HOW WE KAPPA
TO SOME OF THE
WOMEN WHO KAPPA
Name: Leah DeCesare
Chapter: Beta Tau Chapter, Syracuse
Full-time Occupation: Writer, special event planner
Volunteer Position: Foundation Ambassador, Province Director of Alumnae
Years Volunteering with Kappa: 12–13 years
What talents made you a great match for this role? I’m a connector, a people specialist in short terms, meaning that I know and keep connected with many different people. In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell describes connectors as: “ … people who link us up with the world. People with a special gift for bringing the world together.” Having this trait not only helps me to build relationships with the people I meet, but it also helps me share the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation’s mission.
What makes this role rewarding? Visiting Kappa chapters and alumnae associations is a fun way to meet sisters from all over, and is always a comfortable and welcoming experience. Most people want to give and to make a difference in others’ lives, but are busy and can’t always take the time to volunteer, research or learn about ways to help. This role allows me to teach Kappas about our Foundation and how we help and support our sisters through generations.
What or who is your most impactful Kappa memory or mentor? There are so many special memories: being at my younger sister’s initiation at Clemson, attending my first Convention with more than 1,000 Kappas … but the most impactful thing about our sisterhood is that whenever I’m at a crossroads or decision point in my life, I have a weekend among sisters which provides me the opportunity to learn from their wisdom, to share my doubts, ideas and wishes, and to come away feeling clearer.
In what other places or ways do you give your time and talents? Within Kappa, I am involved in the Rhode Island Alumnae Association and I’m a bit of a Leadership Academy fanatic. I am privileged to have participated in Leadership Academy and the LA 2.0 pilot program, as both a Facilitator-in-Training and a small group facilitator. I keep finding ways to go back!
I also serve Kappa as a Foundation Ambassador because I so believe in the important work our Foundation does, and I am happy to be able to share that with the Kappas I meet.
Outside of Kappa, I volunteer with our church and in the kids’ schools, and I’ve been a Big Sister since 2002. I founded a nonprofit organization, Doulas of Rhode Island, as a doula network for supporting one another and as a resource for families seeking doula care. At the end of 2013, I spearheaded an effort to raise money to build a medical center in Uganda. We achieved our goal in six months and the clinic is currently being built. Now we’re working to raise more funds to finish the water and solar power for the medical center.
What is the most important talent or trait to have in this role? Being a Foundation Ambassador, like so much in life, is all about relationships. Building relationships with the members I meet and helping them understand the value of our Foundation so they can in turn share that with their Kappa communities is important. Anyone who knows me knows I love to connect and talk. My talent of being able to talk with people I’ve never met before and being able to speak publicly to large groups or intimate gatherings sure helps in this role!
What can someone expect by taking on this role? Expect a lot of communication! One needs to be comfortable speaking in group settings, large or small, and reaching out to alumnae associations and chapters to arrange times for presentations to their members. It’s necessary to keep up my knowledge on Foundation and Fraternity news, and to maintain good communication with the other ambassadors. It also does take time for traveling and visiting, but in the end, it’s worth it!