kelly  32:31 

It's just, it's cool.


Vanessa  32:32 

I couldn't agree more. And I was I was lucky enough to to have an outstanding advisor, Judy Dyke, who is a... Totally throw her in here. Because she just, you know, she's advising a chapter that's not even around. Right. And, and which, you know, we have a lot of awesome alumnae who do that, but she really just put so much time and care into Delta Kappa. And so, definitely when I would not be here, if it wasn't for her, just because she was constantly, you know, driving force and she always helped us want to achieve better scholastically she would buy little gifties that she'd give to her herself. She would buy these gifts these to give to the students based on academic achievement each semester. Right. And she just she did a lot we have our Fall Festival booth, southern Indiana, we in Evansville, Indiana, each year in October, there is the Fall Festival, which actually might I'm not sure if it still is, but it used to be the second largest street festival in the US behind Mardi Gras.




A lot of people have no idea but oh, yeah, a lot of people don't know about that. It's almost 100 years old. So I think actually, that's coming up here in the next couple of years or so that it will be 100 years takes place in an older section of Evansville and there is about I think 100 or so booths with just different food. It's like it's basically a competition of like who can come up with the most bizarre food for things like fried kool aid which makes still makes no sense.


Kelly  34:11 

How do you make fried kool aid?


Vanessa  34:12 

I don't I have no idea we have this..oh no if you want to try some awesome but also some interesting food definitely go to this there's there's carnival rides. It happens every October the first weekend of October and so we didn't have it last year of course with the pandemic but I believe it they are planning to wear your back this year. And so Alpha Sigma Alpha, we have a booth and so we sell Chicago style hot dogs. Okay, this is what we sold when I was there. So maybe something has changed. Fruit haystacks because then they started making a healthy menu for the Fall Festival.


Kelly  34:50 

What's a fruit haystack?


Vanessa  34:52 

So it was literally like chopped up fruit with coconut sprinkled on top.


Kelly  34:57 

Okay, I don't know. I'm not a coconut fan.


Vanessa  35:00 



Kelly  35:00 



Vanessa  35:01 

Well because of course the food there is very like like I said fried kool aid


Kelly  35:04 

It's not healthy.


Vanessa  35:05 

It's not healthy. Like so then they started making like a healthy menu for people attending the Fall Festival and we got to be put on that list because we had a fruit haystack which was rare.


Kelly  35:17 

Oh. Well it is fruit it is healthy.


Vanessa  35:19 

Yes, it is. Yeah. And then we do chocolate covered strawberries which were still my favorite and then we started doing when I was there Oreo cake balls.


Kelly  35:27 



Vanessa  35:28 

They were so good. But anyways, all this to say I started with Judy. Judy is there pretty much the entire week it's a week long and we so we have to schedule you know shifts that our members are there and helping work the booth. So so much fun. And you know, the the money that we get goes to our philanthropic or our national philanthropic organizations, and we will always have a member I say always for the most part, we will have a member out there and a hot dog costume. Since we sell those. Yeah, I did it. I think each year, but selling since we sell those Chicago style hot dogs. If you go to the booth, you will most likely see Judy, whether it's at you know, 10am on a Tuesday or at the 8pm on the Friday. She's probably sitting there because she that's just that's one example. It's just a testament to how dedicated she is to that chapter and being there.


Kelly  36:25 

So is the whole town kind of shut down for the Fall festival?


Vanessa  36:29 

You know, no Evansville is a lot bigger than I think people will realize that part of town does for sure. It's hard to find parking people having to park on the streets.


Kelly  36:38 

It sounds a little bit like so Bloomsburg in Pennsylvania has the Bloomsburg fair every year.


Vanessa  36:44 



Kelly  36:45 

And I have gone to that since I was a little girl you know my mom went to it my mom grew up outside of Bloomsburg in Berwick so she went to it when she was a little girl so it's you know like it's tradition we go every year it's the last full week of September every year although they didn't have it last year. And you know you'd same thing you have the same type of booths you know there's the Midway there's the buildings where you got all the competitions from like schools and people have you know, the largest pumpkin you can grow or you're different like schools will do different like shadowbox type displays and there there's I forget what the others are culture there's an agriculture I forget the other buildings and all like you go through and see that there's rides there's tons of food, right you go like we were very specific when we go there. I'm like I want Grattis pizza at the Grattis pizza booth.


