Tina VanSteenbergen

Better Friends, Better Sisters, Better Women

Women's Relationships

Empathetic Leadership

First Year Success

Joining a sorority changes our lives. We use terms like “sisterhood” and “values” to describe what sorority brings to and teaches us. But, sorority changes us in one universal way: friendship. 


Specifically, friendship with women. 


Before sorority, Tina was unaware of the power of true, authentic friendship with other women - finding female friends was never a priority. She soon learned, at its core, friendship is what sorority is all about. 


And yet, we all know of girl-on-girl drama that’s taking place in our chapters and communities. We talk behind each others’ backs. We choose jealousy and resentment over support and love. We compete instead of congratulate. 


One of the real challenges in sorority leadership is acknowledging some of our less-productive impulses and tactics and using our leadership talents to steer our way to better relationships and better solutions. Tina teaches the audience how to unpack the true power of female friendships, and learn to be better friends, but better sisters, and better women.


Learning Outcomes: At the completion of this program, participants will be able to identify the benefits of strong female friendships; examine the role sorority can play in helping establish and maintain these relationships; articulate the importance of healthy conflict management practices; be prepared to facilitate discussions and programs within their chapters, councils and communities aimed at developing healthy, female bonds.


Ideal Audiences: Sorority Life, Leadership Development, Women’s Empowerment


Formats: Keynote, Workshop, Half-Day Retreat 

More Than a Feeling: Leading with Empathy

Have you ever been irritated with a resident who missed another meeting? Upset with someone in your group project who didn’t do their part? Frustrated with students who join the organization but don’t pay their dues? 


Leading peers in organizations and on-campus jobs can be challenging, especially when they don’t do what we expect of them. But what about missing a meeting because your abusive partner wouldn’t let you leave? Or missing schoolwork because you’re working three jobs to afford college? Or not being able to pay those minimal dues, because you’re buying food for your family instead?


In order to understand the real experiences of our fellow students, we need one thing: empathy. 


As leaders, it is expected that we get the payments in and budgets balanced, run effective meetings and events, and encourage academic performance in our groups. We have a job to do. But what about taking care of them while we take care of business? Empathy is the key. 


As a leader in college, this is where Tina failed most often—too focused on checklists, emails, meeting agendas and attendance - she often forgot that each of the students she was leading was a person first. To empathize, to understand, and share the feelings of other people is to lead effectively. Bringing the heart back to leadership, as cheesy as that may sound, may just be the key to your success.


Learning Outcomes:  At the completion of this program, students will be able to articulate the importance of leading with love, connection, and empathy; identify the behaviors of leaders who use empathy effectively; explore strategies to infuse empathy into their own leadership styles.


Ideal Audiences:  Leadership Development, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Mental Health Awareness, Residential Life, Student Government, Staff Development


Formats:  Keynote, Workshop, Half-Day Retreat

Shut Up, You're Not Fat!

Gaining weight is something many women experience, struggle with, stress over, or fear at some point. And yet, we don’t talk about it. At least, not in a healthy way. We conceal how sad it makes us to try on clothes that don’t fit. We don’t mention the photo we hid from our timeline because we thought we looked fat. We criticize our own body in comparison to other women’s bodies on Instagram. We don’t talk about the stress we feel to look a certain way before we leave for spring break or the lengths at which we go to achieve the “ideal” look.


We think about it, sure, but it’s in the context of our fear of gaining weight, being unattractive, or being ashamed of our bodies.  A recent study found that 45% of college women were actively practicing dieting to lose weight. What if there was a way we could break the stigma surrounding this topic?


In the program, Shut Up, You're Not Fat!, Tina brings women together in a shame-free space to discuss shared struggles and challenge the unhealthy language used when discussing body image. It’s time for us to get real. We have to talk about our bodies, weight gain, the pressures we feel to look perfect, and to do so in a REAL, healthy way.


Learning Outcomes: At the completion of this program, participants will have reflected on their own body journey for the purpose of discovering and owning the areas of shame, discomfort, and loneliness; identified language used both interpersonally and in the media about bodies, weight gain, fatness, and the unhealthy effects these words have on women’s self-worth and confidence; replaced those unhealthy words and phrases with language that is not only healthy and body-positive; encouraged the discussion of women’s bodies and experience with weight minus shame.


Intended Audiences: Body Image Awareness, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Women’s Groups, Health and Wellness Programming


Format: Keynote, Half-Day Retreat, Full-Day Retreat 

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