by Debbie Tam, Beta Phi (Indiana U), International Vice President
There is nothing quite like the energy and excitement of nearly 800 AOIIs gathering for a weekend of leadership training and sisterhood. When the Board arrives a few days early for meetings, the Marriott is practically empty – the calm before the storm. The Network volunteers start arriving the next day and the increase in the energy level is palpable. Soon the collegiate officers and alumnae volunteers filter in and the hotel is positively buzzing. After the excitement of catching up with those we haven’t seen for a while settles down, the business of furthering our Fraternity gears up.
I am eager to hear feedback from our chapters as they implement our new mental health curriculum, “Behind Happy Faces”. Ross Szabo’s Power Session was excellent and the training session I sat in on was impactful. Our chapter leadership was engaged asking thoughtful questions on how best to present this program to their chapters. I think the interactive nature of the program will lead our chapters to great conversations and a greater understanding of caring for and about each other.
The Learning Paths offered this year held something for everyone and it was hard to decide which sessions to attend. The ones I ended up selecting centered on empowering our own selves as well as each other. The messages – some sobering, some uplifting – left me with a greater appreciation for what some of us deal with on a daily basis as well as thankful that we have the strength of our sisterhood to support each other.
Whether it’s LI or Convention, a highlight of either AOII event is our Awards Dinner. It is always uplifting to recognize our alumnae and collegiate chapters for their tremendous achievements the previous year. I think everyone leaves the awards ceremony eager to return to their chapters to either celebrate their recognition or inspired to lead their chapters to be the next recognized. I am always a little awed and a lot proud of what our AOII sisters have accomplished, both individually and collectively.
I thought the perfect way to wrap up LI was Erin Fischer’s Power Session, “Radically Unfinished”. I loved her conversation on authentic confidence. In a large room full of confident women, Erin engaged us all with her talk on how to be our most confident selves. She had us listening, laughing, and even dancing! We ended the weekend with the high level of energy and excitement with which we started.
I look forward to carrying that energy and excitement with me as we finish up this biennium. It is truly inspiring to see the passion and positivity in our Fraternity’s leadership. I am confident we will have a lot to celebrate in Orlando. See you there!