Contents Letter from the Board 3 Spring Semester Greetings!
Features 4 Living Out Our Values 5 Fit Gammas 5 What is a True Woman of Distinction? 6 Being the Best You 8 Feeding your Hunger for Balance 9 Shot at Life 10 The Journey Reflection 11 My Beloved World Book Review
30 Tiger Dreams 31 What is a Woman of Distinction? 32 For Founders 32 The Journey 33 Woman of Distinction 33 Mi Propio Grito 34 A Woman of Distinction 34 Space Cadet
Career 12 DIOSA Nails & Polish 14 Resume Rehab 15 Paperwork Deadlines 16 Establish your Foundation 17 Interviewing 101 18 5 Steps to Following your Dreams
Spotlights 20 Alexander “Najma” Hall 21 Upsilon Beta 22 Christine “Tenaz” Traufler 23 Alpha Epsilon 24 Mayra “AyeLe!” Rivas 25 St. Leo Colony 26 Natalie “Alina” Aguilar 27 Naderge “Domingue” Norvelus 28 Zeta Beta 28 Psi Beta 29 Joni “Querida” Batts
Sigma Lambda Gamma strives to be the premier organization committed to providing a mechanism of empowerment to all women
Letter from the Board Greetings Sisters! With roughly a year into our term, it has been exciting holding visionary conversations that have shaped and will continue to shape, our organization for years to come! In just five years, the conversations on the National level have evolved to take on more of a strategic, long-term approach. Our face-toface meeting in January was a huge success because we were able to accomplish just that. While everyday matters are undoubtedly discussed, the majority of our time together is spent on defining our organization’s growth. Identifying and prioritizing areas where we can better serve our membership with newly created services and resources, is no small task. However, we have witnessed, firsthand, members motivating and supporting one another in all facets of life from building a healthier lifestyle, balancing the many hats of womanhood, to improving academic skills and building confidence.
around the corner. The success of our organization throughout these past 23 years would not have been possible if it were not for all of the passionate members who have given back to the sorority in some shape or form. It goes without saying that our continued success relies on even greater determination and generosity of sisters who will take our organization to new levels.
“.. we have witnessed, firsthand, members motivating and supporting one another in all facets of life.. ”
The beauty of our organization is that as women and sisters, we embrace our individuality yet share mutual values. Moving forward as a sorority, we recognize the need to identify what our “brand” is while also continuing to empower one another. This issue of La Mensajera features an abundance of articles from sisters who define, in their own words, what it means to be a woman of distinction and exemplify empowerment. As a Board, we also had the same discussion and agreed on the following: A woman of distinction with the ability to empower others is a confident, humble, educated, and open minded individual who leads with integrity and enlightened values while inspiring others to take positive action in their personal, professional, and daily lives. Sigma Lambda Gamma’s 23rd anniversary is right
As always, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteer leaders - past, present, and future - as well as our amazing Headquarters staff for their continued hard work and dedication to the service of Sigma Lambda Gamma. We hope that the next 23 years bring nothing but extraordinary accomplishments for our sisterhood and our members. Lastly, it is gratifying to know that in just 2 short years, we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary; an enormous milestone for Sigma Lambda Gamma. A committee will begin brainstorming the festivities in the upcoming months. If you have any ideas, comments, or simply want to get involved, we encourage you to do so. We love to hear from all sisters and especially from those whom we have never had the opportunity to meet or hear from before. It is with your help that we will be the premier organization of our kind! Please do not hesitate to contact us at NBOD@ SigmaLambdaGamma.com should you have any questions or concerns. La Mensajera Spring 2013
Living Out Our Values
Sister Veronica “Justicia” Beltran We are living in a society where education is vital and access to higher education needs to be more available. I am currently an intern for Latin Americans United for Progress, a non-profit organization that attends Latino needs in the community of Holland, MI. My job involves assisting the Adelante Youth Program. This program seeks to teach students leadership principles through learning from community leaders, exploring different careers, community service and putting these skills to practice in the planning of our Youth Conference. We meet weekly on Wednesday nights and during this time we bring in guest speakers from different careers and also have activities that teach them about “The 7 habits of highly effective teens.”
I started my internship fall 2012, and I have plans of continuing with this internship until I graduate. At first, I was nervous to start because it would be my first time working with high school students. The first couple of times that I met the students I felt very anxious. I would wonder, “Do they like me?” “Am I ‘cool’?” One thing that helped me settle in was that I saw myself in them. Most of them will be 1st generation college students, and young Latinos who aspire to be successful in their endeavors. Over time I have gotten more attached to my occupation and it feels great to work in a non-profit organization that gives back to the community. It is very enriching for me to work for these students who will be the future leaders of tomorrow.
the Hispanic Youth Leadership Conference, an annual conference that hosted 600+ students this year. The conference brings many great facilitators for workshops who speak on topics ranging from time management skills to resources for undocumented students. This year my chapter sisters from the Omicron Alpha Chapter and men from the Alpha Gamma Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity facilitated a workshop for students, had their own information tables at our college and resource fair, and volunteered throughout the day. Students who attended the conference were very intrigued to learn about Greek life. I involve my chapter in my internship and with my students because it is important for all of us to give back to our communities and help in any way possible so that these students feel more comfortable going on to college.
“Giving back to our communities is something that this sisterhood values.. ”
Being a Gamma woman makes this experience that much better because I see myself living out our values. Giving back to our communities is something our sisterhood values and I feel that I do that working for these students. I feel that it is vital to give back to our communities in order to create a better community for our country and the world. Also, academics is another important principle and through the work that I have done with these students I hope to see them attain some form of higher education after graduating high school. Recently, this group of students helped plan and organize
Working in the non-profit field is not easy. It takes a lot of commitment and hard work to get any job done in this field. Being a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma has taught me a lot about commitment and it is important to live out the values of this sisterhood everyday. I feel blessed that I get to work with my co-workers who are motivated and youth who make me strive to be better. I feel proud whenever I wear my letters around my students and I hope that I serve them as a role model. I hope they see me as someone who came from the same family and economic background and someone who strived to go to college and has now become a strong woman of distinction.
Sigma Lambda Gamma strives to be the premier organization committed to providing a mechanism of empowerment to all women
Sister Claudia “Corazon” Garcia
This is hopefully the first of many different articles whose content will be driven by Sisters, for Sisters. I am an alumna from the Chi Alpha Chapter at the University of Houston. I am a founder of the Houston Metropolitan Alumnae Association and a member of the Southern California Alumnae Association. A little about my current fitness goals: I’ve completed seven half marathons and I am working on becoming a better runner. I need to lose about 25-40 lbs and would like to get leaner, stronger and fitter. I enjoy running, yoga, some of the Beachbody programs (I am a Beachbody coach), weight lifting and cooking healthy meals. I am working on clean eating and don’t believe in completely eliminating any one food group, except for soda. In the South, coke is a food group, and I’ve been coke free since January 1, 2013! I currently coach a beginner’s running group in Houston called Power in Motion. You can see some of my workouts/nutrition/fitness related “stuff” on my personal Facebook “like” page at www.
facebook.com/runmyheart. In November of 2012, I created the Fit Gammas group on Facebook that has since grown to 446 members. Fit Gammas is a place for sisters to support each other in all areas of health and fitness. Gammas share recipes, success stories, workout tips and best of all, encouragement and support with each other. It is a closed group, meaning nothing in the group page can be seen by anyone unless they are a member, and there is no solicitation allowed because I wanted Gammas to feel free to discuss all concerns without fear of judgments or having someone trying to sell them anything. We have big plans for the page! If you want to join us, visit http://www.facebook.com/ groups/fitgammas/. The Fit Gammas column is going to be different each time, featuring success stories, nutrition and fitness tips and discussing questions sent in by sisters. Please feel free to send in suggestions, submit success stories, or ask questions to FitGammas@gmail.com (Indicate if you want your question to remain anonymous.) I am incredibly excited to start this new feature in La Mensajera and am so thankful to the editors for this opportunity. “Every great achievement is the victory of a flaming heart” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is a True Woman of Distinction?
