State of the Sorority

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The 2018-20 International Council (IC) met the first weekend of May at International Headquarters. Our May meeting agenda is traditionally full of substantial topics including budget and strategic plan discussions. Our meeting met these criteria – and then some! – with a full day of generative, forward-thinking topics. The following are highlights from our meeting.

Generative Discussions: We began our meeting with a presentation from Dawn Watkins Wiese of Plaid. Dawn structured a conversation with IC and staff around the book “Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education” by Nathan Grawe. We focused on the demographic trends that will impact higher education – and Gamma Phi Beta – over the next 10 years. The presentation helped frame our thinking and additional discussions as we look at the type of student entering college and the projected geographic areas with expansion and contraction in college enrollment.

We followed this presentation with several generative discussions focused on establishing our vision on various topics. These discussions will help us guide our workforce in implementing tactics toward achieving our vision. Our conversations focused on: our vision for one Gamma Phi Beta; positioning Gamma Phi Beta as an interfraternal leader; our philosophy on risk management and policy compliance; our interpretation of our mission and vision; collegiate chapter financial management and health; and alumnae engagement. Based on our conversation, our workforce teams have several action items to follow up on via the strategic plan or work already in progress.

Strategic Plan and SWOT Analysis: Each May IC reviews our progress toward our yearly strategic plan initiatives in addition to completing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis with members of the workforce (professional staff and volunteers). We are moving into the final year of the 2015-20 strategic plan and have seen great progress this year in completing the strategies and tactics created by the workforce for the 2018-19 fiscal year. As a reminder, our strategic plan goals and objectives can be viewed here. After our SWOT analysis, we reaffirmed our dedication to our current goals and objectives and our workforce teams will begin the process of creating strategies and tactics to take us through the 2019-20 fiscal year. As we move into the final year of our current plan, we will begin to focus on our 2020-25 strategic plan and setting the course for our future.

Alumnae Engagement: IC reviewed and approved an alumnae engagement philosophy that will guide our work around this integral area of the member experience. Alumnae engagement is a reciprocal and beneficial relationship between the Sorority and its members. The Sorority works to provide activities and services that keep members’ experiences relevant and remembered, and the member keeps her personal experience with Gamma Phi Beta likewise relevant through active participation and encouragement of others to do the same. Click here to read the full philosophy. We look forward to putting this philosophy into action – be on the lookout for more information in the coming months.

Budget: IC reviewed the 2019-20 fiscal year budget draft and spent a great deal of time discussing our priorities and how our revenue and expenses are aligned with our priorities. We brainstormed ways to increase revenue in non-traditional areas and discussed cuts in spending. It was a difficult conversation. Focusing on financial health in a time of membership contraction is not an easy task and we have been forced to look at how we do business in a way that supports our mission, vision and financial priorities. As this was a draft budget, we will spend time in May and June looking for ways we can be more efficient while still maintaining the sisterhood and friendship that make our organization so unique.

Extension Strategy: In 2017, IC approved the use of a data-driven rubric to evaluate potential extension opportunities. Our strategic plan dictates an annual review of our extension strategy. We reviewed the current trends in extension, which show a decline in overall opportunities and discussed ways to position ourselves for future responsible growth.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Review: Since the introduction of KPIs for collegiate chapters in 2017, we have been collecting and analyzing data that assists us in evaluating chapter health. As we evaluated chapter health based on the KPIs, we saw a marked improvement in filling advisor vacancies in the last 18 months. This was a shared focus of the Regional and New Chapter Teams, and the results show the successes of this focus. As these teams plan for the next academic year, they will use the KPIs to find a shared focus as we work to support healthy chapters.

Policies: As the Collegiate Operations Manual (COM) is updated annually, our staff team led us through a review of several Gamma Phi Beta policies. We specifically focused on the clarity and intent of our policies and how Gamma Phi Beta can and should enforce our policies. We will continue our policy review on our June conference call as we look to finalize all policies and communicate any changes at the start of the upcoming academic year.

REAL Leadership Institute (RLI): We look forward to seeing many of our volunteers and other workforce team members at RLI next month. We have a full schedule ahead of us, with meetings with the boards of all three Gamma Phi Beta entities (the Sorority, the Facilities Management Company and the Foundation) in addition to a robust program focused on recruitment and retention. And, we look forward to spending time with our affiliated house corporation and local facility advisory board members at the Housing and Facilities Conference, which will be held in conjunction with RLI. This event represents a great time for collaboration, learning and sisterhood. See you in Denver!

From Your IC Archive

This archive of From Your IC will be updated on an annual basis.

February 2019 - International Council met February 8 and 9, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia, in conjunction with REAL Leadership Conference for Regions 2 and 3.

November 2018 - International Council met November 2 and 3, 2018, to discuss board development, sisterhood research and our insurance.

August 2018 - Welcome to a new biennium! In this issue you'll learn about our newest International Council (IC).

May 2018 - Our meeting was primarily focused on strategic planning and setting the course for the operations of the workforce in the next fiscal year. 

January 2018 - In this issue you will read about membership statistics, the role of the NPC delegate and the strategic plan.

September 2017 - Read about submitting Bylaws ammendments, insurance renewal, membership statistics and Convention 2018.

June 2017 - Read about the Board and Standing Committee update, personal and Council enrichment, Sorority Growth strategy and a recap of the REAL Leadership Institute.

May 2017 - In this issue you will read about membership statistics, distributed workforce survey results, strategic plan review, Foundation Chair appointment, Transition update and more.

January 2017 - The following topics were reviewed and discussed in this issue: Academic philosophy, alcohol policy update, Rules and Procedures, sisterhood research update, strategic plan update, transition, etc.