Let's Talk Tri Delta

Why YOU Should Go to Tri Delta’s Convention From Two Seasoned Attendees

Episode Summary

Dive into the world of Tri Delta’s Biennial Convention with two passionate sisters: past Fraternity President Eve Woods Riley and longtime volunteer Amy Suzanne Zimmer, both Southern Methodist. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned Convention-goer, you’ll be inspired by their stories and the significance Convention holds for them.

Episode Notes

Eve and Amy share the amazing small-world story of their connection and delve into a deep conversation about the impact of Tri Delta’s Convention on their lives. They open up about their love for Convention and the multitude of learning opportunities and inspiration that comes from being exposed to new people and ideas, all while enjoying the bonds of sisterhood. Eve and Amy paint a vivid picture of the unique experience and energy found at Convention, explaining that it is “unlike anything you’ll experience within your smaller groups” and how “the blend of tradition, history and ritual is like nothing else.” Join us as they share cherished memories and divulge their favorite parts of the many Tri Delta Conventions they have attended.

Convinced that Convention 2024 is the place you should be? Make sure to grab your spot by June 17—and meet up with Eve and Amy while you're there! Visit tridelta.org/convention for details and to register.

Episode Transcription

This transcript was created using automated technologies and may contain errors.

Hello, Tri Deltas, and welcome to another episode of the Let's Talk Tri Delta podcast. I am Mindy Tucker, Tri Delta’s interim CEO and I love that I have the opportunity to get to talk with so many of our sisters and share their stories here on the podcast.

There really are so many great conversations for you to listen to. If you go to TriDelta .org and the Let's Talk Tri Delta podcast, there's so many wonderful conversations there, including this one that we're about to have today. We are celebrating this summer,

our 61st Biennial Convention in July in Orlando. Registrations open and every Tri Delta is invited to come and join us. Not only do we do some important business there for the future of Tri Delta.

We also reconnect and hang out with dear friends and make new friends. I've made a lot of those over the years working at Tri Delta. We just love celebrating the sisterhood that's so special to each of us.

And I don't want you to just take that from me today. I've got two special guests here to help reinforce how amazing convention can be. First Past President Eve Riley and volunteer Amy Zimmer, both of them have a lot to say about Tri Delta's conventions. And I'm especially excited to welcome them because we are also chapter sisters from Theta Kappa at SMU.

So Eve and Amy, hello, and welcome to the podcast. Hello. Thank you. Thank you. So glad to have both of you here. First,

I want to give our listeners a chance to get to know you a little bit. Eve, why don't you tell us how you ended up at SMU and how you became a Tri Delta? Got there because I got accepted.

It was the first thing and then they offered a scholarship and my daddy said that that was where I'd go. And in those days you went where your daddy tells you. Tri Delta,

I loved recruitment. My mother was a Tri Delta. Okay. And I grew up up with Trident on our coffee table, but I didn't really understand. I knew some of her Tri Delta friends and I adored them.

They were from all over the country. So neat that they all got, you know, that they enjoyed each other so much. And one of the last questions I asked my mother when I left home was now,

what was that group you were in? she she was wonderful she just said well it was Tri Delta and when I went to the Tri Delta house I didn't know anything about legacies and in those days legacies did have an advantage that they don't have today because there weren't so many of them so um when I went through recruitment I loved the Tri Delta house I loved them all they were all great but because I was a legacy I didn't

understand why I got cut so heavily I later was not surprised that they kind of suspected that I might pledge, but try to help them.

I love the women because they were all so different. And those were the days when you sit on the chair and the recruitment people paraded in front of you or they moved on their knees in front of you.

And It was different than it is these days. - That sounds really different, yes. - Yeah, it was very different. And at the end,

everybody else caught me, but it was perfectly fine with me because I was very happy with my choice and I've been ever since. - Well, we have your mother to thank then for having you in our midst.

