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Things we learned during Confident Conversations

Throughout the last academic year, over 800 collegiate and alumnae sisters joined Kappa Delta for three Confident Conversations virtual workshops, and hundreds more have taken advantage of viewing session recordings! Together, we learned how to form brave relationships, bridge societal divide and use those skills to take action in our communities.

This program was designed to give all Kappa Delta members – alumnae and collegians – tangible ways to bring sisters, friends and family together to discuss issues. Kappa Delta is committed to helping empower our sisters to impact their communities.

In the program’s first year, Confident Conversations workshops focused on building brave relationships, engaging in civil dialogue and developing skills that empower us to make an impact in our communities.

“I really enjoyed attending a Kappa Delta event that involved sisters from all over the country!” said one member. “It was cool to have that shared experience with everyone.”

If you didn’t get a chance to catch the sessions, here’s a run-down on key takeaways from each! And read to the end for a sneak peek at what is to come for Confident Conversations this fall.

This incredible series would not have been possible without the support of the Kappa Delta Foundation. The foundation provides funding for scholarships, internships, local and national philanthropic initiatives and transformative programming like Confident Conversations. If you would like to know more about the foundation or would like to support initiatives like this going forward, please visit our website.

Dr. Tania Israel – Bridging the Divide: Optimism for Moving Beyond Polarization

During the first session of Confident Conversations last November, Dr. Tania Israel (Sigma Theta-Pennsylvania) shared solutions for having tough conversations in today’s political climate. Dr. Israel is a professor of counseling psychology at University of California, Santa Barbara and award-winning author of Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide, Skills and Strategies for Conversations That Work.

Dr. Israel taught us how to bridge what can feel like a gap in understanding or opinion and maintain valuable relationships with families and friends.

She discussed how most people overestimate political polarization and that this phenomenon is even greater when people identify strongly with their political party. She showed data to illustrate that most people are actually closer to the middle and fatigued on polarization, which she called the exhausted majority.

“Our perceptions of others are more extreme than reality,” said one KD on her biggest takeaway from Dr. Israel’s session.

Dr. Israel ended her session with a discussion on the main component of dialogue – active listening. People feel heard when you are curious, encourage elaboration and can summarize their ideas.

One member had this to say after Dr. Israel’s session, “There’s hope, and it can start with informed, rational women.”

Lindsay Boccardo – Brave Relationships

During the second Confident Conversations session in February, Lindsay Boccardo shared the ingredients to building brave relationships. Lindsay is a nationally recognized generational expert who has been coaching, researching and developing programs for millennials for more than a decade.

As Lindsay opened her session, she asked what our dreams were for this year. The Zoom chat lit up with dreams of 4.0s, grad school acceptances, achieving chapter goals, world travels, learning a new language and even publishing a book.

“My dream is being content with where I am in life instead of continuing to look to the future for happiness,” said one comment.

“Make our sisters feel welcomed and happy,” said another.

Lindsay told the group, “Your relationships will make or break that dream.” An important reminder as we continue to build brave connections.

Lindsay shared that the four ingredients to building brave relationships are self-awareness, curiosity, deep listening and vulnerability. She explained that the three levels of deep listening are subjective, objective, and intuitive as an act of love. She also taught us to spill the TEA (thoughts, emotions, actions) when thinking about your self-awareness.

Remember, being curious takes more time than quickly judging.

After the session, one sister described her biggest take-away as how to “take confidence and pour it into relationships with our friends.”

“This was amazing! I wish my college-aged self could have heard this talk,” said Joy Hugick (Delta Eta-South Florida).

For more from Lindsay, check her out on LinkedIn, or collaborate with her via her website.

Sharon McMahon, America’s Government Teacher – Listening to Understand

In the third session held in March, Sharon McMahon, a former high school government and law teacher and host of the podcast, “Here’s Where It Gets Interesting,” shared the importance and impact that listening to understand has on relationships.

Sharon earned a reputation as ‘America’s Government Teacher’ amidst the historic 2020 election proceedings for her viral efforts on Instagram to educate the general public on political misinformation.

We need connection as humans, Sharon explained. Listening with intentionality will help us feel connected. It’s the difference between listening to reply rather than to understand.

This message struck one attendee who said, “I had done exactly that in a meeting. I was waiting to jump in with my opinions, rather than giving them my complete attention.”

Additionally, at the end of a conversation, Sharon taught us that you’re not required to agree with the person you were listening to, and you are still free to hang on to your deeply held convictions and beliefs. But instead, “listen with curiosity,” said one attendee. “You don’t have to agree with someone to treat them with kindness.”

Do you want to hear more from Sharon? Connect with her on InstagramTwitter and Facebook, and listen to her podcast – Here’s Where it Gets Interesting!

Confidence Continued

This October, we are launching Confident Conversations: Healthy Minds, Strong Sisters. This new, three-part installment will educate and empower our members to prioritize their well-being.

We are so excited to announce our three incredible speakers very soon, but in the meantime, it’s time to show us your confidence in action!

Implement what you’ve learned from Confident Conversations in your daily life and community, and share it with us by tagging @KappadeltaHQ and using the hashtag #KDConfidenceinAction for a chance to be featured on our social media accounts!

Need some ideas? Here’s a few you can use to showcase your takeaways!

  • Actively listen and seek to understand a new perspective.
  • Register to vote.
  • Get engaged in a cause you’re passionate about in your community.
  • Learn something new through a book, podcast, newspaper, TV show, or documentary.
  • Reach out through social media to a group that benefits your community.
  • Make an impact on the physical environment around you (picking up trash, planting flowers, etc.).
  • Follow up with Sharon McMahon’s suggested resources

We can’t wait to see how you and your sisters bring change to your life, chapter and community, and we can’t wait to see you in October for the next installment of Confident Conversations!