Culture and Coaching with Debbie Barrett

How does company culture impact business performance? In this episode of Business Edge, special guest Debbie Barrett suggests that a lot of it boils down to managers and the support and training that they’re given. She also speaks to the different career paths existing within the expansive HR field, the concept of “coaching out” (and why it may not really be a bad thing), and her most rewarding experiences within HR.

Debbie is the Vice President of Work Life & Culture at ITHAKA (ithaca), an alum of the Montclair State University’s Iota Rho chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi and serves on the Fraternity’s Board of Directors. She’s a strategic and results-oriented Human Resources professional with over 20 years of experience in all areas of HR management. Debbie is a creative problem solver and proven leader with a record of improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing business performance in a fast-paced, high-growth culture. As a trusted advisor, she creates strong, effective, and collaborative relationships, inspiring confidence at all levels.

External Links:

The Alpha Kappa Psi logo and a heading that says "Alpha Kappa Psi News"

Fraternity Restructures Volunteer Support

NOBLESVILLE (October 3, 2022) – Alpha Kappa Psi is excited to announce a new volunteer structure focused on better serving the needs of its collegiate chapters based on the findings from two Organizational Assessment Task Forces. 

The first task force concluded the next step in revising the volunteer support structure was to design and implement a new volunteer structure aligned with the functional operations of chapters. This structure would also better support the needs of collegiate members, chapter volunteers, and staff. 

In Summer 2022, the Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity Board of Directors commissioned the second Organizational Assessment Task Force to explore how to improve the volunteer structure to serve collegiate chapters’ needs better. The second task force, comprised of current and former volunteers, examined the critical role of the chapter advisor and how specialized teams based on functional operations could support the chapter officers and chapter advisor in improving an area of their operations.

As a result, eight functional needs were identified, and the same number of teams were developed to address those areas. This new volunteer structure is the evolution of the current regional manager system, expanding the knowledge and skills of these individuals across regions. The regional manager and chapter advisory board roles will transition into the functional team structure and broader fraternity volunteer structure. 

For Fall 2022, the focus is filling open chapter advisor roles and recruiting volunteers for four of the functional teams. These functional teams are prioritized based on current needs.

  • Operations
  • Recruitment and Member Education Managers (focused on the pledge program)
  • Membership
  • Finances 

How does the new volunteer structure impact the current Regional Management Team roles?

Chapter Advisor (CA)

  • The chapter advisor (CA) will continue to be the primary face-to-face volunteer and support for the collegiate chapter.
  • Chapter advisors will be in close communication regarding the state of the chapters’ operations with their chapter educational resource coordinators (CERCs). Section directors and regional directors correctly reported in Volunteer Central will receive copies of staff communication.
  • Chapter advisors are expected to be familiar with the Bridge to Brotherhood program and the chapter’s plan for its new member program.

Section Director (SD)

  • As of August 2022, the section director role remains unchanged and regional directors may recruit and fill open positions.

Regional Director (RD)

  • Regional directors will continue in their role; however, vacant positions will not be filled as the Fraternity Board of Directors and staff leadership continue to review the organization’s overall volunteer structure.

For further information, please consult the Volunteer Restructure FAQ

IT and Cybersecurity with Besong Tambeagbor

As technology continues to evolve and become so engrained with society and our day-to-day lives, IT and Cybersecurity have emerged as prominent fields that cannot be overlooked. In this episode of Business Edge, special guest Besong Tambeagbor discusses the overlaps between business and tech, and explains what exactly can go wrong when people and organizations don’t follow the best practices online. If you’re someone who uses the same 2-3 passwords for all of your online accounts, then this is the episode for you!

Besong is an alumni of Georgia State University’s Pi chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi and the Chapter Advisor for Epsilon Sigma. She has over 12 years of experience in the IT and cyber security field and is currently an Application Security Consultant in Threat and Vulnerability Management. Besong has also served as a Women in Technology Campus Team Member and a Teaching Assistant for Black Girls Code. She’s passionate about furthering her career in cyber security and ethical hacking.

External Links:

Managing Up with Alison Jennings

Managing up is defined by the Harvard Business Review as, “Being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company.” While it is a good skill to have, in this episode of Business Edge, special guest Alison Jennings argues that there needs to be a balance. She proposes that this balance can be achieved by finding a boss who is a good fit for you and is knowledgeable about your role. She also speaks to how exactly to do this during the interview process so that interviewees can spot potential red flags before they commit to a role.

Alison is Vice-Chair of the Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Board of Directors and an alum of Oakland University’s Mu Nu chapter. She’s an experienced finance and accounting professional and is currently the Senior Director of Finance at Goodkind Co. Alison focuses on creating efficiencies and process improvement while supporting overall business needs. She has a passion for numbers and an analytical mind which helps her excel in diverse team dynamics.

External Links:

Clarity Coaching with Precious Azurée

Clarity Coaching, which differs from life coaching, is a term coined by Precious Azurée to explain the work she does with individuals seeking clarity and confidence in tackling their goals. In this episode of Business Edge, listen to Precious discuss the biggest issues she sees that hold her clients back from fulfillment and success. She discusses how people can overcome hurdles such as time management and a lack of prioritization, and how she has developed her craft through reading and learning. Plus, listen to her explain how data can help elevate the lived experiences of people of color!

Precious Azuree is a Clarity Coach sought out by entrepreneurs, small business owners, and nonprofits seeking clarity on their brand strategy, systems to boost productivity and personal development. In addition to her consulting business, she is breaking barriers as the Vice President and Co-Founder of the award-winning black female-led nonprofit MEASURE, a public education & data advocacy organization that uses data and education to mobilize communities to eliminate social disparities. In 2021, she was awarded Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Outstanding Nonprofit Leader Award and positioned as the Social & Cultural Committee Chair of Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals.

With a strong emphasis on developing people, Precious has made it her mission to develop the human, social, and financial capital of her community to position their legacy for sustainability and growth. As a woman of faith, she leads with love, grace and this in mind: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

External Links: