Relax, Discuss, Envision: Executive Committee Retreat January 2013

A view from the river.
My husband Bob and I love to entertain at our house on the Homosassa River in Homosassa, Florida. My husband started going to that area of Florida for fishing trips and we loved it so much we knew we wanted to make it our home away from home. We love to allow people the space to relax and unwind allowing for deep and open conversations. It was for these reasons that the NPC Executive Committee decided to have our January 2013 retreat at the river.

The NPC Executive Committee in Homsassa, Florida.
While at the river we laughed a lot and made some great memories, but we also envisioned much for the Conference to accomplish over the next 10 months. We plan to work on marketing, branding and College Panhellenic services along with ongoing board and volunteer development. Being an authentic leader means letting people see the real you. It was a lot to think about and digest, but being at the river allows for those meaningful, thoughtful discussions.

It is my hope that my fellow Executive Committee members walked away with a better sense of direction for the next 10 months but also some peace from time spent with friends in a serene location.

My Hopes for us in 2013

Last year at this time I shared that I don’t do resolutions in January because I believe we should all, as my momma told me, “Do your best every day.” When I began thinking about the New Year and some pearls of wisdom I might share, I kept coming back to a conversation I had on New Year’s Eve with my dear friends about our hopes for 2013.

Here are my hopes for us in 2013:

I hope that we have the opportunity to serve someone else. Our world is in constant turmoil and people are in constant need. There is always an opportunity to serve another and I personally have found those opportunities and experiences when I have been in service to someone else to be the most rewarding for me. Service to another also puts your own situation in perspective.

I hope each day we find something to give us joy. Whether it be a visit from a blue heron at the river house or a phone call from an old friend, finding the joy in the small things in life will shed light on the dark times.

I hope that we are able to deal with the issues that are presented to us using our values and experiences. We can never live drama-free lives but it is how we deal with the drama that builds our character. Drawing upon the strength within us to deal with these issues is all we can hope for.

All we can do is our best every day and HOPE that the New Year brings as much joy as sorrow and humility with success.


In the past year, the National Panhellenic Conference has been approached by more casting directors, producers, and film crews than ever before - all in the quest to sweet talk us into soliciting our members for participation in reality TV shows.

All claim to be tasteful, well thought out and non-exploitive. The approaches range from simple and sweet to swagger-filled promises of only putting the sorority brand in a positive light.

Dare to say it, but we're doubtful. And to each, we've declined or simply advised our member groups to proceed with caution.

Unfortunately, the solicitation often doesn't stop there. It frequently goes through levels of social media searching for collegiate members on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites looking to land a single hopeful with TV stars in her eyes.

For anyone who has been a consumer of reality TV, it's clear that positives are in short supply, especially when involving the depiction of young women. Often, the female gender is tortured into the most exaggerated stereotypes that defy description.

Ohio State researchers writing for Psychology Today conducted a survey on the viewing habits of consumers and found that fantasy is the fuel that lights the fire.

"Reality TV allows Americans to fantasize about gaining status through automatic fame. Ordinary people can watch the shows, see people like themselves and imagine that they too could become celebrities by being on television. It does not matter as much that the contestants often are shown in an unfavorable light; the fact that millions of Americans are paying attention means that the contestants are important. . The message of reality television is that ordinary people can become so important that millions will watch them. And the secret thrill of many of those viewers is the thought that perhaps next time, the new celebrities might be them."

This is a sad statement of our world today - that fame is not achieved through hard work and perseverance but rather by chance.

Those of us in sorority know better. Fame and fortune are earned, rather than spotlighted in an exaggerated drama. And the fleeting moment of TV fame is often not the kind that most of us would want cited on a resume.

Of course, all choices are personal ones. We cannot say that a sorority woman would never win the Powerball. And we cannot say a sorority woman might never find fame through reality TV. But we know the odds aren't good.