Friday, October 3, 2014

Leadership Institute 2014 - Day 3

With Friday and Saturday of Leadership Institute complete Sunday morning hosted the final events - breakfast & recaps of the weekend before it was time to head home.

I was impressed with the centerpieces at every meal, some were more elaborate than others but they each fit the theme of the meal & discussions/presentations. Nice job!! 

One big room full of AOII's. LOVE IT!

As we wrapped up breakfast the fantastic Dr. Lori Hart spoke. Not only is she a AOII sister but she is HYSTERICAL & motivating speaker! I had the great pleasure to hear her back in college & was thrilled to have the chance to hear her again at LI.

Dr. Lori Hart left me feeling invigorated about what I had learned this weekend, she wrapped it up beautifully by saying “We are each other’s people.” We get each other, we as sisters have been through the same things from our new member period to our first recruitment to graduation to becoming an alum member. We get it & each other, although our backgrounds & paths to AOII may be different at the end of the day we are sisters & have a deep connection & love for our fraternity & each other, even if we are not the best of friends, we still love.

After Dr. Hart wrapped up her presentation it was time to say our goodbyes. We ended by circling around the room & closing LI with Epsilon Chapter Song. And yes I did get all teary hearing my sisters singing that song. 

Before we left I had the chance to get more pictures with my Lambda Eta sisters. 


Now lets just say that when there are HUNDREDS of women with suitcases & heels taking over a hotel that only has 2 elevators, things get a little crazy.  So I took the stairs both up & down since the line for the elevator was a little hectic.
Left - line for the elevator, Right - taking the stairs!

Truth be told after all the rich food that weekend the stairs worked out just fine for me. 


We soon hopped on a bus & were off to the Nashville airport to head home. Of course before leaving we had to have some BBQ with sisters. The Nashville airport is darling & has country singers all over the place. It was a nice little send off. 

I grabbed a Southern Living, Country Living & a hot tea & took to the skies. 

Leadership Institute was an amazing experience! I had never been to an event with so many sisters. It was empowering & reassuring to attend LI. I am beyond honored that I had the chance to represent my Las Vegas sisters, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope one day each of you have the opportunity to experience Leadership Institute or Convention. I can't wait to attend Convention next summer & meet more sisters & learn more about our amazing fraternity. 

Roses, Kara

Monday, September 22, 2014

AOII Paint Party

On Saturday, September 6th, our sisters gathered at Winchell’s Pub & Grill for an AOII painting class. The AOII painting class was taught by one of our own, the wonderful Marie.

The AOII painting class was a great end to a busy week and we all enjoyed each other’s company. I had a blast, and the whole experience was fantastic.

I am no artist, but I had a fun time attempting to paint a beautiful magnolia tree.  Additionally, it was fun to see everyone’s interpretation of the tree. 

Big thanks to everyone who participated and next time you are painting "Don't forget to wet your brushes." Hope to see everyone at our next event. 

Alpha Love, 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

BodyFlow & Happy Hour

On Sunday August 17th we held our first event of the year, the event was a fitness class taught by our sister Katie. The class, Body Flow, is the Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates workout that builds flexibility and strength, while leaving you feeling centered and calm. 

The class was wonderful, Katie is a great instructor & I will say the class certainly left me feeling calm, centered & a sense of accomplishment you get after a great workout.

 On Wednesday August 27th we held the second event of the year - Sisterhood Happy Hour. We met up at Double Helix in Town Square for drinks & tapas. 
It was a nice way to reconnect with sisters after the summer & meet new sisters! 

We hope to see you at our next event. Please stay tuned to the blog for more event information & our Facebook page. 

Hope the end of summer is treating you all well!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Leadership Institute 2014 - Day 2

Saturday morning came far too early for me as Friday was a long & full day! Breakfast & Power Session Two: AOII Half Time Report kicked off the day.
AOII presented the Arthritis Foundation with a check for $229,000!

After the check presentation, the Arthritis Foundation gave a brief presentation - showing how far we have come in the treatment of arthritis. It was very inspiring to see all the changes & hear the stories of how children with Juvenile Arthritis are no longer restricted to wheel chairs. It made me proud to be part of an organization that holds philanthropy in such high regard.

Quick selfie with sisters at breakfast
After breakfast & the half time report it was time for alumnae presidents, officers & network specialists to hop on a bus and head to our beautiful headquarters in Brentwood. As we were off participating in the alumnae learning track, collegiate sisters & advisers stayed at the hotel to more power sessions & learning tracks aimed for their needs. 
Alumnae Chapter Presidents, Alumnae Officers and Network Specialists of Alumnae:
Leadership Institute 2014 will play host to the first ever Alumnae Chapter Track to celebrate the vision of alumnae and to focus on the unique education and opportunities available for AOII alumnae chapter members!  Taking place at AOII International Headquarters, this full-day training for alumnae chapters is sure to inspire!

