Rachel Marsh, Director of Leadership Development

Rachel Marsh, in front of the Chi Omega gate at the College of Charleston

A native of Virginia, Rachel was initiated into Chi Omega as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech where she received a bachelor’s degree in communication. She later attended the University of South Carolina where she earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs. Rachel came to Pi Kappa Phi from the College of Charleston where she served as director of Greek life.

If you could start college again tomorrow, what would you do differently? Why?

Wow, this is a tough one! I honestly have very few regrets from college, as it was truly a time of self-discovery and growth for me. I am grateful for the people and experiences that I had while there Ð the good and bad! However, I do wish that I had taken the time to get to know more of the faculty and staff on campus on a personal level. You never know when you are going to need good references or contacts after college, and I regret not taking the time to build those relationships and learn from them outside of the classroom. I also wish that I had gotten more involved with the greater Greek community rather than just being involved with my own chapter. I gained so much from my sisters and my leadership roles within the chapter, but looking back wish I had taken better advantage of involvement and service to the greater Greek community as well.

What have been your two or three most important/meaningful Greek life experiences?

Hard to pick two or three when I have so many! But since I have to narrow it down, the three that stand out the most are: attending the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI), traveling as a National Consultant for Chi Omega, and the volunteer opportunities I have had as an alumna. I attended UIFI in the middle of my term as chapter president, and it helped me grow as a leader, gain clarity about my purpose in life, and gave me a greater appreciation for the commitment I made when I took my oath as a Chi Omega. Spending two years traveling around the country as a National Consultant helped me to grow personally and professionally, and broadened my network of sisters beyond my own chapter. The relationships, networking and opportunities I gained from this experience are irreplaceable. Finally, having the opportunity to give back and serve not just Chi Omega, but several other fraternities and sororities, allows me to connect with amazing men and women from across the country and continue to make a positive impact in the Interfraternal world. I have gained so much from my Greek experiences and I love being able to give that to others through my various volunteer roles. These opportunities are mutually beneficial; not only do I get to inspire and challenge the men and women I work with, they do the same for me. These experiences continue to make me a better person and for that I am extremely grateful!

One of your main areas of focus on staff is leadership, through avenues such as Pi Kapp College, Push America and more. Can you explain what you’ve recently learned about leadership in your own life?

No leader can be successful on their own. My Chi Omega sister, and former Tennessee women’s basketball coach, Pat Summitt said, “You win in life with people.” I have been reminded a lot lately that it is important choose the right people with whom you surround yourself. A good leader should be self-aware about who they are and their strengths, and then surround themselves with a team of people to help them balance and excel.

What qualities do you look for in the people with whom you surround yourself, personally or professionally? What qualities do you see in the emerging leaders in Pi Kappa Phi with whom you get to work?

Oprah says to surround yourself only with people who will take you higher, and this has always been important to me. I try to surround myself with people who will challenge and encourage me to continue to learn and grow, both personally and professionally. As an extrovert, I get energized from being around others and appreciate people who are passionate, driven, loyal and have a good attitude. And let’s be honest, being fun never hurts!

One of the things I love the most about my job is seeing the dedication, passion and inspiration that emerging leaders have for doing their share to make both their chapter and the fraternity better at the end of each leadership program. Being around these men makes me hopeful and encouraged for a positive future for Pi Kappa Phi, the greater Greek community, and the world!

Although you graduated in the not-so-distant past, there have undoubtedly been changes in the undergraduate experience. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to young alumni or undergraduates nearing graduation that is applicable regardless of those changes?

Take advantage of the opportunities and people you are fortunate to be surrounded by while you are in college. Getting involved in organizations, programs and events will provide you the opportunity to gain interpersonal and life skills that will help you to be successful after college. Enjoy the time you have with your chapter brothers and friends on campus and build your support network by connecting on a personal level with classmates, advisors, and the faculty and staff on your campus. These experiences and people will help shape you into a better person and help prepare you for whatever lies ahead in life for you!