Sorority Girls Gone Wild For Leadership

Last weekend, at age fifty, I pledged a sorority. Can you believe it?!

It all started when I was invited to be a Keynote Speaker for the Delta Phi Epsilon International Convention 2012 in Miami, Florida. Rachael, the Director of Alumnae Services, approached me to join as an alumna initiate. At first I thought she was joking. Me? A fifty-year-old sorority ‘pledge’? I consider myself to be more of a risk taker in life than a joiner.

On that note, memories flooded back of my attempt at joining a sorority in my college days. I was the radical pledge who quit during the process when it became demeaning, and I decided that, “No one is going to talk to me that way.”


Rachael sent me the Delta Phi Epsilon magazine, Triad, so I could see if their values and mission were in line with what I was all about. As I read the words, Sisterhood, Service, Self, Social, and Scholarship, I felt a connection to my own values. The Delta Phi Epsilon motto is, “To be rather than to seem to be.”

BE was the word that stood out. Be inspired, Be Connected, Be Resourceful, Be Informed, Be Aware, Be Giving, and Be Authentic. We had a shared passion and purpose. Maybe I could Be a fifty-year-old ‘pledge’.

My heart told me that I was a ‘DPhiE’ and so, I said yes.  Off to Miami I went, envisioning a sea of Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) at registration. I had no idea what to expect, as I kept on the lookout for any hazing in the 4 star hotel hallways. As it turns out, sorority girls have the same perception problems I have in my business. Thanks to old stereotypes, we are not always perceived as what we truly are.

I heard stories about concerned parent phone calls to the sorority leaders that their daughter would be partying all night, which was the last thing a DPhiE was influenced to do. DPhiEs would more likely be brainstorming about how they could raise money for cystic fibrosis. The “Girls Night Out” event at the convention included an auction for the Delta Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation. The sorority girls were fun, happy, positive leaders gone wild to make a difference.

The twenty-something women I met were trailblazers, philanthropists, and activists. Like Katie DeVito, a Gen X Alum, who shared that when she got laid off she founded NJ Unemployed and started her own PR/marketing company.

DPhiEs are not women who are going to wait for things to happen — they make things happen.

After I was initiated as an alumna, I received welcoming hugs and congratulations from my new sisters. Although I’m old enough to be their mother, I am now their sister. They taught me a great lesson: whether you’re Gen Y, X, or a boomer like me, common values can transcend age differences. We are all like-minded Visionistas who text, tweet, blog, and post to get our messages out to the world.

During the convention’s closing breakfast, attendees shared which convention moments affected them the most. The college women I had the privilege to meet shared powerful stories of how sisterhood supported them to overcome limiting beliefs, make a difference, and be courageous.

Unlike Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, who hoped her pair of ruby red slippers would be the source of her power, Heather, Emily, Kayla, Nikki, Ally and all the DPhiEs already know that the power to be their best self is inside them. Our future is in good hands.

Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur and bestselling author of Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl.  She speaks to global audiences about Direct Sales Success, Women’s Empowerment and Social Selling and is a resource for press, media and bloggers. Like her on Facebookfollow her on Twitter and subscribe to her YouTube channel.

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