Convention Reflection: Finding Confidence, Ambition and Happiness In The Next Biennium

by: Jaynellen Behre Jenkins Phi Beta (East Stroudsburg U), International Vice President

Jaynellen Jenkins, 2019-2021 International President

The International Convention “post-game” is often just as fun to watch unfold on social media as the build up to the Convention in the first place! Sisters are quickly consumed with following the latest AOII hashtag for posted pictures or a new friend/“follow” requests. It is a time when sisters can reconnect and make plans to get together. Congratulations messages are shared across platforms for our award winners, presenters and special honorees. Inspiration found within our keynote speakers is readily shared with those around us. The common threads throughout all of this is our bonds of sisterhood and the overwhelming sense of belonging that we find within our ties of AOII friendships. And overall, our hope is that we have left one another inspired to embrace the challenges and opportunities of a new biennium together.

A great source of AOII inspiration was found in the messages shared by our keynote presenter, Tunde Oyeneyin who spoke to attendees on Confidence, Ambition, and Finding Happiness. Tunde is a one of Peloton’s Elite Cycling Instructors, Motivational Speaker, and Founder of S.P.E.A.K (Surrender, Power, Authenticity, Knowledge) an Instagram Live series focused upon spotlighting the stories of those who thrive in the face of adversity.  In sharing her life journey with us, she provided motivation to build our personal confidence, and to inspire our ambitions and those of the women around us. Jessica Li, AOII’s Director of Education and Training, facilitated this session in an interview format. I spent this time at a watch party with our AOII Executive Board Members and I couldn’t help but take copious notes during this general session. Here are few of my favorite takeaways from this inspirational speaker and how I think we could apply it to our personal and AOII lives in the next biennium:

Confidence is a skill, not a trait! Days where we lack confidence does not define us.

Tunde explained confidence with a cyclical reference. When we exude confidence, others see this in us and in turn they reinforce our confidence back upon us. In AOII, let’s consider how we reinforce confidence in our sisters. We can do this through mentoring rising leaders, those with common interests or career pursuits. Tunde advised that,

“When you find your light as a result of trusting yourself, then you are able to light the spark in someone else.”

Authenticity is the intersection of truth and understanding. Motivate from a position of understanding.

Let us dedicate ourselves this biennium to being authentic with one another.  Allow one another the grace and space to be reflective about where we need to grow. Take pause to truly listen to one another, determine our needs and how we can help each other reach the better outcomes we seek. Tunde shared that,

“We can only be a bridge to understanding when we come to a place where we can truly hear other people’s lived experiences.”

Female friendships are powerful! Empower those around you and consider who are the next leaders!

 Tunde explained that when she first shared her idea for S.P.E.A.K. with her best friend, she did not respond by saying this idea was crazy.  Quite the opposite occurred.  Her best friend showed up the next day with PowerPoint slides to show her just how to accomplish this plan!  We each have the power to Inspire the Ambitions of our sisters through the support we give them when they step up to lead a committee, take on a new role, apply for a graduate program, or struggle with a class. Let’s remember to be that friend upon whom your sisters have no fear to call!! Tunde also stated,

“There is nothing more beautiful than when a woman can acknowledge her friends’ and sisters’ brilliance.”

The weeks following a newly elected AOII Executive Board being installed at the International Convention typically involve leadership transition activities, board member training, and time dedicated to developing shared expectations. Doesn’t this sound much like officer transition activities at the chapter level?  It absolutely is!! Just like our officers and volunteers, we find inspiration for our board service through motivational speakers such as Tunde Oyeneyin that informs our partnership in leading the Fraternity.  Our sisters’ engagement in our business sessions, and focus groups also fuels our vision for the Fraternity. As Chair of the Executive Board’s Membership Connection Committee, I am always listening from the perspective of gathering feedback and input. Hearing your voices is impactful and we have truly valued this time where we joined together in sisterhood. You all inspire our confidence and ambition and we wish you great happiness in this next biennium!

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