5 Questions for Future Chapter Advisors

The call to serve as a volunteer for Pi Beta Phi is one that’s often met with a twinge of apprehension or worry; what if I’m not the right fit? Do I have the skills required to fulfill this role? When I was first approached by a fellow Michigan Alpha alumna to serve as the Finance/Housing Advisor (FHA), I was initially skeptical to advise the chapter on finance. However, once I met the other AAC members and chapter officers, I knew I’d found a heartfelt new purpose.

Below, I answered some of the questions I asked before deciding to serve as a chapter advisor.

Do you need to have background experience in the specialty area you support?

You do not need to have a specific background to serve in any advisory role! From a finance perspective, if you have some basic knowledge of your own household budget, paying your bills and balancing your checkbook, you would be a good fit as an FHA! I had limited finance experience before stepping into the role—one year of accounting in college and some basic billing experience early in my career—but I wanted to answer the call to serve and knew I’d get the support I needed to fulfill the role.

What support and training do advisors receive?

From resources on the Pi Beta Phi website and Regional Team support to transition materials from past officers and support from other AAC members, every volunteer is set up for success from the very beginning. The support and training I received made the transition very easy! I had a few training sessions with the outgoing advisor and would even contact her with questions for the first few months in the role. After a while, I felt completely comfortable in the position and knew how to seek out any other support I might need.

Do you have to live nearby, or are there remote opportunities?

This job can be done 100% remotely! Since I spend winters in Florida, I can tackle all the responsibilities regardless of my location. With today’s technology, speaking with your advisee and attending AAC/Exec meetings or other events via Zoom or Facetime is easy! I live by my calendar and write down all my tasks and reminders there. I also speak to my advisee at least once per week either by phone, Facetime, email or text. On average, I spend about 2-3 hours a week on Pi Phi. Depending on the time of year, sometimes it is more, sometimes it’s less. 

What do you need to be successful?

To be successful, you must have a passion for service, strong communication and planning skills, an open mind and a love for helping others reach their fullest potential. I LOVE being a mentor to young women and watching them prosper, learn and grow. Working with the young women in the chapter has given me a new purpose and motivation in my life. Mentorship goes hand-in-hand with Lifelong Commitment and Sincere Friendship; we really can help build Friends and Leaders for Life.

Do you work with other Pi Phis?

Working with my fellow Pi Phis—both collegians and other alumnae—is the best part of serving as a volunteer! Whether in-person or virtually, I cherish the opportunity to connect with sisters while working to better the organization and our members.
Your life does change when you volunteer for Pi Phi—and it’s all good! This role has filled a void for me, and I was excited to continue serving the organization for another chapter as well as my own chapter. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t still be serving almost a decade later. For anyone interested in taking on a volunteer role, don’t be intimidated! If you are even the least bit interested, I recommend reaching out to learn more. I hope you consider serving and that it gives you the same sense of purpose it has given me!
Pi Beta Phi was the first women’s fraternity to recognize the value of engaging alumnae to provide guidance and counsel to our chapters. Since 1908, Pi Phi alumnae have worked alongside our collegians to share their experiences and expertise, while shaping the future of the Fraternity. Today, more than 1,050 alumnae mentor our collegiate members as Alumnae Advisory Committee (AAC) advisors.

Interested in joining a network of Pi Phi volunteers to support and mentor collegiate members across our sisterhood?
Learn more here.

Published February 24, 2022


About The Author

Karen Boll Robideau

Michigan Alpha Karen Boll Robideau has served on AAC since 2013—first as the Finance Advisor for the Michigan Beta Chapter at the University of Michigan, and for the last year, as the Finance/Housing Advisor for Michigan Alpha at Hillsdale College.