On this episode, Kelly talks first with Darci James, Office Manager, and then with Jane Rauck, BY, Finance Manager.
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 Darci.
Hi, thanks for having me.
So, Darci, this is part of our headquarters series focus. Why don't you introduce yourself to everybody? Let them know a little bit about your role and what you do here on staff.
Thanks. Okay. So I'm Darci James. I am our office manager at headquarters and been here for almost three years, I believe.
Super quick, super quick this past year, of course, you know,
That's a whole other story.
Yeah, I was hired through a job placement agency, and definitely had no idea what I was walking into. I didn't think it would really be anything, yet here I am, three years later. So clearly, I liked it. Personally, could just the atmosphere of this building, you know, we've worked with a whole bunch of people that I can definitely call friends now. So it's been it's been pretty cool.
And so you came to us not a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, correct? At least not yet.
Correct, I had no prior sorority knowledge whatsoever. So I...
What did you think walking in the door?
You have no idea how intimidated it was just like, because it's a weird industry that I had no, you know, knowledge of. So customer service is what I do. And that's what I enjoy. And that's what I, you know, base my job on. But I didn't know what I was getting into. But everyone was welcoming, and helped me learn more, I actually understand everything now.
Learning the terminology, and like what NPC is and all these other acronyms that we have out there that you know, when you're new is like, what? It's like alphabet soup.
And some there are actually now if you were to say a chapter, I may even know what school it is. Like, I've actually almost even like, you know, remembered things.
I bet you know, more than I do at times.
I see them all you know,
You see them every day.
So talk a little bit about the types of things that you do in your role, because I really feel like you you touch a number of functions across the office.
I would say I probably touch every department. Yeah. So I mean, I'm administrative a bit in base. But I'm support more than anything. So my day to day is customer service. I'm the person that if you call, if you call a headquarters, I'm who's going to answer the phone. Or I'm who's going to return your voicemail.
Or maybe you respond to email...
Or, yep, general inbox, that's me. I'm the one that's gonna forward it on or figure out the answer for you, which I love. But I've been able to get into each department in one way or another, which is now how I understand the sorority.
We expanded your role over this last year.
Yeah, gradually, just it kind of happened naturally, which was just wonderful. You know, everything changed when COVID happened, of course, and I then had a few more things thrown my way, which has been kind of nice, to be honest. My day to day is not the same. You know, it may be an eight to five office manager job, but I don't think I do the same thing every day.
Which I know for me, in any job I've ever had is what I love, right? It's getting to come in and have each day be a little different. So people love that routine in the...
Yeah, I don't need a routine, I have an expectation of the you know, the general idea of how the day is gonna go right. Like I have these tasks I got to get done. But normally when we're all here, you know, full time, I can get pulled 40 different directions to help, whatever and I never know what's happening. That's what's fun to be flexible, be able to help with the events, whether we're stuffing things or helping print things or helping fix the darn printer.
You are the resident technical person.
Yeah. But it's nice. It's a little and then there are different things that I've been able to take on. So like with helping collegiate services, get some things processed. That's been pretty intense for a moment, but now that I understand it all, and then I do photography for the sorority.
Yeah. So that has been fun to work with the communications department was just talking about our upcoming leadership consultant photoshoot. So you know, it's a fun fun extra I get to do.
Because you also have your own photography business side, right?
Yeah, so portrait photography, that's kind of how I ended up in the temp agency anyways, because I didn't want a full time job I didn't. That was that's not the goal. But this just sort of a fit, you know, I needed to be able to have evenings for portraits and my weekends available. And this just stuck way more than I think I had imagined, which has been a blessing in disguise. Like, I just had no idea how well this job would work on my life. Even with not being a member.
Well I love that we get to use your passion around photography for use with us here, you know, having an HR background myself, I'm always all about, you know, what, what do people love and bring to an organization that maybe is outside of their job that we can tap into? And so you've, you've certainly helped with the board and counsel, and we've done our photoshoots and recording in the many iterations of that this times come along.
It gets interesting sometimes, yeah, it's a lot of fun, and it really is something that I just enjoy doing in my life and being able to cross that over into an administrative job. I don't think there are many places where that would have happened.
But it happened super naturally. And then it's fun, it's been an additional way for me to know, the other members, like leadership consultants, like you and the other council members. It's a pretty cool perk.
It is, and we love your photography skills. They're excellent.
Well thank you.
So what did you, what... So let me ask first, What is it about your role that you love the most? Or what is your favorite part about your job?
