20 Years Later: Remembering the Brothers We Lost on September 11th

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil and a tragic day for our nation. At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 collided into the World Trade Center’s north tower in New York City, killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more. Just 17 minutes later, a second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, flew into the south tower. About 30 minutes later, a third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the west side of the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., while a fourth plane, United Flight 93, crash-landed into a field in Pennsylvania killing all 40 souls on board.

So many innocent lives were lost during this attack, including three of our own Alpha Kappa Psi brothers: Thomas E. Burnett, Minnesota ’85, David H. Winton, Fordham ’91, and Jayceryll M. de Chavez, Rutgers ’98-Life.

Thomas Burnett

Tom graduated from the University of Minnesota’s School of Management in 1985, where he was a member of AKPsi’s Alpha Eta chapter. He went on to have a successful career in business, becoming Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Thoratec Corporation.

On 9/11, he was in New York City on business and was set to head home that day. Tragically, he had changed his reservation to an earlier flight so he could get home to his family sooner, which ultimately led to him being a passenger of Flight 93.

In an NBC interview, his loving wife, Deena Burnett, said, “Tom and the people of Flight 93 came very close to saving the plane. And of course we live with that every day, thinking ‘what if?’”

The passengers of Flight 93 will forever be remembered as American heroes and Tom’s legacy will live on in his family and future business leaders for generations to come.

Tom’s family founded the Tom Burnett Family Foundation in his memory, to help empower youth to become the leaders of tomorrow. The Alpha Eta Chapter holds an annual golf charity to raise money for the fund. Since 1988, the Alpha Eta Scholarship fund has awarded $1,233,292 in scholarships to 204 recipients.

Current Alpha Eta President, Sidney Enninga, described the chapter’s passion for the event: “The members of AKPsi attempt to exemplify Tom’s leadership and courage on a daily basis. He served as our chapter president from 1984-85 and was liked by everyone. We started the Tom Burnett Charity Golf Tournament to honor his story, while bringing those close to him a little closer. Tom loved golf, and that is why we are inviting all of his family, friends, classmates, and colleagues to come support those scholarships that strive to further his legacy.”

The 2021 event will be held September 23 at the Oak Glen Golf course in Stillwater, MN beginning at noon.

Learn more about the Tom Burnett Family Foundation and donate here. >

 

David Winton

David was a 1994 graduate of Fordham University’s business school, an active member of AKPsi’s Epsilon Psi chapter, an honor student, a member of the Globe Program, and Chief Executive Officer of the student-run Fordham Federal Credit Union.

At just 29 years old, David was serving as Vice President at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor in Tower Two of the World Trade Center on September 11th. He had plans to marry his fiancée Amy later that November.

David’s family and friends established the David H. Winton Foundation and a scholarship fund for graduating seniors at Wethersfield High School, where he graduated as a scholar-athlete in 1990. Their annual memorial golf tournament which ran from 2002 to 2016 raised nearly $100,000 for college-bound students, and they continue to award the scholarship each year.

Learn more about the David H. Winton Foundation on Facebook. >

 

Jayceryll de Chavez

Jayceryll (Jacy) graduated from Rutgers University in 1999 and was a member of AKPsi’s Omicron Tau chapter. Jacy had recently passed his first level examination to become a financial analyst and was working at Fiduciary Trust International in Tower Two of the World Trade Center during the attack. He was just 24 years old.

Jacy is remembered by his family and friends, including his Omicron Tau brother, Chad Olsyzyk. Chad and Jacy, along with 28 other Rutgers business students, founded the Omicron Tau chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi in 1998.

“I only knew Jacy for what now seems like a quick 3 ½ years, but his direct impact still lives within me. As one of the oldest brothers in the fraternity and because he was in Delta Chi, we looked to him for guidance. He wanted Alpha Kappa Psi to be a true professional business fraternity that helps college students become the best business associates after graduation. That’s the chapter foundation we built because of him,” Chad recalls.

Chad and other AKPsi members along with the de Chavez family pulled together to create the Jacy de Chavez World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship.

“Nearly 700 business students in the past 20 years have gone out to the business world better off because of this foundation he created. Jacy had an immense sense of determination, and integrity, mixed in with a little sense of humor, and these characteristics were contagious to those around him,” adds Chad.

Learn more about Jacy’s legacy on his 9/11 living memorial page. >

 

We’ll never forget

As sitting President George W. Bush said in his address to the nation on September 11th, 2001, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

The legacy of our fallen brothers lives on in their families, friends, and the many lives they touched. We remember them this year, and always.

We live in deeds, not years;
In thought, not breath;
In service, not in figures on the dial.
We count time by heart-throbs,
When they beat for God, for man, for duty.
He lives most who thinks most,
Is noblest, acts the best.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health at Work

While workplace stress is nothing new, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated it for all types of workers. From the added stress of working from home (and now for some, anxiety around returning to the office again) to the millions of essential workers who had to put their own health at risk during the pandemic — everyone has been impacted in some way and to varying degrees. If there is one silver lining though, it’s that these challenges have brought mental health to the forefront of the national conversation and shone a light on existing problems.

