Developing Women of Impact Through Philanthropic Mentorship

by Katie Gates in Focus on Philanthropy

Longtime advisor Stephanie Spence (Theta Phi-Christopher Newport) shares her experience in mentoring the next generation of changemakers

Alpha Phi Fraternity and Alpha Phi Foundation have a shared vision to develop courageous, philanthropic women. To achieve this, philanthropic mentorship has been integral to the membership experience, building the bonds of sisterhood through generosity. This would not be possible without the support of a vast volunteer network dedicated to mentoring the next generation of leaders, scholars, and changemakers.

Pictured: Stephanie Spence (Theta Phi-Christopher Newport), far left, attending Iota Eta’s 2019 Red Dress Gala

While the collegiate sisters of Iota Eta chapter look forward to their return to campus at DePaul University this fall, longtime advisor Stephanie Spence (Theta Phi-Christopher Newport) will mark her tenth year since assuming her first volunteer role for Alpha Phi. Since serving as a Recruitment Advisor for the Epsilon Eta chapter right after her graduation in 2011, Stephanie has held a variety of volunteer roles for seven of Alpha Phi’s chapters across North America – her latest is as Iota Eta’s New Member Education & Membership Experience Advisor and Red Dress Gala Advisor.

A Chicago-based events professional, Stephanie has lent her expertise to support Iota Eta since 2016, but formalized her role in 2019, offering herself as a philanthropic mentor to help our collegiate sisters “unlock [their] potential to dig deeper into what their membership in Alpha Phi means to them and build connections with their sisters.”

Forced to rethink their in-person Red Dress Gala due to the global pandemic, with Stephanie’s guidance, Iota Eta’s philanthropy team found themselves well-positioned to innovate for a virtual setting. At the close of their effort, they celebrated not only exceeding their donation goal to Alpha Phi Foundation but more importantly their resilience and dedication to “doing their best”.

Pictured: Emily Urbina (Iota Eta-DePaul) attending Iota Eta’s 2020 Red Dress Gala

As Iota Eta’s Director of Philanthropy and Red Dress Chairwoman, Emily Urbina (Iota Eta-DePaul) knew she wanted to be “more involved in not only Alpha Phi but also DePaul’s community,” and through her relationship with Stephanie, found an opportunity to grow in her commitment to service and sisterhood. “[Stephanie] is one of the kindest people I know and will always be someone I look up to. Working side by side with her taught me valuable skills in leadership, event planning, and teamwork that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my academic and professional career,” shares Emily.

A culture of philanthropic mentorship is essential for not only our collegiate sisters, like Emily, looking to translate their passion and interest into action, but also for the lifelong Alpha Phi experience. “Mentoring the women on the philanthropy team has been rewarding,” shares Stephanie, adding that seeing them “develop as leaders” and “know they directly impacted Alpha Phi Foundation” has made the experience worthwhile. “It is so easy to get excited about socials and sisterhoods, but the work we do together around one philanthropic cause grounds us in our Alpha Phi membership.”

Through philanthropic mentorship, Alpha Phi’s at all stages of life have come to realize their full potential as women of impact. Whether through raising awareness of and fundraising for women’s cardiac care research as collegians, volunteering their time as alumnae, or leading with their hearts to ensure Alpha Phi’s future, our sisters are well-equipped to make a difference today, tomorrow, and into the future.

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