Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What a Successful Spring!

The Foundation had a terrific spring because of some amazing events including the Transplant Games, our Golf Outing and special alumnae receptions like the one hosted by Carol Schwartz, Zeta. Read on to learn more about the LA Alumnae Gathering as told by Judith Howard Distler (Zeta '68), Past Grand Archon and Foundation Director:

The rain stopped and the sun came out, as we gathered at the home of Carol Schwartz (Z). A group of 16 alumnae came together for a brunch, and they represented several chapters, including Zeta (UCLA) and Mu (Berkeley). Most of the guests were Zetas, including mother-daughter members Marge Wesler and Sandy Warner. Also present was Sandy Danon, from Mu. Sandy Warner and Sharon Russo Kaiser were seniors when I was a freshman pledge! It was wonderful to see everyone and to remember happy times in Phi Sigma Sigma.

GA Sandy Grossman gave a Fraternity update, and Foundation President Kim Hildred gave an overview of the workings and accomplishments of the Foundation.

“We should get together again, soon, so more people can join us” was the feeling expressed as we said goodbye.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How to do 'How do you do?'

Below is the first article from our new Alumnae Newsletter the "e-Legacy." We hope that you will join us in continuing the conversation by posting comments and your reactions to the article. Posting comments is easy and you do not need an account. To leave your own message simply click on "comments" and click on "Name/URL." It's that easy! Let's get the conversation started!

Featured Alumna: Jodi R.R. Smith, Mannersmith

What do Citibank Corporation executives have in common with the first-grade Brownies of Girl Scout Troop #3845 in Wellesley, Mass.?

Both groups are very satisfied clients of Mannersmith, an etiquette consulting firm founded by Phi Sigma Sigma alumna Jodi R. R. Smith.

"When most people think of etiquette, they think of learning which fork to use. While etiquette does deal with appropriate behaviors, it's really about using behaviors to be comfortable with yourself and to be able to make those around you comfortable," Jodi says.

The Delta Beta graduate, who studied motivational psychology and human resources, remembers that early on in life she became interested in watching how people interacted with one another. In her autobiographical sketch on Mannersmith's website, Jodi relates,

My fascination with etiquette began in high school. I was a people watcher. Being shy allowed me to carefully observe other students. I was intrigued by how the "popular" students behaved... [they] were those with good social graces. Just being friendly, thoughtful and nice made other students want to be around them... now here was a practical skill anyone could learn and use.

...In college I began studying behavior and teaching workshops on social skills... As my sorority's recruitment chair, I taught the members formal introductions, proper handshakes and conversation techniques... [these] Meet and Greet skills were useful not only with extracurricular activities, but also with my job... they could be applied by people in everyday life.

In addition to her role as recruitment chair, Jodi gained other important skills in Phi Sigma Sigma. Leadership opportunities continued to present themselves, and Jodi stepped up as sunshine chair and Panhellenic delegate. She was named a finalist for the sorority's Collegian of the Year award in 1990. "The sorority even helped me learn to lose gracefully," laughs Jodi.

After graduation, Jodi went on to hold a number of volunteer positions and offer generous financial support back to the Foundation. "I believe once a Phi Sigma Sigma, always a Phi Sigma Sigma," she notes. She is moved to give back a portion of support for everything she received. "I was a recipient of an educational grant while in graduate school, and it made such a huge difference. Just to be honored by my sorority is incredibly meaningful. And on top of that, when you demonstrate that you've received some awards from one organization, others come more easily."

It was during the early years of her career in human resources that Jodi began to notice people who were intelligent, skilled, and talented that weren't getting where they wanted to go. She could see that those who garnered more bonuses and promotions were those whose social skills in the office were superior. "So I started teaching professional protocol, doing training workshops, and things like that. Word spread, and companies I'd worked for previously would call me to schedule training. A call came from my parent's neighbor to ask if I could conduct a mock college admission interview for her son. Another friend asked if I'd give him some hints for impressing his boss."

And in 1996, Jodi gave notice to her employer and took the plunge into sole proprietorship.

Mannersmith was born.

Now in its 13th year, the company's scope and staff have expanded. The list of clientele continues to grow. And each program - whether manners for minors or protocol for professionals - features a combination of lecture, activities and exercises designed to ensure learning that is both educational and entertaining.

In 2004, Barnes and Noble published Jodi's twin volumes From Clueless to Class Act, featuring manners for the modern man and woman. Jodi is currently at work on a third book scheduled for release in 2009. "I'm very excited about it!" she says. "I think a good etiquette book is something everyone should have on their shelf, so that when that etiquette emergency comes up, help is right there."

