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Phi Delta Theta Connections Can Change Your Life If You Allow Them To

01.08.2019

Former Leadership Consultant Evan Newman’s career plan was impacted while on the road for General Headquarters

Throughout college, I had various jobs that crafted my view on life. I worked as a student ambassador for West Liberty University and showed off the campus to prospective students. I volunteered on political campaigns and was a full-time staffer on a state senate campaign. My final job prior to graduation was a part-time role at an automobile showroom in the Ohio Valley. I started out by assisting with human resources, accounts payable/receivable, and social media strategies. After three months, I was on the sales floor. I was making great money for a young kid still in college and was on the fast track for a sales manager role if I played my cards right. Nevertheless, I declined the opportunity. The hours were long and rigid and car sales did not allow me the proper time for my studies at West Liberty. So, I fully committed to my final two semesters. Though I loved working at the dealership, if I was ever going to be able to pay back my school loans, I knew that a degree was important.

With the extra time on my hands, I dove in and committed much of my time to Phi Delta Theta. Serving as the chapter president of the West Virginia Gamma Chapter provided some of the most valuable learning experiences I had as an undergraduate. I learned how to communicate with my brothers, with my fraternity and sorority life advisor, and other faculty and staff, plus learned an awful lot about my own leadership style.

With these skills fine-tuned, our Leadership Consultant Matt Fritsch, Northwest Missouri State ’14, spoke with me about the opportunities that Phi Delta Theta held for fraternity leaders after college. I wanted nothing to do with it! I had aspirations to pursue a career in political communications after college and if that did not work out, I had left the car dealership on good terms and would go back into sales until the time was right for me to jump back in to the political arena.

Then, Colin Hueser, Iowa State ’13, who was a leadership consultant during the time that West Virginia Gamma Colony become a chapter, called me and also pitched the potential opportunity of me becoming an LC. Because this was the second time it was mentioned to me, I began to consider the possibility. He reminded me that elections are every two years and they could wait if I wanted to take a break, see some of the country, and grow my network outside of West Virginia. This caught my attention so I called my chapter advisor and he said I would be crazy to not fully consider an opportunity to work with the capable staff of Phi Delta Theta’s General Headquarters. I then spoke with my then girlfriend, now fiancée, who told me that if Chi Omega ever came knocking that she would definitely go through the interview process.

Well, you can guess the rest of the story. I interviewed at GHQ, was offered the role as an LC, accepted the job, and traveled Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and parts of Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and one Canadian province. My tenure with Phi Delta Theta lasted a little over a year-and-a-half, and upon completing my commitment as an LC to the Fraternity, I shipped out to Columbus where I began working with the Ohio Trucking Association (OTA).

You may now be asking yourself how and why did Evan Newman end up working with the Ohio Trucking Association? Well, the answer is simple: it was a Phi Delta Theta connection. The President and CEO of the OTA, Tom Balzer, is a North Dakota Alpha Phi and saw in me the potential to give back to the OTA in the same way I was able to give back to Phi Delta Theta, West Virginia politics, the car dealership, and West Liberty. I now work as the director of membership for the Ohio Trucking Association and love it! I work on recruitment, retention, engagement, and development efforts with some of Ohio’s brightest transportation leaders. In my spare time, I am also on the steering committee for the Phi Delta Theta Central Ohio Alumni Club. Our mission is to serve Central Ohio’s Phi Delta Theta Alumni and undergraduates at Ohio Wesleyan University, Otterbein University, Ohio State University, and Dennison University.

After three meetings, I have been able to connect with four other former Phi Delta Theta GHQ staffers: Tom Balzer, North Dakota ’99, Allan Williams, Ashland ’10, Larry Carr, Bowling Green State ’73, and Dick Walters, Ashland ’72. Tom and Allan worked on the executive leadership team and Foundation respectively. Fun fact about Larry and Dick, they both worked as leadership consultants with Bob Biggs, the current executive vice president and CEO, and the man who hired me! Things came full circle for Larry and Dick as we laughed about this at the Central Ohio Alumni Club’s recent Founder’s Day Banquet.

Though it’s equally effective to become a volunteer straight out of college, like many working with the Central Ohio PDT Alumni Club, I would venture to say that having a bridge by working at Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters has had a huge impact on me and so many of us who have served as leadership consultants.

Whether it is attending an annual conference or regional workshop, or applying for an internship or job as a leadership consultant, there are many ways to enjoy the rewarding Phi Delta Theta connections throughout your lifetime. I highly recommend any and all such connections.

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