Sister Megan “Harmonia” Sotelo
What does it mean to be a woman of distinction? Well, to be a woman, that relies solely on biology, the 50% chance of being male or female. But to be distinct? To be distinct means to be unmistakably different, special, excellent. A woman of distinction satisfies her hunger for knowledge, constantly advancing her education and ensuring a bright and rich future. She comes to the aid of others, remembering that your humble beginnings only complement your achievements and we must always give back to our community in order to ensure that everyone has a chance at success. She makes herself open to others, showing everyone that she encounters why she is distinct, why they should connect with her, and ensures that they know she is someone who can adapt to any situation while providing ideas that are beneficial to them. She keeps her morals close to her heart, standing up for what she
believes is right and just, and makes sure everyone has the opportunity to share their beliefs. A woman of distinction not only accepts diversity, but spreads it. She takes on everyone’s own distinct, diverse differences and provides a gateway for them to be united. She strives to make these differences known. A woman of distinction believes that culture IS pride and pride IS success. She wears her pink and purple letters with pride. She is special. She is successful. Failure is not in her vocabulary and she knows this because her principles keep her strong. They make her who she is. They make her a distinct woman of Sigma Lambda Gamma. And when people see her, when they recognize those pink and purple letters on her chest, when they hear that Gamma call and the proud and true “CULTURE IS PRIDE, PRIDE IS SUCCESS!” chant, they know exactly what it means to be distinct. La Mensajera Spring 2013
Being the Best You Sister Bianca “Sparta” Salvant
During my junior year of college I remember sitting across from my mentor as she looked over my resume. She curled her short blonde hair around her index finger, the butt of her pen sat calmly on her bottom lip and she looked up at me under her glasses. “Are you the best?” she asked. I was taken aback and because of this I didn’t answer immediately. I, who always seemed to have something to say, didn’t know how to respond. I thought, Well, I sure hope so. I smiled at her and shifted in my seat, a little uncomfortable. She continued, “If you can’t answer that confidently then I guess you aren’t. You need to be the absolute best. People will want you because you’re the best.” Immediately I had wished the floor would swallow me. I grew angry with myself for not having enough faith in my own capabilities. I took with me her advice and from that day forward I would tell myself that I was the best. Now, nearly three years later, do I completely understand the significance of what she said? In order to be the best, I had to be the best me in all forms: physically, mentally, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.
“I know I’m sober/It’s just so profound/That every wall I built up has come crashing down...Use me/ Wanna give you control...Forgive me/It’s the very first time and I’m nervous.” Some people may be saying, “but that isn’t a gospel song.” That is the beauty of God though; he appears in so many different forms. We just have to pay very close attention. It was during that moment that my life, my heart, my soul was put in the hands of God. I told him I wanted my life to be exactly how he intended it to be. I wanted him to guide my steps. I wanted him to inspire my mind. I told him that I wanted to use every single talent he had planted within my being and overcome the hardest aspect—not caring what people thought. From that point on, it was almost as though I was given a new set of eyes. I began to see everything different—and I mean everything.
“ In order to be the best, I had to be the best me in all forms: physically, I began to work on my relationship with God. I learned how to talk mentally, intellectually, spiritually and to him—not just pray—but talk. Learning how to communicate emotionally.” with God as if he was sitting right next to me helped me grasp the concept of listening. Most of the time his responses were already in my head; I just had to seek deep enough to find it. It was an empowering realization one evening as I lay in bed and conversed with the being who created me. That isn’t where it started though. One day I was folding and hanging clothes while listening to music and watching TV. I was listening to “Use Me” by Miguel and a part of his lyrics stood out to me like an elephant in the room and literally tugged at my heart and soul:
I remember telling myself, how can you possibly be the best you when you aren’t physically healthy? The thought made me cringe because the gym always
Sigma Lambda Gamma strives to be the premier organization committed to providing a mechanism of empowerment to all women
Being the Best You God has given me. Why not soak it for what it is worth? It is worth absolutely everything.
seemed to defeat me. I would start and never finish. I would attempt to run and then I’d take my bottle of water and say, “OK, that’s enough.” It disappointed me; angered me; frustrated me. I would scream at myself, “Why can’t I do this?” And my response, “Because you don’t believe you can.” Enough is enough. I made the commitment to be the best, right? Being the best isn’t easy, nothing worthy is. I learned to tackle one of my biggest challenges and I feel so beautiful. This type of beauty is deeper than what is on the surface. I have figured out (with God’s help) how to navigate through my own fears in order to demolish them and how to uplift myself as a person—a woman. I have always loved to read and write. But during college I would rarely pick up a book or write anything for pleasure. I was so consumed with work and class that I never invested in myself. I want to write a novel one day but how can I do that if I do not read novels? If I do not gain inspiration from other writers? Every single one of us has a talent, a tool that we are born with. But none of these talents will prosper if we do not practice them. The cliché saying that practice makes perfect is real life. There is nothing wrong with practicing something you love. The most successful people in this world are doing exactly what they love.
Culture. We all, regardless of what anyone says, have a piece of us that belongs to a specific group of people. It is how we eat, how we dress, how we dream and achieve. But this isn’t limited to just where our parents are from or where we were born (although it’s a big influence). Going to college is adapting a different culture: Reading books, watching movies, playing video games, partying, drugs. It is up to us, as individuals, to choose how we ultimately mold ourselves by the teams we decide to play for. I have learned that one can be a part of multiple teams: positive teams, ones that are constructed for motivation. I am not saying that life is perfect and I’m especially not trying to imply that about my own. There is no such thing; but what I am saying is that you can discipline yourself to defensively tackle the struggles of life by learning from them and committing to overcome it. Not living up to your full potential is giving up, period. Everyone’s full potential is different from another. Whereas I feel obligated to tackle certain fears, to another person it may seem ridiculous. But that’s OK. It isn’t meant for them to understand. This is for me and God to comprehend and work on. This goes for everyone. Your path is about being the best you. And I’ll be the best me. Bottom line, being the best you isn’t only about your job or work. It isn’t only about your side hustle. It’s about who you are as a person and why you are still breathing on this earth.
I am now reading and writing more because it’s something I love to do and spending some time with it makes me happy. Of course, being the best you is a life long journey. It’s a creative process that we each are going through, just at different speeds. Setting life goals is inspiring; it helps to give me something to fight for and it’s even more rewarding because it is the life La Mensajera Spring 2013
Feeding your Hunger for Balance
Sister Selina “Imani” Rivera
Sisters, we are a force to be reckoned with, am I right? Not only do we focus on academics but we volunteer, socialize, and meet the needs of our entities while looking mighty fine doing it! As Alumnae, we live out our adult lives doing all we can to reach towards the ceiling of excellence and punch right through that glass ceiling and into new heights! Each and every one of us is cut from a cloth of extreme awesomeness and we know it. Yes, while upholding those Standards of Distinction is of value to us all, somewhere along the way, being a Woman of Balance can be a bit of a challenge. As women, we tend to be nurturers. We care for our family, our friends, our grades, our career, our future. But what about ourselves? At what point in our lives do we set aside everything else to meet the needs of our physical, emotional, and mental well-being? Have you ever decided to start a new workout plan? Perhaps some form of diet to get you “fit and right for the dress that’s tight”? Of course you have, we all have. Kudos to all my “Fit Gammas” out there but for the majority of women, this kind of lifestyle change can be a bit intimidating.
As a Wellness Coach, I coach my clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline. No one diet works for everyone and not everyone was born to jog. It is my job to guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices (in relation to exercise, career, relationships, and spirituality) that best support you. I will also help you to make gradual, lifelong changes that enable you to reach your current and future health goals. How exactly do I do this? I meet with busy individuals (in person, over the phone or Skype) who know all the right things to do and have read and heard about them countless times, and I give them the push and encouragement they need to fulfill their lifelong goals of balancing their values and living their dream life. Not only do I provide coaching services for women, I provide Newsletters and other articles on life and wellness, and publicly speak the truth to women everywhere on how loving ourselves is the change we all need to truly live a life of balance. Rather than going to a personal trainer, a dietician, a therapist, AND life coach, a health coach can combine all of those services into one so that it won’t break your bank account, or overbook your planner!
“I give them the push and encouragement they need..”
Finding time for the gym that costs too much when you barely have time to sleep could be very unattractive to that “liberating” feeling of a better, healthier you. Because of this, women continue to eat poorly, gain weight and depend on medications and operations to maintain health. Work becomes their therapy and countless hours are spent in the office that will override any negative thoughts about their looks and what they ate for lunch. Drinking, clubbing and bar hopping become activities to “wind down” and maintain a sense of happiness and relaxation. At the end of the day, does it really help? These factors seem to weigh us down big time: the food, the drinking, the relationships, the job, the thought—clearly it’s all connected.
Sisters, balancing our lives can be tough at times but there is a better way to do it. In order for us Gammas to take care of the community, the county, and the world, we must first be willing to take care of ourselves. Gaining a Health Coach might just be what you need to make that happen.
I decided to take a stand against this lifestyle and create a business that focuses on the true needs of women everywhere—I became a Health Coach and started my own business, known as Well Said Living.
