The newly elected officers of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity traveled to Dallas, Texas on January 14-16 for a hands-on leadership training institute. Attending the annual Mid Year Leadership Conference, eight leaders from each chapter connected with brothers, got answers about how to run the chapter and engage in the leadership of Pi Kappa Phi.
The “Ignite” theme of Mid Year Leadership Conference 2011 is a call of action to member of Pi Kappa Phi; a challenge that acknowledges the fact that one individual has the potential to make a difference in the lives of the members with which he interacts. The success or failure of a chapter is contingent on the decisions of those who lead it.
Empowering members to ignite change in their chapters required some motivation. Keynote speakers Steve Whitby and TJ Sullivan helped students connect the conference message to their individual chapter environments. Whitby (Zeta Iota, Indiana University of Pennsylvania) explained that making change in a chapter can be a foreign concept. “Life feels different when you begin to understand that gravity is broken,” he said. Empowering students to adjust the “status-quo mentality,” he challenged students to change the environment to allow growth.
TJ Sullivan (Alpha Psi, Indiana University) furthered that message by focusing on the communication between chapter leaders and other members. His presentation, “The Apathy Myth: Real Answers for Unmotivated Members,” gave specific examples and techniques for making each member’s contribution count. Sullivan also explained that each member may have a unique role within the Fraternity and acceptance is crucial.
Fraternity CEO Mark Timmes (Alpha Epsilon, University of Florida) gave a personal account of how he “ignited” change within his chapter, taking a 30-man chapter to more than 100 in a short period of time utilizing limited resources. Pi Kappa Phi Foundation executive director Tom Atwood (Beta Eta, Florida State) detailed changes to the redesigned Pi Kapp College for emerging leaders. He also explained how the Foundation supports the education and leadership efforts of the Fraternity. Serving in his fifth year on the National Council, National Treasurer Tracy Maddux (Zeta Theta, University of Texas) provided insight into the growth and direction of the Fraternity. He announced that Pi Kappa Phi is now the tenth largest national fraternity. Maddux also detailed efforts in service learning, digital communications, chapter housing, leadership in the interfraternity world, leadership conferences and opportunities, and member development.
The three-day conference was anchored by breakout sessions in 10 different tracks designed for each officer: Archon, Vice archon (member recruitment), Treasurer, Secretary (sound chapter operations), Warden (member education), Historian (alumni relations), Chaplain (living the ritual), Risk Management, Push America, and Standards Board. Volunteer faculty and Headquarters staff facilitated these leadership training sessions. Chapters from the same geographic region also meet for idea exchange and networking opportunities.
Archon Scott Mayeaux along with Kevin Brueckner, Tyler Stahl, Garron Greene, David Hogan, Chase Harvey, and Kolt Kays attended the conference. Beta Omicron Alumni Association Vice President Lane Luckie served as master of ceremonies for the conference and as a faculty member in the Risk Management Track. Alumnus Wes Breeden served as a faculty member for the Baltimore Mid Year. Nick Breaux, also a staff member for Push America, served as faculty for that respective track at the St. Louis Mid Year.
Held each January, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity hosts Mid Year Leadership Conferences in Charlotte, NC; Baltimore, MD; Dallas, TX; and St. Louis, MO.