There is nothing quite like a new year to help focus on what’s important. Seven SigEp brothers taking part in this year’s Executive Council retreat came ready with ideas for how their roles would help the chapter achieve its goals in 2020.
The brothers gathered Friday night at the home of James and Julie Chrisopherson in Jackson, Tennessee. Both of our gracious hosts lead ARISE2Read of Jackson/Madison County, a program aimed at helping second graders achieve better reading competency.
After introductions and unpacking for the overnight stay, the brothers and their alumni facilitators sat down and set out the ground rules for the weekend. They encouraged each other to be full participants in the discussions and to extend courtesy when another person was speaking.
For team building, the brothers set up a poker table and reacquainted themselves with the basics of the popular card game. They then set up a round of Monopoly, which proved to be every bit as challenging as they remembered from childhood. Brothers agreed that “real estate tycoon” may not be their optimal career path.
Saturday morning began with a breakfast of eggs and homemade cinnamon rolls prepared by our hosts. The brothers then sat down to begin the tasks of the day.
Mark Maloney (2015), who served as a Regional Director for Sigma Phi Epsilon, lead the group’s programming for the day via teleconference. Also on hand were Chapter Counselor D. Renard Miles, II (Memphis-Lambuth 2015), Faculty Fellow Dr. Adan Bruner, AVC Vice President John Domanski (2016) and AVC President Stephen Yeargin (2006).
The first discussions centered around building vision statements for the group. They created a statement for the chapter:
By 2021, Tennessee Kappa will set the standard as Balanced Men by leading grades and developing future leaders through our cultural devotion.
The vision statement affirms their commitment to extend their two consecutive semesters as the GPA leader on campus among IFC fraternities, as well as to improve their implementation of the Balanced Man Program for the development of the chapter’s members.
The next segment was a presentation titled “Wielding Influence,” where Maloney went in-depth with how to help these new leaders set the direction for the chapter. He began with a high-level discussion of the strategies around presenting a unified front as an Executive Council and then drilled down into the tactics of working with members to resolve disagreements.
James Christopherson lead a session titled “The 5 Voices,” a personality matrix that allows individuals to identify their own tendencies and how to work with others. The group discussion helped the EC members see how their own strengths can work well with others in the room to achieve their goals.
The afternoon concluded with open discussions on various topics that had come up that day. With their resources in hand and alumni mentors contacted, Chaplain Chris Webb (2021) lead the men in a short prayer for a successful year. They thanked their incredibly gracious hosts, and headed back to UT Martin.
This weekend’s event was made possible by both our generous hosts and the support of the 1901 Club, whose contributions covered food and materials for the weekend as well as covering the costs for these new officers to attend the Carlson Leadership Academy in Atlanta at the end of the month.