Zeta Phi Eta Takes On The Big Apple

I have always found the best way to inspire creativity and motivation is to go some place new.

I have come back from the 2015 Zeta Phi Eta National Convention feeling a little physically exhausted, yet my mind is refreshed, re-aligned and re-focused.

On Thursday, Oct. 1, Chief Operations Officer Maria Lumbi, Chief Risk Officer Ryan Marshall, Chief Networking Officer Steven Yalowitz and I flew to New York City, where the Hofstra University chapter hosted our national convention.

For some of us, it was our first time in the Big Apple. Fortunately, Steven grew up in Long Island, NY, and his family graciously opened up their home to the four of us on our first night. Between the Long Island pizza and New York bagels, we had a true taste of NY during our first 24 hours.

The first day of the convention was filled with presentations and workshops.

Each of the four chapters in attendance at the convention presented an overview of their last two years as a chapter. From recruitment techniques, to marketing strategies and successful fundraising drives, my mind was racing with new ideas about how to make our organization grow and create a more active presence within our community.

Next, we heard from several successful professionals, some were Zeta Phi Eta alumni, during a professional panel. Hofstra Associate Dean Marc Oppenheim moderated the panel of entrepreneurs, editors, and communication and social media experts.

One of the biggest takeaways I received from the panel was a message from Andrew Shade, a college dropout and the founder of Broadway Black. Shade is a hard worker and admits he over-worked himself in college. From taking on several leadership roles in several organizations, being involved in many theater productions and taking classes, he burned himself out, and ultimately left college because of it.

Shade recalled too many times where he watched peers and colleagues overwork themselves, start to hate the job they were once passionate about, and burnout without ever reaching their full potential.

He emphasized the fact that you should always be putting out your best work. Meaning that sometimes it’s OK to step away from your work and come back later, because you’ll most likely produce something of much better quality the next day.

After the professional panel, the campus chapter workshop began. This workshop taught me so much about the history and traditions of Zeta Phi Eta. It shed light on the meaning, the importance and the need for this fraternity.

We studied a scale with “Professional” on one end and “Social” on the other then we discussed why it’s important to keep balance to this scale. Our fraternity is not meant to be strictly professional. Simply signing off on papers, holding formal meetings and collecting dues, is a business, not a fraternity. On the other end, though it is important to have a social aspect, an exclusively social fraternity loses much of the value that Zeta Phi Eta stands for, such as the networking and professional growth.

The campus chapter workshop also allowed chapters to share amongst each other personal traditions, leadership styles, and insight on what’s worked and failed in the past in terms of building a successful organization for students and the community.

Finally, we concluded with a resume and cover letter workshop. I could write a whole new blog post on the tips I received from this workshop, but to keep it short, the main takeaway was that cover letters and resumes are two completely different things.

Your resume should be an errorless list of your experiences that relate to the job you are applying for.

Your cover letter should be a personal and specific statement that directly talks about why you’re the best fit for the company you are applying for. Never send a stock cover letter if you want to get the job. Build it around the company and job you’re applying for.

After a long day, all of the chapters got together for a much-needed night of bowling and pizza.

The next morning the group headed to NYC. We visited the incredible Lincoln Center, walked through a cold and rainy Central Park, took an emotional tour through the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, and ended the night in the lively and bright Time Square.

On Sunday, we concluded the weekend with a brunch. In light of Founder’s Day approaching, we remembered the Zetas who are no longer with us.

It was a weekend I will never forget. The most impressive and lasting memory I will have from this weekend was the amazing people I met. The hospitality of the Hofstra chapter was beyond words. Their kindness and generosity showed me what it means to be a Zeta and to be a family.

Each and every member from each an every chapter proudly exuded brotherhood and family. Though I only met them this weekend, I left feeling like I had known many of them for a lifetime.

With wisdom, integrity, and love.

– Lisa Kauffman

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