Selina M. Rivera is currently Health Coach for Enforcer eCoaching, as well as a business Entrepreneur for her own Wellness Coaching business, Well Said Living—a service that works with women in all phases of life who desire to gain control of their life’s value. To get a get a free health consultation, as a reader of this article, or to learn more about how to become a Health Coach, visit www. WellSaidLiving.com, or email Selina directly at: CoachSelina@ WellSaidLiving.com.
Shot at Life
Sister Juliet Abdeljawad It’s a concept that we often take for granted in the west: to have a Shot at Life we can choose to live a certain lifestyle, to dream about a tomorrow, to attend school or stay at home. To have a Shot at Life is to have an opportunity to make life choices, and to live a day longer to see that opportunity unfold. Shot at Life, is more than a vision. It’s a campaign to give children the opportunity in developing countries a chance to have a life. It’s a step in providing access to universal healthcare, a step to support the United Nations Millennium Developmental Goals to reduce childhood/infant mortality rates, and a step in eradicating diseases that WE can prevent from spreading worldwide and in our home community. It’s my service project and a cause that I feel passionate about. I had the pleasure of joining 109 champions nationwide at the Shot at Life summit which took place in Washington D.C. for its second annual meeting this spring 2013. The Shot at Life campaign aims to equip, advocate, fundraise and bring awareness to diseases that can be prevented with proper immunizations and vaccinations. The foundation sponsored this meeting with partner organizations namely, the United Nations Association, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Rotary International. While there I advocated on Captiol Hill to my members of congress on behalf of Shot at Life and the millions of children worldwide that aren’t heard. After several meetings, discussions and trainings, I became empowered by the delegates from my own region, and I returned to brainstorm on how we can bring Shot at Life back to our community. My experience as a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma provided me with imitable skills that I’ve transferred into many facets of my life including service programs I elect to engage in, like Shot at Life. I hope to grassroot this service project through our sisterhood and enable it to reach the 2013-2014 goal of eradicating polio completely. One day, I hope that we can partner with the foundation and with Shot at Life which will give
us national recognition for our international community service actions. Between 1980 until present, we have successfully removed 99% of a crippling disease with just under 1% left in three countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria). I know we can stop this vaccine preventable disease from taking the lives of the innocent, of our youth and our future leaders of tomorrow. The math is simple, $1 to save 1 child’s life and 1 child lives and reduces the overwhelming statistic of over 1.5 million children dying from vaccine preventable deaths annually. One dollar that we use on materialist items of no value i.e. coffee (though coffee is my water) we can use to contribute to someone’s life. We have the ability to give children a chance to live and to experience life, to leave their footprint on this world. Shot at Life is a program through the United Nations Foundation which encourages the support of vaccine immunization worldwide by providing monetary assistance to UNICEF, to the GAVI alliance and to other entities that operate on the field to immunize children in these developing countries. I encourage you to visit. You can reach me by phone: 405.762.0374; by email: Juliet.Abdeljawad@Okstate. Edu; or by mail: 2624 North Park Circle, Stillwater, OK 74075. Contact me on ways YOU can get involved and ways individual entities can contribute to this fund. La Mensajera Spring 2013
The Journey Reflection
Sister Erika “Paulani” Alcala
In the Fall of 2012, Sigma Lambda Gamma Upsilon Beta Chapter at the University of Texas at El Paso initiated 6 beautiful and powerful ladies of the Resplandeciente Rho ship, or “Shine Bright Like a Gamma” ship by using the new Journey. The following are reflections to the journey from some of the ship sisters: “As one of the new members of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Incorporated that has experienced the new process of The Journey, I can truly say that I feel honored, blessed, welcomed, strong and loved by the organization. Growing up as the only daughter of a family that consists of my mother, Isabel Guadalupe Ortiz, father Miguel Angel Ortiz and three brothers Eduardo, Miguel and Jose Ortiz, has been an experience, but I have felt lonely. I love my family and appreciate everything they have taught me and done for me but I have always felt that little emptiness in my heart because I have always wanted a sister. I wanted to have someone that I could go home and share events with and someone who would listen to me and share thoughts about the good and bad decisions I have made. A sister to talk about my first kiss, the boys I thought were cute and to have each other to hold onto when family issues got really heated. I strongly believe that my transfer to the University of Texas at El Paso in the fall semester of 2012 has been the best timing ever. At the beginning, when the process began, I had no idea who these girls were and I developed a sense of trust with them because I knew that we were going to meet with each other and that after this journey all of our lives would change. I always knew I was a strong person and I believed that no one would ever bring me down because of my race, physical appearance and personal beliefs. During this process and the activities that it contained, I learned that I was truly the individual that I thought I was and the sorority embraced it. I also learned that I do not always need to have it together and that it is fine to cry because crying does not make me a weak person. I had a group of ladies that surrounded me to help and comfort me. I have learned to make time when there is none, to be open to unknown feelings and activities and to try and understand others for who they are and what they believe. I wish I could explain more about my experience but I think that those that have experienced it can agree that it is an indescribable adventure that can never be forgotten. I can say that joining Sigma
Lambda Gamma National Sorority Incorporated is by far one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. I am so happy that they have incorporated this new system because I do feel we have grown and learned so much of the organization and of ourselves. I love being a Gamma and I can’t wait to continue my commitment to this organization. *Gammma Call*” Captain Diana “Maia” Ortiz “For me, the journey was an amazing experience where I learned more about myself. I discovered that I can accomplish anything that I want if I really commit myself to it. I got the opportunity to be initiated with 5 beautiful women and each one of them are very special to me. I really know that they will be my sisters for the rest of our lives. Being part of SLG is a great honor to me. Culture is pride, pride is success.” Viri “Aimi” Sigala “The eight weeks spent with the ladies that were to be my ship of sisters for life were not long enough. The Journey was an experience which I wish I were still going through as an initiated sister and have made it a personal goal to implement as much of what I learned into my daily life in our chapter. I found such empowerment during that time that I will be forever grateful. The sisterhood I’ve found and the bonds I have formed are priceless. Hermanas por vida.” Anchor Alejandra “Armonia” Medina “The journey was what we needed to get to know our new sisters and ourselves. It truly helped us with defining what true women of distinction we all are. Like my sisters have said, the bond that was created from the Journey created a ship that will not drown. Every time I say “Culture is pride, pride is success,” I feel so proud to belong to a sisterhood that stands for 5 amazing principles. I must admit, the journey was a rollercoaster ride but it was well worth it to meet such great ladies who I will always call my sisters.”
My Beloved World Book Review Sister Laura Nelson
If you are looking for a good read today, tomorrow, over break or in the not too distant future, then I highly recommend, My Beloved World by Madame Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I picked the book up when it was only 2 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list. I read a magazine article about her (O Magazine, February 2013) while waiting for my mammogram (Yes, I am now 41 years young and conscience of my health.) I also saw the Justice on Katie Couric one afternoon. In short, she was everywhere so I had to pick up her book. For a long time, I have wanted to know more about the first Hispanic/Latina and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. This book does not disappoint. By page 25, I was incredibly hooked as I hope you will be. Besides a fantastic memoir, it is truly inspirational for any and every woman. However, it is most inspirational for any Latina, Latino, or people of color who have faced adversity /obstacles and overcame them. The story points to resilience of the human spirit and later how merit and the strong Latina spirit can triumph over the obstacles of prejudice. It touches on themes of history and social justice but more importantly speaks to the overall strength of the Latino family. Through themes which address culture, her cultural awareness transcends.
when Madame Justice Sotomayor told of her Abuelita’s passing. My Abuelita was Basilissa Herrera or Mama Bacha, who gave everyone the Benedición: “I gave her a hug. ‘Benedición Abuelita.’ And then I yelled for the nurse.” As I read I was reminded of my best friend in seventh grade Annette Ferrán, my Sigma Lambda Gamma daughter (Founder of the University of South Florida Chapter and who is now a Speech Language Pathologist in Arizona), and the young woman from Pace University whom I met when I was a facilitator for Retreat (Emotionally Intelligent Leadership held at the University of Minnesota). Last, but not least, I was reminded of our Principles and our Creed, “Culture is Pride, Pride is Success!” May you enjoy the journey (should you read this book) and when faced with adversity, may you draw upon your cultural support system(s) for strength.