I would say I have a lot. I just love helping people. And that's 90% of what I'm doing is I'm helping someone whether I'm helping our collegians because they can't get into MyAΣA because they're new, or it's helping alumnae members find people they're looking for, whether it's my coworkers asking me to help because they're behind on whatever, that's pretty much helping. That's that's what it ends up being almost all the time. Which is rewarding. And then it's also a way that I can go home and almost know that I made a difference in something, but not necessarily a person's life, you know, not trying to get that deep every day. But make things easier for someone. So it's pretty, pretty good way to go home and feel.
What's been, without betraying you know who or too much detail, but what's been one of the more unique or challenging requests that you've gotten from a member calling in or emailing for something?
Oh, goodness, oh, I couldn't even there's some pretty interesting things. The sorority, of course, has been through a lot of changes and stuff in the past few years. And I'm usually the first person that sees that responses and what have you, which is cool. I've been able to see, you know, more than I think, many exactly how everyone's reacting, which sometimes can be a little interesting. But usually in a cool customer service kind of way. I mean, that's what it ends up being. We do have some silly questions, you know, where I'm like, you should maybe know, but that's okay. I'm happy to help.
Any funny ones you want to share without names?
Funny ones? I don't know.
No, nothing's coming to mind. Just dramatic things.
Things like you should go read the policies and procedures. It's written in there.
The amount of times, yep, that I'm like, this is what page you need to go look at.
So you have the page numbers memorized, we might be able to just call you and say Darci, what page is this on.
The PDF is saved right there that I can find it for you. I'm...
Dog eared and rifled through
Yes, little handwritten notes and random things and yeah,
Oh my goodness, what is what is what are the... what is the most common question you get?
The number one customer service thing I do is helping our members get into officer portal and MyAΣA that is that is the number one most frequent things
Is the technical pieces?
Yep. Yep, that little customer service aspect. And sometimes it's, you know, really easy things and sometimes I'm working with their communications department wondering what technical glitch we've got going in or whatever.
Interesting. What has been one of the most surprising things about working in Alpha Sigma Alpha headquarters?
The most surprising thing is probably that I understand why the sorority exists.
Oh, now you really have to expand on that answer.
Not having any background, I never would have understood why. I have siblings, I didn't go away to school I never I all of the reasons that I think will lead our members to joining I never resonated with. But now that I see the inner workings of things, see what you can get out of it, see the relationships, my coworkers, how about people that they barely ever see, I see all the positives out of it. Whereas before I walked into this building, I would have looked at people like I don't understand why you like why I get it now.
I love that. And I think you bring a different perspective, right? You didn't, you didn't have the undergraduate experience a number of us have. So we have, we've learned about the sorority in a very different way than you have.
Yep, I came in as an adult that did not was never on a campus where I was surrounded by other members and what have you.
And yet you still see the value.
100% I definitely see the value. I've heard the testimonies, so to speak of you know, why you guys are all here and volunteering and spending your weekends you know, in different cities doing whatever. I get it for sure.
That's awesome. I love that. Thank you for sharing that. You're always the friendly, happy voice when I call in to headquarters.
I appreciate that.
Although I sometimes can be very the boy but I was like, I have to say hi to Darci, like hey, it's Kelly, this is who I need
No, the directness usually is actually preferred.
That's good, because I could be chatting for too long.
Yeah. And sometimes I welcome that, because it is an administrative role in base, you know, and gets a little monotonous
I was gonna say, sometimes you're doing things on your own.
Yeah, I probably am the most me not the most, but pretty solo just in general. While I do cross over, but with other people, I could probably say I could go an entire day and not talk to one of my co-workers. Especially this COVID.
Well, I'll say this. And since we're not everybody's even in the office.
Certainly no, when we get back to everybody being here. That won't be quite the case.
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. I mean, it when I say my coworkers, I have friendships with them. We don't get to see them often enough. So I love that.
Yeah. Well, I think that's an important part of anybody's work experience. Right? We spend so many hours at work, that we're doing work that having those some relationships with folks that we work with, I think is an important piece. Also to keep us sane.
Right. Make it enjoyable.
Yeah because it's still a job, you know, at the end of the day, and it's gonna be bumpy and whatever. And it's nice that you know, even when you're at home thinking about work, if you're able to know that your other people are gonna help you. Whether you're stressed or whatever, it's makes a huge difference on the atmosphere.
Absolutely. Now, are you from Indiana originally?
Yeah this is home this is 100% home for me, which is also kind of weird. Because everyone else here.