Vanessa  37:37 



Kelly  37:38 

I want maize, you know, pulled pork sandwich like, like I know specifically.


Vanessa  37:43 



Kelly  37:44 

Like, we need to go to the church booth with the perogies that they make like St. Mary's and so you go every year, you kind of go to the same things. And, you know, I know our Delta Chi chapter there at Bloomsburg sometimes has a booth where they do like some sort of a game or something and take those proceeds and donate them to one of our philanthropic partners, but it's but the whole town shuts down like schools are closed for that.


Vanessa  38:07 

Oh my gosh.


Kelly  38:08 

Because a lot of the kids either go if they're young or work there, if they're like middle school, high school, the college doesn't shut down. But there's a lot of college students again, swapping in and out in between classes to go there. So that's why I asked I was thinking about that going. So I wonder if you know that the schools at least shut down so the kids can kind of go and you have to worry that they're skipping school but...


Vanessa  38:30 

Oh, well. That's funny. Yeah, no, definitely isn't on that level when shutting down things.


Kelly  38:35 



Vanessa  38:36 

That's yeah. I think that is so much fun.


Kelly  38:39 

It is well I usually go and then I'm like on this mission, like does Sigma Alpha have booths, like find booths. Like, and if I don't like will usually go and wear letters like purposefully because I've run into somebody and I have at times I've run into some of the Delta Chi with no like, Oh my God, you're AΣA and you know it's that cool moment when you are somewhere and see somebody in your letters.


Vanessa  39:01 

Oh, it's the best feeling. Yeah, we're lucky we. We have the same booth every year, same spot every year.


Kelly  39:09 

So everybody knows where to go.


Vanessa  39:09 

Everybody knows where to go. And it's a I don't even know how long the wait list is to get a booth. It's decades. It's literally decades. We have a sorority at USI. I don't know if they've finally gotten a booth by now. But they had been at USI for I believe, like 20 years and still haven't gotten a booth. They've just been on the been on the waitlist.


Kelly  39:30 



Vanessa  39:31 

And so yeah, we were lucky because we were one of the first national sororities that at USI. And so we were lucky that we we had our name in early and we got that booth so.


Kelly  39:44 

Well before we get to our rapid fire question.


Vanessa  39:46 



Kelly  39:47 

Was there anything that I missed asking you about that you wanted to share about your role working at headquarters? Anything like that? I'll make sure we didn't leave anything out.


Its okay, if the answer's no..


Vanessa  40:04 

 I think no. I don't think so.


Kelly  40:10 

Okay, then we're gonna do our rapid fire questions I pulled some from what we asked National Council. Some might take a minute to think about others should be really easy and quick off the top your head either way. Don't spend a lot of time thinking it's supposed to be kind of just hey, what comes to mind? Shall I just another opportunity for folks to get to know you?


Vanessa  40:29 



Kelly  40:30 



Vanessa  40:30 



Kelly  40:31 

Window or aisle seat?


Vanessa  40:33 

Window. I love to, to look out and see where I'm coming and where I'm going


Kelly  40:37 

There you go. What's a song you know all the words to?


Vanessa  40:41 

Probably Ed Sheeran's entire Divide album.


Kelly  40:44 



Vanessa  40:45 

Or Hamilton.


Kelly  40:46 



Vanessa  40:47 

I was gonna say I, this is kind of embarrassing. But last year, you know, at the end of the year, Spotify tells you, you're like percentages. Like, this is the song you listened to the most this year. Last year for 2020. I was in the top 1% of listeners in the world for Hamilton.


Kelly  41:04 



Vanessa  41:04 

And that made me feel very I don't know the right word. Not not accomplished. But yeah, so as...


Kelly  41:13 

A total side note, but on the last Disney sisterhood meetup there was a gal in our group who like knew Hamilton soundtrack and the the musical front to back.


Vanessa  41:25 



Kelly  41:25 

You two would get along really well.


Vanessa  41:27 

Yes. Let me know where you're if you're out there listening to this find me.


