State of the Sorority

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International Council's (IC) last in-person meeting of the biennium took place May 6-8 at International Headquarters. Our meeting was primarily focused on strategic planning and setting the course for the operations of the workforce in the next fiscal year. The following are highlights from our meeting. 

Appointments: We are pleased to share that current Nominating Committee Chairwoman Krista Davis (Bowling Green) has been reappointed to the role for the 2018-20 term. Krista's leadership was instrumental in guiding the 2016-18 Nominating Committee through an updated and enhanced process for slating International Council and the Nominating Committee. We are confident that Krista's continued leadership in this area will help us solidify the important work of the Nominating Committee moving forward.

We are also pleased to share that Leigh Ann Price (Texas Tech) has been reappointed chairwoman of the Facilities Management Company (FMC) Board of Managers for a two-year term, ending in 2020. Additionally, Ruthe Wynn (California State-Long Beach) has been reappointed to the FMC Board of Managers for a three-year term. Leigh Ann and Ruthe continue in their current roles with the rest of the Board of Managers to execute the FMC's vision of a financially self-sustaining organization, providing resources and services that foster security and hospitality at all Gamma Phi Beta facilities. IC also discussed our desire to see the FMC board grow to an eight-member board from its current seven members in an effort to continue to add depth and leadership to this highly-skilled team. We will work with the FMC to facilitate this future growth.

Committee Reports: Our board and standing committees have been in operation for several months and have started to normalize their operations, including regular reporting to IC regarding the work of the committee. IC reviewed and approved reports from the Bylaws Committee, Extension Committee, Governance and Personnel Committee, Leadership Development Committee, Membership Review Committee, Nominating Committee and Ritual and History Committee.

Convention 2018: Did you know that Convention is a little more than a month from now? In an effort to continue our preparation, IC spent time discussing the proposed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, reviewed the Convention schedule and approved the list of Convention award winners. As a reminder, Convention registration closes on May 30. Everything you need to know about Convention, from Convention business to what to pack, can be found at

Criteria for Chapter Closure: Gamma Phi Beta strives to build a member experience that reflects the best Gamma Phi Beta by providing a quality member experience. From time to time, collegiate chapters struggle to facilitate this type of membership experience. When collegiate chapters are no longer willing or able to provide a quality member experience that reflects the best Gamma Phi Beta, International Council may intervene by closing a collegiate chapter. In order to close collegiate chapters with consistent consideration, International Council has adopted the use of a set of data points that standardize the information that is considered when evaluating chapter closure.

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, as well as a determination of the number of new chapter opportunities to include in the next fiscal year's budget. We reviewed the current trends in extension, which show a decline in overall opportunities and reaffirmed our use of our rubric for the next fiscal year as we continue to make data-driven decisions about new chapter growth. 

Fiscal Year 2018-19 Budget Review: Led by Chief Financial Officer Laurie Meili, we conducted a review of the draft 2018-19 Sorority budget. Through a concerted effort of our workforce, we were presented a base operational budget with a small surplus. We have a long list of funding requests for the next fiscal year and will evaluate the budget on a quarterly basis to determine if unspent funds can be redirected to funding requests that will enhance programs and services to our members. We will review the next draft of the 2018-19 budget on our next conference call. 

Fraternity and Sorority Experience Survey: Gamma Phi Beta just received the preliminary 2017-18 data from the annual Fraternity Sorority Experience Survey (FSES). This is the fourth year Gamma Phi Beta participated in this survey and we saw the highest response rate this year, with more than 6,800 responses. Our chapters and the volunteers working with our chapters will receive chapter-specific data soon that they can use to develop plans and areas of focus to improve or enhance their member experience in the coming year. Of note in the results are the reasons our members say they are a member of a Sorority. Their top three responses are friendships, philanthropy and community service and social opportunities, respectively. These represent the same top three choices as the previous year. As this was our fourth year of participation, we are able to see emerging trends in the data that will help us as we continue to evaluate the programs, services and resources that will enhance our member experience.

International Council Working Rules: In preparation for the final transition to a full-functioning strategic policy governance model, IC adopted revised working rules effective August 1, 2018. Revisions address things like changes in IC member titles, operations of the board under the governance model and committee expectations.

Nominating Committee Proposal: The role of the Nominating Committee has changed considerably with the implementation of the governance model for International Council and the passage of the related Bylaws amendments. Currently, the collegiate members of the Nominating Committee are chosen by International Council in the second year of the biennium though a lottery system. Given the changing nature of the work of the Nominating Committee, specifically the expanded role of the committee throughout the entire biennium, the 2016-18 Nominating Committee proposed a change to the Gamma Phi Beta Rules and Procedures that will align the appointment of the collegiate members of the Nominating Committee closer to the election of the committee at Convention. Moving forward, we will institute an application process for the collegiate member representation on the committee. As we finalize the process for the 2018-20 Nominating Committee, application criteria and materials will be available on, and this change will be reflected in our next update to the Rules and Procedures.

NPC Think Tank Discussion: In the fall of 2017, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) Executive Committee announced the formation of three think tanks to evaluate and make recommendations about the structure of NPC, recruitment and expanded membership models and public relations and marketing. The think tanks were made up of a combination of representatives from all 26 member organizations and their initial reports were distributed in April. Later this month, the NPC Board of Directors will determine next steps and outcomes from the think tank proposals. IC spent time discussing the proposals and determining Gamma Phi Beta's support of recommendations from the think tanks in order to ensure we properly represent our viewpoint to NPC. 

SWOT Analysis and Strategic Plan Review: A large portion of our meeting focused on a review of the strategic plan. We started with a SWOT – or strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – analysis for the Sorority. This discussion included several volunteer leaders and members of staff, who as a workforce are uniquely positioned to provide insights into our current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We had a robust discussion that helped inform our review of the 2017-18 strategic plan and discussion about the draft of the 2018-19 plan. Our workforce team has taken the information from our SWOT discussion and will be finalizing our strategic plan for the next fiscal year in the coming weeks. Please keep an eye on the Strategic Plan page under My Member News for updates about strategic plan progress.

Workforce Update: Our managing directors and Panhellenic Affairs Vice President Sandy Burba provided an update about the work of our workforce teams, including trends, statistics, project updates and more. This quarterly update helps keep IC better informed about the daily work of our teams.

Review of Biennium: As this was the last in-person meeting for the 2016-18 International Council, we took the time to review the successes and challenges of the biennium. We had much to reflect on, from the hiring of a new executive director, to strategic policy governance focused on data-driven decision making, to fostering the transition of department focused work to a balanced and strategic portfolio of work. We have also seen changes in our industry that represent areas where we need to be nimble and responsive in the coming years, including the changing demographics of collegiate members and a tenuous campus climate based on the behaviors of a few that affect the whole. We are working hard to ensure we are aware of the trends that represent both challenges and opportunities for the next International Council and the future of the organization.

It has been a great pleasure for the 2016-18 International Council to serve our members and we thank you for your trust, feedback and support as we endeavor to inspire the highest type of womanhood. We look forward to seeing many of you at Convention next month! 

From Your IC Archive

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

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.


Convention 2018
June 27-July 1, 2018 (Dallas, TX)

REAL Leadership Experience
July 19-22, 2018 (Norman, OK)