Former ELC Spotlight: Dan Montplaisir
The life of an educational leadership consultant (ELC) is anything but simple. For a long, grueling nine-month period, the road becomes a familiar friend and the faces in each chapter visited start to run together like paint on a canvas.
But for all ELCs, the chance to connect with others across the nation that hold the same values dear becomes the Holy Grail. For others, still, those connections can lead to something far more meaningful.
Dan Montplaisir (Beta-Eta, Central Florida) found himself with more time on his hands than he knew what to do with. It was 1990 and he was fresh out of school, swept into the role of ELC.
He was visiting the UCLA chapter and took it upon himself to contact the Greek advisor on campus to see if there were any sorority advisors on campus, just as someone to talk to who knew exactly what he was going through. He was given the number of the Sigma Kappa House and consultant, Kelly Hansen.
At the time, Montplaisir had no idea that he had just met his future wife.
“You’re out on the road for long periods of time, just by yourself and it’s great to connect, whether that is with another fraternity or sorority consultant, because you are going through a similar situation,” recounted Montplaisir. “Just like it is always great to meet with alumni, it is also helpful when there is a time to talk with somebody that understands the unique position that you are in, traveling from chapter to chapter for nine months.”
Montplaisir and Hansen dated whenever he was back on the West Coast before officially getting engaged. As Montplaisir recalls, becoming an ELC was a blessing in disguise. Not only did he meet the love of his life, but he found a career which he was deeply passionate about and something, according to the Orlando native, he never would have dreamed about doing.
Following his time as an ELC, Montplaisir served on the Lambda Chi Alpha Foundation staff until 1997. It was here, through the guidance of his fraternity, that Montplaisir unearthed what his calling was: university advancement and development work.
Montplaisir served in various fundraising roles at three different institutions and most recently accepted a position at Cal Poly Pomona as the Vice President for University Advancement.
In his role, Montplaisir will have the responsibilities as chief fundraising officer, along with managing public, corporate, and alumni relations, and development for the institution.
“All across the country, we have been in a 20-year decline of state dollars supporting education and so the role of philanthropy, building a fundraising team, honing the message on why it’s important for people to support public education, that’s what I love to do,” said Montplaisir.
During his most recent position at UC Irvine, Montplaisir was the lead in the central development team’s $1 billion campaign across campus, the largest in Orange County. Montplaisir is excited to bring his ideas and successful ways to Cal Poly Pomona, a university designated as one of America’s great working-class universities, more than half of the campus first generation college students.
“I enjoy the feeling you get when you get up and you’re making a difference every day because you are raising money directly, helping students and faculty,” said Montplaisir. “You are building capacity at an institution like Cal Poly Pomona to raise larger dollars to support their mission.”
While it could be easy for Montplaisir to forget those long days on the road as an ELC, he is convinced that those years made all the difference in his life.
“Now that I have had a 25-year career as a fundraiser, those one-on-one meetings with officers were crucial training for me to build rapport and a connection, and to solve problems working with people,” said Montplaisir. “ I have used that experience throughout my higher education fundraising career. It really was a great training field.”
As with other former ELCs we have interviewed, the testament of Montplaisir is much the same: taking the plunge into the life of an ELC may just be the best thing you can do for your future. It sure was for Montplaisir.
“The life skills that you learn, the relationships that you make are similar to your undergraduate experience, but it’s with a group of men that have made an additional commitment to take some time professionally to support Lambda Chi,” he said. “For me, I met my wife, I learned that I loved the West Coast, and I was introduced to my career profession, so it was a real win and put me on a career path that I really didn’t know existed until my time on staff.”
For more information on how to become an ELC and more former ELC testimonies, click here.