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Networking and Career Connections Through the Educational Leadership Consultant Position

Networking and Career Connections Through the Educational Leadership Consultant Position

By Zac Bell, Educational Leadership Consultant

Picture this: Your senior year of college just started.  Every time you turn around someone’s asking you, “So what’s next!?  Grad school, law school, getting a job”.  Your typical response is, “Oh I’m not sure yet, I’ve still got time to figure that out”. Sound familiar?  I know it does for me.

This interaction accurately sums up the first semester of my senior year of college.  I had a general plan (law school), but I knew I didn’t want to go right away.  I wanted to get some real world working experience first, make meaningful connections, and above all “get the undergrad out of me” before I moved on to law school.  I just needed to find something to satisfy these wishes.  My search persisted until December or so, when I found the position of Educational Leadership Consultant (ELC).

Being an ELC helped me get real world working experience, make connections, and everything else I needed from a “stepping stone” job.  I genuinely believe there are few jobs that can prepare you for the professional world better than a consultant position, especially this consultant position.  In my year on staff, I’ve learned countless skills that I can transfer to any area of work.  As an ELC, I work with chapters in all areas of operations, budgeting, administration, recruitment, alumni relations, and so much more.  All of these interactions have honed my analytical skills in recognizing what an organization could and should look like.

Bell with a few undergraduate members and Recruitment Specialist, Chris Pockette.

One of the most important things I learned, though, that I know is rare to come by, is how to connect with people of all backgrounds and stages in life.  A typical day in the life of an ELC involves a few meetings with undergraduate officers, then maybe lunch with an older High Pi, followed by a nice hour long meeting with a campus professional with a Masters or Doctorate degree under their belt.  I learned early on how to compartmentalize and shift gears fluidly throughout my day.  I went from basically only interacting with other 18-22 year olds during my entire time in college to interacting with so many different people every day.

Meeting and working with people at different stages in their lives really encouraged me to nail down my post-ELC aspirations during my first semester while traveling, which was still law school.  The first step I took was laying out everything I needed to get done before my time on staff was over and when I needed to get these things done.  My list included studying for the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test—think SAT but for law school), touring law schools, meeting with admissions officers, and more.

Once I compiled my list, I took it to my supervisor to review everything.  I expected IHQ to support my endeavor to an extent, but the support I got was so much more than what I expected.  Extra time during the week to study for the LSAT? Done.  Extra time in between visits to tour a law school or meet with an admissions officer? Done.  The support even extended so far as to subsidize my registration fee for my LSAT registration.  As soon as this support starting pouring in, I knew I made the right decision in becoming an ELC.

Bell’s mentor, Lynn Chipperfield

The best support I received though came in the form of a mentor, Lynn Chipperfield.  Every summer the ELCs can opt for a “Coaching Program.”  This program helps transition ELCs from their time on staff to their time afterward, whether that be in the form of more education or the professional working world.  The program focuses on all aspects of life after being an ELC: resume building, interview skills, job searching, grad school searching, personal finances, and the list goes on.  The highlight of the program though is the mentorship aspect.  Each ELC is paired with someone (typically from staff) to act as a mentor throughout the program.  I was paired with Lynn Chipperfield, the General Counsel for the Fraternity.  To be honest, before this I didn’t have anyone else in my life that worked in the legal profession, so getting a mentor from the field, and a well established knowledgeable one at that, has impacted my transition so much.  I know I wouldn’t be where I am in my law school journey if it weren’t for Lynn’s guidance.

I’m only going into my second year on staff, and I don’t have my exact plans for law school lined up yet, but I’m much further along than I would be if I were at any other job.  I’m exponentially more professionally developed than I was in my undergrad days.  I know how to connect with people from all backgrounds, and I can shift gears in a heartbeat to connect with someone new.  But most importantly, I’m empowered in my journey to pursue law school.

The support I receive from everyone at IHQ is rivaled only by the support I receive from my direct family.  Anytime I question myself, there’s always someone there to reassure me and help me through any obstacle I’m stuck at.  The position may only last for two years, but the impact it makes will last a lifetime.

To learn more about the ELC position and how to apply, click here.

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