I love it. - Yeah. - Amy, How about you? How did you end up in SMU and why Tri Delta? Well, I came from Michigan to Texas and first of all,

I wanted to get out of the cold weather or at least colder weather. And the second that I set foot on SMU's campus, I knew it was the school for me. It looked exactly like I envisioned college to be from the style of the buildings to the boulevard and of course sorority rope.

My mom had been in sorority, she was a theta and so I grew up very Greek oriented, so I knew I wanted to be in sorority no matter what and the size of the school was exactly what I was looking for.

It wasn't too small and it definitely was not too large and SMU is filled with tradition and I loved the tradition on the campus. And as for Tri Delta and Theta Kappa in specific,

like I said, my mom was a Theta, but my grandmother and my aunt were both Tri Deltas. And when I came to SMU, at the beginning of my freshman year, because at SMU you rush,

or you go through recruitment, it's now called second semester. I met freshman year, two Tri Deltas that were just the most special people, Julie Pritchett and Sonja Blumoff.

And they were the ones that made me feel welcome and like Tri Deltas was going to be the place for me. They were like big sisters before I knew that I was going to have one of them as my Tri Delta big sister.

And the moment I knew for sure that Tri Deltas was it was during pref night as we were standing there with a Tri Delta behind us and I was holding a candle and hearing about pearls.

The Tri Delta is like rubbing my arms and candle wax is dripping all over me and I'm trying to smile as I'm getting burned and I'm listening to some song that I didn't know at the time about pearls gleaming somewhere.

I'm feeling in so much pain as I'm getting burned, but I just knew as I heard the words of the moment that this was my place. These were my people and everything that I felt during that prep night I knew was going to apply later in my life.

And I still am really close to those women that I met through Tri -Delta at SMU. And I just knew it then. I love that. Great story. - Tell me a little bit,

Eve, why don't you tell me after SMU, after college, what did your life look like? Where did it sort of lead you to? - We lived in Austin and for Joe,

he had an appointment with the Supreme Court there and I went to a Tri Delta meeting in Austin, of course, had a lot of Theta Zetas and I was pretty out of my element and they weren't that friendly they were they all knew each other they had a great time but I thought well I'm a Tri Delta and my mother's a Tri Delta.

So they have to like me for this thing You're not so that my first experience, but then we moved to Houston and I went to the meeting and that was where one other young lady asked me if I had known her grandmother at SMU,

her grandmother, had gone to SMU. And I said, "Well, no, I didn't know your grandmother. I wasn't born then." And so she was ... I'm not good grief because I was all of 23 years old at that time.

But I got active with the alumnae there. There was a young group, and I loved them, and then we got up all our courage we went to the older group and of course they were wonderful but we were so intimidated by them that it was hard to make that choice but a group of us decided we were going to all bind together and go to the older group and we were fine and so then I got to be an officer and very involved and

then after that I moved to St. Louis, got involved there, and we moved to Dallas, got involved there, and then moved to Waco. And that's where you are now.

That's where I am now. She has totally played down her Tri Delta experience, which we'll get to in just a minute, Madam President. Amy,

tell me what happened after college for you. Well, after college For me, I lived in Dallas for a while, working at D Magazine as an assistant editor,

and then I went to grad school at Vanderbilt and got involved in the Tri Delta alumnae group there, and eventually found my way back home to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where I sell residential real estate for the agency,

and got involved, very involved, in the Metro Tri Delta alumnae group. And while I miss Dallas, it's so great to have my parents and my nieces and nephews and most of my sisters close by here in the Michigan area.

So that's kind of me in a nutshell. Back to the cold, didn't you? Back to the cold. But I like to spend lots of time down south and in the Southwest.

So I get out as much as I can. Any thing that can bring me back to Dallas, I jump at the chance too, so. - I am the same way, I am the same way.

So Eve, you actually had a, you were very involved with Tri Delta and became a fraternity president. And I'd love to know what that experience was like for you?

