“So, You Plan Parties For A Living?

If by “parties” you mean leadership conferences where all 750+ collegiate executive officers are flown in to one location to undergo extensive leadership programming, then yes, you could say we plan “parties.” Or what about Phi Mu’s National Convention that takes place every biennium, where members from all across the country join together to celebrate our sisterhood, engage in inventive leadership programs, hear exceptional women speakers and rejoice in all things Phi Mu — yup, we plan that, too.

So what is it exactly that Headquarters staff does when they aren’t educating their members? Let’s take a quick look into the basic functions of Phi Mu’s National Headquarters.

Headquarters Functions

As the administrative arm of the Fraternity, the National Headquarters (formerly the Executive Office) always has handled routine matters and implemented the goals set forth by each National Council. Its duties have increased greatly since the mid-1920s when 50 collegiate chapters and 26 alumnae groups were served by a two-person staff to supplement the work of a host of volunteer officers who were able to give generously of their time. Today, the Fraternity has 126 collegiate chapters and over 200 alumnae groups across the country. We can proudly say that we have moved from a two-person staff to a 40-person staff!HQ.JPG

When the Central Office first opened in 1919, membership records were kept in large ledger books with heavy covers and lined pages that were printed especially for Phi Mu to receive information about each initiate, listed by chapters. There were columns marked for the name of each initiate, an address, changes of address or name, parents’ names, initiation date and a final column headed “Facts of Interest.” Thanks to the ever-evolving world of technology, Phi Mu now stores all membership information online in a secure member database. The large ledger books are still of use to HQ staff and are browsed from time to time. The books are on display in the library at the National Headquarters.

The January 1930 Aglaia described activities of the Executive Office:

“Work of the Executive Secretary is divided into three departments. She keeps the mailing list up to date, campaigns for new subscriptions and sees that the printed magazines are properly mailed and reach the subscribers. The Secretary is the official custodian of the National Registry – all of the membership records of the Fraternity. Her third general duty is to conduct the service department, which includes distribution of certificates of membership, installation equipment of new chapters, charters, manuals, chapter officers’ supplies, songbooks, etc.”

Needless to say, Phi Mu membership is MUCH different from what it was in the ’20s, as the Fraternity currently has 16,000 collegiate members and more than 180,000 alumnae. With success came growth which called for the addition of more Headquarters staff.

Currently, the Headquarters staff is divided into 10 separate departments all working together for one purpose: To promote vibrant living, encouraging members to achieve their personal best. Continue reading to learn more about what exactly keeps this sisterhood up and running,  and discover why our “parties” are worth attending.

  1. Administration & Human Resources: This five-person department consists of the Executive Director, Director of Administration, Human Resources Generalist, and two Administrative Assistants, one to help with membership requests and the other to help with housing. Duties within the department include staff development and review, general department oversight, special projects, conference call and webinar management, human resources assistance, etc.
  2. Finance & Accounting: Due to the growth of Fraternity membership, Phi Mu has expanded this department to meet the needs of our chapters and members. This department is staffed by the following individuals: Comptroller, Collegiate Finance Specialist, Accounting Services Coordinator, Financial Services Coordinator and Collections Coordinator. With all five of these staff members collaborating, the department is able to provide accounting support and guidance to collegiate chapters, local house corporations, the Carnation Collection boutique and to Phi Mu alumnae; manage and oversee Fraternity finances; assist in the collection of outstanding member receivables; and much, much more.
  3. Membership: Focusing on our collegiate chapters, this department is always hopping. Staff members coordinate 126 campus academic and recruitment calendars with Chapter Consultant travel schedules, review all social event planning forms, handle recordkeeping details for Formal Pledging and Initiation, and answer myriad questions daily. This twelve person department consists of the Director of Member Services, Director of Collegiate Membership, Collegiate Chapter Specialist, Member Services Specialist, four New Chapter Specialists, and four Collegiate Relations Coordinators.
  4. Extension: Recruiting and interviewing potential new members falls under the job responsibilities of the Director of Extension and two Extension Coordinators. These staff members stay busy organizing and executing large-scale recruitment events on our newest campuses. They are responsible for building and sustaining relationships with university administrators, creating extension packets for prospective universities, managing specific public relations and marketing events, and making exploratory visits and presentations for future extension opportunities.
  5. Communications & Marketing: The Director of Communications/Aglaia Editor and the Communications & Marketing Specialist are responsible for completing all tasks assigned to this department. Responsibilities include brand management, website oversight, social media coverage for all Fraternity sites, strategic marketing campaigns, daily cross- department collaboration, and all Fraternity communication including press releases, memoranda, scripts, newsletters and the publication of the Fraternity magazine, The Aglaia, three times a year.
  6. Leadership & Programming: Don’t discredit the size of this department as it only has one staff member, because the role of the Director of Leadership & Curriculum Development impacts every member of Phi Mu — starting the day she signed her Bid card. This staffer is responsible for developing curriculum for training programs; overseeing volunteer committees; presenting educational programs at chapters, leadership conferences and conventions; developing curriculum for others to facilitate; and more.
  7. Alumnae Engagement: The Director of Alumnae Engagement and the Alumnae Engagement Coordinator are a dynamic duo when it comes to … wait for it... engaging Phi Mu alumnae! These two women work together to develop, implement and manage a comprehensive alumnae engagement strategy to strengthen relationships between the Fraternity and over 180,000 vibrant alumnae. The department supports volunteer development, communications and increased alumnae member participation. Networking events (yep, more parties!), alumnae mentoring programs, and oversight of the annual alumnae dues program, Forever Faithful, are these ladies’ specialties!
  8. Housing: Have you ever built a house? If the answer is “yes”, you know exactly how time consuming this can be.  Now imagine building a house that sleeps over 150 people … yikes! If a campus where we have a chapter suddenly decides to allow houses, the Director of Housing and the Housing Coordinator spring into action. From number of bedrooms and bathrooms to which lighting fixtures to purchase, all of the details of every Phi Mu house start from within the walls the the National Headquarters. 
  9. Carnation Collection: This is the store at which we all love to shop because it is full of Greek letters, carnations, quatrefoils and lions in and on items of all shapes and sizes. While the Carnation Collection (also commonly known as Carn Coll) staff stocks many items for purchase by members, parents, and others, they also designs custom items for chapters for Bid Day and other special occasions. But who is it that makes all the magic happen? The Carn Coll staff is comprised of a team of four dedicated staffers: The Director of Merchandising, the Marketing Coordinator, the Sales Manager and the Operations Coordinator.Go team!
  10. Phi Mu Foundation: With a team of seven super stars, Phi Mu Foundation is able to excel at its mission on a daily basis: The lifetime development of women through the support of Phi Mu’s leadership, scholarship, philanthropic and educational programs, and historic preservation. The Foundation staff consists of the Executive Director, Director of Major Gifts, Director of Development, Controller, Communications Coordinator, Development & Marketing Coordinator and Stewardship & Engagement Coordinator. Decades of sound leadership and conservative investment strategies have favorably positioned the Foundation to respond to and meet the ever-growing needs of Phi Mu and its members. With the help of all seven staff members, Foundation has remained a successful 501(C3) organization since the 50’s.

As you can tell, Phi Mu’s Headquarters is definitely a happening place!  While the traditional work week consists of Monday through Friday, 
our staff and building are often busy seven days a week (yes, even on some weekends) so that volunteers can visit and work with the staff members to keep our organization humming along. So … although Phi Mu throws some pretty awesome  “parties,” there is quite a bit that goes on behind the scenes to ensure the success of the Fraternity.