In the Winter 2020 edition of The Scroll, Phi Delta Theta featured the People of Phi Delt 2030, a collection of stories that personify the strategic initiatives of the Fraternity’s new strategic plan.
Written by Bennett Nelson, Akron ’17
That first day on Akron’s campus, it never occurred to me that it would be a college men’s fraternity that would be THE thing that made my Akron experience extraordinary.
It was a guy I met while helping move freshman students who invited me to a Phi Delta Theta event later that afternoon. Initially, I declined the invitation. But he persisted and suggested I had nothing to lose by just stopping by the house for a free cheeseburger.
What I discovered about the Phi Delts was that they were exactly what I was looking for. They had DRIVE, genuine friendships, and a commitment to achieve their goals—qualities that were immediately appealing to me.
I quickly became a campus leader in extracurricular activities including Student Resident Life and organizations at the College of Business. But it soon became clear that I wanted to devote a more of my time to the Fraternity.
In my sophomore year, I became VP and was re-elected my junior year. I attended the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute one summer and was a peer mentor the next. My campus time became dedicated to my schoolwork and working with my brothers and alumni to build upon the strength of Ohio Epsilon.
At Kleberg I realized the broader reach of Phi Delta Theta from brothers from all across the continent. Though our groups differed, we all shared similar goals and expectations, guided by the Cardinal Principles that lead to greater ends.
At Northeast Ohio Alumni Club meetings, I met great Phis and prominent businessmen. Early on I met Brother Roger Read, ’63, who still regularly meets with undergraduates as a mentor and introduces them to the greater Akron community.
At Ernst & Young I lead a team as a senior consultant. It is Phi Delta Theta that greatly prepared me for this work; from officer leadership experiences, online resources like PDT U, certified CAB support and coaching, conferences where I caught the broader Phi Delt vision, meeting alumni mentors who helped me network. During professional interviews, it was the skills learned from my Phi Delta Theta experience that really made the difference.
Written by Clay Coleman, Phi Delta Theta Director of Education
Simply put, Phi Delta Theta is in the business of educating its undergraduate and alumni members in an effort to enhance their personal trajectory. To be successful today, members must apply and transfer lessons learned on campus and from leading their chapters, into to real world experiences. Bennett’s account highlights the impact that Phi Delta Theta conferences served to help members establish their plans and strategies as leaders. Then through his vice president role, he benefited by online resources through PDT U, the Fraternity’s online education initiative. In addition, he was influenced by his chapter’s Chapter Advisory Board members earned annual certification via online education provided by the Fraternity. Lastly, it was an alumni mentor who helped him understand the transition to career by exposing him to local professionals and possible job opportunities.
With Phi Delt 2030’s focus on personal growth, professional readiness, and fulfillment in life, Phi Delta Theta will offer the opportunity for its members to have a throughline from being inducted as a Phikeia to the aforementioned experiences. It is the Fraternity’s aim that every aspect of a Phi’s membership development experience will result in a certification endorsed by a third party. Rather than Phis simply listing their membership or officer position on their resume or LinkedIn profile, they will have a valuable endorsement that transcends Fraternity, and clearly represents the personal and professional competencies that they gained as members.
Success as a values-based leadership society of men involves preparing our men to thrive in the future workforce and live out the Fraternity’s Cardinal Principles. This certification earned upon completion will be a key differentiator as we recruit and retain future members. Generation Z students who join Phi Delta Theta want to know upfront what is the ROI (return on investment). We will know we have achieved success when newly recruited members can claim that they chose Phi Delta Theta in large part due to its innovative member development experience.