Meet Gwen, mom of adult twins and retired special education teacher from Georgia turned house director! This Zeta Tau Alpha alumna from Louisiana State University is no stranger to being a house director, having spent several years in the position with other Greek organizations before finding her home and “perfect fit” four years ago with the Delta Pi chapter of Tri Delta at the University of Illinois.
Why Tri Delta?
“The women in the chapter and Executive Office are the best and the most professional. It is by far the best house director position I could ever ask for! Whenever I have a question or need guidance, I always have resources—from my property manager to facilities support specialists. If I can’t find a vendor, they’ll find me a vendor. We all put our heads together and make a great team.”
What do you love about being a house director?
“I enjoy making the house a home. The women want to be away from mom and dad but still crave the feeling of home. I love decorating for the seasons and enjoying the TV room, watching a movie with the women and spoiling them by making popcorn—little things mean a lot to them. I don’t invade their time too much. I love their laughter and conversations with each other. In essence, I love witnessing their evolving and growing up together.”
Gwen cherishes homecoming when the seniors and alumnae return. She adds, “They are so excited to see the house and walk down memory lane. They always say their favorite year was the year they lived in the house. I like to think we, as house directors, had a part in that experience.”
What does a typical week look like for you?
Gwen’s schedule is a mix of organization and creativity. “Taking care of a 104-year-old house means there’s always something. After waking in the morning and preparing much-needed coffee for the members, I do my walk-through to make sure everything looks right. I call in vendors when needed. We have a sleeping dorm, so I make my way up there in the afternoon.”
She adds, “I help the women with anything they have going on that week, whether it be an event or something else. I let my creative side take over—decorating the house for any occasion. The members let me be involved to help. They do events themselves, but when they are planning recruitment or DHOP, I jump in whenever they ask! I love helping make their events a success.”
How has being a house director contributed to your growth and development – professionally and/or personally?
Gwen explains with pride, “First, I learned a lot about this old house—boilers, grease traps, A/C units—I get the fun stuff. It helped me grow after nine years in the profession, knowing how to care for the house and watch for any potential issues. I learned how to communicate well with vendors, housekeepers and the chef.”
She also cherishes the connections she’s made. “[Tri Delta’s annual] house director conferences have become an opportunity to make friends with new women. It’s wonderful to get these relationships and ask them for help. I love all the educational experiences. Mental health training, Paycom system, diversity and harassment, and inclusion training—such important topics.”
How do you find work-life balance in this role?
Gwen is a master at balancing work and life. She says, “During the regular workday, I work from 8 to 6 or 7, but I get to go to water aerobics in the mornings! It’s an extra fun thing to do. I enjoy being on a college campus with other house directors, going to sporting events, basketball games and theater on campus. The sorority women keep me young. My adult kids love that I have this going on in my life.”
What advice do you have for those interested in being a house director?
Gwen has some valuable advice for anyone considering this role. “It’s a career if you care for your own home—take the challenge; you have the support to back you up and help you. Everyone wants you to succeed. It’s rewarding to make it a home for the members to feel safe in. You are on the front lines, getting things done. It’s a blessing to be here. The women make you feel young again.”
If you are interested in learning more about our house director careers, we encourage you to visit the Tri Delta Housing Career Page, Tri Delta Housing Job Board or email email@example.com for more information.