I was just gonna say so what's it been like as we hire new staff and they move to Indiana?
It's kind of funny. Because I think I think maybe there's only one other person here from Indiana and it's not Indianapolis. So I this is, you know, I this is home for me. And then there's people that move from, you know, Kansas or where have you, I kinda end up being the, I dont want to say guide, because that's,
I was just gonna ask are you like the go-to of like, where's the best place to eat? Where do you go shopping? What do you do at night kind of gal?
A smidge. Yeah. And then just like when as things pop up, oh, I'm going to go do this. Where should I park downtown? Or, Hey, I'm going to this venue that I've never been to do you have any knowledge of like, where I should sit or whatever. And then it's also fun because it's like, these are the breweries you should go to around Indy like, these are the iconic places to go. These are the overrated places. But Indy's a great city. So it's fun for me as someone who has never had any interest in moving I you know, I'm here to see everyone else transition and start to love a city that I've been here for 20 plus years.
You get to showcase it to everybody.
Yeah, yeah, and then we get a lot of guests here with the headquarters, you know, ie he'll
And so it's fun. Just enough seeing everyone.
You get to see a lot that come through that front door.
I do. I do and it's fun. And again, like, my day to day job is not actually the same.
I imagine I imagine sitting there seeing the reaction for our members, whether they're collegians or alumnae when they walk through the door for their first visit to headquarters, is got to be a little starry eyed and sparkly.
It's funny, because when you walk in headquarters, my desk is the first thing there. And I think I have an iconic desk, which is funny, because to me, it's where I spend a ridiculous amount of hours every week, right? But people come in and want to take a picture at my desk. I laugh at it, you know, I think every LC always does it in their little shy to ask, but it's got the Alpha Sigma Alpha behind me, and they need it.
And it's got the on the front of it.
It's cool to take people on tours. I mean, I've literally seen people's faces, like light up looking at like the archives and stuff, which is cool as a non member, because it's, again, seeing the importance to others, of what AΣA means to all of our members, especially ones that take the time to come get a tour. Yeah, like it is just an office building.
Not to everybody it is you know, I would imagine that the alumnae that I know of where headquarters had been prior to when we built this facility as well as those that were on the board, especially when we built this facility. You know, there were, you know, from our historical piece, there's a lot of, you know, significance and pride in building this facility, knowing the history of what Alpha Sigma Alpha went through, through various periods of times again, here, so there's that connection to it. And then I think for others, it's just you know, it's almost like, you go to certain like, I, I guess I really can't equate it's like you go visit the Empire State Building or you go visit like a past, you know, President's home family home or something, but kind of similar, like where it feels like there's some historical significance or there's history in the archives, right or within the building that has kind of connection to folks people come in and they see Wilma Wilson Sharps desk, and that, you know, connection of her having been such a notable figure. And I think about when I went to Zeta Zetas centennial, and you know, looking at the charter on the wall, and you know, Wilma Wilson Sharp was a charter member of Zeta Zeta. And Ida Shaw Martin, probably more history than you need to know, but Ida Shaw Martin was president, then she signed that charter. And so fast forward, you know, years later, when, you know, that infamous Boston Convention where, you know, Ida Shaw Martin was Alpha Sigma Alpha's National President, Wilma Wilson Sharp was installed and imagine the connection of, you know, those two women in that period of time and where it came from. And so, you know, when you get into some of that history, and so I would I certainly know, you know, digging through the archives, and just reading the history of Alpha Sigma Alpha, I can, I can see how people when they come to the building, get excited
I wish you guys could see her face when she was saying all of that, because the look that people get when they come get a tour at headquarters, is pretty similar to how she was just looking. Giving great history, right? Like, that was all super awesome. You guys probably all just learned a bunch of fun facts that I also just learned. There is a lot of joy in coming here. For our members, I see it, which on a boring day can honestly be, you know, a pretty good pick me up and random break through the day. So it's very cool to see it. And there is a lot of historical significance here. I mean, I, we do a lot here. And there's a lot of cool things to look at here, too.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I mean, you certainly play a very important role in all of that. Because I think the person you're the first person, when you call the business or you go visit somewhere, that first person provides a significant impression of the overall organization. So thank you for representing Alpha Sigma Alpha, as well as you do. So well. Hey, thanks. I appreciate it. It's important to you know, you can tell the love of your job and the love of the organization and the people in it comes through. So...
I appreciate that.