We learn about Mami, Papi, Abulelita and the importance of these familial relationships to her growth. I was able to find parallels with my own upbringing. Later on, in college, she makes the following observation, “Until we would raise kids of our own, no minority students had alumni for parents and rare indeed were those who did not come from poor communities. The typical undergraduate had been guided to Princeton by relatives...or else teachers savvy about the system. Minority kids however, had no one but their few immediate predecessors: the first to scale the ivy-covered wall against the odds, just one step ahead ourselves, we would hold the ladder steady for the next kid with more talent than opportunity...” (p.146.) This reminded me of the Sigma Lambda Educational Foundation and the Women of Sigma Lambda Gamma. I cannot pretend that I didn’t cry La Mensajera Spring 2013
DIOSA Nails & Polish
Sister Diana Long
After a rough, long day at work I had the realization that working in Corporate America until I am 65 years old is not for me. I had acquired enough skills throughout my career to launch my own business. After much thought I concluded that I wanted to start my own nail salon with a new concept. I started on the business plan immediately after speaking with my line sister, Rachel Luna, a business coach. Within a few weeks I completed my business plan and realized that I just did not have the funding required to quit my job and open a nail salon. I read the plan over and over and it finally hit me: I could launch my own nail polish line to establish the brand! It was the part of the plan that I could do now. So, I did.
DIOSA nail polish is a different way for me to continue spreading the Gamma message of woman empowerment: •Each launch features the stories of young women in their 20’s-30’s in hopes of inspiring our peers. •DIOSA Nails & Polish raised $1,200 in one night for SHARE, a Breast Cancer support center in New York City. One reason for launching and developing the DIOSA brand is to tell all of you, “If I can do it, then you can do it too.” So, where do you start? Here is my advice to you if you are considering launching your own business:
Now, DIOSA is sold online, at two boutiques in New York City and in a nail art studio in Long Beach, CA. I still have a long way to go. However, I am very proud of the progress that I’ve made in less than a year and I look forward to 2013. It brings me joy to highlight our sorority sisters that have had a hand in creating DIOSA: •Erin, my chapter sister and Gamma Mom, used her work experience to create my exceptional Press/Media Kit. •Sarah, Towson University Chapter Founder, put her art skills to work to create the DIOSA Nails & Polish Logo and bottle art. •Rachel, my line sister, coached me through the business planning process and gave me the motivation to push the final “GO” button. She was also a “featured DIOSA.” •Joy, sister from Northwestern University, was a “feature DIOSA” for the inaugural polish launch. •Sheena & Allison, Gammas from Penn State & Michigan State, were models for the launch.
•Create your business plan! Without a plan, you only have an idea. If you don’t know how to write a business plan, then ask for help. •Use your network. Intelligent people who are experts in their industries surround us. If these people know you then they will go above and beyond to help you launch your business. •Know your industry. Decide when the right time to jump in is. You might be right on time, or too late. •Do it! Have the confidence in yourself. If you don’t believe that you can actually pull this off, then why should anyone else believe it? •Prepare for a change in lifestyle. When you have your own business it’s a 24/7/365 deal. Instead of buying those nice shoes, you may want to put that money towards your business. You become your brand.
“I am very proud of the progress that I’ve made in less than a year.. ”
I look forward to learning about your businesses!
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La Mensajera Spring 2013
Sister Denise “Perfeccion” Morales
Your resume is the most important weapon in your job search. It is important to know that the resume will not get you the job. The true objective of your resume is to land an interview and the interview will land you the job (hopefully!) The internet has hundreds of websites to help you build your resume. There is no need for you to pay a professional if you invest your time and conduct thorough research. All you need to do to get started is simply type in “how to write a resume” in your search engine and you will find a plethora of resources to help you.
What to include in your resume Many individuals are confused on what items to include on a resume. This is a hot topic for professional recruiters. Remember that the objective of a resume is to land you the interview. Your resume should include the following: Contact Information- The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed and include your cell phone and email address. Career Summary- The Career Summary section of a resume is an optional customized section of a resume that lists key achievements, skills and experience relevant to the position for which you are applying. Experience Section- The experience section of your resume includes your employment history. List the companies you worked for, dates of employment, the positions you held and a bulleted list of responsibilities and achievements. Most experts agree that the last
15 years of your career are enough to include under Professional Experience. Education Section– Under the education section of your resume, list the schools you attended, the degrees you attained and any special awards and honors you earned. Also include professional development coursework and certifications. Skills Section- The skills section of your resume includes your abilities that are related to the jobs you are applying for. Include skills that are relevant to the position and/or career field that you are interested in (i.e. computer skills, software skills, and/or language skills). Using Keywords- Your resume should include the same keywords that appear in job descriptions. That way, you will increase your chances of your resume matching available positions and of you being selected for an interview.
What not to include on a resume •Do not include any personal information beyond your address, email, and phone number.
Resume Rehab •Do not include physical characteristics (height, weight, etc.) •Do not include a photo. While many companies outside of the United States require a photograph with each resume, those within the U.S. do not. In fact, most companies prefer that you do not include a photograph in order to safely adhere to the Equal Opportunity Employer Legislation (which prohibits companies from making hiring decisions for discriminatory reasons). •Do not include Hobbies. Most companies do not want to see your hobbies on your resume. However, if you have a hobby that relates to the company, you may include it. For example, if you are applying to work at a sporting goods store, you could list your interest in particular outdoor activities.
What if you have been out of the workforce for a while? There are many reasons for employment gaps, especially given the difficult economy over the past few years. Whether your employment pause has been by choice or by circumstance, there are plenty of things that you can do (and probably have been doing) to fill your time, which might deserve recognition on your resume.
You can include categories such as: Volunteer Work Coaching, Tutoring Free Lance, Part-Time or Temp Work Continuing Education
Helpful tips: •Proofread until you’re blue in the face, and then have a detail-oriented friend help you. •Beware of the resume that looks like a “ransom note” with mismatched fonts, bullets, and spacing. Be consistent; choose a font that is easy to read. •Update your resume. Employers will question work history that ended 3 years ago! •Bring your resume to the present by eliminating the reference statement at the bottom. Everyone knows that your “References are available upon request,” so don’t waste any space saying it. In conclusion, a well written resume is an integral tool in landing you a face to face interview. It is important to invest the time and resources to ensure that the resume is a true reflection of you and the skills you possess in order to “qualify” for your dream job. Go out there and claim your seat in the corporate world!
Paperwork & Fee Deadlines 8th of every month: Entity Minutes are to be submitted to Regional Director April 15: Alumnae Association Annual Report & Fees Due Last day to petition to send one delegate to Retreat, send petition to the National Board of Directors (NBOD@SigmaLambdaGamma.com) April 18: Standards of Distinction will be made available on the Online Community May 1: Registration for Retreat 2013 ends (all payments must be submitted $325 per delegate) May 15: Standards of Distinction Assessment Due (This will replace the End of Semester
Report and Annual Budget Paperwork) June 1: Last day to submit initiation paperwork & fees for the spring semester June 13-15: Sisterhood Retreat at the University of Minnesota June 15: The last possible day to receive Initiation paperwork via Online Community, but it should be submitted at least two weeks ahead of Ritual Payment Plans If your entity would like to set up a payment plan contact Executive Assistant Karen Hanes at firstname.lastname@example.org La Mensajera Spring 2013
Establish Your Foundation
Sister Bianca “Sparta” Salvant
My ability to communicate effectively with people has always been my strongest attribute. With more than three years experience in editorial, I have learned quite a bit about the day-to-day production of a newspaper, magazine and entertainment company. During my college career I was consistently involved in student media on the campus of Florida A&M University. Starting as a correspondent writer for The Famuan in 2007, I then became a consistent staff writer. Later, I made the transition into Journey, the No. 1 student magazine in the Southeast. Although I started as a blogger, within the first year of my involvement, I was promoted to Managing Editor.
initial creation of Exhibit Bee, two dedicated writers have been added to the team who contribute four articles per week. As the founding editor, it is my responsibility to approve, edit and publish their submissions. I have learned that as a woman it is important to stay ahead of the game. This means understanding how to always be productive while perfecting my craft. In doing this, I have figured out ways to stay active in doing things that I love while learning new things every single day. As of now, I am the administrative assistant at D.A. Dorsey Educational Center in Miami where I support the day-to-day duties of the principal and assistant principal. I am also heavily involved with Sejoe Entertainment as its editor in effectively communicating the company’s vision to its audience. Additionally, I am the host of a Caribbean television show, 5 sur 5 TV, which shoots every other Friday and airs on local South Florida networks and throughout the Caribbean islands. I read a quote once: “Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be.” Living life is being dedicated to take steps towards achieving your dream. You don’t have to beat yourself up about taking huge, dramatic leaps because everything in life requires us to pass certain levels. First, figure out what you absolutely love to do. With this passion, begin brainstorming ways you can slowly move towards being able to do that every day for the rest of your life. Once you have a ton of ideas, figure out your pace and start jogging. No professional athlete became the best without starting from somewhere and devoting their time to invest in themselves. Pacing yourself with your life is very similar to running: once you figure out the perfect speed, you’ll be running for longer than you ever thought.