Kelly  41:31 

What is something most people don't know about you?


Vanessa  41:35 

I used to competitively figure skate as a child.


Kelly  41:38 

Oh, wait, hang on. You used to competitively figure skate really?


Vanessa  41:44 

Yeah, that's what I always go to. Yeah, from the ages of like, I think it was seven or eight to 13 I competitively figure skated then. So my family, we'd go to competitions. And we one time traveled to Chicago for competition. And I even did pairs with my younger brother.


Kelly  42:02 

Oh, what made you stop?


Vanessa  42:04 

Oh, it's a very expensive sport. And unless you're like, you're just super dedicated and really wanting to go far with it. I think it was just kind of at that time. That was kind of the time was like, Okay, do you want to keep going with this? Or is it you know, kind of time to break ties, which I did. And sometimes I regret because it was it's such a neat to watch it. It really it's just I don't think people realize the jumps. I did as much as a 13 year old can do the job. So yes, okay. I mean, my brother and I even though we did pair skating together, he was a head shorter than me at the time. He's not anymore. So basically, it was like dancing or skating in Synchro. It wasn't like he was throwing me into anything. But ya know, so I sometimes regret it because it is so beautiful, but it is very expensive sport. So unless you're really willing to dedicate so much of your life to it. I still like to go you know, free skating and stuff like that.


Kelly  43:00 



Vanessa  43:01 



Kelly  43:01 

I fall down way too much as I love it. Salty or sweet?


Vanessa  43:07 

Whoo. That's... I'll say salty.


Kelly  43:14 

Okay. What is your biggest pet peeve?


Vanessa  43:18 

Slow drivers. I can't. I'm from Massachusetts.


Kelly  43:21 

There it is. There it is.


Vanessa  43:26 

I'm not gonna say the word that you call drivers in Massachusetts because it's inappropriate. But I just Yeah, I don't get slow drivers. I I guess they have all the time in the day, but that's fine.


Kelly  43:37 

Maybe they do.


Vanessa  43:38 



Kelly  43:39 

What is your favorite season?


Vanessa  43:41 



Kelly  43:42 

 What is your favorite holiday?


Vanessa  43:44 



Kelly  43:45 



Vanessa  43:45 

I supposed to be born...Yeah, I was supposed to be born on Halloween.


Kelly  43:48 

See I thought you were gonna tell me Christmas since you said you loved Christmas.


Vanessa  43:50 

 That is a very, very close second.


Kelly  43:53 

Okay, so you were supposed to be born on Halloween?


Vanessa  43:55 



Kelly  43:55 

All right.


Vanessa  43:55 

Sorry, mom. I was born a week late.


Kelly  43:57 

You are the third person in this office to say Halloween.


Vanessa  44:01 

Yeah, you can...


Kelly  44:02 

I imagine what the Halloween looks like around here for some of you.


Vanessa  44:06 

Real quick fun fact. The last Halloween that we had in the office because of the pandemic last year. We weren't here but our myself along with our Director of Marketing and Communications Natalie and our director of collegiate and program services Kim. We dressed up as Sally Mike and Boo from Monsters Inc. and we...I'm gonna give us a little shout out. We did a pretty good job.


Kelly  44:31 

You should send a picture.


Vanessa  44:32 

Yes. So yeah, we I Halloween is just the best.


Kelly  44:36 

Oh my gosh, that's funny. What is your favorite word?


Vanessa  44:39 



Kelly  44:40 



Vanessa  44:40 

From from Harry Potter. And even I have the tattoo of always. So


Kelly  44:46 

What is your favorite type of flower?


Vanessa  44:49 

A red rose.


Kelly  44:50 

Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?


Vanessa  44:53 

Dunkin I'm from I'm from Massachusetts, we have a Dunkin on every corner. It seems like not really


Kelly  45:02 

Beach or mountains?


Vanessa  45:05 

You can just live in California and do both in one day.


Kelly  45:08 



Vanessa  45:08 

That's so yeah, we had schools out there that would do that as a day trip for their students, or you start the day with skiing and you end the day at the beach.


Kelly  45:19 

You're not picking one or the other?


Vanessa  45:22 

I guess if I guess if I had to pick one, I will say the beach. Yes.


