During this summer’s virtual Foundation Business Session, three new members joined the Foundation Board of Trustees and we’re excited for you to get to know them better. Join us for #TrusteeTuesday each week to meet these fantastic leaders, beginning this week with an interview with Trustee Robin Benoit, Epsilon Nu!
There are many incredible organizations that are worthy of your time and talents. Why is it important to you to serve on the Phi Mu Foundation Board of Trustees?
Although I am proud to have shared time and talent with other worthy organizations, nothing compares to the love I have for our sisterhood. Professionally, I believe Phi Mu led me to a career in public relations/community relations with non-profit agencies and corporations because I wanted my work to be meaningful and helpful to others.That desire to make a difference led me to my current job as a writer. Personally, Phi Mu has given me so many gifts, especially in the form of truly special sisters. Whether serving on the Phi Mu Foundation scholarship committee, Fraternity ritual committee or as an alumnae department officer or chapter adviser, I have been tremendously blessed and inspired by my Phi Mu sisters. I can think of no better way to show my gratitude, my love and appreciation to Phi Mu than to serve as a Phi Mu Foundation Trustee. Sisters helping Sisters wraps my desire to help others and my love of our sisterhood into one special package with a giant pink bow on top!
What is your favorite Phi Mu Foundation fundraising campaign and why?
My absolute favorite is 18 Hours and 52 Minutes of Giving. I have been literally glued to my social media watching in excitement as this day unfolds. I love that sisters everywhere can engage with each other for one life-changing day. We can encourage each other, rally support and make a tremendous impact in raising funds that will absolutely enhance the lifetime development of Phi Mu women.
On top of many Phi Mu accomplishments, you have also experienced remarkable professional success. Tell us more about your career and how experiences from Phi Mu and your professional life have overlapped.
Phi Mu has overlapped my professional life from the beginning. I originally went to college as an Education major to become a teacher but changed direction to pursue a degree in Journalism/Public Relations with a minor in Nonprofit Management because my Phi Mu collegiate experiences showed me how much I love working with and helping others. I have worked for the United Way, the American Heart Association, GK&A Advertising Agency, McCaw Communications and the Optometric Extension Program Foundation.
I left my career temporarily to homeschool my daughter, Jillian, EN, and senior at Oklahoma State, due to her vision problems. During those elementary years, we discovered a successful treatment for her in the form of vision therapy. I wondered why there was so little information available for a lay audience and decided to write about her experience. Jillian’s Story: How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter’s Life and Dear Jillian: Vision Therapy Changed My Life Too were published in 2011 and 2014. I currently work for Bristol Marketing Group in Los Angeles, from my home office in Oklahoma, supporting the optometric community. Phi Mu sisters around the world reach out to me with questions about vision therapy and for help in finding an optometrist for someone they know in need. My absolute favorite, unexpected Phi Mu professional overlap took place at an optometry conference in Birmingham, England. I was introduced to a Phi Mu sister/optometrist by a mutual friend. You will be thrilled to know, although neither of us knew this opportunity was coming, we were both wearing pink!
On the flip side, my professional life in the non-profit sector and for a foundation under a governance model gives me a good depth of operational understanding as a Trustee. Additionally, experience in developing and managing giving programs and donor appreciation, coordinating a capital campaign, supervising large-scale fundraising efforts and working extensively with and on volunteer boards will hopefully overlap in a helpful way for Phi Mu Foundation.
Picture this: you’re on the TV show Shark Tank and have the opportunity to pitch the millionaire panel for 30 seconds on why they should invest in Phi Mu Foundation. What do you say?
I love this question. I think it would go something like this:
Good evening, Sharks. My name is Robin Benoit and I am here to offer you an amazing investment opportunity with unparalleled pay-back potential.
Our team has decades of experience, world-wide representation and a huge grassroots network. We value education, strong leadership and training. We honor our history. We believe in miracles and strive to support children’s hospitals. We see needs and seek solutions. We rise to answer calls for help. We are diverse in age, hometowns and opinions. We are respectful of others and, although we do not share an office, we do share common values. A stake in our organization will most assuredly pay amazing dividends. Last year, we gave more than $150,000 in undergraduate and graduate scholarships and almost $20,000 in emergency assistance. But we believe, with your help, we can do so much more. I guarantee you will find this to be an incredible return on your investment.
What do you say, Sharks? Who would like to be a part of this special opportunity?
And Shark Barbara Corcoran would say YES because she understands that an investment in Phi Mu Foundation has special meaning and personal value that is…priceless.
What do you hope will be the headline for the Foundation’s progress for 2020-21?
Phi Mu Foundation Sees Record Growth in Giving
Provides Unprecedented Support for Sisterhood