“I have learned that as a woman it is important to stay ahead of the game.”
In order to broaden my experiences, I obtained several internships, which include Tallahassee magazine, emcBlue.com, CollegeCures.com and Vanity Fair. Trusted by editors, I was asked to conduct celebrity interviews with singer Ne-Yo, actress Meagan Good, actor Pooch Hall and Leon County Commissioner Nick Maddox. Having learned through my previous and current experiences to be very independent, I created a blog, exhibitbee.com. It allows me to publish multiple articles on “all things important, according to me.” Since the
Applying for a job and being prepared for the interviewing process is the first step to entering into the workforce. Preparation before an interview is very important. Researching and getting background information about the company shows the interviewer that you have interest in joining their team.
times, the response takes thought and consideration. Bringing the proper documents to an interview is also important. Completing a resume, cover letter and reference letter shows the interviewer that you have come with expectation of employment. Many candidates are not certain what exactly should be included in a resume. Your resume should be well-organized, include relevant skills, technical skills, initiative, something that helps the employer remember who you are, and it should show your writing skills. Always remember in your letters that less is more.
“The first impression you make on an employer could be the last.”
Having an idea of how you plan to answer popular interview questions prior to entering the interview avoids moments of silence and uncertainty. Replying with direct and positive answers displays aspects of strong character. Your tone should appear friendly and confident. In a survey from the Career Geek Blog, 2,000 employers completed a survey and 33% said that they know within the first 90 seconds of the interview whether or not they will hire you. Entering an interview and excelling right away is important. The first impression you make on an employer could be the last. Show them right away that you have potential and would be a great candidate for the position. According to the Career Geek Blog there are many interview questions that several employers use during the interviewing process; some of those questions include: •What would you say are your two greatest weaknesses and strengths? •Why do you want to work for our company? •What do you know about our company? Constructing your answers to these tough but important questions ahead of time allows the interview to flow smoothly. Although you hear these questions many
As there are things that you should bring to an interview, there are also materials that should not be taken into an interview. Avoid bringing coffee cups or drinks into an interview. Not even water or small snacks should be taken. Chewing gum or eating candy is not permitted during an interview. Employers find it distracting if you are chewing while trying to speak and answer questions. Make sure your cell phone and other devices are turned off or on silent. There is nothing worse than receiving calls and text messages during an interview, you should dedicate that time to focus on your interview and not worry about incoming calls or messages. Making that first step and preparing yourself for what is to come gives you the upper hand over all other candidates. Having confidence in your answers and having an idea of how you plan to answer questions before you enter an interview avoids nervous moments or situations when you’re not sure how to answer. Be prepared and achieve success.
La Mensajera Spring 2013
5 Steps to Following your Dreams
Sister Natalie “Wassi” Henry-Charles “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” - Henry David Thoreau
Many times in our lives we doubt ourselves and we don’t chase our dreams. It is easy to put off a goal or aspiration until you feel more comfortable. Sometimes we put off our goals and dreams and they never come to fruition because we are so busy doing the practical thing, or the right things, or even the things that our friends and family expect us to do. Being a Gamma has taught me to go above and beyond the norm, to be my own person, and to experience life in my own way. As a Gamma, I have gone after my dreams and I have found the drive and determination to do so. As an undergrad I was able to study abroad and study fashion in Italy, hold multiple executive board positions and lead committees to success. This training and experience has led to my success after college. Since my undergrad days I have started my own business. Every day I get to use and harness my passion to enrich the lives of my brides. I am a wedding planner and a high-end stationer. My company is called Pretty Peacock Planning and Events. I am able to take pride in the work that I do because I was able to go after my dreams. Here are five steps to help you accomplish your dreams.
Step 1: Have a plan.
The best way to succeed is to always have a plan. I think that people begin something without a plan and when it fails, they automatically think “Well, that was unattainable.” In reality it was because they did not plan properly. A good plan will lead you to success. What exactly do you want to accomplish? Lay out steps to achieve this goal. Your plan is something that will have to be revised constantly. It took several tries to achieve some of my goals because in the beginning I was inexperienced. So, when you lay out your plan you may have three steps. However, when you actually begin to tackle these steps you may realize you need to accomplish five other steps before getting to the final goal. Don’t harp on this too much, as it is a learning experience in most cases.
Step 2: Believe in your dreams! This can be a daunting task, especially when you start looking at other professionals in your field. Put your blinders on and focus on your goals, dreams and aspirations. If
you can’t believe in yourself how can you get someone else to believe in your product, service, or goal? To be successful you need support whether it’s from friends and family or from clients. You need a group of people to believe in you. As your goals grow your following should grow as well.
Step 3: Find a mentor. Having a mentor is
one of the best steps that you can take to achieve your goals. Try to find someone in your field. To ensure there is no competition, try to find someone who does not do the exact thing that you are trying to accomplish. Many times you find that people may feel intimidated or competitive if you are in the same city and are trying to break into the same industry. I found a mentor in two older florists. Though they did not directly relate to my skill set (invitations vs. flowers) they taught me a great deal about the wedding industry. They taught me the set up and break down of a wedding, elements of a wedding, how to help other vendors through a crisis and building vendor relations to increase productivity and revenue. Most importantly, they taught me pricing and not to undercut my prices. This was the most valuable piece of information that I could possibly come across because I learned that I was worth my prices and my time was valuable.
Step 4: Start Networking. Finding people
who are like-minded is essential and very important to your goals. This network of people will motivate you, pub you and help you along the way. In my industry it is essential to have friends that can do you a favor when a crisis strikes. Join networking sites like Linked In and MeetUp.com. These sites promote mingling and meeting new people. Start going to networking events and talking to people about your plan. Maybe they know someone that can help you along the way or point you in the right direction.
Step 5: Act! This is the most important step. You
have to work to achieve your goals. As a small business owner I work twice as hard. Gone are the days of a 9-5 job. I usually start my day around 7:30 am when my husband leaves and it ends around 11 pm. I am the face of the company, the receptionist, the accountant, the salesperson, the liaison and the assembler. I have to wear several hats. Be prepared to work and to lose sleep for your dreams. I know that my job is very time consuming but I am happier now than I have ever been
5 Steps to Following your Dreams
working behind a desk from 9-5.
Follow these easy steps and be on your way to achieving your goals. Remember to always be proactive when trying to accomplish something and that the sky is the limit. Do not ever limit yourself or think that you cannot achieve your dreams. We are all remarkable and can accomplish the goals that we set forth! â€œAll men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.â€? - T.E. Lawrence
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La Mensajera Spring 2013
Alexandra “Najma” Hall Sister Tamesha “Diafotismos” Derico
“Don’t listen to what they say. Go see.” Sister Alexandra “Najma” Hall has taken this Chinese proverb to heart, as she has traveled to numerous countries during her undergraduate career. She has helped build a church in rural Mexico, taught English at a Public Buddhist School in Sri Lanka, planted more than 100 native tree species in Quito, Ecuador and spent four months studying in the Dominican Republic—all while remaining an active member of the Gamma Delta chapter at Vanderbilt University. Alex brings her unique international perspective and love for language and culture to everything she does for the chapter. She is the beloved heart of the Spring 2010 Gamma Line, “The Trilogy.” She is currently the chapter’s Sisterhood Enhancement Chair, Historian and Alumnae Relations Co-Chair. She has also previously served in numerous other capacities, including Vice President. Alex is a senior in Vanderbilt’s College of Arts & Science, where she created her own interdisciplinary major, Foreign Policy in the Americas and minors in Spanish and Philosophy. She is of multiethnic heritage and when she saw that there was no extracurricular group on campus that catered explicitly to the needs of multiethnic students, Alex created her own organization called, VUMix. Her achievements both in and outside of the classroom have been recognized with university-wide accolades; she was honored with a Chancellor’s Diversity Award in Spring 2012 and this past fall she was named as one of the university’s Top 20 Outstanding Seniors. Following graduation in May, she plans to continue her education at Vanderbilt in the master’s program in Latin American Studies. In addition to her numerous academic accomplishments, Alex is also a talented photographer. Her debut exhibit, “Con sólo un parpadeo: Capturando una memoria flotante,” opened at Vanderbilt this spring and features photos taken during her recent travels to Sri Lanka,
Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Alex also enjoys running, vegan cooking, and spending time with her sister, Arielle. Despite her many, many accomplishments, Alex is best known by her chapter sisters for her subtle sense of humor, beautiful smile, loving spirit and unfailing humility. In true “Alex” fashion, Alex says that her favorite Gamma memories are all of her interactions with her sisters, whether it be shared laughs after a meeting or a spontaneous dinner. My own favorite memories involve serving as New Member Educator of the Gamma Line and getting to know Alex and her two line sisters. I have truly enjoyed watching Alex blossom as a Woman of Distinction over the past four years. I know of no one else who embodies our sorority’s principles more than this young woman and I feel truly honored to call her my sister.
