Delta Zeta Norma Minch Andrisek Leadership Conference

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
August 28, 2015

Have you ever looked back at your life and reflected on the path you took that impacted your life years later?  My mother encouraged me to join a sorority when I went off to college and I pledged Delta Zeta in my sophomore year.  I eventually transferred to another college and did not remain an active member, much less an active alumni.  Can you imagine my surprise when Delta Zeta wrote a wonderful article about my service as President General of NSDAR in The Lamp, the Delta Zeta official national magazine, and a few months later called to say I was selected the 2014 Woman of the Year?   Trust me, “stunned” does not begin to describe my reaction!

In July I had a marvelous opportunity to visit Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, site of the Delta Zeta Headquarters and the campus on which the sorority was organized in 1902. There are currently 165 collegiate chapters in the U.S. and Canada.  Over 254,000 women have been initiated, many of which are DAR members also. One of the Sorority’s Founders, Anne Simmons Friedline, was state regent of Colorado in 1927. Delta Zeta has supported speech and hearing for over 60 years and is now a partner with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which recently honored the sorority at their gala.   

Miami University is one of the oldest public universities in the country, made possible by an ordinance signed by President George Washington in 1795 and chartered in 1809. One of Miami University's most famous graduates was Benjamin Harrison, who later became a President of the United States and whose wife, Caroline, became the first President General of NSDAR. Also of interest, Professor William Holmes McGuffey revolutionized the education of generations of Americans when he conducted research for his Eclectic Readers series while teaching at Miami from 1826 to 1836.

Delta Zeta holds a biennial Norma Minch Andrisek Leadership Conference in which chapter officers from all over the country are invited to Miami University for a weekend of personal empowerment.  It was my first opportunity to visit our headquarters near the campus and I was as excited as many of the collegiates.  The Executive Director, Cindy Menges, took me to Headquarters on Friday afternoon where I was invited to greet the young women who are the emerging leaders.  The Headquarters are in a lovely old Victorian house to which a wing has been added for sleeping rooms for the Board and Foundation members.  Delta Zeta Foundation President Virginia Loftin reminded the young collegiates to view the photographs of all of the past National Presidents and consider the impact each of those women had on the organization, through difficult times in history.  It reminded me very much of the portraits of Presidents General in our Headquarters and the challenges which greeted each of them.

After a picnic dinner on the campus, the opening session began.  Diane M. Stecher, National President, gave remarks, followed by the presentation of the Woman of the Year Award which includes a gorgeous brooch.  I was invited to offer brief remarks and of course, shared a bit of the mission and history of DAR, but also reflected on how my brief time in my sorority chapter impacted my life years later.  “To those whom my life may touch in slight measure, May I give graciously of what is mine.”  Those words from the Delta Zeta creed have guided my life. In fact, the first time I ever heard the word ‘philanthropy’ was when I became a member of Delta Zeta. I was raised with the feeling that I was very blessed in many ways, and it was my responsibility to give back. I learned that philanthropy was not just donating money; rather it was giving of oneself and using our God given talents to serve others.

The Delta Zeta Leadership Conference featured two dynamic speakers from the Leadership and Training Institute.  Erin Fischer spoke to the over 400 young women about confidence on Friday night.  The speaker Friday morning was Krystal Clark who talked about resiliency, using a rubber band as an example.  Sometimes we feel stretched to the max, sometimes we think we are going to snap, yet we are resilient enough to bounce back.

I met so many dynamic young women and tried to share with them how important this leadership training is to them personally and professionally.  Let’s put it this way - when I went to college career choices were limited to nursing or education.  The sky is the limit for these young ladies and they are smart enough to take advantage of opportunities like these.

I returned to the Headquarters to greet the members in the Women of Achievement Room in which my display was located.  Sierra Dorey, Chapter President at Northeastern State University, told me that she was the DAR Good Citizen and it helped her pay for college.  Though the requirements for membership in a sorority and in DAR are different, what we have in common is the impact of strong women working together for the greater good.  More importantly to me, personally, we share the sisterhood of women encouraging women.  Many others told me of family members who have encouraged them to join.  Let’s hope we welcome many more of these dynamic young women to DAR!

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