On January 9th and 10th, Sigma Alpha Epsilon hosted the first-ever Virtual Executives Academy. Executives Academy provides Eminent Archons, Eminent Deputy Archons, Eminent Treasurers, Recruitment Chairmen, Health and Safety Chairmen, Member Educators, and Advisors with the tools necessary for success in leading their chapters.

Thanks to the SAE Foundation, this event was offered at no cost to our attendees. As our third virtual Educational Programs event within the past year, the Virtual Executives Academy was our largest and most successful event to date. Though we couldn’t meet in person, the Executives Academy connected over 230 brothers from across the Realm as they tackled the important issues of their office roles. Programming at the event spanned over two days and included a wide array of topics such as Executive Presence, Action Planning, Officer Nuts & Bolts, Health & Safety Training, Coaching, Officer Need-to-Knows, Leaving Your Legacy, and Networking.

On Saturday, January 9th, the event began with undergraduates and alumni logging on to a single Zoom meeting. Hannah Cotton, SAE’s Manager of Education, kicked off the event with an overview of the schedule and what to expect for the weekend. Other speakers included our Eminent Supreme Warden, Mike Rogers, Eminent Supreme Herald, Mark McDonough, Senior Director of Member Education and Development, Spencer Long, and National Ambassador, Ashwin Sinha.

Unlike in-person Executives Academies, members were able to join the event from all four time zones. Whether chapters are meeting in person or online, participants attended the event from their campuses or the comfort of their homes. The advantage of offering the event online is that it allowed some officers to attend for the first time. While traveling expenses and scheduling may hinder chapters from sending more than one or two officers to in-person events, the virtual setting made the event more inclusive and affordable for all executive officers.

The event was an invigorating and reassuring reminder that, even during a pandemic, SAEs continue to thrive and Rise Above. The conversations, connections, and ideas offered by our undergraduate brothers were nicely complemented by the guidance and wisdom of our Supreme Council, staff, facilitators, and advisors. While many organizations are struggling to operate and grow during COVID-19, the participants of the Executives Academy showed that SAEs are leaders and innovators amongst the challenges of the pandemic.

Let’s hear what our participants had to say about the event!

Remy Lodrigues (Eminent Archon, Nicholls State): “I learned about all the different resources that [Fraternity Service Center] has to offer. Basically, there is never a reason the chapter should be stressed because [FSC] has probably already faced a similar issue and is there to help you.”

Russell Wells (Member Educator, Fort Hays State): “This program was a great way to introduce new ideas and helped enforce anyone that is an executive leader to be more confident.”

Andy Wilson (Eminent Treasurer, Penn State – Harrisburg): “The most important thing I learned was when we were in the officer specific rooms we talked about issues during COVID such as difficulty fundraising, I heard many great ideas from other brothers that will be useful to helping my chapter thrive next semester.”

Alex Dirksen (Eminent Archon, Chapman): “I learned a lot of things, but I found the most helpful part of the program the times that we were just able to talk to the other brothers and hear about their experiences.”

Anthony Mack (Alumni Advisor, North Florida): “My biggest takeaways were the practical ways of being an effective chapter advisor. Every chapter is different, so learning what works at chapters around the country was invaluable!”