Traveling the world has always been the ideal “post-college” venture. It is the story line of countless movies, the classic answer to the obvious question, and the dream of every college senior. For one Rider senior, traveling the nation – for free, no less – represents this ideal. In her case, however, it’s also reality.
Jessica Panzarella has landed the dream job of any sister of Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity. For one year only, graduated sisters can become a traveling leadership Consultant (TLC), criss-crossing the nation, all expenses paid, to visit the different Sisterhoods of Zeta Tau Alpha.
This position not only allows Panzarella to continue her membership in an engaging way, but she will mentor and guide other chapters in the direction that every Zeta Tau Alpha is meant to be. Panzarella will live in each house for a week at a time in all different states, be a leader to thousands of women, and finally meet the distant chapters that she so often refers to as her sisters.
“Being a TLC is the ultimate dream for me because it is a temporary career where I’ll be able to dabble in a bit of everything I’m passionate about,” Panzarella said. “Since I am studying Public Relations and Event Planning and currently work at a marketing firm, I’ll be able to incorporate every aspect of that into my everyday work as a TLC. I also get to hang onto ZTA for another year, so that makes it even better!”
Panzarella has been an extremely active member of her current chapter at Rider. She has served on the Executive Council as their recruitment chair, bringing in more than 40 new members. She has also obtained the highest award bestowed by chapter, Zeta Zeta. This award acknowledges one sister who has not only gone above and beyond as a member, but who also embodies a genuine passion for everything Zeta Tau Alpha stands for.
“The application process was pretty long and really intense. I needed to fill out an application that was basically equivalent to a college application, plus get five letters of recommendation,” Panzarella explained. “The coolest part of the process was when my national president called me for a phone interview. Our conversation was so laid back it made me even more excited to work for Zeta Tau Alpha. The next day, I got the job offer, and the rest is history!”
The purpose of sending traveling leadership consultants around the country is to provide the other chapters with feedback and insight from the perspective of a Zeta Tau Alpha sister who has seen it all. Many times, chapters seek advice or guidance from someone who is close in age to help strengthen and grow as an organization. National Pan-Hellenic sororities and fraternities have hundreds of standards and regulations that they are expected to abide by, and having a TLC to help keep a chapter focused in the right direction is the most helpful tool.
“I think the best part of the upcoming year will be meeting all the different Zetas from around the country. Every chapter is so different and unique, and I’m just ecstatic to be able to help each chapter,” Panzarella said. “Through my own chapter’s strengths and weaknesses, I know I will be able to provide these girls with the knowledge they need to be successful, and use my experiences to further their love for Zeta Tau Alpha.”