Jodi credits her sorority experiences with providing a strong foundation for her career. She asserts that the primary advantage of being in a sorority "is that it really teaches you life skills. Not just leadership, which is huge because it moves us (women) beyond the recording secretary role - and, unfortunately, you still see a lot of women relegated to non-decision making role. But also for the interpersonal

"Learning to work together with women from different interests and different backgrounds is important. You don't have the final say in choosing your sisters, nor in choosing your co-workers. So learning to work together toward one common goal with people you wouldn't normally interact with is one of the greatest learning experiences any student can have. It's especially rewarding when friendships end up emerging because you learned to see things in a different way."

Jodi Smith invites every Phi Sigma Sigma alumna to visit Mannersmith's website to access a number of free resources there. Whether you're a corporate CEO, a Girl Scout mom, a retired grandmother, or anyone in between, you'll find something you can use at Mannersmith.com. Be sure to check out the archive of monthly newsletters, subscribe to receive future issues free, check out Jodi's thank you note "wizard" to help in composing the perfect sentiment, read timely articles, and more.

Because, as is evidenced by Jodi's Smith burgeoning business, etiquette and manners do matter.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lots of Work...But Some Fun and Games Too!

The Foundation has been hard at work, almost non-stop, since Friday. We get together monthly via conference calls and a couple of times a year face-to-face.

During a break on Saturday, Michelle Ardern, Fraternity Executive Director, gave Sandy Grossman, Grand Archon, a "trikking" lesson. A trikke is a three wheeled "scooter" that works through angular momentum and provides a great workout! It is kind of like skiing on pavement.

Sandy was a quick study and is ready to hit the streets with her new trikke. If you see someone zooming through downtown New York on their trikke, it may be Sandy!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation Goes Green!

The Foundation met this weekend at our beautiful HQ in Elkridge, MD. In addition to getting lots of work done, the Foundation has started a new "green" initiative to cut down on the number of copies that are produced for our meetings.

The Foundation has utilized the e-Community to post all of our documents so that we could have a "paperless" meeting. This was a great way for us to conduct an efficient meeting...not to mention, it was fun to see laptops all over the board table. Wow, things have changed since 1913!

Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter's "Sapphire Sunset" a HUGE Success!

On May 31, the Philadelphia Area Alumnae Chapter hosted the First Annual Sapphire Sunset, a philanthropy event in support of the Helen Berkowitz Memorial Scholarship. Since Helen was a an amazing advisor in the Philadelphia area, local alumnae continue to be mentored by her example. The Sunset event was co-chaired by Melanie Toner (Xi) and Heather Kelley (Beta Psi) and raised $2,100 for the scholarship! Attendees included alumnae from Xi, Beta Rho, Nu, and Beta Psi, as well as lots of family and friends. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal along the Delaware River at Cavanaugh's River Deck. Special thanks to all attendees, donors, and sponsors. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Area Alumnae Chapter on a job well done!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Value of an Hour...

Did you know that you can actually put a dollar "value" on the service you do? The Independent Sector, a leading non-profit coalition or more than 600 foundations and service agencies, determines the dollar value of service each year. In 2007, the value of an hour of service was $19.51. Can you even begin to imagine the thousands of hours that our collegians and alumnae donated to their communities? The value of that service is probably well into the millions! How much did you account for?

Our Theta Tau chapter at Lebanon Valley University completed 224.5 hours of service last year for a total value of $4,380! You can read more about their accomplishments here.

Congratulations to Theta Tau and all of our sisters who are making a difference in their community!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What A Group!

Did you know...

  • As of Friday, there are 111 registered Phi Sigma Sigma sisters volunteering at the Transplant Games!
  • These volunteers hail from 18 different states!
  • There are 37 different chapters represented!
  • There are 41 alumnae and 70 collegians signed up!

It's not too late to volunteer! You can register through June 15 on www.phisigmasigmafoundation.org.

Friday, June 13, 2008

TG Update

Wow...it is hard to believe that the Transplant Games are less than a month away! We are making major progress daily in getting our 100+ volunteers ready to take Pittsburgh by storm! Today we shored up our volunteer assignments. In addition to the Games Expo (a great opportunity to meet the athletes one-on-one), we confirmed that we will be volunteering at swimming, bowling, table tennis, racquetball, 3 on 3 basketball and track and field. That's 6 athletic events! Needless to say, there will be Phi Sigs everywhere the good folks in Pittsburgh turn!

Check back often for regular updates as we get ready for the Games. We'll also be posting about our upcoming Board of Directors meeting, Jodi's great advice and more! If you have any idea for upcoming posts, just shoot us an email at foundation@phisigmasigma.org to let us know!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Only one week left...

There is only one week left to volunteer with the Foundation for the 2008 Transplant Games! Already, nearly 100 alumnae and collegians have volunteered part of their summer to make a difference at this life changing event.

If you want to volunteer, go to http://www.phisigmasigmafoundation.org to sign up today!

Of course, if you can't make it, check back to the blog often for Games updates and new information!