Yeah. Well, so before we wrap up, I've got some fun rapid fire questions for you. We've done these with members of council and so I'm going to do them with all of our staff just as another fun way for people to get to know each other. So are you ready?
I suppose so. Yeah. Okay.
Window or aisle seat?
The window for sure.
What is the song you know all the words to?
Um, oh goodness. The first one that comes to mind was the one I was singing lunch today. It's by a band called Mayday Parade, Miserable at Best. It was super sweet song about loving someone wholeheartedly.
Oh, that's very sweet. What is something that most people don't know about you?
That's kind of hard. I'm an open book. Probably how reserved I really can be. That's probably actually the surprising thing is.
Um, I think I am seen as a very outgoing person. But inside I'm very,
You're very reserved. Well, and dare I say it. You know, we were talking before we started. Not everybody's a hugger. I'm a big hugger. And I know that you are not a big hugger. So there's that reserved piece, right?
Yeah and that's why I don't want the aisle seat because I will stay away from the other people.
Yeah, I could see that.
It's not to lean up against to take a nap.
No, I'm not I don't nap I can't nap. I stopped doing that when I was a child and as an adult I still can't do it
Okay, salty or sweet?
Sweet, sweet chocolate, please.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Repetitive noises. So if something is beeping, I'm in a car and someone didn't put their seatbelt on.
Like, I am not going to know what the person was talking about. All I'm going to focus on is that repetitive noise.
I can understand that. That is annoying. I agree. Okay, what is your favorite season?
Probably fall due to photography. I buy fall family photos. I get to see a lot of families annually in the fall. So I look forward to that.
With the leaves changing and everything I bet. What is your favorite holiday?
Fourth of July because my birthday is a couple of days later. So it always ends up like a holiday weekend for me.
Exactly. Like it's a partying weekend built into my birthday.
There you go. Two reasons to celebrate. What is your favorite word?
Favorite word? I probably say literally, literally all the time.
You know, Rob Lowe has a podcast called literally
Does he really?
I'm gonna have to check that out.
It's really good. He interviews all these other celebrities. But the title of the podcast is and he says it this way, literally, with Rob Lowe.
All right. I'm gonna check that one out.
What is your favorite type of flower?
I love orange roses.
Oh, that's different. Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
Yes. Beach or mountains?
Heels or sneakers?
Sneakers I don't need to be in heels. I will just break my ankle again.
Oh, we don't want that. That's our questions for today. Darci, thank you for joining me.
I appreciate you having me. It was a pleasure.
It was and to our listeners. Stay tuned for Jane.
Welcome to the podcast, Jane Rauck. How are you?
I'm doing wonderful. How are you today?
Doing great. I'm so excited to welcome you to the Alpha Connect Sisterhood series podcast and this special series that we're doing on our national headquarters staff. So before we get into all of that fun stuff, I want you to start by sharing your Alpha Sigma Alpha story. How did you become a member? Where did you become a member? What's your chapter school? All of that fun information. So why don't you tell us about that part of your journey?
Okay, well, I went to Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, I actually went through fall recruitment in the fall of 1991. And unfortunately, I was not chosen to join a sorority at that point, it turned out to be a good thing because Alpha Sigma Alpha came onto campus in the spring of '92. And I went through their recruitment process back then, and was asked to join and I joined. And so I was part of the reorganization of the Beta Epsilon chapter back in 1992. And then I held the positions of treasurer and scholarship chair while I was there, graduated '95. And that pretty well, was my involvement with Alpha Sigma Alpha until I joined staff at national headquarters. And I believe, about five years ago, about five years, almost five years here, and just a few months, so.
Okay, wow. So okay, let's go back. I want to dissect that. So did you go through formal recruitment?
I went through, I went through formal recruitment my freshman year, but I did not join Alpha Sigma Alpha was not on campus during that recruitment, and I did not join any sorority at that point they came on in January of 1992. Me too. And well, it was recolonized back then. But they reorganized the chapter in January of 1992. And I went through their recruitment at that point.
And that wasn't a formal recruitment that was kind of more of an informal COB type event, I would imagine.
Yes, it was. Yes, it was.
So tell, tell us a little bit about what that experience was like, because you you have a unique experience that many members don't have, in multiple ways, right, you are not only essentially, you are sort of like a charter member, right, like the charter member at the reorganization or a reestablishment of the chapter. So you're kind of a reestablishment charter member, if you will. But kind of going through that process to decide to join and be part of that, what was that like?
