By Bob Wolfley
I believe I have one of the greatest jobs in the world for someone who is my age, has recently graduated college and is a member of a fraternal organization. Actually, right now it is my dream job for where I am in my life. I was hired by Phi Delta Theta in December after testing the job market for six months. I was hired as a new Leadership Consultant (LC). Phi Delta Theta Headquarters currently has seven LCs that are split into two different areas, chapter services and expansion. Chapter Services LCs are the traditional LCs you may think of if you are familiar with traveling fraternity consultants. They are assigned a specific region of the country and travel to chapters in that region for 2-3 days at a time. CS guys help chapters where they need improvement and act as a resource for those members. However, expansion LCs maybe visit 1-3 campus per semester. They are set on a campus and are expected to start or re-start a new chapter. Their minds have to be plugged into the idea of constantly recruiting, when and wherever they can, once they step foot on a campus. We don’t throw huge rush events, mixers with sororities, raging parties, or have a righteous rush t-shirt we have been waiting to unveil all summer. We recruit in recruitments purest form, by building those one-on-one relationships with potential founding members.
When I was hired, I really didn’t care if I was going to be working on the chapters services side or expansion side. However, that all changed after my first expansion project, Northeastern University in the heart of Boston. Yes, Boston, The Athens of America, The Cradle of Liberty, The City on a Hill, Bean Town, The Hub, The City of Champions. I was stoked beyond belief and lucky to have this as one of my expansion projects.
I had never heard of Northeastern University until probably three weeks prior to my arrival. After the pre-visit research I did on it, I was completely impressed. This university was ranked 69th in the U.S. in academics, roughly 15,000 undergraduates (4th largest private school in the U.S.), 50% of their student body was in the top 25 of their high school graduating class, and they offered a very unique Co-Op program. Northeastern is a five year institution, because it is mandatory each student participates in at least two Co-Ops prior to graduating. If I had known about this in high school and the importance of having actual experience in my future job field, I would have applied. I wouldn’t have gotten accepted, because I wouldn’t have had the grades. Even if I had the grades I still would not have gotten accepted (Fall 2010: 37,000+ applicants, only 2,700 accepted).
Northeastern University was my first project, but I saw it as my first chance to prove myself and actually put quantitative backing behind something I thought I was good at during my undergrad, recruiting. For the month and half prior to my arrival in Boston, I had been couped up at headquarters in Oxford, OH. I understood I needed to be trained, but my mind was crammed to the capacity with knowledge, techniques, and strategies for recruiting. I just wanted to utilize everything right then and there after learning it. While in Boston, I was going to be accompanied by another expansion consultant from headquarters, Steven Fleming.
For the next four weeks Fleming and I put in some rough hours on campus and getting very acquainted with Northeastern University’s Curry Student Center. After long nights of cold calling referrals we received from sororities, we would then put in long hours of interviewing and meeting the guys who weren’t totally creeped-out from our initial cold call a few nights prior. Steven and I constructed very high criteria for membership which ranged from campus/community involvement, GPA, past leadership experience, benefit to the organization, etc. The question I always get is, “How do you recruit founding members?” Simple, referrals, interviews, and selling the vision of this new organization is to defy the stereotypes commonly associated with fraternity life: parties, animal house, hazing, drinking, you get the idea. It’s not so much selling this “A-typical” idea of a fraternal organization, but informing them about it and seeing if the individual meets our criteria for membership.
There were some nights I made 25-40 cold calls a night and had 12-16 meetings the following day. It was hectic and non-stop, but I was organized, had my Starbucks in hand, and loved every second of it. During our meetings, Steven I met gentlemen who were from Russia, Columbia, Lebanon, Sweden, The Virgin Islands, and all parts of the U.S. There were some guys who had Co-Ops that blew my mind such as; working for Marvel Comics in NYC and being the “X Men Intern,” or a guy who worked for Ray Allen’s foundation with Ray Allen’s wife at their Boston mansion. Some of the guys had done Co-Ops at the most recognizable financial firms in the U.S., while another guy was an award winning short film producer, and another had an acting role in the next Kevin James film. All in all, some guys joined, some didn’t. Some guys were ready to sign on the spot, other guys need to think about it, or time to digest the thought of a fraternity that wanted to challenge the status quo of the fraternity culture they were familiar with. There were some individuals that would meet with Steven and me who were probably as closed-minded about the thought of joining a Greek letter organization and ended up signing (Adam, Nate, and Mike, you guys made me bring my A game).
After four weeks of bidding, Steven and I had collected a group of 53 guys who met all of our criteria for membership and were locked, loaded, and ready. Oh, and this group of stellar gentlemen tied the highest fraternity GPA on campus at a 3.37 (yeah, complete studs).
I paced around the middle of the huge circle of members at the Founding Fathers Retreat almost at a loss for words. These guys get it. They weren’t here to party, rage, bro-out, or try to find a away to have the next posting on Total Frat Move (TFM). These guys were the mirror opposite. They joined to defy those stereotypes and define themselves as the new standard of college leaders on campus. “Are You A Leader?” is our brand on expansion, and all 53 of these guys are leaders. There is no doubt in my mind these guys will become a premiere chapter of Phi Delta Theta in the U.S. They will win awards, take home the hardware, turn heads on campus, and make a huge impact on campus and in the city of Boston. I look forward to the future of the Massachusetts Epsilon Chapter at Northeastern University. Be Better. Can’t wait!
Mass Epsilon Vision Statement:
“We strive to be a brotherhood of diverse leaders that follows a tradition of excellence while improving, inspiring, and setting a standard for the future.”
Check em’ out for yourself: www.facebook.com/nuphidelt