ActiveDevelopmentLeadership

The Evolution of Leadership

by Nathan Dorer
RPI, ‘18

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills) speaking

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills) speaking

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills, ‘20) found his passion for leadership in the form of community advocacy.

Through his roles in the campus Peace Club and the professional society Pro World Life, Roman found himself in communities focused on bringing about social change.

However, Roman found himself questioning why so much of the leadership community was targeted towards Higher Education and working professionals.

In an effort to make the empowerment of leadership platforms available to a more general public, Roman created the conference Evolution of Leadership, with the mission of awakening motivation and inspiration within demographics that have typically not been represented in leadership conferences.

Evolution of Leadership provides attendees with skills to become managers and business owners, as well as opportunities to connect with industry leaders. Through this, Roman hopes that he can empower people to achieve their personal goals.

Roman credits Phi Kappa Theta with much of his inspiration for Evolution of Leadership; he currently serves as Vice President of his chapter, and stated that his experience in the Fraternity has challenged his leadership in a way that it had never been challenged before.

Phi Kappa Theta has been key in his development of a mindset of continuous self improvement, and he has worked to extend that mindset toward the community at the Dominguez Hills colony.

His role within the house demands that he target his leadership to allow people to achieve their highest potential, and has contributed to his personal development as a student and a professional. “I’m more organized as a person,” Roman said, “I wake up every morning and reflect on what needs to happen in the next day.”

For Roman, the Fraternity comes as an entity that allows members to achieve their best.

In the future, Roman hopes that Phi Kappa Theta will allow him the resources and opportunities to develop Evolution of Leadership into a larger entity with an even broader scope of impact.

Why Conferences Are NOT Worth It

Are Conferences Really Worth the Cost?

by Nicholas Reid
University of Iowa, ‘21

From left to right: Nic Reid, Dr. Michael Brown, and Isaac Kracht at the Naperville BBLA.

From left to right: Nic Reid, Dr. Michael Brown, and Isaac Kracht at the Naperville BBLA.

Usually people see conferences as a waste of a weekend. Time spent away from their normal, fun weekends. In all honesty, who wants to sit in a meeting all weekend?

Many members of a fraternity would rather stay home, spend the weekend with their friends and have a good time. What people don’t understand is actually how enjoyable Phi Kappa Theta conferences are.

By having the opportunity to attend our weekend meetings, whether regional or National, I have learned more about myself and have been able to change my life for the better.

The first time I went to a Phi Kappa Theta conference was last August in Orlando. I had recently finished my freshman year, was working full time, taking summer classes and having to finish writing our petition to charter.

My first thought was, “I am the only one who can go to this meeting and how in the world am I going to find the time and money?” The answer of time was helped by my boss, who allowed me to take two days off (when I really wasn’t suppose to have any days off) to go to Orlando. The money aspect was funded by our alumni, who I am so thankful to this day that they did. It seemed as if there was a reason, an outside force that wanted me to go to Orlando, and I am so grateful I got the opportunity.

Travel became a hassle to arrive at Orlando (I had a total of 7 hours of delay), so I unfortunately missed the opening on Friday. The next day, I entered the room with no idea of who anyone was, as I was the only representative from the University of Iowa there (which is the best school in Iowa, but that’s another article).

The first man I met at breakfast was an alumni named Ross Walters (University of Louisiana, ‘02). As he offered me the top-secret, highly classified, shall not be named handshake of Phi Kappa Theta, he did not realize that I was from Iowa and had not yet been initiated.

As I did not know the handshake, he reached back in shock as if he had just touched a leper and started questioning if I was a Phi Kap. I explained that I was from Iowa and we were currently rechartering, and he laughed and joked with me the rest of the weekend.

Over the weekend, I made connections that have carried on throughout my life since. I met BRUCEEEE, legally known as Bryce Frey (Iowa State University, ‘20), the Iowa State representative. We have gone on to continue communicating and planning Iowa vs. Iowa State events.

Another important person I met, who I recently saw again at the Naperville BBLA, was Dr. Michael Brown. If you have not met Dr. Brown, I recommend that you make every effort to. Not only is he the only man I know that puts peanut butter on cheez-its, but he is extremely intelligent and a great brain to pick.

He is also one of the most caring people you will ever meet and always ready to have a conversation. I also was able to meet all the National Staff and several Alumni who I had never met in person, including Johnny Hohenstein, Robert Riggs, Doug Dilling, Adrian Gonzalez, Sarah Everhart and so many more.

