By Riley Shipman, South Carolina, 2014–2015 Leadership Consultant
My name is Riley Shipman and I am a 2014–2015 Leadership Consultant. I was born in Montreal, Que., but I have lived most of my life in southern Florida. I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in marketing and management. As an undergraduate member of Epsilon Kappa Chapter, I served as the Vice President-Scholarship as well as the president of USC’s Panhellenic Executive Board. I knew I wanted to apply to be a Leadership Consultant when I met the first LC to visit my chapter. She had the most amazing things to say about her experience as an LC and I was most interested in traveling across the United States and Canada and getting to work with so many great Kappas.
7 Skills You Learn as a Leadership Consultant (and How They Will Benefit You Later):
1. Developing Relationships and Building Trust
One of my favorite parts about being an LC is getting to build relationships with Kappas from all over North America. As an LC, I know that I am representing Kappa as an organization and it is really important that chapter members are able to trust me and believe that I have their best interests in mind. Already, I have developed so many amazing friendships that will always have a special place in my heart! Meaningful relationships are what make life special, and I am thankful that I not only have so many from my travels, but also that I have better developed my relationship- and trust-building skills to continue using throughout my life.
2. Working with Different Generations
LCs work closely with undergraduates, advisers, Fraternity volunteers, Headquarters staff and university administrators on a daily basis. I have had great experience communicating with people of all ages and I know this aspect of my job as an LC will greatly benefit me in the future. No matter what path I choose, I am always going to be interacting with people of all ages, from all walks of life. Being an LC has helped me fine-tune the skills I need to be able to communicate effectively with people from any generation.
3. Finding Creative Solutions
During a visit, I found that I just really needed a cup of tea but didn’t have a kettle or microwave handy. I travel with a little steamer which is amazing for de-wrinkling my clothing and, as I discovered at this visit, is also great for boiling water in a pinch. Not only do I now know what to do in a tea-mergency, but I also learned an important lesson in creative problem-solving. In life, not every problem is going to have a straightforward solution. My job as an LC has given me the confidence to think outside the box to come up with a solution, no matter what life throws at me.
4. Adapting to Changing Circumstances
I should tell you that I am a person who totally lives by schedules, itineraries, and to-do lists. That being said, I have learned so much about the importance of flexibility. Schedules and itineraries will always change and tasks will always be added to and removed from to-do lists as needed. Almost every week, LCs have to adapt to living in a new city with a new group of Kappas who have their own wants and needs. Since I’ve started traveling, I have quickly learned how to hit the ground running, no matter what situation I find myself in. Instead of dreading change, I am starting to find that having to adapt is becoming an exciting challenge. I know that life is not always going to unfold as planned, but my time spent working as a Leadership Consultant will help me do a much better job going with the flow.
5. Public Speaking and Presentation Skills
My classes and leadership positions in college helped me to become a good public speaker, but working as an LC has helped me improve those basic skills. I feel totally comfortable standing up in front of a chapter—whether it is made up of thirty members or three hundred—and presenting on any given topic. I have learned how to make presentations more fun and interactive, as well as some best practices for effectively delivering a message. I know that I will have to give presentations and speak easily in front of groups throughout the rest of my life. Because of this position, I really don’t think I will ever get that nervous!
6. Using Your Available Resources
Irons are much too heavy to travel with and not every chapter will have one available for LCs to use. Some of my teammates and I have found that a quick-fix to this problem is using a hair straightener instead. As long as you don’t hold it in one place for too long, a straightener will do a fine job smoothing out fabric. For me, this life-hack illustrates the importance of utilizing available resources, be it hair straighteners, documents from the Kappa website, or Fraternity volunteers. In relationships and in the workplace, it’s important to remember that you can’t always do everything by yourself—resources are available and you should use them!
7. Organization and Time Management
Part of my job is balancing paperwork with sending emails and keeping track of expense reports. I’ve found that I have to stay very organized and manage my time wisely to make sure I am completing all these different tasks by their respective deadlines while still making time for meetings and fun activities during my visits. Since the beginning of August, I have gone through a few different planners and calendars before finding one that works best for me! In anything you do, organization and time-management skills are so incredibly important. As an LC, I’ve had some great practice with these skills and have also learned how to create a good work-life balance, something that will help me to live a balanced life when I start my career.
Editor’s Note: The Leadership Consultant application is now available. Deadline to apply is December 1. Visit the Our Team page to learn more about the position and apply today!