Entity Spotlight Upsilon Beta
Sister Erika “Pualani” Alcala The Upsilon Beta Chapter at the University of Texas at El Paso has participated in a variety of great events this year. On February 27 and 28 as part of SLG’s philanthropy, the chapter hosted the “Bras for a Cause” event and also the ”Save Second Base” event. From 9 am to 1 pm, sisters took part in giving information about the cause and explaining the aim of each activity. The activities consisted of two days where the ladies brought awareness to breast cancer by having the students participate in decorating bras and by having students stamp their handprints on a poster as a symbolism for the fight against breast cancer. Both of the events were creative and brought a big turnout. Because of this, the events have become a tradition on campus.
Another great event that the chapter participated in was on March 2, at the “Wild Wild West” step show hosted by the Sigma Tau chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. The chapter practiced day in and day out to perfect their performance. The amount of patience given from the group especially from Veronica “Xiomara” and Diana “Maia” was immense and extremely appreciated. The day of the competition, the sisterhood bond was reflected through encouraging each other and supporting each other through the nervousness of the anticipation for performance time. It was all made worth it when the ladies won 2nd place in the competition. The ladies would like to thank the sisters and family members who showed support by attending, they could not have done this without them. La Mensajera Spring 2013
Christine “Tenaz” Traufler Sister Christina “Ayana” Cassan What is a ‘Woman of Distinction’? We know she is committed, persevering, strong, understanding, cultural, educated, impactful and determined. Sister Christine “Tenaz” Traufler of the Alpha Chapter is the true testament of a Woman of Distinction. As past Headquarters Intern, University of Dubuque EAC, Eastern Iowa Quad Cities Alumnae Association Member, and now, the Plains Regional Director, Christine’s dedication to Sigma Lambda Gamma is forever eternal. On top of her continued commitment to SLG as an alumna she exemplifies a Woman of Balance as an RN at the Iowa City Veteran Hospital and is currently a Master’s of Science in Nursing candidate at Mount Mercy University. If you have ever met Christine, you would know just how much of a loving, giving and compassionate sister she truly is.
Born and raised in Japan in a Filipino and American household, she brings a humbling spirit and true diversity into our sisterhood. As my sister, friend, past co-worker and roommate I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to hold many deep conversations, philosophies, prayers, stories, laughs, cries, opinions and memories with her. Although Christine’s Gamma resume is often longer than some people’s professional résumés, I know she is nowhere near finished! I look forward to witnessing her growth, continued commitment and shared knowledge of our organization with sisters across the nation. Hermanas por Vida! Favorite SLG Memory: University of Dubuque Initiation night.
Entity Spotlight Alpha Epsilon
Sister Azucena “Erayden” Duran The Alpha Epsilon Chapter at Washington State University proudly upheld one of our philanthropies: TRiO, during the month of May. We supported our philanthropy by coordinating with the primary planner of National TRiO day. Our responsibilities included: setting up and monitoring a food drive for a week, decorating, delivering and weighing the food to determine a winner. Over 410 pounds of food was raised. CAMP, SSS, and Office of Dean of Students were some of the offices that participated in donating canned food. Additional contributions to TRiO day included: designing the certificate for the winner of the can drive, setting up a photo-booth for TRiO day and promoting TRiO day on social media networks. WSU held a celebration for TRiO day, where we were recognized for our contributions by the coordinator of the event. We are proud to say that we are taking a small part in helping those in need. February was a busy month for the Alpha Epsilon Chapter; we also participated in the 1st Annual Outbreak at the Zzu Stroll Competition, put on by Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta fraternity, Inc. Our stroll team had less than two weeks to prepare for the competition, however, their commitment,
dedication and hard work was recognized on the day of the competition and we took the second place trophy. We also strive to continuously fulfill our principles and raise the standards. We had a wonderful experience completing a few hours of community service helping at the children’s science center. Our duties included cleaning up the center after the children’s event, and we also helped set up for the next event. During this time we not only contributed to our local community but also enjoyed sister bonding time.
La Mensajera Spring 2013
Mayra “AyeLe!” Rivas Sister Luisa “Aušrinė” Benavides
Mayra’s favorite memory: “Prior to becoming a sister I spent time with the chapter members and demonstrated my desire to become a part of the sisterhood. I worked hard and felt accomplished. I gained a whole bunch of sisters when I never had any growing up. I had “NeoFever” and was excited to wear my letters!” In the fall of 2010, Mayra “AyeLe!”Rivas began her first semester with the Delta Delta Chapter, full of excitement and dedication to her newly found love of Sigma Lambda Gamma. Since becoming a member with SLG she has been a part of numerous organizations and has held a position with the Chemistry and Biochemistry department as a Student Assistant at Texas Woman’s University. During the summer of 2011 she took part in a lunch program that assisted low socioeconomic children in Dallas five days a week. She worked with families in need by giving back to the community not only by meeting their physical demands but by mentoring and fostering a social component with a number of children. She stated, “When I worked that program in the summer, it helped me see where I want to go in life and where I want my career to take me.”
Associate Member Educator. Mayra did a phenomenal job at maintaining her GPA and difficult course load while taking part in the sorority’s pilot program. I remember a conversation we had shortly after the semester was over where she stated, “It was a lot of work. Sometimes it was really hard but I would do it all over again.” In the summer of 2012 Mayra was one of the select few who earned an internship in her field of study. In such a competitive field she was able to secure an internship in Abilene, Texas with a company that worked with families. Mayra’s passion in life is living a healthy lifestyle. She is dedicated to her major, which encompasses dietetics and nutrition. Her dreams are to go on to Washington, D.C. to help make a difference legislatively. She aspires to make a difference in the education and nutrition of children in schools and by doing so, helping their families. I am confident that Mayra will achieve her goals and will make a difference in our world. She has shown true leadership skills with an unwavering and passionate dedication to her education and to Sigma Lambda Gamma. Mayra “AyeLe!” Rivas is a true Woman of Distinction.
When it comes to sorority life, Mayra has always played a huge role in our chapter. She began learning and shadowing different positions but found her place as an
Entity Spotlight St. Leo Colony
Sister Yesenia “Plena” Rivera
To be a Gamma, it takes a woman with tremendous drive, unparalleled determination and an endless love for the five principles that we as a sisterhood hold dear to our hearts. These attributes become the foundation of what it means to be “truly distinct.” The sisterhood of Sigma Lambda Gamma is unequivocal to any other. Its essence is to embrace the diversity of its members and to bring together women who would possibly never even talk to each other and make them family. This is even true at a small campus like St. Leo University. In the small town of St. Leo, FL, about 40 minutes north of Tampa, Florida, a roar of purple panthers came to awaken the campus. The end of the fall 2012 Semester welcomed the arrival of the St. Leo Colony of Sigma Lambda Gamma at their New Member Presentation. Since then, the 10 girls of the colony have been working tirelessly on their spring 2013 social events, organizing campus-wide community service events and providing the students of St. Leo University stimulating educational workshops that not only entertain but provide a beneficial service for their collegiate peers. One of the colony’s main goals is to ensure the success of the organization on the St. Leo campus and to truly become a staple of women empowerment and multiculturalism. Being the only multicultural sorority on the campus, obstacles and challenges had to be overcome even in the days of the interest group. However, it is during these specific times of struggle, that opportunity for growth is provided. As an organization, the sisterhood has granted the ultimate
tools to educate and inspire not only internally but externally as well. The colony has already begun making an impact on the campus and its surrounding community. In honor of Black History Month, the colony created a very successful educational series for the campus to educate the populous on issues that are rarely ever covered: interracial relationships and the progression of the minority student. The ladies sponsored a bra donation as well for the month of January and sent all donations and proceeds to the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Most recently, the St. Leo Gammas have been volunteering at the local Habitat For Humanity Restore in Dade City, FL helping the “Women Build” program and cleaning and organizing the store for families in need. From its initial inception of bringing Sigma Lambda Gamma to the St. Leo campus back in December of 2009, the ladies of the colony were no stranger to hard work. The important hard work ethic is further fueled by the ladies’ passion and love for the organization. Sigma Lambda Gamma has brought together 10 girls of different backgrounds and walks of life and molded them into Women of Distinction. Service and pride in the organization, our sisters across the nation and undeniable respect for the women who made this great sisterhood possible, keep the colony motivated in their purposes. To be a Gamma, it takes pride in one’s culture and through that pride, you can achieve any success!