The most impactful part of the trip were the meetings, but the most memorable part were the nights. Brothers from all over the country would gather at the pool or in the lounge, telling stories of their own chapters and talking about solving theirs and others chapters problems.

Of course, at the same time joking with each other and becoming close friends. I can honestly attest to that being one of the best weekends of my life, and I am still in contact with many people who I met at IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL.

The reason that I brought up Orlando was that recently my brother, Isaac Kracht from the University of Iowa, and I attended the Naperville BBLA.

I’m sure when I told him to go with me he thought the same thing as me: “oh great a weekend away from Iowa city, why in the world would I want to leave here for Naperville?” But being the kind guy he is, he accepted to come with.

I knew from talking to Johnny Hohenstein, that Dr. Brown was going to be there, and Isaac was going to love talking to him.

The weekend went very much the same way as Orlando, a great experience with a large impact on my life and good times with other chapters. Talking throughout and after the weekend with Isaac, I could see it had a resounding impact on him too.

We talked about deeper things that we had never talked about before, and he seemed energized and excited to start a new approach to life.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend making a trip to a regional or national conference. If your chapter can, implement it into dues so that everyone can go! Or, you could plan to have Dr. Brown come for a weekend and speak to your chapter.

Regarding my clickbait story title? Phi Kap conferences are indeed worth it. Whether you desiring to become a better version of yourself, or interested in meeting other brothers from around the country, I promise it will have a lasting impact on your life.


Register for our remaining BBLA:

Marlborough, Massachusetts RLC (March 22-24, 2019)
45.00

Hotel reservations will be made for you upon registering for the event.

Courtyard by Marriott Boston Marlborough
75 Felton Street
Marlborough, MA 01752

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Brother Reid is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering with a focus in Business Management. He is the current Vice President of Fraternal, Recharter Head and Social Media Chair for Phi Kappa Theta Iowa Delta. Nicholas grew up in Peoria, Illinois, attending St. Vincent de Paul grade school and Peoria Notre Dame High School. He was involved and active in many things, including scholastic bowl, numerous sports with his primary being soccer, key club and French Club. Nic also received the Presidental Award, National Honors Society, Old Gold Scholarship and an Illinois State Scholar. He is the first person of his family to move out for college, attend a big 10 school and join Greek life. Knowing nothing of what Greek life is about graduating, Nic has since taken a strong passion towards Phi Kappa Theta and bettering himself, along with his brothers. Nic is also involved in Dance Marathon and Intramural Sports, along with numerous service projects through the Fraternity. In his freetime, he loves to workout, play sports, hunt, fish, play video games and hang out with friends.

Overcoming Adversity to Give Back to Others

Colin Nguyen: 2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award Recipient

by Kathy Jonas
Indiana University, ‘78

There’s the picture of Colin Nguyen (University of Washington, ‘05) as the very definition of the American Dream. Immigrating to the United States as Communism took over South Vietnam while just seven years old, he spent time in a camp in Thailand where he and other children took used syringes and made them into water guns.

He was the recipient of the College Success Foundation Scholarship, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates. He went on to run one of the leading real estate companies in the Pacific North West. Along the way he conceived and organized an annual toy drive to benefit children spending the holidays in Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Then there’s the Colin Nguyen who entered a gang. The promising student who dropped out of college when his mother died. The successful college grad who lost his high-powered job and his fortune when the bottom dropped out of the economy while working for one of the largest mortgage companies in the country.

Both pictures represent the qualities espoused by Phi Kappa Theta: struggle through adversity, leadership, integrity, service to others, spiritual contemplation and reflection in times of loss and failure, the forgiving nature of brotherhood and the power of perseverance and courage.

“The greatest opportunity in life is the opportunity to experience the peaks and valleys that life has to offer,” said Nguyen as he received the Phi Kappa Theta Foundation Outstanding Young Alumnus Award at IMPACT18 in Orlando, Florida. The award is given to an alumnus under the age of 35 who exemplifies the ideals of Phi Kappa Theta through success and service to the community.

The journey Nguyen has traveled is as circuitous as his journey from Vietnam in 1990 and neither pictures of him accurately portray the man he has become. But a few things stand out: the love and respect of a parent, the fidelity of brotherhood and the resiliency of the human spirit.

In his speech given after receiving the award, Nguyen remembers his first Christmas in the United States when he and his family were at a food bank. They found themselves in line looking at used toys to take home. His mom suggested that a stuffed teddy bear might be a nice toy to select. “That night my mom taught me a profound lesson: that our attitude and perception will often determine our outcomes in life.”