A recent Household Pulse Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 37% of people surveyed reported feeling anxious or depressed. (That number was just 11% in 2019.) On top of that, in their 2021 report: Mind the Workplace, Mental Health America (MHA) found that nearly 9 out of 10 employees report workplace stress that impacts their mental health.

Overcoming burnout

Burnout had become a hot topic of conversation long before the events of 2020, and has become even more prevalent over the last year. In their survey, MHA found that nearly 83% of respondents felt emotionally drained from their work, and nearly 1 in 4 employees experienced severe signs of burnout, including reduced professional efficacy and cynicism towards coworkers and their jobs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has even added burnout to its International Classification of Diseases. According to the WHO, burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed, and is characterized by three dimensions: 

 

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  2. Reduced professional efficacy
  3. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job

 

Aside from factors related specifically to the pandemic, other common factors that contribute to burnout include overwhelming workload, long working hours, staff shortages, an aggressive environment, and lack of support from management. If left unaddressed, burnout can cause lower productivity and quality of work, job dissatisfaction, low organizational commitment, absenteeism, and ultimately, turnover. 

While any employee in any company can experience burnout, there are some jobs that are at higher risk. Even pre-pandemic, employees in the medical field were at higher risk for mental health challenges. A 2019 study by Medscape found that 44% of physicians reported feeling burned out. Many physicians pointed to long hours and increased administrative tasks as a major source of burnout. One family physician even said, “All that paperwork sucks all of the enjoyment out of being a doctor.”

People in other types of high-pressure jobs, like sales, are also at risk of burnout and other mental health challenges. According to Sales Health Alliance, dealing with constant worries about hitting sales goals and dealing with constant rejection can make the sales environment a very difficult place to maintain mental well-being. Their latest survey of sales professionals showed that 43% struggle with their mental health.

Managing Zoom fatigue

For people working from home (and even many who don’t) video conferencing has become a huge part of our lives. While the ability to connect with colleagues, friends, and family members from the safety of our own homes has been invaluable in many ways, constant use of tools like Zoom has also caused very real mental health challenges for many.

Stanford communications professor Jeremy Bailenson recently shared with CNN Business the four causes of Zoom fatigue:

 

  1. ‘Fight or flight’ survival. A video call “smothers everyone with gaze,” so though your just staring at a camera, it simulates a confrontation and triggers your fight-or-flight instincts.

 

  1. Non-verbal internet cues. We’re not used to socializing in a virtual environment and our brains don’t know how to pick up non-verbal cues in the same way.

 

  1. Constant mirror and self-evaluation. The self-evaluation that happens when seeing yourself on video can make you stressed, and the effects are even worse for women. Bailenson mentions a study that shows long periods of self-focusing can “prime women to experience depression.”

 

  1. Stuck in the box. Zoom fatigue traps us in a box, which can limit our mental ability and cause our minds to act differently than when we’re able to move around.

 

Video conferencing may become less necessary as the world opens up, but it’s not likely to go away completely. But according to Bailenson, we’re not sentenced to Zoom fatigue and there are some things we can do to combat it.

“Collapse that self-image box so it’s out of view… it will be like a weight taken off your shoulders. Use an external webcam or opt for more phone call meetings — so you can get up and think out of that Zoom box,” he says.

Create boundaries and take mental breaks

Dr. Jessi Gold, a psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis, told NPR there are ways to spot the signs of burnout and regain some control. One of these ways is to tune into how you’re feeling at work each day.

“It can even be helpful to sort of note your mood throughout the day,” says Gold. “Like, ‘Every time I have a meeting with so-and-so, I feel horrible, and then every time I’m with this person or doing this thing, that’s where I find the most meaning.'”

Ron Friedman, author of the book, The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, tells Harvard Business Review that burnout often stems from a lack of understanding about what it takes to achieve peak workplace performance. “We tend to assume that it requires trying harder or outworking others,” he says, “which may get you short-term results but is physiologically unsustainable.” 

Friedman recommends taking regular breaks to restock your mental energy. “Take a walk or go for a run. Have lunch away from your desk. Stepping away from your computer gets you out of the weeds and prompts you to reexamine the big picture.”

Speak up and ask for help

As more people speak up and speak out about mental health, more employers are starting to pay attention. A 2020 Business Group on Health survey found that nearly half of large employers now train their managers to recognize mental health issues and an additional 18% plan to start in 2021. Plus, 54% of employers will offer free or low-cost virtual mental health visits this year. 

