The two greatest gifts you can give to an organization is a strong legacy and passionate leaders ready to pick up where you left off, and it is never too early to start looking for those who will lead after you. Every chapter leader is where they are because of women before them that inspired them, pushed them and gave them opportunities to learn and grow. Whether you have handpicked your successor or a freshman you barely know really wants to help, you have both a responsibility and an incredible gift as a mentor. As you begin assigning responsibilities and working with the women in your chapter, here are a few things to remember.
Look for potential and passion.
The leaders of tomorrow are going to be the members putting forth the extra effort today. From the junior who is always willing to help with ritual to the freshman who is applying for every assistant position, potential and passion can be easy to spot. At the same time, the quiet member sitting in the back of the room could be the president in two years. Sometimes passion is quiet, and it takes a thoughtful leader to see the potential of her members.
Work with those who want to learn.
You can’t do it all by yourself, so why not delegate to your sisters who want to be involved? When you start giving little jobs to women you see potential in, you will build their confidence and their leadership skills.
Be honest. Be encouraging.
What were your biggest challenges? When did you doubt yourself? How did you overcome the problems you faced? The sisters you are mentoring want to learn from you, and they will always appreciate when you are honest with them about the good, the bad and the ugly. But remember to be encouraging too. For every low, there was a high. For every bad day, there was a great one.
Nothing will mean more to your sisters than the praise of their mentors. If you want them to have the confidence to take on a leadership role in the future, always make sure they know you appreciate all the work they are doing and thank them personally and in front of the chapter.
Share your love for the position.
Every leader can be a mentor. As Maya Angelou said, “In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. You must care. You don’t have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don’t need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with.”
By Mary Carol Butterfield (Georgia)
Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, Mary Carol joined Gamma Phi Beta at the Delta Upsilon Chapter at the University of Georgia. Mary Carol is a journalism and political science major with a passion for writing, traveling and college football. She has served as ritual chairwoman, new member educator assistant and attended the 2016 Gamma Phi Beta Convention in Atlanta. Living in Delta Upsilon’s beautiful house has been Mary Carol’s favorite part of being in Gamma Phi. From Saturday brunches with all the girls in the house to mattress surfing down the stairs, living in 397 was a dream come true.