Well, it was never anything I had in mind. But we were taught when we were new members, pledges then, that Trial Delta was forever and that whenever Trial Delta asked you to do anything,

you said yes, that was a given. And so through the years, I was asked to do various things. And when I was called that Saturday morning and asked to be sure to be president.

Jeanne Gaines said, now sit down, I have a question for you. We want you to be the president. I went, oh,

okay. Anyway, I said yes, of course. And from there, I was on the board for several years. I served as president and then as alumni vice president,

and then as the NPC delegate. Well, and we're so glad you said yes. Thank you. I am too. It's been great. And Amy, you have a new volunteer role,

I hear. No, it's actually my second term doing it. Oh, you have done it before. OK, I don't know if I thought that was a new thing, but you have been heavily involved in Panhellenic as a Tri Delta,

and I'd love for you to share a little bit about that experience with everybody. - It has been very interesting. I'm starting that, or starting in July,

will be my second term being the NPC's Alumnae Panhellenics Chair. And that is,

being part of the Alumnae Panhellenics Committee coordinators has been a really great opportunity. It takes, you know,

a whole new vision of kind of what we're doing, because we're used to being in kind of our, we're still in a macrocosm when we're looking at everything throughout,

you know, our whole Tri Delta world, but you know, then you expand that to all of the 26 sororities that we have and it's really interesting to see and I look at it from the alumni world,

there's also the collegiate world of course too, but to see that a lot of the things that the challenges that we're facing, successes that we're seeing, issues that we're having,

it's across the board and the way we solve things may be different or may be similar, but it's interesting to see how everyone's approaching retention and the changing things in ways that computers and Zoom and aging populations of our alumnae groups and things like that have brought into the world.

So I really enjoy what my role affords me in being able to serve NPC in what I do and get to see it on a broader scope.

Yeah, I don't think a lot of people realize that there's a whole volunteer core at NPC made up of not only Tri Deltas, but people from all the different 26 organizations.

And so thank you for being a part of that team and serving there. I know it's a Panhellenic role, but it's also a Tri Delta role and we're really appreciative that you're over there doing that work.

Yeah, it's wonderful too and it's a nice balance too. I have a collegiate volunteer role with Tri Delta, also a Panhellenic role,

so it's a nice way to kind of balance that and get another taste of what's out there in another way we we can serve are and give back for all the wonderful things that we experience from Tri Delta.

So you two have crossed paths before in some other ways. Who wants to tell me about that? I will because to me like I mean,

is it our Gen Z or whatever generation loves Taylor Swift? I guess everyone loves Taylor Swift. Who am I kidding? They may be Gaga over Taylor Swift,

but I am Gaga over Eve was Riley because when I was in college, she was my Taylor Swift. And first of all,

she signed my initiation certificate. And we just thought that was so cool because when we were in college, you know, our fraternity president was a theta capo,

which was just it seemed like she was a rock star. And then not only that, her son Lee was our house boy. So we got to see her son every single day serving food in our sorority.

And so our past started to cross before she even knew that I was on her radar, but I just thought Eve was so neat.

And then when I started going to conventions, I actually got to talk to her like a colleague. And I was like, wow, we're both adults now. She's not just a certificate and a neat lady,

there's someone I can aspire to be. She's someone that I can sit and actually talk to. So I feel so honored to be in her orbit. And that's how we've started crossing paths way back when she was just a certificate name signer,

but someone that ruled our Tri Delta world. And thank you for being a role model to me and my entire pledge class and so many other Tri Deltas because you mean so much in both really for me,

both my Tri Delta world and my NPC world. So thank you, Eve. And your son was a really good cowboy. That's got to be fun.

When he told me, when he told me he was doing that, I was mortified. I hope you didn't use my name. And he said, no,

I didn't tell him. He did later. Funny. So he did it without them knowing who they were hiring. That's really funny. I wonder if I wonder if they still have houseboys at SMU.

We call them dining assistants now. But yes, we (laughing) - They do still hire them. It's funny, I still remember David Smith who was the houseboy at SMU when I was there.

