the Delta Gamma Blog

Living Our Values and Inspiring Others

by Anne Hohenberger, Beta Eta-Texas, Foundation Director: Lectureships in Values and Ethics 

Doing good every day seems easy enough, and I’d always thought it meant serving in a prescribed way, like helping raise money, driving awareness or giving my time. But what if doing good also means living by your values, and influencing others to be better versions of themselves, too? 

As the newly appointed Foundation Director: Lectureships in Values and Ethics, I was eager to learn more about the various Lectureships at our chapters and hear from the carefully curated speakers, but my experience thus far has surpassed my expectations. Our Delta Gamma chapters have been fortunate to hear first-person stories from bold, grounded and successful women who have shared a message of setting high ideals, living up to high standards, advocating for themselves and others and treating all people with respect. These speakers also command our respect. I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on some of our Lectureship speakers’ messages and want to share what I’ve learned from these strong, accomplished women.  

Princess Sarah Culberson, hosted by Beta Eta-Texas 

Adopted and raised by a loving (white) family in West Virginia, a then young-adult Sarah Culberson learned that her birth father had been an international student who had returned to Sierra Leone after completing his studies in the U.S. So she traveled to meet him in 2004, where she discovered that she was related to African royalty, with the status of a princess.  

As I sat in the student union ballroom on the University of Texas campus and heard Princess Sarah speak, I was captivated by the energy and enthusiasm she projected. While in Sierra Leone, Sarah saw first-hand the challenges impacting the daily lives of the Bumpe people. She emphasized feeling compelled to make things better for the community after connecting with her extended family. I couldn’t have imagined that reading at night could be a dangerous activity, but I learned from Sarah that kerosene lamps are a source of carbon monoxide poisoning in the Bumpe community. 

With making a difference for others and doing good in mind, Sarah co-founded the non-profit Sierra Leone Rising. Today, the organization fosters quality education, supports female empowerment and ensures public health safety in that country. The mission has expanded, and more good continues with the community to implement a bicycle program, create a solar lamp program and launch a computer lab. Ultimately,  Sarah challenged each of us to strive to be our best selves and to make a difference for others. 

Aly Raisman, hosted by Beta Theta-Durham 

Nina King, vice president and athletic director at Duke University, held an informal interview with Aly Raisman in Page Auditorium for the Beta Theta-Durham Lectureship event. After sharing her background, describing the rigorous training and discussing her experience as a competitive gymnast, Aly focused on her advocacy work. Aly is the author of the book, “Fierce.” In it, she describes her journey as a member of the ‘Fierce Five’ US women’s gymnastics team, the team that brought home the gold at the 2012 London Olympics, and how she began to recognize and adhere to her values. She also had an open Q&A with audience members.  

Beta Theta junior Emily Robers, director of Lectureships shared, “Aly was phenomenal. Her message about empowerment was strong. She talked a lot about her advocacy, too”. Raisman has accomplished a lot, from speaking out about abuse to helping others.  

Aly has become known as an advocate for mental health, body positivity and sexual abuse prevention.  

Kendra Scott, hosted by Mu-Missouri 

Kendra Scott, entrepreneur and jewelry designer, was selected as the speaker for the 27th Lectureship in Values and Ethics at the University of Missouri and was an excellent fit for the audience; she recently started the Kendra Scott Foundation, whose mission is “Shine Bright, Do Good.” Before the event, Kendra was welcomed to the Mu chapter house by the collegians, who then serenaded her with an enthusiastic “Hey, Look us Over” and seemed absolutely charmed. As she spoke, a cart with stacks of jewelry boxes was wheeled out into the foyer. Kendra had brought gifts, each wrapped in her signature yellow box with a white bow. 

In an interview-style presentation, Scott focused on how her background shaped her business ethics. She shared that her stepfather had once told her: “The greatest thing you can do with your life is to use your talents to improve the lives of others,” and that despite the challenges she faced with being bullied as a child, her family had always been her greatest support. This is why, for Kendra, family comes first, every customer deserves a special experience, she empowers employees, gives back and makes philanthropy a core component of the Kendra Scott brand and mission. 

As I listened to Kendra speak, I thought that despite the setbacks she has experienced, she sticks to her values and works to put more good into the world, just like our Delta Gamma sisterhood.  

Cynt Marshall, hosted by Alpha Upsilon-Southern Methodist 

Dallas Mavericks COO and Delta Gamma alumna Cynthia (Cynt) Marshall, Gamma-UC Berkeley, spoke to collegians and guests at Southern Methodist University on October 18, 2023, in an interview-style format. After “retiring” from a successful career at the highest echelons of corporate America, Cynt assumed she would unplug and enjoy time with her family. She is a trailblazer and an all-around genuine person. The first African American cheerleader at Berkeley. Multiple miscarriages. Stage 3 colon cancer. Nonetheless, she encourages others to “follow your dreams. Stick to your values.”  

In 2018, Marshall received a call from Mavericks’ owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban with an urgent plea to overhaul the operations at the NBA franchise in the wake of numerous systemic challenges. Since joining the company, Marshall has made tremendous strides in creating a safe environment (accounting for more than just physical safety) for all, promoting diversity and setting an example by leading with her values. Those values? Character, respect, authenticity, fairness, teamwork and safety. She is a firm believer that equity matters.  

Regional Foundation Coordinator in Region 6, Tracey McElroy, Gamma Zeta-Louisiana State, attended the Lectureship. She reported, “Cynt Marshall gave a marvelous, motivating speech. I felt really good about it and Delta Gamma. I’m so proud to be a DG tonight.”  

What wonderful words to hear.  

Kristin Armstrong, hosted by Gamma Pi-Roanoke 

On October 3, 2023, three-time Olympic gold medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong spoke to a crowded fieldhouse of students, alumni and guests at Roanoke College. The event was co-hosted by the Gamma Pi-Roanoke chapter with Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity and the Center for Leadership in Entrepreneurial Innovation at Roanoke College. Kristin’s message focused on resilience and grit in the face of challenges, with an emphasis on cultivating the traits needed to achieve excellence. 

Looking to the future 

And there is more to come. In November, Eta Gamma-Texas A&M hosted retired Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez. Welcoming speakers in 2024 are Alpha Iota-Oklahoma, Beta Iota-Purdue, Gamma Tau-Texas Christian and Gamma Zeta-Louisiana State. The Delta Gamma Lectureships in Values and Ethics continue to serve as a beacon for students, alumnae and guests in providing meaningful presentations and thought-provoking conversations. And as the Director of this remarkable endeavor, each Lectureship fills me with pride for the Do Good Sisterhood.  

The Board of Trustees has limited the Lectureships in Values and Ethics to the 22 campuses where Lectureships are currently established. For a full schedule of Lectureships please click here. 

Top and Bottom left: Princess Sarah Culberson, hosted by Beta Eta-Texas

Bottom Right: Aly Raisman, hosted by Beta Theta-Durham 

Kendra Scott, hosted by Mu-Missouri