State of the Sorority

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International Council (IC) met January 25-27, 2018, in Denver, Colorado. A focus of our meeting was building relationships. We had the opportunity to spend time with the executive councils and advisors from three of our chapters; we participated in working groups with members of professional staff to discuss trends and think about our future; we heard from the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation; and we held a first joint meeting with the Facilities Management Company (FMC) Board of Managers. We packed a great deal of discussion and business into three days! The following topics were discussed and reviewed during our meeting. 

Audit Presentation and Finance Update: A representative from our audit firm, BKD, joined us to discuss the results of our most recent financial audit. We are pleased to report Gamma Phi Beta received an unqualified audit opinion. An unqualified opinion is an independent auditor's judgment that a company's financial records and statements are fairly and appropriately presented, and in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Our Finance Committee also reviewed the results of our audit and IC heard an update on the activities of the committee. Once we wrap up the audit process and finalize documentation from our auditors, financial and audit resources will be available on My Member News. Additionally, Chief Financial Officer Laurie Meili provided a review of our financials through November 30, 2017.

Diversity and Inclusion: Our member education and human resources teams joined us for a discussion about diversity and inclusion and the work being done to integrate this topic into member education. We viewed the Fidelity Diversity and Inclusion module and then participated in the corresponding in-chapter program, which gave us insight into what our chapters are experiencing in member education. We continued our discussion by talking about ways International Council can integrate diversity and inclusion into our actions as a board, and as an organization overall. 

Evaluating Trends: We were pleased to be joined by several guests for a portion of our meeting dedicated to discussing current trends and brainstorming ways to use trends and data to better position Gamma Phi Beta as a leader now, and in the future. With International Headquarters’ leadership team of directors and managing directors, we heard a presentation from Gamma Phi Beta Foundation Development Coordinator Natalie Pearson regarding donor awareness, giving habits and connection to Gamma Phi Beta. Following Natalie’s presentation, we were joined by Colleen Falkenstern (South Carolina), research coordinator at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Colleen presented the research findings of WICHE’s Knocking at the College Door, a report of projections of high school graduates through 2032. This in-depth look at high school graduation rates and profiles of future high school graduates is data that we can use to evaluate the changing landscape of college enrollment and the changing profile of future college students. Following these presentations, we spent time brainstorming and discussing the implications of the data and how Gamma Phi Beta can use this information to inform our strategic plan work, outreach and more. This exercise was just the beginning, but was a valuable way for IC and staff to collaborate and envision the future. 

Joint Meeting with the Facilities Management Company: As mentioned in the opening paragraph, IC and the FMC Board of Managers held a joint meeting. Our day-long meeting was a time to discuss, collaborate and learn about the opportunities and challenges shared by our collective entities. We heard a presentation from Gamma Phi Beta Foundation Executive Director Kitty deKieffer on current Foundation fundraising initiatives and how we can partner and support the Foundation’s work. We received an update from AHC Manager Joel Saslaw about the ongoing work being done by the FMC to support affiliated house corporations (AHCs). We are excited to see this work grow and be implemented, providing support, resources and guidance to our house corporations. We discussed the trends from WICHE mentioned above, and how these trends can inform our collective work and decision making moving forward. And, we discussed other operational and philosophical items related to continuing to strengthen and support each other as collaborative partners dedicated to a quality experience for our members. 

Membership Statistics: With fall recruitment numbers reported, our quarterly membership statistics review revealed some interesting data. Comparing January 2018 to January 2017, our initiated collegiate membership numbers are down 3.3 percent. Our number of new members pledged and new members initiated are also down, 6.4 percent and 5.7 percent respectively. However, our initiation rate is up over last year and our number of depledges is down by 7.3 percent compared to last year. Our gap to total is also up over this time last year. This will be an area of focus that we continue to explore, as the anticipated landscape in college enrollment over the next 10 years will make our membership numbers even more vital to our overall health as an organization. 

Proposed Bylaws Amendments: IC reviewed the work of the Bylaws Committee, and we are in the final stages of completing the proposed Bylaws amendments package that will be distributed in February. Convention delegates will vote on proposed Bylaws at Convention in June. 

Role of the NPC Delegate: As you are aware, on August 1, 2018, the role of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) delegate will move off of International Council to an appointed position. While the make-up of IC will be changing, the role of the NPC delegate remains incredibly important. Therefore, IC solidified the role of the delegate moving forward to include, among other things, her participation as an invited guest to all IC meetings (either in-person, or via conference call depending on her travel schedule). Additionally, she will report on trends, opportunities and challenges in NPC and will remain a member of the Sorority’s Extension Committee. In a nutshell, the NPC delegate will remain a vital and collaborative partner with IC and the rest of the Gamma Phi Beta workforce. 

Staff Resources: As our organization continues to grow and evolve, we are consistently realizing and evaluating increased staffing needs to ensure we are supporting the member experience, providing high levels of customer service and retaining the volunteers and staff who are so important to our operational needs. Each and every staff decision is evaluated to ensure fit, need and budget accommodation. At our January meeting, we proposed the creation of a new staff position to be hired this fiscal year. This new position, alumnae engagement manager, will report to the managing director of Member Experience, and will be responsible for managing and implementing the alumnae chapter experience and alumnae engagement initiatives. We are currently hiring for the position, so if you know of exceptional candidates in the Denver area, or willing to relocate to Denver, please refer them to Director of Human Resources Shira Weiner.

Strategic Plan: IC received an update on the progress of our workforce in executing the strategies and tactics in our strategic plan. It was clear that the strategic plan is truly guiding the daily work of our workforce teams, and we were excited to celebrate the accomplishments made so far this year. To view strategic plan updates, please refer to My Member News.

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. And finally, IC had dinner with the executive councils and advisors from Theta (Denver), Tau (Colorado State) and Beta Rho (Colorado-Boulder) Chapters. This was a time for us to hear from our collegiate members, share more about the role of IC and current Gamma Phi Beta initiatives and enjoy sisterhood and friendship. We are so thankful for every opportunity to celebrate our shared connection in Gamma Phi Beta. 

From Your IC Archive

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

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.


REAL Leadership Adademy  
February 23-25, 2018 (St. Louis, Missouri)

Congressional Hill Visits
April 24-25, 2018 (Washington, D.C.)

International Council Meeting
May 6-8, 2018 (Centennial, Colorado)

Convention Awards Application Deadline
March 16, 2018

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