Kelly  45:24 

Okay. And lastly, heels or sneakers?


Vanessa  45:27 

Sneakers without a doubt.


Kelly  45:29 

The overwhelming response for most folks is sneakers.


Vanessa  45:36 

Oh, yeah, I'm all about comfort.


Kelly  45:39 

Sure, people are all about heels and heights.


Vanessa  45:43 

Yeah, I need to make some more comfy feels.


Kelly  45:46 

Yeah, that's a work in progress.


Vanessa  45:48 

Maybe one day maybe that, you know, one of us should look into that and make a lot of money.


Kelly  45:54 

Maybe. Be professional.


Vanessa  45:58 

That I don't know, to ask me why.


Kelly  46:00 



Vanessa  46:01 

Perhaps we'll do that.


Kelly  46:02 

Well This is fun. Thank you for sharing your time with us and sharing your story.


Vanessa  46:08 

Thank you. I thought you're gonna ask me my favorite. My favorite Alpha Sigma Alpha memory. That's why


Kelly  46:13 

Oh, okay, well, then let's let's add it in there. What is your favorite Alpha Sigma Alpha memory before we go?


Vanessa  46:20 

It has to be the Phoenix convention. Okay, so because I'd always wanted to go to convention I hadn't been able to previously, just being able to go to the convention, not really knowing what to expect. And seeing over 500, Alpha Sigma Alpha women come together. And whether it was the alumnae initiation ceremony that we had, whether it was the hats of the National Presidents, Seeing you


Kelly  46:52 

My base, my bowling pin,


Vanessa  46:54 

Yes, your Kingpin. And then seeing you installed as national president,


Kelly  47:01 

Thank you


Vanessa  47:02 

I mean, nothing can really talk about or like, exhibit the the overwhelming sense of sisterhood and happiness and excitement. That is from that that time. And so that has by far been one of my favorite Alpha Sigma Alpha that like my favorite Alpha Sigma Alpha moment.  And also just beautiful location. Beautiful hotel.


Kelly  47:29 

It was it was


Vanessa  47:30 

Shout out to Kim Richard, the director of collegiate and program services for the all of the very, you know, fine details put into that event. It just made it so beautiful, and so perfect.


Kelly  47:43 

Yeah, it was it was very cool. And the President has her fun. So your fun fact to that is that started at the Saddlebrook convention.


Vanessa  47:53 

No way.


Kelly  47:54 

So when Suzanne Kilgannon was elected president, her then husband had come up on stage and was part of whatever, I don't remember the name of the group. But that's how she got her hat.


Vanessa  48:08 

That is so awesome.


Kelly  48:09 

So she has since carried that tradition forward. And at the change of each national president, they get their hat with their nickname. Although I have no idea when it's time to pass the gavel here. What kind of hat or nickname I'm going to figure out because we've done this so long, like how many like head honcho or queen bee like yeah, thinking about what those top names could be. So I'm going to need to enlist my my fellow past National Presidents and helping me figure out the nickname and the hat.


Vanessa  48:43 



Kelly  48:44 

So I was grateful that Melissa found one that is nice and flat and easily transportable.


Vanessa  48:50 

Mm hmm.


Kelly  48:51 

Especially when you look at like Marianne Bullock the big cheese cuz she's from Green Bay and the Wisconsin and all of that. So like, imagine trying to travel with the big cheese.


Vanessa  49:03 

It needs its own bag.


Kelly  49:04 

I think she ships it possibly. Just because like it takes up room. Fits at the bottom of my suitcase.


Vanessa  49:13 

That makes sense.


Kelly  49:14 

My son's like, Can I wear that? I was like, No, I can't lose this.


Vanessa  49:18 

You need it for the foreseeable future.


Kelly  49:21 

That I bring to convention.


Vanessa  49:23 

Exactly. It's it will be displayed in Alpha Sigma Alpha's archives one day.


Kelly  49:28 

Yes. So So I have embraced the hat and the nickname


Vanessa  49:32 



Kelly  49:35 

Oh, well, Vanessa, thank you. I hope our listeners had fun listening to this.


Vanessa  49:39 

Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me and


Kelly  49:43 

And until next time.