La Mensajera Spring 2013
Natalie “Alina” Aguilar Sister Lydia “Oriana” Gutierrez
Watching the group grow into a strong chapter was a great experience. The commitment, time and effort that Natalie puts into SLG is amazing. She continues to succeed in school and this May she will be graduating from Denison and has been accepted into Valparaiso University Law School. I am so proud of all her accomplishments with her academics and with SLG. It has been an honor watching and helping her turn into a Woman of Distinction and I know we will continue to see great things from her.
Natalie came to school in Ohio from the Chicago area. She saw a need on the Denison University campus for an organization that united women of all backgrounds, an organization that would make Denison feel like home. That organization was Sigma Lambda Gamma. With six other women, Natalie was able to bring SLG to her campus. That colony is now the Upsilon Delta chapter and has initiated three hardworking lines. As a founder, she has a lot of favorite memories since she has become a sister. Her favorite, of course, being her initiation! Another favorite memory is the initiation of Alpha Line. It really made her realize that her entity was the real deal. It was surreal knowing that they helped three women become Women of Distinction and that they would continue the legacy and the dream of the founding line. Natalie sees the difference that she has helped make through her commitment to each member. I was lucky enough to be part of their Expansion Advisory Committee with four other alumni. I am also privileged enough to be Natalie’s Gamma Mom.
Naderge “Domingue” Norvelus Sister Paivia “Kalypso” Brown
Naderge Norvelus, an outpoken Miami native, became interested in Sigma Lambda Gamma when she first saw the shocking pink and majestic purple on the set of Florida A&M University’s campus. She immediately took action and got to the first meeting that gave her information on the endeavor she was wholeheartedly ready to take part of. After that she decided to participate in extensive research and saw the friendship amongst the women in the chapter and she knew she could not stop until she was proudly wearing those honorable letters. After a couple of meet and greets and gaining rapport amongst the girls, everyone saw her as the rose that grew from concrete, the one who could gain the most from being a part of the experience. Although she was a little rough around the edges, you could see someone who was open to learning about where she could improve. One day, in a conversation about culture and how each girl connected with their own, Naderge allowed herself for the first time to be vulnerable in front of a group of women she had begun to trust. She stated that she had a hard time connecting with her culture and at one point was too ashamed to say what she was, due to inconsiderate and ignorant opinions about her Haitian culture. She even said that it was hard to connect with one of the most important people in her life: her grandmother. The language barrier was a huge part of why she couldn’t communicate effectively with her grandmother. Because of her shame, she never had the desire to learn her native tongue fluently. After wiping away heartfelt tears, she ended with the hope that this experience would give her strength in her self and in her culture. She hoped to be able to complete herself and not have to hide on account of peoples’ opinion. Throughout the process of becoming a woman of distinction, all the women helping her had, without a doubt, noticed a calm strength that would inevitably help her go the distance and beyond. She began to see herself in a light that she could be proud of and she knew she was only getting better. The day came for Naderge to be a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma and it was one of the most impactful moments of her life. She
was named Domingue after St. Domingue, a revolution that had been fought in Haiti for their independence. Her Gamma mom, Paivia “Kalypso” Brown informed her that she needed to always be reminded of the strength that is within her and the richness of her heritage being the only country to revolt against a dictating government and win their independence. That’s who she is and it is nothing to wince at or be ashamed of. She is a walking revolution every time she wears her letters and there is nothing that can defeat her due to the fact that winning is in her blood. Once she was initiated to the genuine sisterhood that is Sigma Lambda Gamma, she has made sure to be a consistent sister and always show up. She has been head of fundraising, community service and sister enhancement and has done an exceptional job of holding her weight in the chapter and exemplifying what a Gamma truly is. Much respect goes out to a woman of definite distinction, a loving gamma daughter, a motivator, a resilient and dependable sister, and a strong full-blooded Haitian. La Mensajera Spring 2013
Entity Spotlight Zeta Beta
Sister Vanessa “Riqueza” Pineda The sisters of the Zzzzealous Zeta Beta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas have held all five principles close to them. However, they are known to hold the principle of academics to the highest level within their chapter and on campus. They have placed second for the highest GPA amongst all Greeks at Sam Houston State University for the entire school year of 2012-2013. This chapter is proud to say that during the past year, they have had 10 sisters graduate. Each graduating sister was awarded a stole, and wore their pink and purple letters with honor as they walked across the stage in a cap and gown. With a chapter roster of fifteen sisters, they have worked hard and as a result, averaged over a 3.0 GPA for the past two semesters. There is approximately 30 different Greek organizations total but the Zeta Beta sisters
have certainly made their way to the top. With multiple grade checks, library hours and sister study sessions throughout the semester, the sisters of the Zzzzealous Zeta Beta Chapter are determined to take the number one spot for the next GPA ranking of Greeks at Sam Houston State University.
Sister Bianca “Sparta” Salvant With the love of diversity in mind, Psi Beta has recently teamed up with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity in efforts to feed the homeless throughout the Tallahassee area.
The Psi Beta chapter at Florida A&M University broke a traditional barrier. Being the first chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma to be established on a Historically Black College/University, they have defeated the stereotypes while maintaining a positive attitude towards our sisterhood, the foundation of a successful chapter. They have developed relationships throughout the campus and the community.
Once a month, these Women of Distinction organize “Dorm Clean Up” while traveling to campus dorms with trash bags to help residents clean out their rooms. In doing this, they have shown the women of FAMU that presentation is important; but it also helps freshmen who may have never heard of our sisterhood become more acquainted with what we represent. They have built relationships throughout the campus of FAMU, which has helped eliminate the misconceptions of our young sisterhood. More and more people—students and faculty—see the beauty within our foundation.
Member Spotlight Joni “Querida” Batts Sister Bianca “Sparta” Salvant
Joni “Querida” Batts of the Psi Beta chapter, is a strong woman from a unique background. Her mother is from an island located in the western Pacific Ocean, Guam; while her father is of AfricanAmerican descent. Having joined Sigma Lambda Gamma in 2006, she has been heavily involved in many aspects of its development on the campus of Florida A&M University. Her line name, Querida, sprouts from her shy and caring personality but she is, without trying, easily the center of attention when she enters a room. Throughout the years she has earned the name madrina within the chapter because of her desire to be the voice of
Who We Are Christina Cassan
reason. She has planted seeds of her legacy in the hearts of her daughters: Lydia “Venus” Philip, Phylecia “Black Mamba” Burgess, Melina “Leialoha” Diaz and Maira “Hoku” Gonzalez. Joni enjoys reading, listening to music and fashion. Her passion is pushing her towards her dream as she is currently in the beginning stages of starting her own clothing line that will implement everything she is: smart, classy and hip. Favorite SLG Memory: “I love initiation ceremonies because that’s the moment the girls realize they are now Gammas—it’s really special. All the hard work, dedication and everything they’ve learned has led up to that specific moment. The initiation ceremonies of Epsilon and Zeta lines are especially important to me because I was an educator for them and I knew that they would take Psi Beta to another level. It made me extremely proud to see those women become my sisters.”
La Mensajera Staff Racquel Henry Lydia Gutierrez Valentina Valdes
SLG Social Media
Twitter: http://twitter.com/slg1990 http://twitter.com/lamensajera1990 Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/sigmalambdagamma990 La Mensajera Spring 2013
Sister Angelica Marie “bambú ” Franklin,
Tiger Dreams is inspired by the quote “To dream of tigers, is to embody the spirit of one.” There are Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies and a tiger which represent power. I believe you have the ability to do anything you put your mind to. The mind is powerful and you can do anything with it. I include the mountains to represent the obstacles we build for ourselves that are only in our minds.
