by Lisa Niedenthal, Beta Phi (Indiana U), International Vice President
I like Brené Brown’s definition of connection as, “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Connection is energy. It is powerful and electric. It moves us and motivates us to reach our shared potential.
Since Convention, when Council approved the Carver Model of Governance, members of the Executive Board have had an ongoing conversation about connection and how we can stay true to our role in this model while keeping a real and valuable connection as sisters in AOII. One of the manifestations of this conversation has been our monthly connection activity organized by the Executive Membership Connection Committee. This committee’s purpose is to enable constructive board dialogue with members related to issues with our Ends. We want to get feedback from the membership and stay in our strategic “lane.”
With that in mind, Executive Board members are paired with PIPs, Network Directors and Standing Committee Chairs and given a topic for discussion. Recent topics include our Ends and whether they accurately articulate our priorities for the Fraternity and what constitutes as an exceptional Properties experience. Every month we have the opportunity to not only interact with a sister but also dive into a substantive discussion. While we start with the curated topic, one never knows where the conversation will lead. It is in these moments that even deeper connections are created and fostered.
So far, these structured conversations have been a wonderful and enlightening tool for me personally and as a Board member. I have said very little (a challenge for me!) but rather tried to listen carefully to better absorb my sisters’ thoughts and ideas. Each of us brings distinct and important points of view and opinions about AOII. Our backgrounds, experiences, relationships and current circumstances all factor into those opinions and allow for our connection to be even greater.