It was, I really wanted something. Because back when I was in high school, I was very active in a lot of different things during high school. And when I went to college, I did not have anybody who I knew of all my friends and everything when everybody went to different colleges. So I really wanted to join something to belong and have, you know, friends, and just involvement on the campus. And so I was extremely disappointed when I did not join a sorority in the fall. But, you know, that was a blessing in disguise, because obviously, the next spring, I joined, we went through recruitment, you know, so it was really interesting, you know, being recruited by the national organization. And then we had what, you know, a leadership consultant with us the entire semester, similar to what they do now, but we did not, it was a lot more involved, we did not install until October the following Fall. So it was a lot of work. You know, because not only were we brand new, we had to learn everything about Alpha Sigma Alpha. But we also had to go out and tried to recruit even more women to join our organization and just kind of make a name for ourselves on campus. You know, so it was a lot of work, but it was very enjoyable. I, you know, have lots of friends from that time that I've still talked to nowadays. And it's great. I absolutely love my experience, I wouldn't trade anything for it for the world.
Well, you were destined to become an Alpha Sigma Alpha, that was just clearly in the cards. And that's why you you had that delayed piece, because otherwise we wouldn't have you as a member. So everything works out for, you know, the way it's supposed to.
Yes, I definitely believe that. That's for sure.
So I have to ask, Do you remember who your leadership consultant was?
I really could not. I cannot remember what her name is. I, you know, like in national headquarters, we get pictures of all the leadership consultants. And I can you know, I see your picture there. But unfortunately, it cannot remember what her name was.
I'm putting you on the spot. So no worries. Well, that's a that's a neat experience. And so I chuckled and smiled. I smiled when you said that you were treasurer, I was treasurer as well. So it's that is also a role, you don't see lots of folks holding in their chapter, depending on what your major was, if you were, I'm sure you were like me, or the business accounting major. And so everyone kind of looked at you and said, You should be treasurer.
Yes. Well, we had a system where we actually had like assistant treasurer. So I was in that position before I took over the treasurer. And so I was really the second woman to become treasurer in the chapter. And so I had a lot of training up to it. And I think it's really ironic that now, you know, I'm with national headquarters, and I'm kind of like the treasurer of the entire sorority.
So let's I think that's a perfect segue into talking about your role at national headquarters. So what led you to apply for this role? And what is your focus?
Well, what happened was I was actually a adjunct teacher for a lot of different colleges and university for profits and nonprofit and unfortunately, at that time, a lot of the for profits were cutting staff. And it was just getting harder and harder for me to be able to put together a full time income as an adjunct instructor and one of the for profit universities actually closed. And at that point, I said, you know, I need to find a, you know, a more stable job. And within a day or two Alpha Sigma Alpha posted on their Facebook page that they were looking for a finance manager. So I sent in my resume And I was asked to come in to do an interview, came in, did the interview. And then a few days after that I was offered the position. And that was five years ago here, in about a month will be my five year anniversary with national headquarters. So how I describe my job is I handle the finances for the national organization, paying bills and bringing in income, and then I watch over 98 chapters, finances of all are not I have watch over the 98 chapters that we have their finances, with the help of our leadership consult or leadership consultants in finance, reaching finance leaders,
Or finance advisors. Yes. So,
Did I hear you say earlier that you after you left your college experience, you hadn't really been involved in Alpha Sigma Alpha until you join staff?
Yes, yes. And, you know, I moved from Terre Haute to Indianapolis, and I just kind of lost touch. Back then there wasn't a whole lot of communication with the national organization about opportunities, such as leadership consultants, and volunteer, you know, opportunities that I knew of, because we didn't have, you know, the social media, and the Internet type stuff that we have nowadays. And so I kind of lost touch with it, I started, you know, when I joined Facebook, I, you know, started following more Alpha Sigma Alpha things, I expressed interest in volunteering, but it just never worked out, you know, in my time commitment and things like that. So, really, I mean, I was away from Alpha Sigma Alpha for almost 20 years. Before between the time I graduated, and the time I joined staff,
We just keep calling you back.
I know, I know. And I love it.
So you join staff, it's what is it like to oversee the finances of 98 collegiate chapters.
