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Announcing 2018 Individual Award Winners

Friday, September 14, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andrea Starks-Corbin
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The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Awards & Recognition Committee is excited to announce the 2018 individual award recipients. Every year the AFA Awards & Recognition Committee recognizes outstanding contributions by our members and colleagues. These awards will be presented at the AFA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, December 1. Please join us in congratulating our individual award winners!


Jack L. Anson Award 
Jessica Gendron Williams | Phired Up Productions, Innova & TechniPhi | Alpha Sigma Tau
Jessica Gendron Williams is a member of Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority, which she joined as an undergraduate at Eastern Illinois University. After earning a graduate degree at Indiana University, she has forged a career in the fraternity/sorority industry. After serving as a campus-based professional, she joined the team at Phired Up Productions. She now serves as CEO of Phired Up Productions, CEO of Innova (a marketing firm that serves fraternity/sorority life), and CEO of TechniPhi (a technology company revolutionizing fraternity/sorority recruitment). Jessica is a long time volunteer, attendee, and supporter of UIFI, IFI, AFA, AFLV, The Gathering, FEA Field Staff, Alpha Sigma Tau, St. Jude, and more. Throughout her career as a speaker, consultant, and executive, she has been a role model to students and professionals alike.

Dr. Kent L. Gardner Award
Dr. Richard Walker | University of Houston | Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Since 2013, Dr. Richard Walker has been the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services at both the University of Houston and University of Houston System. Throughout his career, Dr. Walker has made significant contributions to campuses and fraternal organizations. He has been an instrumental force in building an infrastructure that deeply supports fraternities and sororities at the University of Houston, and he made it a priority to communicate his support for students in fraternities and sororities throughout the campus community. Besides his work on the University of Houston’s campus, Dr. Walker has been deeply involved in AFA, ultimately serving as president in 1992. He has been a longtime volunteer for his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and, more recently, Dr. Walker has served on a small team of senior student affairs officers within NASPA to clarify how campuses can better support fraternity and sorority experiences.

Robert H. Shaffer Award 
Jennifer Jones | Southern Methodist University | Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Jennifer Jones's resume outlines over 25 years of service as a campus fraternity/sorority life professional, and this also demonstrated through her commitment to NPHC, AFA, and NASPA. Currently, Jennifer is the Executive Director of Student Life at Southern Methodist University. In this role, she oversees the Women's Center, Multicultural Student Affairs, Caring Community Connections, Parent Programs, Veteran Affairs, and Student Senate. Outside of her work at SMU, she served as NPHC President for a decade. Jennifer also supported the advancement of fraternities and sororities through her work in helping professionals become more competent and confident in their work. In addition, she is a highly sought-after keynote speaker for student leadership conferences across the country and for many years has served as a LeaderShape facilitator.

Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Awards 
Dave Conner | The College of New Jersey | Theta Chi
Dave Conner serves as the Director for Student Involvement at The College of New Jersey. In this role, he facilitated a 378% growth of the fraternity/sorority community over eleven years as the sole professional advisor, advocate, and resource to more than 1,800 students involved in 32 fraternities and sororities; one local, ten NIC, nine NPC, four NPHC, four NALFO, one NMGC, and three PFA organizations. He has been an active volunteer in AFA and NGLA, and he helped support the formation of a Local Greek Leadership Conference for the mid-Atlantic region to better support the myriad of local organizations in the northeast. Dave also has a passion for technology and sharing best practices with others to streamline communications and engagement.

Michelle Guobadia | University of North Carolina, Charlotte | Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Michelle has committed herself to mentor and cultivate the next generation of fraternity/sorority professionals, in particular, professionals of color. Michelle continues to connect with new professionals and introduce them to others in the field by endowing the Graduate Training Track at the AFA Annual Meeting. Beyond this commitment, she also served on the Board of Directors and the AFA Foundation Board. Outside of her full-time campus-based efforts, she has worked with more than 100 communities in the past two years to enable them to dissect the culture of hazing that plagues many student groups. She has leveraged her work with The Catalyst Agency to touch as many professionals and collegians as possible in the name of eliminating hazing — particularly in NPHC and culturally-based organizations.

Heather Kirk | North-American Interfraternity Conference | Zeta Tau Alpha
After earning her master's degree in Higher Education & Student Affairs, she went to work for Zeta Tau Alpha in 2008 as the Director of Education and Leadership Initiatives and then Director of Education and Communication in 2012. In 2016, she joined the North-American Interfraternity Conference as their Chief Communications Officer. Heather is a natural collaborator and has exhibited this throughout her work in the fraternity/sorority industry as a volunteer for the Fraternity Communications Association (FCA) and the Fraternity Executives Association (FEA). In AFA, Heather volunteered on the Perspectives Editorial Board from 2009 - 2012 and as Editor from 2013 - 2014. In 2012, Heather spearheaded the creation of the web-based free professional development series, AdvanceU. Heather also gives generously to the AFA Foundation and is part of the Believers Club, the Williamsburg Society, and the Amicus Sequentes Circle.

Justin Kirk | Delta Upsilon | Delta Upsilon
Justin Kirk currently serves as the Executive Director for Delta Upsilon Fraternity and Delta Upsilon Educational Foundation. Because of Justin’s leadership, Delta Upsilon has been a leading voice on many issues of higher education that affect the entire industry. He has led NIC initiatives, is a volunteer speaker for many professional development initiatives, and is a sought after thought-leader among his peers. Before coming to Delta Upsilon, Justin was the Association Vice President & Editor for Sigma Tau Gamma, and then the Director of Programs for Tau Kappa Epsilon. Justin's volunteer experience spans almost 20 years, with roles in FEA, IFI, FCA, FSPAC, NIC, and more. He also served on the AFA board of directors as the Vice President of Administration & Finance from 2009 - 2013 and then as the Treasurer from 2015 - 2017. Along with his wife, Heather, their contributions to AFA are ongoing by the creation of the Kirk Family Research Grant.


In Honor Of

The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Foundation invites friends and colleagues to honor award recipients with an In Honor Of gift to the Foundation which will be used to advance the work of AFA through scholarships, grants, and funding for educational initiatives. Please consider honoring these extraordinary professionals today.

Click to make an In Honor Of gift. Please select “In Honor Of,” and then list the award recipient(s) in the comment box below the tribute notification. The AFA Foundation will share the list of donors with the award recipients following the 2018 Annual Meeting.

If you have any questions about the awards and recognitions process, please contact Lindsay Sell.

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