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2019 Founders’ Day Message: Leading with Passion and Compassion

Happy Founders’ Day sisters! I hope you will join me in celebration as we honor and reflect on 106 years of sisterhood.

We often comment, “what would our Founders’ think if they were with us today?” For me, the question, is a north star. I imagine it would be overwhelming pride in the size and impact of our sisterhood, but with a healthy dose of concern given the continued challenges we as individual woman and as an organization face. But I believe their concerns would be alleviated when they see a strong group of women leading with passion and compassion

Never more have the virtues of our sisterhood been on display than this summer, on the eve of our 2019 Convention proceedings and in conjunction with the Foundation’s 50th anniversary, when we announced the commitment to fund the construction of two schools in Guatemala in partnership with Circle of Sisterhood. This bold and audacious commitment provided an opportunity to merge together Phi Sigma Sigma’s commitment to school and college readiness and our twin ideals, brotherhood of man and the alleviation of the world’s pain. We showed to ourselves and the larger interfraternal world, our commitment to leading with passion and compassion.

This summer, our 2019 plenary session also provided an opportunity for our sisterhood to advance our organizational structure, strengthen our governance and ensure the perpetuity of our beloved Fraternity. Through thoughtful and careful consideration, the plenary proceedings netted unprecedented and forward-thinking changes to our governing documents. We were bold in our actions and firmly articulated the importance and collective power in operating as ONE Phi Sigma Sigma. Our convention and plenary proceedings provide an opportunity at the conclusion of each biennium, to ensure that as we look forward to the next, we are able to realign and focus on how we can continue to lead with passion and compassion. 

Finally, this summer, it was my distinct honor to host six of the ten living past grand archons at Convention. The opportunity for collegiate and alumnae sisters to hear directly from such an extraordinary group of women leaders, who continue to embody and promote the ideals and values of our sisterhood, was incredibly special. The importance of multi-generational sisterhood was on fine display during the memorial service held during Convention, in which Candace Hogan (Gamma Nu Chapter at Rutgers University - New Brunswick) honored Past Grand Archon Veachey Bloom, who passed away in 2017. In her poignant remarks, Candace expressed the importance and value of embracing and fostering relationships across the generations of our sisterhood, “I think I would be remiss to not to offer and remind each of you…it's really important that you engage with women from a different generation. You will learn so much about them, their experience, our organization; but I hope like me, you learn more about yourself and really appreciate and value what the sisterhood really is.” This spirit of sisterhood, connectivity and love is at the root of how I hope we will inspire each other to lead with passion and compassion in the biennium ahead. 

Sisters, this past year, my resolve, my dedication and my love for Phi Sigma Sigma has grown infinitely. I have seen each of you rise to new challenges, champion new causes, foster a culture of care within our sisterhood and most of all, commit to a legacy of leading with passion and compassion.

The warmest of wishes as we celebrate the past and honor the future. Happy Founders’ Day sisters! LITP,

Katie Vlietstra Wonnenberg Grand Archon


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