HOW WE KAPPA
TO SOME OF THE
WOMEN WHO KAPPA
Name: Kristen Desmond LeFevre
Chapter: Delta Chapter, Indiana
Full-time Occupation: Freelance writer and editor
Volunteer Position: Associate Editor, The Key
Years Volunteering with Kappa: 18 years
What talents made you a great match for this role? I love working with words and telling stories, and Kappa has some unique and fascinating stories to tell. The depth of talent, innovation, courage and drive among our membership is seemingly limitless. For a writer, that kind of wealth of material is incredibly satiating. I love bringing my editorial skills to the table for Kappa, writing and telling stories in new and engaging ways for our readers and sisters. I also enjoy mentoring some of our younger writers who are new to the magazine world and are trying to build their portfolios of published clips. Helping develop a good writer into a great writer is a uniquely satisfying proposition.
What makes this role rewarding? Seeing that final, printed issue land in the mailbox three times a year is hard to describe—it’s beyond rewarding. A lot of pride, tears, hustle and laughter go into making each issue the best it can be. Even more rewarding? When we get feedback—the good and the bad (okay, mostly the good)—because it lets us know we’re not working in a vacuum. Hearing how a reader interacted with or was touched by a story we ran is absolute gold in my book.
What or who is your most impactful Kappa memory or mentor? There have been so many; it seems unfair to choose just one. But I often think of Lois Heenahan, Adelphi, when I am working on a new story: she always said that sometimes you just have to ask yourself, “Is there any there there?” Sometimes there just isn’t any there in a story, and you have to use your mind’s ear and your editorial sensibilities to say so and seek out a new direction.
In what other places or ways do you give your time and talents? I have a husband and three children, two future Kappa sweethearts who are nine and six, and one little legacy who is almost two, so I don’t have a lot of free time. Aside from The Key, I serve as president of The Benjamin School’s Alumni Association. After that, any time, talent and—let’s face it—energy get poured back into my little family.
What is the most important talent or trait to have in this role? A curious mind. I’m constantly asking myself to re-evaluate the story within the story, forcing myself outside of the obvious and into the really interesting. Of course, having a way with words, an ear for editing, a love for grammar and an ability to meet deadlines issue after issue doesn’t hurt, either.
What can someone expect by taking on this role? We work hard at The Key. We have our share of fun, too—but we are serious about making our magazine the best among its peers … meaning the best among all the magazines that arrive in your mailbox on any given day. The Editorial Board works tirelessly to brainstorm stories, scout subjects, research topics, conduct interviews and source artwork. And we are obsessed with good writing, strong editing and copious revising. We are creative, smart and dogged. And we never have enough like-minded folks among our ranks—so give us a shout if you’ve ever thought about trying your hand at writing … and especially if you already know a thing or two about writing for publication.