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of burnout or a more serious mental health condition, you are not alone and help is out there. Many employers offer an employee assistance program (EAP), that provides you with free resources, many of which include access to virtual counseling or therapy. You can also talk to your primary care doctor or ask them for a referral to a mental health professional. Or, you can search for qualified therapists in your area on the Psychology Today website.

Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are also available for help and guidance. (You can also call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.)

To learn more about strategies for managing your mental health at work, you can also download Mental Health America’s Workplace Mental Health Employee Support Guide: https://mhanational.org/employeesupportguide.

 

*Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and not intended to provide any clinical advice. It is only intended to provide general education and research around mental health in the workplace and provide links to available resources.

Tribute to Women

This year we celebrated the 45th anniversary of AKPsi allowing women to join the fraternity!  But did you know, it took several years before the opposition was finally defeated?

In 1972, President Nixon (and AKPsi brother), signed Title IX, which states that no person, on the basis of sex, can be excluded from participation, or denied benefits, under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

A Title IX exemption was introduced and in 1973, the Fraternity Alliance for Inalienable Rights, a 17 member organization which AKPsi was a member, was formed to oppose Title IX for professional fraternities.

During Convention in 1975, Alpha Kappa Psi initiated a fundraiser to combat Title IX, and a write-in campaign to attempt to sway legislators also began. A committee for female membership was created and proposed the Fraternity should bar women due to the Title IX exception legislation.

However, when it became apparent that non-inclusive legislation would not be approved, it was actually the Board of Directors that voted on August 7, 1976, to admit women into the Fraternity.

“Given the exposure we had to the business community-at-large, we could no longer deny women the same right to learn as we had learned.” John Eppinger Jr, Jacksonville ’75 Life

The Fraternity’s growth is directly linked to the admittance of women and makes up roughly half its membership. Women are chapter Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Pledge Educators. They are Chapter Advisors and Regional Directors. In 1985, AKPsi elected the first Female Fraternity Vice President, in 1991, the first Female Foundation Chairman, in 2003, the first Female Fraternity Chairman, and in 2007, finally, the first Female Fraternity President.

 

 

A Mindset of Abundance with Phyllis Ginsberg

In this episode, Desiree and Chrissy take a deep dive into mental health and the importance of positive thoughts while chatting with brain researcher and therapist Phyllis Ginsberg. This touches on anxiety, depression, EFT tapping, and positive psychology. If you’re looking to take a step toward thinking of what’s possible, this is number one.

Phyllis Ginsberg is known and beloved by lots of happier, healthier, and less stressed working professionals as their Survival to Thrival Expert. She’s the author of two books:Brain Makeover – A Weekly Guide to a Happier, Healthier, and More Abundant Life,” andTired and Hungry No More – Not Your Ordinary Guide to Reclaiming Your Health and Happiness.” Her 30 years of experience as a marriage and family therapist, and expertise in positive psychology, brain research, and EFT tapping, give her clients an edge in making lasting, profound changes in their lives. Quickly, they shift their stressful thinking to achieve calm, clarity, and creativity. That means that the quality of their lives and work gets better – often in a moment. 

External Links:

Connect with Phyllis Ginsberg

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FREE GUIDE: Cope with Stress and Overwhelm in 5 Minutes or Less

Alpha Kappa Psi Inclusivity Statement

Dear AKPsi Brothers,

As our fraternity celebrates the end of another academic year and the accomplishments of our members and chapters from across the world, there are those also experiencing the tough reality of lives lost to racially motivated violence. Recent incidents across the US have caused feelings of sadness, frustration, hopelessness, and anger throughout our membership and in our wider communities.

Words will not and cannot reconcile these emotions, but at the same time, we do not feel it’s right or just to remain silent. We feel it is important to affirm publicly that all humans have value and that we must stand in solidarity against injustice, racism, and violence at all times, but especially when our fellow brothers and families are suffering.

We must acknowledge and respond to the negative effects which injustice, racism and violence have on our organization, on our brothers, on our families, and on society as a whole.  In AKPsi, we aspire to be principled business leaders. In order to be true to our values – brotherhood, integrity, unity, knowledge, service – we must find ways to enact those values at this critical time.

To this end, we are organizing a task force to develop a plan of action for our fraternity to be a model of inclusivity and equality. By doing so, we will aim to be a model for other organizations who aspire to spurn injustice, discrimination in any of its many forms, and violence.  The work will begin immediately and the initial draft plan of action will be released within the next 30 days.

We understand our words and our call to action may not lessen the current emotions; however, we are committed to taking the first step toward long-term change in our organization on behalf of our members and beyond.

If you are interested in sitting on the task force or being kept up to date on progress being made, please sign into the MyAKPsi Community and apply through Volunteer Central (https://akpsi.force.com/myAKPsi/s/volunteer-central). Please choose the preferred vacancy “Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity Taskforce member” and complete the information requested. You can mark the “I am interested in learning and leadership development positions” checkbox of Special Interest Project.