Culture...In Focus
AOII is a living breathing organization, and the culture of the Fraternity leads it to act, live, and communicate in ways defined by our members.  In this session, alumnae chapter leaders will explore their perception of AOII's current culture as well as define their dream for the future of AOII.

Alumnae Chapter Operations
As alumnae chapter officers, you have a lot of opportunities for programming, social activities, education, ritual, and much more.  With these opportunities comes the responsibilities of your role as an officer.  AOII is trying to make those responsibilities a little easier through their updated Alumnae Chapter Operations Manual that provides ideas, training, and step-by -step guides.  Hear the updates, share ideas, and ask questions about this resource and managing an alumnae chapter.

Collegiate Relations
Things were so different when I was in college! Whether you graduated 5 or 50 years ago, collegiate life is changing rapidly.  From the way collegians communicate to their technology and learning styles, generations of students are having a different experience than you had.  But luckily there are easy ways to relate to these young women.  Find out how you can engage collegiate members, support them, and find ways for them to connect with your chapter sisters to lay a foundation for lifelong involvement in AOII.
Photo of the grand staircase on our way out.

Alumnae Just Wanna Have Fun...For A Lifetime!
This interactive session will explore the different alumnae engagement initiatives available for alumnae and for chapters.  Through the sharing of alumnae engagement programs, best practices, and open discussions, sisters will leave this session with a better understanding of how they can be involved for a lifetime and have FUN doing it!

RITUAL!? Who's got time for Ritual!!
In this highly interactive hour of union, we will remind, remember and review to de-mystify Ritual. We will discuss "The Top 5", "The Big 10", the Secret Behind the Grip and the adult definition of ALAM. Most importantly we will use real world scenarios to help us keep it relevant for ourselves and our chapters. {description of the day taken from the AOII website}

This was the first year for the alumnae track and I really enjoyed it. It was a great chance to learn more but to also exchange ideas about events & things that work well for chapters. I took SO many notes that day. 
Once we got back from headquarters, we had a short break before dinner began. I decided to do a bit more shopping, because why not?! The jeweler was there, which was a very popular table. I was able to pick up the Alumnae President ring, I love this ring as it reminds me of my pin I wore during my new member period. (I really didn't like having to turn that pin in.) 
 A picture with our founders, there were lots of stand ups like this available during Leadership Institute.  
 Soon it was time for dinner, this final dinner for Leadership Institute is called the Awards Dinner. Chapters & individuals receive recognition for several different accomplishments - let me just say it is motivating & inspiring to experience! 
While the Las Vegas Alumnae Chapter did not receive an additional awards that night we were recognized for achieving Ruby Level for Standards of Excellence. And we were one of 8 alumnae chapters that held a Strike Out Arthritis events! I am very proud of our chapter for achieving Ruby Level & holding a Strike Out event.
How could we NOT take a picture with a boa wearing panda?

After the awards dinner we had AOII After Hours - there was a DJ & dancing, shopping at the Emporium, photo booths & giant game of Twister to play. It was a really enjoyable evening. I spent most of the time talking with sisters in the photo booth room.
Tamara & I in the photo booth
The Emporium remained open for the AOII After Hours. 
A shot of the emporium, there were so many adorable shirts to choose from! I already put several on my Christmas list ;)

The second day of Leadership Institute was packed from morning to night with activities. It was an amazing & slightly overwhelming day. I met so many more sisters & learned

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Leadership Institute 2014 - Day 1

On June 27th sisters from around Canada & the United States gathered in Franklin, Tennessee to attend Leadership Institute, it takes place every other year & Convention occurs in between.
From the Alpha Omicron Pi website: "Through dynamic speakers, we will celebrate who we are personally and who we are to AOII. During the AOII Halftime Report, we will get an update on all that AOII has accomplished since Convention 2013, and we'll learn where AOII is heading into the next year. The Learning Paths will not only share useful tools and information for your personal development, but will give you hands-on courses to help you sharpen your skills and overcome obstacles...With all of these incredible activities planned, you will leave Leadership Institute with lifelong learning that will renew your spirit and ignite your passion!"
Bags are packed & I'm ready to go! 

I arrived into Nashville & got right on the bus that took the over 700 sisters to the hotel. Once hotel & LI check in was finished it was time to quickly freshen up for dinner!
 Tables set for the first dinner, every table had a plethora of sunglasses on it - of course some fun photos were made.

After dinner & dessert it was time for awards. The Friday evening award ceremony was fairly short as we had to save time for Power Session One: The Evolution of Leadership a keynote speech given by Rick Barnes. I really enjoyed hearing him speak & yes I even took notes!
 Tamara & I finally met up at dinner!
She had been in network training for the past two days. 