It is interesting, you know, because it's, it's very fast paced, because our treasurers and our presidents, they change offices, every, you know, every year, every November, November, December, you know, it's very rewarding for me, because, you know, to develop those relationships with these chapters, in these members, and then watch them grow and become successful, has been very rewarding for me. And then, you know, just loving teaching them, you know, to make sure they understand that they need to do a budget and you know, collect dues, and, you know, deal with, you know, members and the various, you know, issues that they have, with the finances between the chapter and the members and such, so,
That's fine. At least I think it's fine. It's also, you know, I can see the challenge of, you've got a new, potentially a new treasurer that you have to work with every year and kind of start over. But one of the things I heard you say, as you were describing that, that struck me is, now you're teaching them which, let's lends me back to thinking about your roles prior to joining Alpha Sigma Alpha staff as a teacher, so you still have it sounds like a little bit of that passion and love that has brought into Alpha, Sigma Alpha. And then I think about the importance of just teaching, you know, financial acumen to collegiate women and the role that you play in in not just helping them from a chapter standpoint, but I imagine from an individual standpoint as well.
Yes, you know, I have a heart I call it a heart of a teacher. And I really enjoy sitting down with what the women and teaching them about, you know, maybe billhighway, or developing the budget, one chapter asked me to, to join their chapter meeting, and I did a presentation about budgeting with them, and just the basics of that, and I really enjoyed doing that. And then to get emails afterwards thanking me and asking me other questions and them expressing interest in you know, in knowing more about finances, and how to handle them in all that is just, it makes my heart sing and be happy. Because I feel that they're, you know, preparing themselves for a very good future by by asking those questions now.
That's awesome, that you're even presenting with our chapters how, what an opportunity for them to really get to learn as well and you know, learn from another Alpha Sigma Alpha member.
Yes, yes. I've done not only with the chapter, I've done a presentation it. Oh, the alumnae web series that they had.
I remember that.
Yeah, the women's advancement series, and then I did one at the national convention in Arizona. So it was really very great experiences, you know, it's something I'd love to teach, you know, talking about his finances and preparing yourself and, and, you know, just knowing understanding just if you at least have the basic knowledge of finances, you're going to be okay.
Yeah, and finances is not everyone's strength. So I think having that kind of understanding that foundation is an important piece, regardless of how much you love it or not.
Yes, exactly. And, you know, I always tell people, don't be afraid to ask questions. If you don't understand something, ask, you know, and make sure you understand it, and don't get involved with something that you don't understand.
That is excellent advice for anyone and everyone. And so what are some of your I know, You've shared this a little bit already, but what are some of your favorite parts about the work that you do?
I think it's just being able to, you know, communicate with the members being more involved with the membership. I miss, you know, like this last year, we have not had a lot of in person events, we haven't had any, and so I missed that aspect of it. Definitely. And it's just having a sense of accomplishment, that, you know, you know, during this rough time, over the last year, year and a half, we're doing okay, you know, and you know, helping those members of chapters are struggling, helping those chapters, you know, and make adjustments that they need to make it, you know, to me to be able to have a better, you know, position financially and not only financially but membership wise too. Just working with them and making sure they understand the different aspects, you know, in dealing with all the challenges that we've had over the last couple, you know, year, year and a half. So, I've really enjoyed that.
Yeah, pandemic pandemic has certainly thrown some interesting twists and turns into every element and aspect of Alpha Sigma Alpha, that's for sure.
Yes, yes, it's just, especially with the chapters, you know, we had a lot like when we first they first stopped, you know, doing activities, working with chapters, you know, some chapters wanted to refund dues, or cut dues for the next semester, because they weren't doing as much. So helping chapters understand what that meant, you know, not only for the time at that time, but what it meant for them in the future that, you know, and helping them make that decision whether to reduce dues, or keep doing the same, or, you know, just different aspects of that, or members who can't, couldn't pay because they lost their jobs during the pandemic, you know, how to, you know, deal with that. And also, you know, provide them with options with those members, too. So, it was a lot of work, especially those first few months at the beginning of the pandemic, but I think we've really worked through those and are coming out on the other side, you know, still in good shape.
Absolutely. So what has been some of the more surprising things that maybe you didn't expect? By you know, by working with... Well, I can talk today by working at national headquarters, I think, you know, a lot there are some folks that, you know, there's this element of mystery and whatnot, not in a negative way, but in a curiosity way of working at national headquarters. So what are some of the things that you found surprising since you joined staff?
Oh, well, I think most I think the the scope or the reach the Alpha Sigma Alpha has and where we are not only locally because like I said, I had not been involved with Alpha Sigma Alpha and, and, you know, I just you my group of friends from my chapter, but just realizing that we're all over the country, and that even though I might have not known that person before I came on staff, now we're really good friends. So you know, in knowing that I always have someone that I can go to if I need something, which is, you know, yes, I knew that with my, you know, local members, but, you know, to know that, you know, I know a lot more people now and just the scope of that was really surprising to me. And I think the biggest surprise is just how much work goes into, you know, the finances and you know, the different aspects and how much it's changed since I was involved with it, because it has changed a lot since the 1990s.
