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The Coolest Job in the World (For a Year)

(Leadership) Permanent link

By Emily Fetcho Barclay, Butler


My name is Emily Fetcho Barclay and I worked for Kappa Kappa Gamma during the 2010-2011 school year as a Leadership Consultant. I had the honor of visiting 26 college campuses in 30 weeks, meeting amazing Kappa women all over North America, and having the coolest job in the world that year. After my year of travel, I moved to Los Angeles where I currently live and work.

During my undergrad, I studied music education. I was an exception to the normal route one takes to becoming a Field Representative, as I taught full time in Indiana for a year after graduating before applying to the program. I was nervous that I would be too far out of college to really make a connection or an impact with our active chapters, but I found the real world experiences I gained from a year of work very helpful in my role as an LC.

In my post-LC life, I am a full time general music teacher to kinder through fourth grade students at KIPP: Raíces Academy in Los Angeles. My husband and I own a home in Torrance, and I am active in the South Bay Alumnae Association and as an adviser to Gamma Xi Chapter at UCLA and Upsilon Chapter at Northwestern. I continue to serve Kappa in a big-picture way as a facilitator for GIRLS Academy and leadTODAY and as a staff member at Leadership Academy.  

There are many things my year on the road taught me, both directly and indirectly, but these are the top five lessons that have made the biggest impact on my life.

1. Know your audience. I think this was perhaps the biggest takeaway from my year as an LC. The most important part of our job is conversations with othersconversations with chapter officers, conversations with Kappa volunteers, conversations with University officials, and even whole-chapter conversations in the form of a presentation. Knowing how to have those conversations and how to best reach your audience is a versatility that I draw on over and over again in my adult life. The way I speak to a student vs. my boss is very different, and my year traveling for Kappa helped me hone those skills.

2. Go with the flow. As an LC, you very quickly learn you are not really in control of your own life. You rely on planes to get you where you need to be (and they are not always reliable and on time), you rely on chapter women to provide food and shelter (quite literally), and all the while, you go it alone. All of this lack of control can be a huge stressor, or you can learn to not sweat the small stuff. Every LC has stories of strange accommodations and travel woes, but the job quietly teaches you that this too shall pass and you can choose your own outlook. If this isnt a practical life lesson, I dont know what is!

3. Make it work. Yes, I am a Tim Gunn fan, but I find this phrase particularly perfect for life on the road. Your suitcase will get lost. You wont have a projector and you were planning on using one. Youll get the flu during recruitment. Anything and everything that could go wrong will, but you will still have to do your job to the best of your ability. Working as a Leadership Consultant taught me to be creative and solution-oriented, and I find these qualities benefit me immensely in my day-to-day life.

4. Ask. When an LC visits a chapter, she is often seen as the expert in all things Kappa. While yes, she is a very knowledgeable young woman, she doesnt know it all. I learned early on that I should never be afraid to pick up the phone or send an email if I was unsure about something. There are so many amazing Kappa volunteers serving as resources to our chapters and alumnae associationsuse them! I continue this practice of asking regularly these days, to gain more information, to challenge the process, and to grow as a professional.

5. Listen. Too often, we diagnose a problem without really knowing the full story. As the literal boots on the ground for the Fraternity, a Leadership Consultant can often gather more information on a specific issue and then develop a better plan to help a chapter. It is our job to listen, hear all sides, and work with chapter members to get all of the information. Listening is a crucial skill in life, as we work to be part of a team in the workplace, solve problems with others, and provide meaningful friendships.

Be Warned: Traveling for a year is an amazing experienceand the travel bug may never go away. Luckily, this is another added bonus for me, as my husband and I love to visit new places togetheran unexpected bonus we discovered during my year of travel!

In any job interview, I find speaking about my time as consultant easythere are so many skills that have made me more flexible and the experience can be related to skills in any profession. I am grateful to Kappa Kappa Gamma for the opportunity to grow as an individual and leader, and absolutely recommend applying for the Field Rep program.



Editor's note: Check out some of Emily's travels as a Leadership Consultant and after! 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!  




Posted by Blog Admin at 11/21/2014 10:39:34 AM | 

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