Posted on November 14th in General

7 Tips for International Officer Candidates

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Carol Comer, International Vice President for Division 3.

As you are all aware, it’s that time again: The application for International Office is now open, and we the DiversiFive 2.0 are looking for successors. Here are seven tips to help you through the process:

1. First of all, APPLY!

I applied to be an International Officer my last year of my two-year program. I was a Regional Officer for Missouri, and I didn’t want that amazing time to end. I had only joined Phi Theta Kappa a year before, so, in good ‘ole Missouri fashion, I thought, “Why Not?” Out of the 37 applicants, I never thought I would be one of the five International Officers chosen by my peers to represent such an amazing institution and students from all over the world. I absolutely do not regret it.

2. This is a “coopetition” not a competition.

This means you are actually not competing against each other. In truth, you are campaigning for a higher position in Phi Theta Kappa alongside your brothers and sisters. This is your family. These are bonds that will continue well beyond PTK Catalyst 2019. Leave the ego and competition at the door and work together. If you don’t, it will only hijack your leadership effectiveness. My campaign buddy/sister and I have been talking almost every day since Honors Institute in Chicago in 2016 — yes, almost every day for two years. (Inserting a shameless shout-out to Cheyanna Huston-McCrea!) Embrace your family and work together. It can be done.

3. Get your Five Star Competitive Edge completed.

You will be talking to a lot of people from all walks of life and shaking a lot of hands. The soft skills training in Competitive Edge will assist you with what is called Code Switching. The way you talk to your best friend may or may not be the way you would speak to your grandmother. This doesn’t mean you are faking it or not being yourself; you are just making the message you are trying to convey more easily decoded and received. Know how to handle any situation with grace and acceptance, while respecting the inherent worth, dignity, and respect of the recipient. This will make you grow more than anything else.

4. Nail that speech.

This year the speech has a time limit of two minutes. Make sure your speech is based on verified facts and that it’s a subject you are comfortable with. Ensure that it also answers the question. Break the question down in parts and address each section it is asking you. Have a proofreader or three. I know it will be great.

5. Represent, y’all!

Wear your member and Five Star pins with pride. You made the grades and said, “Yes!” to Phi Theta Kappa. You are now about to embark on the highest level of leadership this international honor society has to offer. Wear them with pride. Every day. In fact, get about three or four pins, just in case you lose one. It’s okay — it happens to me all the time.

6. This is me! So, be you!

We’ve already had a Tasha Estein, a David Parker, and a Sydney Pemberton. We need a “You!” Be you. It’s okay to be an introvert, to be tall, to be “fluffy,” or to be differently-abled. It’s okay because Phi Theta Kappa students come in every color, gender, sexual orientation, shape, size, and personality trait, each bringing different gifts and skills to this organization. We accept you, so you don’t have to worry about being anyone other than yourself. As the Middle States Regions say, “We are because I am!”

7. Finally, don’t stress it!

This is supposed to be a fun time and, win or lose, you will always remember and look back on the experience of running for International Office. You will gain so much experience and find many hidden rewards just for running! You will have the support of your chapter president and advisor. And, just running for International Office honors your college president and your school and puts your and their names on the map. Higher institutions and businesses will take notice, and it will be less daunting to choose that next four-year college or transfer path.

I hope my bits of advice help and encourage you to apply for this amazing opportunity. As you know, DiversiFive 2.0 is available at any time to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to email one of us or even ALL of us:

Elda Pere, President —
Won Joon Kang, Vice President Division 1 —
David Parker, Vice President Division 2 —
Carol Comer, Vice President Division 3 —
Philippe Schicker, Vice President Division 4 —

Remember, we are all here for you and we support you. Now go have some fun and get that leadership on! I can’t wait to see you all in Orlando, Florida, for PTK Catalyst 2019!

International Officer applications are due by 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. Download yours today.

View Webinar Recording: Running for International Office