On August 2, nearly 1,000 members of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity will unite in Oxford, Ohio for the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute. These three days have served a critical purpose for those fortunate enough to attend. We are joined together to explore our commitment to the principles of Purpose, Networking and Leadership. The curriculum is intense but the expanded human network creates an extension of our Fraternity impossible to image unless you make the trek to the location of our foundation.
As a member of the Phi Delta Theta Educational Committee, I can tell you that a great deal of planning is put into the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute. The rewards recognized from this event are second-to-none. Professional and collegiate organizations alike face the ongoing challenge of discovering hidden talent. Case-in-point, Brother Drew Houston emphasized in his General Convention address how his leadership experience in our Fraternity helped him create, manage and expand Dropbox. The Emerging Leaders Institute affords us an opportunity to expand our leadership commitment by discovering hidden talent; within ourselves and others. Whether you are a chapter officer or an emerging leader, you will leave Oxford with an expanded skill set and a renewed commitment to personal excellence.
We are a Brotherhood, a collective, an organization based in the assisting others. The Fraternity also embraces the responsibility to assist the men who make up our collective in becoming the greatest version of themselves. Whether you are joining us in Oxford this summer or not, it will benefit you to reflect on the following.
Every business is built upon founding principles: a mission, vision, and collection of values that serve to characterize the quality of their human resources. Now more than ever, employees are seeking out organizations that encompass community involvement as part of their go-to-market offering.
Ask yourself this:
- Is your personal belief system in-sync with Phi Delta Theta’s core principles?
- As you enter the professional world, what purpose will you seek in an organization?
- Do those with whom you associate have a strong purpose and conviction in their lives?
The answers to these questions may not come simply. You may want to revisit them from time to time. Let the questions above serve not so much to judge yourself (or others) but as a reminder of what is genuinely important.
I can assure you of this; those retiring from the workforce in the years to come will not remember most fondly their biggest paycheck. The real meaning in life comes from the friends you make, the lessons you have learned and the tough decision you have made.
In this day-and-age we may think of a network as the number of followers or connections we have on social media. We may fancy ourselves influential by the size of our social networks. It is important, however, to consider the following:
- How many of your Facebook “friends” would drop everything to meet you for an in-person conversation to help you through a personal struggle?
- Will your connections on Twitter help you get a job when you graduate?
- Are you using your network to find the newest YouTube sensation… or is there an element of learning in your social interactions?
Social Media has changed my life! I utilize LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google every single day to benefit my professional development. I have found professional advancement, extended my subject matter expertise, met industry giants, and have shared my knowledge with people across the world through social media. I consider it a treasure! But, conversations in Siri only go so far.
Your real network is made up of human beings. It’s seeing the face of a friend you haven’t seen in years, giving a hug to someone who needs it, or tying the shoe of a child who would trip without your support. Connections are human interactions. We owe it to ourselves to put down our devices from time-to-time and to find genuine human connection.
You don’t have to be a chapter president to be considered a leader. Some of the strongest employees in our company do not have an elevated title.
Ask yourself this:
- Do my conversations with people make them feel better about themselves?
- Do I judge more than I participate?
- Am I willing to put the goals of other ahead of my own?
Leaders serve many different functions. They are servants and kings alike. It is the birth right of our members to acquire as much knowledge as possible, to use it to benefit mankind, and to learn from the times we abuse our power.
Brother Sparky Reardon often speaks of a tiny voice that calls to us to do the right thing. Doing the right thing is often harder than allowing the opportunity for change to pass us by.
You are called upon to make the world a better place…. Because you can!
See you in Oxford!
Yours in the Bond,
David J Kovacovich
Phi Delta Theta Educational Committee
Arizona Beta, Bond #969