Name: Karen Katz
Alma mater: University of Evansville
Affiliation: Chi Omega Fraternity
Occupation: CEO of Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity
Spouse: Joseph Stadlen
Primary Volunteer Role: Chair of the FL Nu AAC
How long have you volunteered for SigEp?
The 2005 CLA in Destin, FL was my first volunteer role. I served as FL Nu Chapter Counselor 2005-2009, FL Gamma AVC member in 2009 and FL Gamma Balanced Man Steward from 2009-2011. I served on the National Volunteer Committee and was part of the AVC Training the Trainers program. I facilitated CLA in 2012/2013 and led EDGE in 2013. In 2015, I became the Chair of the FL Nu AAC.
Why do you volunteer for SigEp?
I started volunteering for SigEp because I was asked by a very good friend. The men in the chapter were exceptional guys who reminded me of my brothers and wanted to learn, grow and become the best they could be. I developed an even stronger connection with the national fraternity when I started attending regional and national leadership events and found that the goals of the organization and values it promotes match my personal values and ambitions. As a fraternity professional, I am a proud volunteer for Sigma Phi Epsilon because I believe in its mission and it’s ability to provide the best developmental opportunities for its members. SigEp is the best organization college men can join.
Karen Katz at the Carlson Leadership Academy with chapter leaders and fellow AAC mentors.
What has been the most meaningful moment for you as a volunteer for SigEp?
Watching the members receive accolades on stage always makes me feel proud, but having my former students as part of the current mentoring team is most meaningful. They have become excellent leaders and can share personal experiences of success and failure to advise the new generation of SigEp undergraduates. Having them volunteer precious time to cultivate these students is the best kind of fraternity tradition.
Tell us about a brother, university partner, or another volunteer that has made a positive impact in your volunteer experience.
When I decided to leave FIU, I told two people before I shared the news with the University. David Diaz was my first call and I told Tom Jelke hours before I shared the news with my supervisor. I remember sitting across from Tom at my desk when he reached forward to shake my hand to congratulate me on my new job. He didn’t let my hand go until he added “and welcome to your new position as Chapter Counselor for FL Nu.” Tom shared national knowledge, institutional wisdom and connected me with great mentors for the undergraduate men. He also became one of my closest friends and to this day is my best example of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Balanced Man.
David became AVC President and I started as Chapter Counselor. David trained me on SigEp operations and spent a great deal of time helping me ensure the chapter mechanics were set. He supported my advising style of helping the officers with a balance of accountability and autonomy and he provided positive challenge when needed. We experienced ups and downs of fraternity life, a membership review, celebrating Buchanan Cups & the chapter’s first Fellow and numerous moments of intense laughter.
I would never have started volunteering for SigEp without both of these men. They continue to inspire me to reach my full potential.
Karen Katz at an EDGE program in 2014 with Justin Stubert (left) and Alex Beckett (right).
What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is considering volunteering for SigEp?
Say “yes.” If you are a member of SigEp and you’re asked to volunteer, this is a no brainer. You don’t have to be AVC President today but every little bit of time makes a difference. The men I know who volunteer as Board members, District Governors, AVC members and advisors are some of the best men I know. If you’re not a member of SigEp, this is a huge compliment. There are thousands of SigEp volunteers and this is such an amazing organization that the members realize outside perspective is important to ensure growth and excellence on the local and national levels. Volunteering is an opportunity to leave a positive impression on chapters and it will leave an indelible impact on you.
What has volunteering for SigEp taught you?
As an advisor, I’ve learned to use more patience as trends constantly recur and students change at their own rate. I’ve continued to volunteer for SigEp over other fraternities because the men involved on the regional and national levels mirror the values of the organization and hunt for positive change and renewal.
How has volunteering for SigEp made you a better person?
Volunteering in SigEp is rewarding personally and professionally. Skills and talents can be honed at conferences and opportunities to train peers and students during Conclave, Carlson Leadership Academy and in chapter settings are provided regularly. There is no ego in SigEp. Help and thanks are offered constantly. Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love go beyond senior year. These are values that inspire all members and volunteers to make us all better people. SigEp continues to make me a better person because I am reminded daily that I have an obligation to help others achieve their best and to do this, I must achieve mine.
Nominate a Volunteer Spotlight!
Do you know a volunteer who has give their time and talent to SigEp who you believe should be showcased in our Volunteer Spotlight Series? Fill out our Volunteer Spotlight Nomination form. The Volunteer Services team will promptly review your nomination. Thank you for taking the time to help us celebrate our SigEp volunteers.