By Lacey Bowman, International Vice President of Finance, Chi Delta (U of Colorado)
While in college, I had a variety of summer jobs. One summer, I worked as a camp counselor for young children – the mother of one had convinced me to go through sorority recruitment the previous Fall. I worked as a beach lifeguard in coastal Massachusetts. I worked at a golf course, frying up chicken fingers and French fries for kids by the pool. When it came time my Senior year to start looking for a post-graduation job, I struggled with how to link the skills I gained through these experiences in a way that would persuade future employers to hire me for a job in accounting.
In addition to these summer jobs, I had a wealth of AOII experience. One of AOII’s Ends is Leadership – AOII members develop and demonstrate impactful leadership and valuable life skills. While I was in school long before AOII had developed Ends, one of AOII’s values has always been to develop leadership skills in their members. This was often a reason women wanted to join a sorority. The skills I developed as a collegiate member and officer of AOII easily translate to any professional job. And so, when I went into job interviews, I told potential employers about my AOII experiences of working within a budget, presenting in front of groups, reaching consensus among members, and deciding when to compromise and when to hold to my convictions.
AOII’s leadership program and officer structure has continued to evolve. The current collegiate officer structure further links our roles into professional experiences, as many officer teams tie directly to how companies operate. The Executive Team is an AOII chapter’s C-Suite, where the officers lead the chapter while relying on the input and direction from their individual teams, or corporate departments. The teams then work jointly on projects that affect different areas of chapter operations, which is exactly how corporate departments work together toward company goals. There are so many skills gained during your AOII membership that can be translated into the professional setting or other philanthropic ventures.
As you think about “what’s next” after you graduate, take stock of all that you’ve accomplished as an AOII member. Did you manage a chapter budget? Organize a social event and contract with vendors? Raise money through a Strike Out Arthritis event? Plan recruitment events? Be proud of your accomplishments and detail specifics about your leadership. Your interviewer or hiring manager may have been Greek, and so they know what your experience has been. However, they may have not been Greek, so the details of your responsibilities with your officer role are needed in addition to the title of the position that you held.
I continue to be involved in AOII for many reasons. One of the top reasons is the way that AOII prepares young women with leadership skills for life after college. AOII chapters provide real world leadership opportunities in an environment that fosters innovation and learning. Take the skills you’ve learned as a collegiate member and go do great things out in the world!