95 sisters, 4 days, 3 cardinal principles in action, 2 potential new chapters in attendance, and 1 candle pass… What a way to bring Convention back in-person after 3 years! From showcasing LEADERSHIP with workshops created and led by our own sisters, to a full morning of SERVICE making blankets for local children in need, to extra free-time for FRIENDSHIP and sisterhood, Convention 2022 brought us out from behind our screens and allowed virtual friendships to bloom and grow. The weekend wrapped up with our Awards Gala where sisters of all ages lit up the dance floor together all with one question in mind…. When and where is the NEXT CONVENTION?? Stay tuned!

Serving up Comfort with Project Linus

Convention kicked off the first full day with our service project, making blankets for Project Linus to provide children in need. Organized by Convention team member Crystal Genter (Alpha), Thursday morning a local Project Linus representative gave us an overview of the organization and demonstrated the creation of these cute, cozy blankets. With 100 yards of fabric sponsored by Pura Vida Party Rentals and Nanda Jayaseelan, attendees created 50 blankets during the 2-hour service project and continued to work together on blankets throughout the weekend during free time with sisters.

Consulting Café

A Convention first, Consulting Café was a huge hit! Active members were able to meet one-on-one with various members of the OLT to ask any questions. Many sisters met with Chapter Health Specialists for insight into how to improve chapter management, using OPAPortal more efficiently and correctly reporting service hours, as well as working through tough relationships within their sisterhood. Our Leadership Development Program Coordinator, Sarah Lewis, was also on hand to help talk through leadership development on the chapter level. This one-on-one guidance received such rave reviews from actives that our Chapter Health Manager, Taylor Outler, has decided to offer this support weekly to chapters who would like to set up an appointment. We love helping our chapters succeed when they reach out for a little help! 


Please check out this blog post by Alyssa Bernhardt for a recap of Constitution and Bylaws amendments. 

Keynote Speakers

We were lucky to be able to host 3 keynote speaker sessions as part of Convention 2022.

Victoria Alexander

Victoria Alexander is a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion practitioner whose passions are rooted in anti-racist pedagogy, critical consciousness building, and experiences of Black students in predominately white institutions. Victoria’s keynote was focused around bringing to light the long and storied histories of fraternities and sororities through the lens of race, class, gender and sexuality. Attendees left this keynote with ideas of how they can contribute positive change to the organization based on our values.

Dare to Lead with Sonja Bomhoff

Sonja Bomhoff is a certified facilitator based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown: Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, and Dare to Lead™ Facilitator as well as a Certified Teacher of the Narrative Enneagram Tradition. Based on the research of leadership pioneer and best-selling author Dr. Brené Brown, Dare to Lead™ is an empirically based, courage-building methodology based on four innovative skill sets: Rumbling with Vulnerability, Living into our Values, BRAVING Trust, and Learning to Rise. The workshop that Sonja led at convention was designed to empower participants with new skills and tools to excel as leaders.  Attendees reported that this session was thought-provoking and engaging. The Omega Phi Alpha Foundation provided the book Dare to Lead to attendees so that they can learn more about the four skill sets associated with daring leadership. 

Small Words, Big Hurts: Microaggressions and Keeping Ourselves Accountable

Created and presented by Phi Chapter alum Katie Garcia, sisters explored the concept of intersectionality and how our members have different aspects of their lives that influence identity. Katie provided  tips for members to keep themselves accountable for any negative actions including microaggressions. Attendees shared that it was a great session for reflection on personal identity and the identities of those around us and that Katie provided tools to reflect on their own actions and encouragement to be a positive change for Omega Phi Alpha. Many attendees also shared that they felt this session was special because one of our own members was presenting on a topic that they are passionate about. 

Breakout Sessions

This year, some of our own sisters showcased their leadership skills creating and leading their own workshops at Convention. Who better to help us improve our sisterhood than our own sisters! Below is a brief recap of each unique workshop.

Lessons in Situational Leadership: Led by Sarah Lewis (Omega), this workshop included situational leadership activities that apply to various aspects of a person’s life, giving sisters perspective through different situations and encouraging deeper thought in our own leadership styles. 

