by Jaynellen Jenkins, Phi Beta (East Stroudsburg U), International Vice President
Happy 2021 sisters! Welcome to a new year with new hopes and new ambitions! A new year includes new leadership transitions across the Fraternity. Many of our collegiate and alumnae chapters transition leadership roles at this time of year. The year 2021 will also include the assembling of our International Council for the selection of the women to serve on the Executive Board and Foundation Board who reflect our vision for AOII’s future. It’s an excellent time to consider how each and every one of us contributes to the vision for AOII’s future by living our shared values at the local and international level.
Our members often share that AOII provides them with a safe space to practice and grow a transferable skill set. As stated in the Ends Policies, “AOII members have relevant leadership and life skills that yield impactful results.” We seek to inspire the ambition of our sisters through a variety of leadership experiences. How can we ensure that these experiences yield impactful results? Here are just a couple of ways we can dedicate ourselves in 2021 to impact the leadership development of our sisters:
Empowerment through Delegation:
Empowered women, empower women! Empowering through delegation allows our sisters to develop the prerequisite skills for future leadership roles. Chapter level delegation to committee members is key to your succession planning. At the Executive Board level, we delegate to our members and staff partners in a variety of ways. For instance, International Standing Committees such as the Education and Training Committee are empowered to collaborate with the HQ staff to host leadership development events such as Leadership Academy. We entrust to our sisters to deliver programming. The Executive Board then reviews member feedback to assess the outcomes and to inform our future vision. We also delegate to our Human Resource Committee the task of identifying future leaders. Learn more about alumnae volunteer opportunities!
Empowerment through Civil Discourse:
AOII leadership experiences should also provide the forum for a healthy debate. Listening to differences of opinion with an open heart is an excellent way to demonstrate our shared fraternal virtues. American University’s Project on Civil Discourse shares what civil discourse is and is not. Practicing civil discourse at chapter meetings is the means in which our members can grow negotiation skills, practice open mindedness, learn to restrain judgement and lead with love. At the Executive Board level, it is our responsibility to do the same. We seek to provide our sisters with a variety of forums to share their voice. Council Members will formally bring forward the voice of our chapters at the International Convention in June. Our officers and volunteers in the field provide us with valuable and practical insights about their vision for our alumnae and collegiate chapters. Leading with integrity and consistency is always our goal. Our AOII Ritual teaches us that we can disagree and still love one another at the same time.
Empowerment through Diversity and Inclusivity:
Be committed to considering if all voices and groups are empowered too. Look across your chapters and determine if you have left out any stakeholders. AOII’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Education (DEIE) Workgroup is playing a vital role in helping the Fraternity to examine paradigms and consider international policies that could be resulting in unintended consequences. Have the courage to do the same locally. AOII Executive Board Members recently read a Harvard Business Review article together that discusses why diverse teams perform better. We are often excited about what we share in common but find the strength in your differences too.
On behalf of AOII Executive Board, I wish you well as you embark on this new journey into 2021. Let us continue to identify and develop leaders that reflect our vision for AOII. We hope that you inspire one another’s ambition, that our combined leadership yields impactful results, and that we all remember to lead with love!