On December 2nd, I had the opportunity to go to the Association of Fraternal/Sorority Advisors (AFA) Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. This was my first time representing Omega Delta Phi as the National President and I was full of anticipation and excitement. I knew there was a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time but was confident that our team could handle it. Having VP of Operations, Lateef Ipaye and National Expansion Director, Victor Duron with me was invaluable as we navigated the AFA waters.
In writing my review, I want to focus on what I saw from my eyes as a leader and a first timer to this event. The first thing that pops out in my mind is just the sheer number of organizations that show up to this event is phenomenal. During the first night where we had a open cocktail hour for networking, it was incredible to be in a conversation with 3 or 4 national leaders from 3 or 4 different organizations. When you’re in a situation like that, it’s sometimes better to listen than talk because you end up learning more. I noticed fairly on that a lot of the struggles and challenges we endure are happening in many other organizations, some much larger and older than us for that matter.
Conferences of this size usually have two main focuses, networking and education. As a collective of Greek leadership, it is very common to have people be overly nice and want to exchange info because everyone is focused on the same thing, successful network connections that can provide value down the road. The first full day of the event contained an opening keynote and then we dived right into our educational blocks. We were very tactical about which blocks we went to , because we wanted to be able to digest as much of information as possible for the betterment of the organization. Each night we would plan the next day so we could bring the most relevant and valuable information back to our regions.
Networking is at held constantly but there are specific times called “Fireside Chats” where you get 5 min to introduce yourself to representatives and leadership from universities across the United States. These were beneficial because you could use them for expansion investigation, to check on a entity’s relationship with the school, or just to make a new connection. It must be repetitive for the representatives so I tried to liven it up a little bit and I feel my personal conversations were successful just because I tried to stay away from the cookie cutter talks I heard going on at so many other tables.
While in Fort Worth, we also got to spend time with our Brothers as well. Early in our trip, we got to have dinner with NTX RD Juan Acosta and NAA Chairman Candidate, JJ Chapa. Being able to have facetime to discuss future ODPhi work was great. Then on our 2nd day, we were able to have a mini meeting of the board with the 3 of us plus our NEC Undergrad Rep Khang Nguyen. Finally, we got to visit our Brothers at the Notorious Tau Chapter located at UT Arlington for their Probate and then we visited more Brothers at a multi-org probate at UT Dallas. After being around so many other organizations, it was great to be surrounded by family and just relax with the Brothers. Seeing the amount of pride and enthusiasm our actives have at these events always leaves me feeling proud of the work that we do on all levels because in the big picture, it is easy to see that we all want the best for our Brotherhood and our Brothers.
Overall, I feel that it was a very very successful trip for Omega Delta Phi. I personally got to learn a lot from other organizational leadership to understand other solutions to challenges we face as an organization. It was great to hear from other leaders who have faced similar difficulties and to realize that we have attacked those issues ahead of time, it shows that our maturity as an organization is growing and as we scale it will be important for us to continue our advancement down our