What Is A Woman Of Distinction? Sister Isabel “Karetzi” Avila
When the storm arrives and destroys her world, she finds the strength to build her world once again. When the skies become gray and the horizon dark, she finds a ray of sunshine to keep her heart warm and her vision illuminated. In her eyes, one can see the wisdom of an old soul and the curiosity of a child. Her smile brightens up every room. Others tell her no. Others tell her she can’t. She simply smiles and shows them how she can. Others put labels. Others define her. She removes those labels. She defines herself. Others tell her she is not pretty. Others tell her she is not good enough. She knows she is beautiful. She is a complete human being and therefore accepts and embraces her past, her present, her future and every single part of her body. She is more than good enough for herself. She respects herself. She knows that every decision she makes has consequences; as a result, her decisions benefit her and make her a stronger individual. She knows when to let go; understands that it is not a sign of weakness but of strength. She knows when others are taking advantage of her; therefore, walks away before allowing others to walk over her. She is aware of how she treats herself. She stops being her worst critique. She stops bringing herself down. She remains healthy physically, psychologically and emotionally. She discovers balance and harmony in life. When she gazes into her own eyes, she sees hope and faith. And she sees the same in humanity. She understands the community. She is open-minded to the differences she sees. She respects and accepts the different religions, beliefs, traditions, values, cultures, etc. that exist. Above all, she sees the similarities; she clearly sees what brings everyone together. She sees that everyone shares the same fears, dreams and hopes. She is a productive member of society. She gives back to the community. She inspires others; she inspires others to dream, to stand up and to act. She becomes the voice for the voiceless. She extends her hand to lift others. She only whispers words of encouragement. She teaches. She guides. She empowers.
She has her personal definition of success. She has her own aspirations. She is driven by ambition. She continuously follows her dreams and goals on a path she is carving. She may stumble, but she never stays down. She always walks forward; when she glimpses back, she only sees all the steps she has taken and is motivated to never stop. She is a warrior of life. Every day she carries her battle wounds and each of her struggles. She is not afraid to let them heal and therefore doesn’t hide them. However, she never lets her scars define who she is. She knows she is tough. But she also recognizes her fragility. She is brave enough to show her vulnerability. She is a fighter. She is a lover. She dances to her own beat, a unique beat that she hears as she listens to her heart. She has the courage to open her heart even after many betrayals. She shares her heart. She cares and loves unconditionally. She knows that she deserves the same and gladly embraces the love others give her. She is her own strength. She is her own inspiration. She is her own fire that keeps her going. She is her own heroine. And she walks confidently with ΣΛΓ on her heart. She is a true Woman of Distinction. [Inspired by each and every woman I have met in this amazing sisterhood. Many have played an important role in my personal growth. They are role models and true woman of distinction. They hold their values; they have conquered their struggles; they are driven by ambition; they pursue higher education; they speak up for those who are forgotten and live in the darkness; they have lightened up my days (and others’ days); they believe in themselves, in others and in me.]
Share your talents with us! Send your submissions to Mensajera@SigmaLambdaGamma.com
La Mensajera Spring 2013
For Founders Sister Laura Nelson
It was the pride searing through me that brought the pink and purple out of me. Because as a Gamma, I am blessed to be in the company of my loving sisters. Women on a University campus, seeking knowledge not for knowledge sake, mind you, we have a purpose. A purpose inspired long before we inhabited this university, a purpose created by five women who found a need to create a means of support for us, a purpose now passed on from generation to generation that began not so long ago but was derived from the culture and pride that began hundreds of years ago by mi abuela, mi abuelita, y mi mama. My grandmother, my mother and your mother too All knew that we would find unity Within our own style of community But strength is not always found in the college diploma, Though we need it now to survive. What is survival if we do not remember the message, The message of the women before us that encourage us to Give our souls to pass on to the lines after us. We are instrumental in the learning of our children We have stories to tell Dreams and visions that must be shared, It is not enough to be a story on a piece of paper Though we must record our history. Pass it on Pass it on Women with soul!! By word of mouth, by song, by dance, by action Yours, ours is not the passive life to be lived, We are survivors, Women of wisdom Women of power. We are Latinas -every hue of the spectrumWomen of passion, of courage, of conviction, of pride, of heritage. Let our stories live on through our sorority That inspires, supports and gives us the love we need To carry on.
Sister Elizabeth “Lirit” Wolk Though the path seems long And is often paved with Tests of faith And trials of endurance Let your vulnerabilities Be sources of motivation And your strengths Be your stronghold Though your path And pace are personal Your success is both Individual and shared Let those around you Be your guides And know your journey Isn’t made alone Bad days are inevitable And your stride will be broken They are a reminder of the fight Of resolution unspoken I wrote this poem about The Journey as an attempt to explain the seemingly unexplainable to my future Gamma Daughter. I don’t usually share my poetry, but not often do you have the opportunity to do so with a body of strong Women of Distinction, so I thought I would give it a shot.
Do you have advice you want to share with our sisterhood? Send your career, academic, relationship, life advice to mensajera@sigmalambdagamma. com Review the guidelines for submissions on the Online Community!
written for Founders circa 1997
Mi Propio Grito
Sister Barbara “GilaHanza” Gonzalez Spent my whole life running from her. Thought she looked too much like everything I wouldn’t want to become Like hoop earrings and broken English The friction of sucking teeth and eyes rolling in skull The thunderous cackle of the pack As they roll down 105th street With low-rise jeans So tight that all they can regurgitate are Tongue clicks and Spanglish Always looking over my shoulder to make sure La jíbara in me never came out That is, if she was even there in the first place. I never thought Puerto Rico Was something to be proud of. I couldn’t even rep my own flag Because la bonita bandera was something I couldn’t find the beauty in Didn’t want to be less than, Wanted the worth of fifty stars Not just one Never fit in with the girls In el barrio All I got was Upturned upper lips, cocked eyebrows, Nasal voices echoed what I already knew Por que tu ere’ tan gringa Tu ere’ tan hincha You so light skinned You sucha fake ass Puerto Rican Trapped in a pair of banana boat hips That move with white girl rhythm Never learned how to dip and sway To the pounding of hands against drum
Woman of Distinction Sister Abigail Ocampo
What is a Woman of Distinction? Is there a certain definition? I can tell you a couple things about this woman. She is strong, independent and she fights for what she’s passionate about. If you ask a Gamma, she can tell you. When something is wrong, she won’t raise her voice, she won’t shout.
As if they were keeping time to a heartbeat Everyone lived by but me Corkscrew curls cascading from my scalp That I scorched straight every chance I could Thought my hair wasn’t pretty unless my white boyfriend could run his fingers through it Instead of caressing the surface with his hands Like a pelt. My Spanish tumbles clumsily out my mouth, Stumbling over acentos White people in my class praise me for sounding “So Authentic” And my own raza cringes in shame of me. But this is not the lament of a white-washed Puerto Rican. Not a pity party for the Latina Who misplaced her culture This is the lost story of every girl Who struggled to find Her own beauty in la isla bonita For the taina princess who misplaced her roots And found them without even looking For las boricuas who put the pride back into their culture By loving their yellow skin and awkward tendencies Esto es nuestro grito, Our cry against every barrier they held Against us. I never thought Boricua Was ever something to be proud of. Until I wrote my own story.
She is calm, cool and collected. A Woman of Distinction… She comes in all shapes, colors and sizes. A Woman of Distinction… She knows about commitment, she knows about perseverance. If you ask a Gamma, she can tell you. A Woman of Distinction… You are a Woman of Distinction. La Mensajera Spring 2013
A Woman of Distinction Sister Jessie “Isaye” Mejia
We could be ladies. We could demand attention when we walk into a room. We could engage in discussions of how we would change our communities for the better. We could cross our t’s and dot our i’s, sit with our legs crossed, passively nod to all orders that are given and go to extreme extents to accomplish it. We could look around and try to identify ourselves with someone who looks like us, has been through similar struggles, or has the same culture and traditions that we grew up with. We could. Instead, we, as WOMEN of distinction, have a different mentality. When we walk into a room, we command attention. We speak from experience to help empower other women, our community, our country, and the world. We lead by example. We fight for what we want and do absolutely everything morally and ethically possible to achieve it. We cherish our backgrounds but embrace other cultures, traditions and looks regardless of whether or not we have anything in common.
As a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma, I take pride in knowing that it means I am also a woman of distinction. The three shocking pink and majestic purple letters across my chest command a higher level of standard to myself and others whether I am wearing them or not. Being a woman of distinction is a full time job with no weekends or holidays off, no financial salary, but a rewarding sense of self-fulfillment. After I was transformed into a Gamma, I pledged to uphold the standards that thousands of women across the nation practice throughout their everyday lives. All the rights and tribulations of being a woman of distinction was a privilege that I earned and not just given. We We We We We
are are are are are
imaginative. sensitive. artistic. sophisticated. WOMEN OF DISTINCTION.
Sister Angelica Marie “bambú ” Franklin Space Cadet is a representation of my mind when I am going through the process of designing something new.
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