 We both had PANDA nails! 

Once the Power Session One with Rick Barnes came to an end we were able to do a bit of shopping at the Emporium, take photos & meet more sisters.
Tamara, Panda & Myself

I was thrilled to meet Lambda Eta sisters!

 Our final event of the evening was the Network Celebrations, we are part of Network 8 which consists of sisters from Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Utah & Canada! We are a HUGE group! It was fantastic to meet so many more sisters, both collegiate & alumnae. 

After quick introductions & a fun ice breaking game of BINGO (I did not win, I was far too busy getting Instagram user names) each collegiate chapter presented an AOII cheer or song their chapter does. It was amazing, some were to new pop songs, while surprisingly some of the songs were ones I knew & sang in college!! 

Then the alumnae sisters all went to the front of the room & performed a song as well, it was a blast & honestly I'm surprised I remembered all the lyrics!
Two sisters from Lambda Iota sharing their song.

Our Network 8 Celebration came to an end far to quickly for my taste. Thankfully I met a lot of sisters very quickly during that get together, I walked out of the room with a big smile & far more confident. Coming to Leadership Institute I had only met two other sisters that would be attending & I was a bit nervous about attending. I knew it would be a safe & fun event but I had the first day of school nerves leading up to LI. By the end of the night those nerves were gone!

Stay tuned for Day 2 of Leadership Institute! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pinterest Night

On May 25 we had our final event on the "year." Year is in quotes because our events usually pause during the summer months to allow those with children time to enjoy their summer break. Although we will probably have a couple unofficial events during the summer - so stay tuned for that!
Working on Coffee Mugs
The final event was a Pinterest Party, held at Kara's home. Pinterest is a website that allows for sharing of pins - more or less visual bookmarks with links to articles, blogs, etc. The possibilities of Pinterest are endless & there are THOUSANDS of ideas just waiting to be discovered. 
The major plus side of Pinterest is finding all sorts of crafts & recipes to try. That was the plan for the evening, three crafts were offered - DIY Natural Body Scrub, Wine Bottle Crafts & Design Your Own Coffee Mug. It was also encouraged to bring your own Pinterest dish to pass.
Making their body scrub
Painting, Glittering & Mod Podging Wine Bottles
Group shot
The event was fun, it allowed everyone to get in touch with their crafting side! Some sisters did just one project, where others did all three. It was a fun way to wrap up another year of AOII events. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sisters With Ammo & Dinner

On May 9th we met up at the Las Vegas Gun Garage, last year when we had this event it was one of our most popular ones. Sisters had the opportunity to shoot their own handguns or rent from the Gun Garage.
Some of the guns sisters rented. 

Tamara shooting
Beth shooting
Jessica shooting
Katie shooting - check out that fire!
Group shot with eye & ear protection on.

Another group shot

Jessica with her target - this was her first time ever shooting. She did great! 

After the Gun Garage, we had dinner at the Sugar Factory in Town Square. It was a wonderful time!
Sisterhood is all about sharing ;) 

Final group shots of the night - of course we found a panda! 

The event was a big success, sadly we had to say goodbye to one sister, Amy, as later that week she would be moving across the country to North Carolina.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


On April 26 we had our annual ritual meeting, once again Tamara was kind enough to open up her house to us. 

Ritual this year was a little different as new officers were installed, nearly every position we have welcomed a new sister. I am beyond thrilled that so many women are stepping up & taking positions with our alum chapter.
In addition to ritual & welcoming new officers -  AOII Foundation Ambassador & newly appointed HR Committee Chair Dana Moreland joined us. Dana not only participated in ritual with us but educated us all on AOII Foundation & other ways to get involved & give back.

It was a day full of sisterhood! Ritual has always held a special place in my heart, it refreshes me & brings me back to the values & ideals I have in common with so many other women. It reminds me exactly why I decided to join Alpha Omicron Pi.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Get to Know your Sister Round 2 - Part 5

Name – Marie Sassman
Collegiate Chapter & Year Initiated – Sigma Rho 2002
Which Founder do you identify with most & why – Elizabeth Heywood Wyman – because she was involved in education and social welfare. Being a teacher and working with low socio-economic students is extremely important. Also love that she was kind & understanding.

Name – Debra Gallo
Collegiate Chapter & Year Initiated – Omega 1974
Which Founder do you identify with most & why – Helen – I admire her organizational skills needed to create the sorority.  

Name - Kara Kenny
Collegiate Chapter & Year Initiated - Lambda Eta 2005
 Which Founder do you identify with most & why –Stella - because "artistic, dramatic and idealistic" describes Stella & myself quite well.