An Open Letter to My Supervisor

Annie Forrest, Theta Zeta, University of Virginia
Annie Forrest, Theta Zeta, University of Virginia

Working at a national sorority’s headquarters is unlike any other experience in the world. Where else could I say that my teammates and supervisors are bound by the same promises to serve the organization as I am? They are bound by these promises because most of them are also initiated members of Sigma Kappa. It’s a commitment deeper than just signing a contract binding us to the same regulations and requirements. It’s a commitment to not only the organization, but also to to each other as sisters.

My supervisor does not get the credit she deserves. Her job does not end at 5:00 PM each day, nor do her weekends consist of radio silence from the office. Her office is not in one place; it is all over the country with each of the women she oversees. Her inbox is always full and her phone goes off literally 24/7. Her job is as much paperwork and reports as it is comforting my teammates and me when we’re upset. There is no limit to the number of hats she wears incredibly well or the roles between which she transitions flawlessly.

Although she is not physically present in Mobile, Alabama or Hickory, North Carolina with me, she gives me peace of mind knowing she is only a phone call or text away. Because of constant travel, late nights and an ever-changing schedule, I sometimes forget to tell her how much I appreciate what she does for me. I forget that she needs her cup to be filled, as well, as she so often does for me when I am in need of it. So, I hope this does the trick!

Elizabeth, there are so many things I didn’t know I didn’t know before I started this job, but you didn’t make me feel inadequate. There were difficulties I encountered that I didn’t foresee, but you didn’t make me feel weak for struggling. You understood me and my thought processes before I even understood them sometimes, but you let me try to figure things out for myself. There were personal impossibilities I couldn’t overcome, but you made me feel proud for even trying. There were personal impossibilities I did overcome (like living by myself) and you shared my successes with as much enthusiasm as I did. There were silly, little things that I needed (like extra locks on my front door), but you didn’t make me feel silly for needing them. There were times of frustration and hurt, but you always built me up instead of letting me give into those feelings.

Thank you for all those things. Thank you for answering emails I sent at 1:00 AM and then letting me call you early on a Sunday morning. Thank you for asking about my personal life each week. I knew you weren’t just asking to ask, but asking because you genuinely cared. Thank you for connecting me to extra resources, volunteers who could help me in my job search, and for supporting me in expressing my thoughts and opinions. Thank you for learning alongside me and for being interested in my passions. Thank you for the countless hours of advice, recommendations, and comfort. I felt comfortable sharing so much more than I thought I would with you. Thank you for being not only my supervisor, but also my sister and my friend.

Most of all, though, thank you for taking a chance on me. I am forever grateful for that.


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