It's funny how, and then one of our sorority sisters who came before me, so well before you, her brother was, you know, it was all a little bit in the family from time to time.

We all, so Eve's son is not, it's a great story, but I think a lot of that was there, people's family and friends and would end up coming to the house to work, so. - Exactly,

well, our house boy was Skipper Trimble and he used to, when he would go out on the weekends and have a little to drink, he would come over to the house and serenade us with God didn't make honky -tonk angels or something like that,

but there we go. He would be in the front yard and we'd raise the windows and listen to Skipper sing. That's fun. I hope we didn't do that.

If you did, maybe he's not going to tell you. I'm not going to tell. He was a perfect angel. Oh, that's so funny. All right, so let's shift into convention a little bit.

That is what we're here to talk about. Eve, how many conventions have you been to? - Either, it's 25 or 26, I'm not sure. I don't have to go back and count it up,

but about that. - Yeah, and so that's every two years. So that's over a span of 50 last year. - Yeah, I was born in 1972, and I did miss in there.

I didn't go to the '70, let's see, it was, I mean, 1970, I didn't go to 1980. It was the one I missed. - Okay,

wow, amazing. Amy, how many have you been to? - I was trying to figure it out. I have trouble recalling as they all start blending together with VLC and I was looking,

trying to look through stuff and like, was that convention, was that VLC? But I I think at least four and I was trying to remember not to forget everyone needs to remember the zoom year because that one counts.

Good. That was our experiment in learning how to be a zoom proficient, which now look at us. We're sitting here doing a zoom podcast.

Who would have thought we would all be able to come this Um, yeah, I think at least four. So I'm a, I'm a convention baby compared to pros like Eve.

Yeah, right. But I still love being able to go and enjoy. And what's your favorite part of the season? My favorite part is participating with the tri delta - I love that.

- Which I hope continues on. - It is continuing on, it is continuing on. - I love it. - We'll take it down right now, we'll write you down. - I mean, seriously, I've met so many great women through that that I wouldn't have met maybe otherwise.

It's just been, and people of different ages, backgrounds, so on and so forth. And it has been such a nice opportunity to just spend some downtime,

but also doing something that we really enjoy. And one year in Dallas, we actually got to also sing during the,

when they were showing how to do cookies and castle or demonstrating cookies and castles, we got to do Christmas carols too so we got like an extended performance and I just I really enjoy that part of it so.

I am a I'm a recovering skit participant so yeah I've seen this skit that was very much part of the skits at SMU. I still really lament that we don't have skits anymore so I'm with you on the music and and love.

Exactly - Yeah, I mean, if we can't have skits, we at least have to have the song. - Right. So Eve, what's your favorite part of convention? - It's meeting everybody.

I love to meet all the Tri Deltas from all over the country and all the different ages. And my favorite part is just going around and talking to people and they always like, who are you and why are you talking to me?

But I've met so many ladies, I've learned so much And it's just so much fun to see all the different people and hear about their experiences and learn about their chapters.

Anyway, it's just a, that's my favorite part. - Do you have a favorite convention memory? - When you told me that you might ask me that,

I thought, oh, good grief, there's a bunch of, there's just too many, you know, the years kind of you get glimpses. It's all special.

I would imagine you've got several, huh? Yes. About you. Do you have a favorite convention memory? I do. And I mean, it's I'm going to start sounding like a broken record saying all rose lead back to Dallas.

But 2018 Tri Delta Convention. I celebrated my silver circle degree, 25 years as a Tri Delta,

and at the convention's pansy brunch. Crazy, I know, because I mean, I look like I was just initiated. Just kidding. But it was especially poignant because 25 years earlier,

I was initiated at Southern Methodist University, which was not far from our convention site and so talk about full circle for the circle degree and so that to me was just really really special to be able to feel like I was coming home for my silver circle degree and I mean I I just was in tears and our house mom did you have mom Burgess yes for your house mom so mom Burgess's daughter is a Tridel,

sorry, niece, niece. And she was there for that convention. And so just, there were so many moments that made it feel like it was such a special convention and time for me to get that 25 degree little pin and everything that I just really felt like it was a special convention for me.

