Celebrating a Change-Maker In Fraternity/Sorority Life: Jessica Gendron Williams

August 1st, 2013


Too rarely do we celebrate the accomplishments of people doing important ground-breaking work in our field. Today is the 6th anniversary of Jessica Gendron Williams joining the Phired Up Productions team. So today we wanted to surprise Jessica by celebrating her accomplishments and character publicly.

See what others in the field say about Jessica, and help us THANK her for all she's done for Phired Up and for our entire fraternity/sorority world.

To start, it is important to say that Jessica leads the sorority world. We don't use the word "lead" casually here. She is strongly in front of the sorority movement, and thousands of sorority women are walking the path she's blazing. Jessica has dedicated herself to shepherding the confidence and self-esteem of sorority members and potential members through her Phired Up education, coaching, curriculum development, and authorship. She is changing the way sorority recruitment is done from the inside out. She is re-shaping the very essence of the sorority experience through over 6 years with Phired Up (Vice President of the company), and before that as a campus Greek Advisor, headquarters professional, and graduate student.

In her short but potent career, she has achieved much (probably far more than most in the field realize). She has authored two of the most read books for sorority leaders: I Heart Recruitment (2007) and Social Excellence: We Dare You (2012). She has created from scratch the Dynamic Recruitment and Social Excellence messages which are the most sought programming for fraternities and sororities. Take a moment to pause there and understand the impact of these accomplishments. Over 30,000 people have read Phired Up's publications that she's authored. Each year the company delivers over 250 programs, that she's designed, on campuses and at conferences across North America.

Beyond these initial achievements, Jessica has created the iValU program which is dramatically changing the conversation in sorority recruitment. Many have moaned over the years about the lack of values focus in formal sorority recruitment, but Jessica has taken bold action and built a powerful program that directly addresses the problem by putting real power in the hands of potential members. Nearly 100 campuses have already adopted this powerful program created by Jessica.

Jessica created the BE THE PERSON|2012 experience, which won an award from AFA that year for innovation in programming -- she served as the primary curriculum creator and author, as well as a lead facilitator in the program. These are just a few samples of what she's created at Phired Up.

Jessica leads our company. As Vice President she is the emotional spirit and strong hand of a successful and growing small business that is valued by the industry. She serves as an important example of a for-profit C-level female leader in an industry where that level of example for young women is unfortunately lacking. On that note, Jessica inspires young women every day not just through the messages she teaches in books and on stage, but through her very being as a strong, bold, vulnerable, powerful, confident woman. She is leading sorority women in so many ways.

If our fraternal organizations challenge us to be bigger, better, bolder versions of ourselves, then she is the example of what all our founders ask us to be. She is authentic at her core -- transparent and courageous to better us all. Jessica is larger-than-life but real-life at the same time.

Her impact on the women of our fraternal movement is so remarkable, it almost overshadows the powerful impact she has had on the industry as a whole. Leaders of the movement look to Jessica for guidance and example as they consider the future of the industry. She is becoming a face of the future, and will surely be a leader of us all for many years to come. Below are some selections of recent accolades we received about Jessica from colleagues and friends.

"Too many people maintain. Jessica pushes, convinces, and compels both students and professionals to try harder, drop the excuses and get to the tough work of doing better things. Jessica moves things forward, sometimes with just a cocked eyebrow and a smirk that says, "C'mon, you know we can do better than that." Her ability to inject intelligence and charm into that challenge has been responsible for countless students trying a bit harder to hold their peers to higher standards. She is a truth teller, and she is a unique personality who shapes everything she touches with a wise hand." -T.J. Sullivan, Vice President & CEO, Campuspeak

"In the years I have known and worked with Jessica on college campuses, her hard work has transformed the lives of students, inspired her colleagues, fostered young professionals, and challenged fraternal organizations to grow in ways they might not have thought possible. She is a designer and shaper of solutions to problems the fraternal world grapples with. It is an honor and a pleasure to be in the presence of a professional who is not only directly involved in helping move the fraternal world forward, but is a volunteer outside of her day to day work environment." -Samantha Armstrong, Advisor for Leadership Education, Eastern Washington University

"The fraternity and sorority experience, as well as creating positive change in the world, is Jessica’s passion. Her students and colleagues look to her as a mentor and guide through each of their own explorations within their fraternity or sorority. She guides with passion, dedication, and love for the advancement of the fraternity and sorority experience. It is not uncommon to see photos of Jessica on Facebook or to hear about her experiences through other social media where she is donating her time to a service project or raising money for worthy causes such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She leads by example. Jessica’s colleagues and students respect and admire her because she takes the time to know them personally and not just through their organizations. It is that personal touch that makes Jessica successful in helping advocate and advance social excellence through the fraternity and sorority experience." -Bob Dudolski, Assistant Dean of Students, Texas State University

"I believe Jessica Gendron is a vanguard that has revolutionized the conversations occurring in our Fraternity and Sorority Community. She is having hard hitting conversations ranging from making Sorority Recruitment 'less weird,' to creating places in our organizations for LGBT members, to developing curriculum regarding The Sorority Experience, to so much more. Jessica is distinguished in our fraternal community, has been involved for 10+ years, has built bridges in the interfraternal world, and still volunteers on a regular basis in the interfraternal community. Jessica Gendron Williams is changing lives and the conversations revolving around our field. I feel she is modeling the way for our fraternal partners. I believe she is inspiring women to speak up and out." -Tom Coy, Director of Student Activities, Bradley University

"The whole fraternity/sorority community is better because of the commitment, passion and humor Jess brings to all of us." -Mike Dilbeck, President and Founder, RESPONSE|ABILITY Project

"It was evident from the first time I met her that Jessica is truly a positive change agent for the fraternal movement. She has made it her personal mission to share with college students from across the country the importance of supporting your community and those in need. You will not find a more passionate, dedicated, and caring individual." -Sarah Williams, ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Jessica has made our company what it is. We credit much of our success to the work she's done, the ideas she's birthed, the bold positions she's championed, and the lessons she's taught us. Jess is our brand. She is our culture. We mean those things for both our company and our fraternal movement.

In any industry there are occasional superstars that arise simply through their hard work and dedication to a cause. Look around... Jessica has risen up to that role and in a short time. Let's recognize not just what she has accomplished, but also her dedication to a long career serving this industry. She loves the fraternity/sorority world. She's working tirelessly (literally: there aren't many people willing to work the hours, weeks, and months on end she does) to actually make positive change in our industry. She doesn't just talk... she does. And she does it well.  

Thanks Jessica.

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