We have ledger books, I imagine you had the same ledger book that I had that you had to record every individual transaction in, and then you had to pull the individual members record and write that transaction in there and say, two or three times,
Well, we laugh because I'll tell treasurer's as like, in our chapter, we had a file box, that every member had an envelope with their name on it, and we pass that file box around at chapter in that they put their check for their dues in their, in their envelope in the file box. And then after chapter, I would have to go in and take all the checks out and then write them on their ledger books. And we actually, when I first started on staff, we went into the archives closet, and I found the ledger books that I used back.
Oh, you're kidding.
They were there. Some of them were there.
That's funny. Yeah I guess we had to send a copy or something to headquarters, I'm trying to remember. But I do remember those big ledger books in the big like business size checkbook that you had to write all your check stubs. It is it was a very different time period, then, than what it is now with everything being digital and electronic.
Yes, you know, so I'll tell them, you know, back then we had the bank on campus. And we went to the bank on campus to make deposits. And then we had to send in reports. And to national headquarters, I think like every month, about our bank statements, and you know, everything like that. So, you know, when I'm working with treasurers, you know, I tell them as like this is a lot better, you know, a lot easier than it was back when I was a treasurer, so and they're very grateful for how it is set up now.
Well, I'm a little jealous that you had a bank on campus, because I remember having to get a ride to go to the bank.
No, I would have had to because I didn't have a car back then. But yes, we had a bank that we used. And it was in the commons is where we called it the commons and the commons had some restaurants in it and like, like a convenience store type thing. And the bank was there. And so that's, you know, I would just actually in when I first the first year, I lived in the building that was connected to the common so I just basically had to go downstairs out the door in the door and walk to the bank right there. But then later I moved to what was called Lincoln quad, which is basically two blocks down the road. So it wasn't really far to get to the bank at all.
Yes, well I'm a little jealous about that. But oh, it brings back memories of sitting in my room and writing out those ledger sheets and then having to order more and all of that I just I remember that vividly. My hand would hurt after.
Yes, yeah. Well, we didn't have we only had about between 30 and 40 women when I first joined you know, so we didn't have a whole lot of women but it was still kind of, you know, tedious in regards to you know, having to record everything and making sure everything was recorded and you know, in the follow up with the numbers and all that kind of stuff. So
Yeah, we about 45 So I remember just that constant kind of you know, I felt like you wrote things multiple times because you different sheets to put them on it was just tedious and worried about it. Yes. So you you onally started on staff in Indianapolis but have recently moved to Florida. What's it like to transition from being in the office to working from home?
It well, I pretty well had to take everything that we were very paper driven and I had to convert it all to electronic driven so that entailed a lot of work working from home has it's a little you know, you have to have discipline to be able to do so. So I do miss the camaraderie we had in the office you know like we would do all pretty much a lot of us would have lunch around the same time it sit in the you know, in the lunch room and talk and catch up on each other's lives and what's going on and so now we don't really have that, you know, every once in a while we might have lunch together as via zoom, but it's not the same thing. But you know, so I missed the you know, everyday interaction share with the people. But I enjoy working from home. And I feel a sense of accomplishment being able to, to make this adjustment, because it is very tedious because I have to make sure that, you know, all the, you know, documentation are still there, even though I'm not physically where I was in the office.
Yeah, I imagine it takes a little bit extra work. But still, technology has come along so far that I think it, you know, it makes it easier to do that remotely than having to be in the office. And I would imagine a lot of your role is somewhat autonomous at time.
Which, yeah, is a positive and I hate to say the word negative, but you know, it's a positive, that makes it a little bit more easy, if you will, to adjust to being remote. But then the downside is, to your point, you miss the interaction that kind of fills your bucket outside of that.
Yes, yes. I, you know, I, you know, I think it was, it was just a lot of tedious, you know, things okay, I'm not in the office, I don't have this physically, but okay, how do I convert that to being electronic. And I actually think it has helped a lot, because the response time has been a lot faster in regards to getting things approved, and things like that. So and it's easier. So like, if someone needs something, I can direct them to where it's online for, you know, they don't have to physically go hunting for it anymore. So not that they had to do that before, but it's just, it's a lot easier, you know, because everything is online, and I can just email it to them and be done. Whereas before I would have to, you know, pull the physical copies of things and then possibly scan them, and then send them so that's what I like about it.
