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It was only six months after accepting an invitation to join the Tau Sigma Honor Society at UWM that I received an email while spending the day with my parents at the Potawatomi Casino:

Dear Michael:

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has identified you as a potential member in The Society for Collegiate Leadership & Achievement (SCLA), an Honor Society with over 140 chapters nationwide.

As Executive Director, let me welcome you to SCLA! In addition to the honor of membership, you will gain important recognition and maximize your career potential through powerful opportunities to:

  • Improve Your Resume
  • Build Your Network
  • Access Top-tier Internships & Freelance Jobs
  • Gain Career Experience Opportunities

As is typical for us when we make a casino run, we roamed the floor and played some machines.  I tend to gravitate toward some of the penny slots, avoiding machines that have paid out a large sum.  It doesn't take too long before we end up at the Craps table.  My parents will typically jump in not long after they arrive after they feel out the table.  I'm typically a conservative gambler and I don't usually enter the foray until I've watched the game play itself out for at least a half-hour.

I had never heard of SCLA when I read the above email.  While I was in the casino, I Googled the organization and their history, and it turns out they are a newer organization trying to make a name for themselves.  It also turns out that they brand themselves more in the "cultivating leadership" category than "recognizing honors students."

I made a follow-up call to the organization's headquarters, both to verify their legitimacy, but also to get a better understanding of who they are and what they do.  My takeaway from the call was that their target demographic is college students who show academic promise, excellent progress through their major, but also that they achieved at least a 3.0 in their first semester after transferring credits from a four-year institution.  They are an honor society for all intents and purposes, but they focus more on leadership development.

I was hesitant at first because the more I searched them out, the less I count find on them, but considering how new they were, I decided to accept their invitation and make the one-time payment of $95.  I also ordered some t-shirts, graduation cords for commencement, and a lapel pin.  I was also emailed a membership certificate which immediately went into a frame (though there was no formal induction).  I completed the connection with a 'like' on Facebook and a follow on LinkedIn.  The follow and 'like' resulted in seeing a post that was recruiting students to become chapter presidents.  I responded to the post on both networks with interest.  The administrator for their LinkedIn account, followed up with me via email.

Scott, their Director of Recruitment, and I spoke on the phone for at least an hour about my potential to form an SCLA at UWM.  Given that I was in my final semester and it was my thinking that even with two classes, I would become far too consumed to take on the task.  Did I want it on my resume?  I did.  I would also have to find a chapter advisor and at least three other officers; my network was not expansive enough for my one-year tenure.

While I did decline the opportunity, I did connect with him on LinkedIn so that he would see my education and background in case my talents could be used in the aiding of their organization's expansion.

I also made it a point to create a profile on their site and add my education and professional credentials.  In the conversation with Scott, I learned that they're trying to create an interactive network where other leaders and mentors can be connected with each other as a form of learning and development.