Effective Team Communication: In this session from Juanita Wade (Sigma), attendees learned about different verbal barriers to effective team communication and strategies for overcoming those barriers. They discussed active listening techniques to help become better listeners when managing teams, as well as effective communication to reduce misunderstandings, unnecessary conflict, and increase collaboration.

Friendship, Leadership, and Service Through the Lens of Diversity and Inclusion: Christy Redeaux (Upsilon) created and presented this workshop in seeing the world through a lens of diversity and inclusion instead of it being a checkmark on a list of things to do. With realistic strategies and key points to remember, Christy gave us tips on cultivating a safe space for all in OPhiA as we foster friendships, lead others, and serve our communities. 

Tale of Stephanie: Taylor Outler (Chi) used storytelling to lead attendees through a series of common mistakes that chapters make when engaging sisters.  Attendees used these scenarios to share what they think is wrong, what they would have done differently, and how they can make sure it doesn’t happen in their chapter. Taylor also took time to provide tips on handling specific situations based on questions from attendees.

Chapter Exchange: BOD members Brittany Thornton (Alpha Kappa) and Nanda Jayaseelan (Chi) facilitated a Chapter Exchange forum focused on service and recruitment. Active sisters were able to share any challenges they may have in those areas and discuss any best practices other chapters have experienced in this exchange of ideas to improve our sisterhood. Many sisters took notes to bring new ideas home to their chapters.

Eat Right When Money’s Tight: Have your cake and eat it, too! In this workshop, Juanita Wade (Sigma) offered tips to save money and stretch food dollars so that you can put more healthy foods on the table. Each attendee received sample meal plans and gained insight into effective meal planning, budgeting for meals, and how to effectively grocery shop.  

How to Recruit Potential New Members on Instagram: Based on recruitment strategies implemented successfully by the Expansions team and since used by many active chapters, Corey Goodburn (Alpha Kappa) shared innovative ways for chapters to recruit potential new members on Instagram by capturing PNM information, optimizing their Instagram bio, and most importantly by following and interacting with students from their school who are passionate about community service.  Chapters were encouraged to rethink their social media strategy and to reach out to Corey for more info or tips.

Building a Personal Brand: In this session, Kasey Stevens (Phi) shared tips on building a personal brand, pulling from personal values and perceptions. The session was interactive, and drove attendees toward preparing the elements needed to start developing a brand statement to serve them personally and professionally.

Alumni Society Induction

This year, 16 sisters were inducted as Topaz and Sapphire level alumni and pinned by their new Alum Big Sister! Following the intimate ceremony, 35 alum walked together to Joe T. Garcia’s for the Alumni Luncheon and enjoyed a moment of sisterhood on the gorgeous garden patio.

Awards Gala

Convention 2022 culminated with our Awards Gala and Dinner on Saturday evening where the awards presentation featured service, chapter, officer, and individual awards.

Additionally, the Susan Terzian Award was presented to Alexa Forbes (Alpha Pi) for her commitment to and embodiment of Omega Phi Alpha’s cardinal principles, her focus on creating leadership opportunities and developing strong leaders in her chapter, and remarkable dedication to growing chapter membership through recruitment. Beyond her chapter activities, Alexa served as an active member of the National Standards Board and has recently joined the Operational Leadership Team. Alexa was unable to attend Convention, but you can watch her receive her award and discuss what this means to her in this video

To end the awards presentation, National President Brittany Thornton shared our next President’s Project: Human Rights. Click here for video of her announcement. Following a very special candle pass ceremony, our sisters danced the night away with music from DJ Tony Tone.

Convention 2024

Before Convention 2022 wrapped up, the excitement for our next Convention was already building! If you are interested in volunteering on the Convention Planning Team, please contact Alyssa Bernhardt at managingdirector@omegaphialpha.org. ALL members are encouraged to consider volunteering on this team! Members of the Convention team will receive a stipend for attending Convention. 

So when is Convention 2024 and where will we meet? The national team is conducting site visits and will share the info as soon as possible! Start planning your required Convention fundraisers now – the more funds your chapter raises, the more sisters your chapter will be able to send to Convention. For tips or info on chapter-required Convention fundraisers, please reach out to Chapter Health Manager Taylor Outler at chapterhealth@omegaphialpha.org.