By Jaynellen Behre Jenkins, Phi Beta (East Stroudsburg U), International Vice President
Preparing for AOII International Convention each biennium comes with palpable levels of excitement. Social media becomes a buzz as our staff reveals schedules, speakers, themed events and the what to wear lists associated. Personally, I admit that my packing game is strong! Color coded packing spreadsheets are in my wheelhouse of talents. My tips include arranging for room snacks and keeping a pair of socks in my bag for when I get cold during business sessions. Beyond all this however, I also prepare for International Convention by digging in deeper to the higher level purpose of our gathering together as members of AOII Council. I lean into the lessons we find in our Ritual and the rich legacy passed down to us from our Founders and generations of leaders that came before us.
Two questions always emerge clearly in my mind.
- How do we ensure that through our actions we represent the needs of our sisters and a vision that will place the Fraternity in a strong position well into the future?When we officially open convention, our ritual reminds us to lead with democracy and friendship. Collectively as members of AOII Council we gather to make decisions for the broader community of our sisters during the business sessions. Come prepared to IC with your sisters’ feedback in mind so your choices reflect your membership. Listen to one another with the intention to understand the needs that will be fulfilled by the decisions being made. Opening up our minds and hearts with friendship and learning from one another as we carry out the business of the fraternity is how we pass our legacy of strong leadership from one generation to the next in AOII.AOII Executive Board members have been working to gather the ideas and vision for the Fraternity from our sisters across the biennium during a variety of membership connection activities. We reviewed and reflected upon your submissions of amendments to the AOII Constitution and Bylaws. In addition, our Nominating Trustees have worked diligently to bring forth candidates for election to the next AOII Executive Board and Foundation Board. The promises our elected candidates make when installed as officers include helping our sisterhood grow to its highest potential. In turn, members of AOII Council also promise to assist these newly elected officers with earnest love and willing labor. We each play a significant role in advancing AOII’s interests as we move the Fraternity forward. Being fully present and well engaged during our business sessions and ritual activities is one way we do this. By doing so, you will gather inspiration and enthusiasm to spread among your chapter members when you return home.
- How do we capture the joy, and inspiration found at International Convention and transfer that enthusiasm to our sisters when we return home?
Inspirational moments will come at us fast during the International Convention experience. These will occur during presentations by keynote speakers, and through educational sessions. Personally, I keep a small journal handy and I take notes! Inspiration and joy will also be found in the down time you spend with sisters at meals and simply chatting in the lobby. Embrace the opportunity to connect, learn, and grow through the new connections you are making. Some of the most influential AOII sisters in my life have been those I met at AOII international events. The most transformational AOII leaders I know make time to explicitly share all they learn shortly after returning home while it was fresh in their mind. My closest circle of AOII sisters always gather for a meal shortly after I return from AOII Convention.Ultimately, remember International Convention is also a time to celebrate friendships, achievements, and the sense of belonging we find in AOII. It is through our relationships that we grow our leadership skills so we can be of great service to our communities. Embrace it all with ardent enthusiasm and then bring that light with you when you return home!