It’s hard to spend more than a week with Phi Tau at the national level without at least hearing about Guillermo Flores. The Southern Illinois alum has made his career in higher education and, more specifically, Fraternity & Sorority Life. After graduating Southern Illinois, he completed Ball State’s Master’s program in Student Affairs. He worked at the University of Houston as a fraternity and sorority housing coordinator, then arrived at Michigan State last summer where he now serves as Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Guillermo dedicates his free time to Greek life as well – besides being an active Phi Tau alum, he recently facilitated Sigma Kappa’s Regional Conference, participated in the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors’ Annual Meeting in November, and gave four presentations at the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Value’s February conference.
And that’s just been the past three months.
Guillermo is superlatively active. In addition to his volunteer work outside of Phi Tau, he is the Dean of Leadership Academy, a position he was appointed to last July and will serve until 2020. It’s his job to design and execute curriculum for Leadership Academy, which he explains to people who aren’t familiar with the program as, “A developmental piece for up-and-coming, rising leaders within Phi Tau.”
But what are “rising” or “emerging” leaders, and how do you identify them? To Guillermo, “It’s not always going to be someone who’s the most outgoing or who has the best grades – but you see that spark in someone and sometimes it’s undeniable. They’re the ones who speak up at chapter meetings, they’re the ones who set up early for events, they’re the ones who stay late, the ones who ask questions, they’re the ones who know their resources.”
Besides the developmental takeaways built into Leadership Academy – public speaking, running chapter meetings, strategic planning, and engagement – Guillermo stresses the soft skills as well. “I think men especially need to understand the importance of relationship building, communication, and how you work with people inside and outside of the chapter,” he said.
Guillermo and Phi Kappa Tau like members to leave Leadership Academy with quantifiable outcomes: goal setting, being better bystanders, promoting diversity and inclusion, or running for chapter office. But with a skill as difficult to quantify as “leadership,” what are the more abstract measures of our success? “If this makes you love Phi Tau and has you thinking and working towards making this a lifelong commitment, then we really have done our jobs,” Guillermo explained. “Thinking about other people, being intentional with their programming, being intentional with who they interact with, and hopefully just being a better person. That’s what I hope they get out of it.”