But there have been so many great moments and connections with Tridel to sisters across the nation and Canada at, you know, every convention that I just, like Eve says, it's really,

aside from, you know, that special moment being, you know, circle degree, there have been, at every convention, I could probably find a zillion memories that are very special.

Yeah. What would you recommend, if you were recommending somebody to come to convention, what would be your reason? Why would you tell someone you need to go? Here's what you're gonna get out of it. You have to go. - Me or you first.

- Inspiration, that's a good one. - Right, a new friend, a meaghan new friends. You learn things, you're exposed to different ideas.

I just, It's amazing. I mean, you just get such a different picture of everything and realizing in your chapter, there's no way you can understand the breadth of Trial Delta.

And so you, it just opens your eyes to, and to see how it works, you know, with the business. Although they can be difficult sometimes,

it's still fun to see the different Parts of the country, you know how they respond to certain things and see what's important to them and and what they're looking for a membership But you share the same common bond and so to me I and and of course you learn so much because the speakers all the speakers Are always just incredible and you to me always it makes me feel very difficult so which I think is good for us

to feel insignificant anyway. Yeah. Part of something way bigger than us, right? Yes, way bigger, way bigger. Amy, what about-- What a difference we can make.

Yes. Yeah. Yeah, I agree with Eve. You really get an enriched understanding of what our fraternity is up to and where we're headed.

And you make lots of great connections with sisters across our Tri Delta network. And convention is really an opportunity to learn and be inspired by our bonds of Tri Delta sisterhood and to celebrate that sisterhood in a way that we can't really do it within our collegiate chapters or our alumni chapters as a singular unit,

it's really a different experience to have everyone together. There's just a different energy that year is unlike anything you're going to ever experience in in your smaller smaller groups,

even if you have a really large group, it's just not the same when you have all the different personalities together. I love how it blends our traditions, our rituals,

our history with now, you know, it's all of our current members, but we're still doing ritual. We're still doing a processional of our leadership and installing our leadership and there's just so many pieces of it that take you back to what our founders envisioned for the organization,

but still so true and relevant today as we all do our best to, you know, keep this organization going 136, 37 years later. It's,

it's really amazing. Convention really just shines the spotlight in on that and gives you a chance to see all of that. So, well, I'm so excited to see both of you this summer at convention.

And I think this has been a great little conversation to tell everybody a little bit more about it and get everybody excited. So thanks for participating in our conversation today. Thanks for having us.

Oh, absolutely. Really looking forward to seeing all this summer. Just a few highlights for all of our listeners. Doris Kearns Goodwin, who is a Tri Delta Woman of Achievement, is going to be there talking about her new book.

Eve was talking about all the people you can learn from. She is definitely somebody I am excited to learn from Um, these two sisters from West Georgia, um, who are the founders of,

they are twin sisters, they are also Tri Delta sisters. They are the founders of the elf on the shelf. They are going to be speaking about their starting their business and getting that off the ground. That's going to be really fun.

We've got lots of recent women of achievement who are coming. They're going to be leading panel discussions, breakout sessions, so much fun. There are going to be events and parties of course. There is a night where we will sparkle.

We will all bring our sparkly outfits and come sparkle together. There is a big announcement coming around St. Jude which is really exciting. There's so much going on. So if you have not registered and you are not ready to go,

get yourself ready to go. Go buy a few extra blue and gold dresses and bring them on to Orlando. We'd love to see everybody there July 11th through the 14th. You can still register, tridelta.org /events on our webpage.

Don't forget to head to our website and check out all of our podcast episodes. There's so much good stuff there. Please like, subscribe and rate our podcast. We have three stars in our crescent but we love your five star ratings.

Thanks everybody for joining us today and until next time, Delta Love.