Yes, well, I'm, we were a group of us for recently on a call with our auditors, and they also commented about, you know, with things being electronic that it it certainly made, I think the audit process go faster for the national organization as well. So and an unexpected added benefit to that.
Yes, yes, I was really happy, you know, with the auditor, it kind of a little bit was electronic last year, because they didn't physically come to the office like they had in the past. So we had to, you know, I had, you know, start scanning things to them. And which was a lot at once, because we had not been doing that. But then this whole past year, I had been scanning them, you know, and so everything was online, everything was in our accounting software. And so it was very easy for them to get what they wanted during the audit. So, and I think it I mean, I think it went pretty smooth, and they seem to be happy with how we have set up everything. It was a lot of thinking things through. And of course, there's always going to be tweaks to it. But I'm really happy with the system that we've put together so...
Well, is it's great. And it's funny how sometimes the opportunity to improve your processes was always kind of there, and it just wasn't a maybe a priority until it had to be a priority.
Exactly. You know, there's some things that are like, why why do we do this this way? And, and, you know, we're like, Well, I don't know. And so I was like, Can we change it to this? And they're like, Yes, I was like, okay, you know, and it just made things easier, you know, and it saves on paper, I don't have to print everything out anymore. And just it saves room in the office or, you know, just a lot of added benefits to how we've switched our accounting system right now. So...
We're saving trees.
Yes. Yes, we are.
Well, Jane, this, this has been super insightful. So thank you for sharing that. I think folks will find it interesting, especially those who may not know enough about our financial component of the organization. So I think they'll enjoy hearing some of these fun stories. Before we wrap up. I wanted to do a couple rapid fire fun questions with you like we did with the board members previously. So are you ready to answer some quick questions? Whatever comes to the top of your mind. No, no intense thought provided.
Okay. All right.
All right. Here we go. Window or aisle seat?
What is the song that you know all the words to?
I don't know.
I'm sure there's one.
There's a Halsey song and I can't think of the name of it that really like it. I can't think of the name of it though.
But that might be too much. I thought I'd make you sing it, but that might be too much.
Yeah, I think it's like something. Wish you were sad or you know, something like that. I can't even think of the name of it
And who's the artist again?
Oh, okay. Oh, okay. I'll have to look for that. Yeah. What is something most people don't know about you?
I used to, or I was born three weeks late. And my mom always said I was never going to be on time. And I was going to be late to my funeral. And she was actually almost late to her funeral so.
Oh. That's interesting.
Yes, her flight got delayed. Because they we brought her from Florida to Indiana. And her flight got delayed by a day.
Oh, my goodness. Well, that's gosh, you want to talk about making some kind of interesting statement like that come true. What are the odds?
Yes. But yeah, I was born three weeks late. And I was if I'd been born on time, I would have been considered a preemie because I would have been under five pounds.
Salty or sweet?
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Gosh, I'm not really sure there's a lot of them sometimes
Oh well pick one.
People not paying attention at the stoplight and going when it's green.
Oh like they sit too long?
Yeah. Well, you know, that's the quick minute that you check your phone?
Yes. You know, or they're driving down the street and looking at their phone and not the traffic in front of them.
Yes, I'm sometimes guilty of that. I try not to be but sometimes
I've learned not to do that here in Florida.
Oh, I can imagine.
Cuz there's, you know, a lot of people who just don't pay teacher down here so
Or don't know where they're going. Right. The tourists are like, oh, sorry.
Yes, exactly. You have to be on your toes.
I bet. What is your favorite season?
What is your favorite holiday?
Holiday would be Easter.
That's a different one.
My birthday is around Easter.
Ah, that makes sense. Yeah. What is your favorite word?
Oh, back in college is watcha.
It was it was this thing we said if we'd like something we said watcha.
Alright. What is your favorite type of flower?
Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
I don't drink coffee. So it would have to be probably Dunkin Donuts. I do. I don't go to either one of those.
Alright, then. Beach or mountains?
I kind of figured if you live in Florida. Lastly, heels or sneakers?
I had a feeling.
I'm the casual person. So yes.
Well, and that probably fits nicely in you know, Florida. Sunny weather. Right?
Summer, beach. All of it. I can see why you've migrated down south.
Yes, definitely. So...
Well, Jane, this has been so much fun. Thank you for joining me today.
Thank you for having me.
And to our listeners until next time