While his early years were often plagued by bullying because of his inability to speak English, he said his mother refused to give up on him despite hanging out with the wrong crowd and even finding himself being held at gunpoint.

“There are moments in life, though, when we come to a crossroads and we need to look at ourselves in a mirror and decide what path to follow.”

That moment happened after coming home from a street fight one night and finding his mother crying at the kitchen table. She told him she had just found out she had terminal cancer and had only three years to live. Her dying wish was for him to attend college. “Little did I know that my life would change after that.”

He got a part-time job, studied hard to bring up his D average and ended up graduating with a 3.7 GPA. He got accepted at the University of Washington only to find out his family could not afford it. The Bill and Melinda Gates educational foundation had just started and he was the recipient of a scholarship.

Nguyen entered Phi Kappa Theta his sophomore year, only attending an event there because of the appeal of free pizza. He discovered some “amazing members” who inspired him to be focused and driven.

“Just as I was getting my life together, my worst fear occurred. During my sophomore year, my mom’s fight was coming to an end.” He pleaded with her to hang on until he graduated, hoping to make her dream come true. “As she passed away right in front of my eyes, I felt alone, abandoned and empty inside.”

He dropped out of college for a time, only returning after the support and love shown by his fraternity brothers. When they got up at the funeral and helped carry the casket to her burial site, he knew these people would remain a part of his life forever.

“We may come from different backgrounds and families, but this amazing brotherhood of Phi Kappa Theta unites us all together as brothers in life.”

“A few weeks later I decided to continue the journey to finish college in honor of my mom,” says Nguyen. “Don’t run away from the pain of your past, for pain will help you build character and lead you to a new beginning.”

He admits to being pretty smug when he got his first job and began acquiring a large house, a fancy car and was quickly anticipating a six figure salary. “I thought to myself ‘this is easy. I’ve figured out the key to success. I was an idiot to think that success could come so easy.”

He prayed to God for help, admitting he had lost his way. He didn’t go bankrupt, but learned some important lessons. “Believe me, I’m still making honest mistakes every day and learning from them,” he added.

He runs his real estate company and looks forward to time with his wife and daughter. The toy drive continues each Christmas in honor of his mother and all the children who cannot be home for the holidays. While serving thousands of children, his vision is to have a semi-truck filled with toys for the kids at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“Today I’m grateful to be living the life my mom always believed I was capable of achieving.”

Main Image: 2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus, Colin Nguyen (University of Washington, ‘05) (right), with Fraternity President Adrian Gonzalez (University of Texas at Austin, ‘78) (left).

Watch Brother Nguyen’s speech from IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL:

IMPACT18 // Continue to Live Beyond Yourself

Takeaways From IMPACT18

Live Beyond Yourself was the theme of IMPACT18 and was a result of your fraternal commitment to servant leadership and your passion to “give, expecting nothing thereof.” The focus is to assist you in becoming a positive force of change within your chapters, on your campuses, in your communities, across the country and even throughout the world.

Each of the sessions were created with our brothers in mind and included motivational presentations, large-group interactions, round-table conversations, and unique thematic activities and learning exercises that inspired and instructed brothers to take the next step to being positive change agents!

SESSION 1
Live Wisely

"I plan on integrating living wisely by first working on and perfecting my personal character."

SESSION 2
Look Closely

"The concept of Look Closely has stuck with me. Seeing someone for who they are by caring enough to ask questions and find connections is something I am committed to moving forward."

SESSION 3
Listen Carefully

"Listen carefully was the most influential to me and I think that it helped me to realize that you will build better relationships and understandings of others when you truly listen to them."

SESSION 4
Learn Deliberately

"I thought the learning deliberately session was particularly impactful, and I hope to seek the type of discomfort I used to avoid as a means to better see and listen, and ultimately learn more."

SESSION 5
Leverage Strategically

"Learned to be more self aware and use my strengths to my and others benefit."

SESSION 6
Love Extravagantly

"Love extravagantly is something that I will integrate in my life because it is something I value and I want to become a more intentional person with my friends and family and I want to love them properly"

SESSION 7
Lead Heroically

"As being the President of my chapter, Lead heroically is a huge integration step I have to make. I must lead with knowledge, caring, and wisdom to help my chapter."

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Download a PDF of the Reflective Journal from IMPACT18

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