Sorority grad gains leadership role with national chapter

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    As a freshman going though recruitment, senior Polly Niccoli said she never imagined she would one day be employed by her sorority. Niccoli, a graphic design major, has been a member of Pi Beta Phi since her freshman year.

    “I really think it was meant to be,” Niccoli said. “I know it sounds cliche but I think it’s true, the sorority chooses you just as much as you choose the sorority,”

    Last year, Niccoli was elected president of the sorority. Upon graduation, Niccoli will start her new job as one of four leadership development consultants for Pi Beta Phi. Niccoli said she is very excited about taking on the new role in her sorority.

    Her interest in the position was sparked when two years ago a leadership development consultant visited the Pi Beta Phi chapter here on campus,

    “She was the sweetest girl,” Niccoli said of the visiting consultant. “She really helped me figure out the details and made me excited to apply for the position.”

    As a leadership development consultant, Niccoli said she will travel around the country to different Pi Beta Phi chapters Nationwide there are 134 Pi Beta Phi chapters, she said. Niccoli will travel three weeks out of the month to various chapters. She said she will be there to see how things are going with each chapter, help get people involved, and offer personal guidance wherever needed. Niccoli will first go through a two-week training at Pi Beta Phi headquarters in Town and Country, Mo. before starting her new job in July. She said the position is 10 months long, but the sorority can ask the consultant to stay on for another 10 months. Ultimately, she said she wants to work in graphic design. She said she would love to design for clothing stores like J.Crew, Anthropologie or Kate Spade.

    Niccoli said she is looking forward to sharing her passion for her sorority with the other chapters around the country.

    “Pi Beta Phi has taught me so much,” Niccoli said. “I learned a lot about myself, and being president prepared me for real life and real world jobs.”

    As sorority president, she said she was uncomfortable at first speaking in front everyone during their meetings. Eventually, she said her confidence grew.

    “I had to get to know myself so much better,” Niccoli said. “All of the ifs, ands or buts, went away.”

    She said she used to sit back and wonder what she would do if she was the one in charge.

    “I couldn’t say, ‘Oh, if I were president I would do this or that’ anymore,” Niccoli said. “I actually had to take action and accomplish those things.”

    One of Niccoli’s sorority littles, Kristen Gallo, a junior marketing major, said as president, Niccoli also taught the members of Pi Beta Phi.

    “Polly really set the bar high,” Gallo said. “She lead by example and by positivity and encouragement.”

    Gallo met Niccoli through the sorority, but their friendship grew when they took an art history class together.

    “She was always upbeat,” Niccoli said. “She’s the first to say, ‘Hi, how are you?'”

    Gallo said Niccoli deserves the recognition from the sorority.

    “She’s always set a good example of success,” Gallo said. “I think she is the perfect person for this job.”

    She said Niccoli has always been there for her when she has needed her.

    “I have been blessed to have her as my big,” Gallo said. “She is the epitome of a mentor, and she really showed me what college is all about.”

    Junior Samantha Meade, an early childhood education major, is also one of Niccoli’s sorority littles, as well as her spring 2010 roommate..

    She said it is the small things that she enjoys most about Niccoli.

    “We don’t even have to be doing something big,” Meade said. “I love just hanging out with her, making puppy chow (a Chex mix, peanut butter, and chocolate snack) and

    talking.”

    Meade said she is really going to miss Niccoli once she graduates.

    “I already told her that she has to come back all the time to visit,” Meade said. “I don’t even want her to leave.”

    Some of the qualities Meade said she will miss about Niccoli are her supportive and encouraging nature.

    “She is so great at giving advice,” Meade said. “I just know she will be a great asset to any chapter she visits.”

    Niccoli said her parents think the job is the perfect for her. At first, her father was unclear about what she would be doing.

    “My dad didn’t understand it at first,” Niccoli said. “But I explained it to him, and he saw how passionate I was about it, and he thinks it’s a great opportunity.”

    She said it is important that her parents are excited about her new job.

    “I really value their opinions,” Niccoli said. “I know they have my best interest at heart, so it means a lot to me.”

    Niccoli said she is prepared to give the chapters positive feedback and constructive criticism. However, there is one part duty as consultant that she said she will need more training for.

    “I have to help with the finances, and I’m not so good with the math stuff,” Niccoli said. “I didn’t really deal with that, so I’m definitely going to benefit from the training session.”

    On the surface, Niccoli’s graphic design degree might not seem related to what she will be doing after graduation. However, Niccoli said it prepared her in ways she did not expect.

    “Graphic design really taught me how to solve problems creatively, which is exactly what I’ll have to do in my position as LDC,” she said.

    Niccoli said many of her favorite memories from college come from her sorority and her major.

    “My life was basically half graphic design and half Pi Phi,” Niccoli said. “I’m glad that after graduation I’ll be able to combine the things that I’ve learned from both.”

    Niccoli said one of the best things that she did while in college is get involved. She wants to encourage other students to do so as well.

    “No matter what it is, find something you’re passionate about,” Niccoli said. “You never know where it will take you.”