While we lived in the New York area, I became very involved with the local Mizzou alumni chapter. This led to a dinner in Manhattan with, among other people, the chancellor at MU, Brady Deaton, and his impressive wife, Anne Deaton.

It was an enjoyable evening, discussing both Mizzou topics and the Deatons’ travels around the world (they met on a missionary trip to Africa). Those of us from the chapter told them a little about both our professional lives, as well as what we contributed to the New York chapter, and I had a nice conversation on the side with Anne about her speech at the Alpha Phi Centennial in 2010.

A few weeks later, I received an invitation to join the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women, a somewhat exclusive mentoring and networking subgroup of the Mizzou Alumni Association. Extremely flattered, I sent in the paperwork and am preparing to attend my first conference in April 2012, which made the email later that month to post this entry about other Alpha Phis in the prestigious group quite apropos.

Note: This website was taken down in 2017. The posts I wrote for the blog are no longer available to link to, so I have included the full text below, removing links where necessary.

Phis Join Other Women From Mizzou
at the Griffiths Society Conference in Columbia

In 2005, the Mizzou Alumni Association created the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women, a subgroup of the MAA devoted to lifelong learning, leadership development and mentoring. Membership is open to both current students and alumnae, and each student member is paired with an alum that shares a common bond, whether it’s a common field of business, a shared hometown, or even a familiar need to balance work and life.

In October, younger members like new alum Kelsey Kotur ’07 and current Mizzou student Sydney Ferleger ’09 got to mingle with and learn from older alumnae like Val Lawlor ’71 and Susan Chaffin Matthews ’69 at the Griffiths Society Fall Conference. The two-day session encouraged mentees and mentors to bond at breakfasts and dinners while organizing presentations on such topics as breaking the glass ceiling, women in science and politics, and establishing yourself as a brand.

Kelsey has been a member of the organization since 2009 and says that each mentor she’s met through the program has been both inspiring and encouraging. She says, “I’ve met many empowering women and feel more confident as a graduate student [in the M.B.A. program at Mizzou] transitioning into full-time employment.”

Older alumnae enjoy connecting with promising young women at the University. Val has been a part of the Griffiths Society since its inception in 2005 and notes that she’s always enjoyed the programs at the conferences, “but it’s the relationships that really make Griffiths meaningful for me.”

Although the group limits its alumnae membership to 250 members at any given time, Omicron can be proud to count many women among its members. Here are a few of the Alpha Phis that have been initiated into the Society:

  • Susan Chaffin Matthews ’69
  • Janice Silverstein Rifkin ’78
  • Robin Shapiro ’84
  • Gema Tenorio Simmons ’91
  • Elizabeth Tenorio Davis ’92
  • Joanna Russell Bliss ’92
  • Monica Tenorio Lakin ’94
  • Teresa Tenorio Walsh ’96
  • Lauren Ferrise ’08
  • Jordan Olivier ’08
  • Sydney Ferleger ’09 (student member)

To learn more about the Griffiths Society or to inquire about membership, you can visit their website at www.mizzou.com/griffithssociety.