Former ELC Spotlight: Wally Jenkins
A Michigan football game may not seem like the setting for a sentimental reunion between brothers and former coworkers, but among the noise and pageantry, the game transforms into a stroll down memory lane.
Twenty-nine years have passed since Wally Jenkins (on staff 1988-1995) attended his first Michigan football game as an ELC for Lambda Chi. But during those annual Michigan games, surrounded by friends who shared his experience, it becomes like yesterday when he joined staff.
A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Jenkins began his ELC path by attending a Leadership Seminar shortly after initiation. From there, Jenkins became more familiar with the inner workings of international headquarters and eagerly joined the Student Advisory Council (SAC), representing the Northeast Conclave.
Though Jenkins was heavily involved with his chapter, his choice to pursue the ELC lifestyle came as somewhat of a surprise.
“We were far from an award-winning chapter,” said Jenkins. “We had a solid chapter and strong membership in a lot of ways. I think what benefitted me was coming in from that perspective, because it was easier for me to go to a chapter that was struggling or didn’t always fall in line…and be able to relate to them and their line of thinking.”
Equipped with this experience, Jenkins set off across the country to help chapters much like his. With each chapter stop, he gained more insight, which then transformed into printed packets full of ideas. These packets were then passed along to every officer of a chapter, acting as a roadmap for the chapter after Jenkins left.
While Jenkins perfected his methods, the thrill of traveling across the country kept him on his toes, never allowing even one moment of boredom.
“I think when I was done traveling for the fraternity, I had visited all 49 states in the Contiguous United States,” Jenkins said. “To be able to look at a map today and be able to see a state and point to where I’ve been in each state, for someone who grew up in the East, it’s pretty cool.”
Jenkins assures his experience was more than just fun and games, though. As an ELC, he learned more about himself than he ever could have imagined.
“I developed a tremendous amount of self-confidence and life skills that I never would have gotten in any other place,” he said. “It helped me to be able to work independently, as well as part of a team.”
Now, Jenkins owns the Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services operation in Pittsburgh, a business he was introduced to by one of his ELC roommates. Jenkins has also owned several other small businesses, worked for Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters in a variety of roles, and served as the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh.
With all his positions, one fact remains constant: the skills learned through his ELC journey have helped to shape his professional life.
To soon-to-be graduating brothers who may be considering applying for an ELC position, Jenkins offers the following advice: “If you can make the ELC job happen, you really should go for it. Opportunities like this one don’t come along very often, if ever. And if you have this type of experience available to you again, you likely won’t be at a stage in your life when you can take the plunge.”
“I can guarantee you that you will gain personally and professionally, while giving back to an organization that has incredible meaning for you.”