Sigma Kappa is thrilled to announce the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Comittee. This committee will help us to better consider and understand the perspectives of our sisters who identify as Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color; LGBTQIA+ Women; and Women with Disabilities. To learn more about the members of the committee, click the photos below. Click here to learn more about the committee's next steps.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Co-chairwomen
Jessica Cunningham, Co-chairwoman
Epsilon Tau, California State University, Fullerton
Jessica’s career started at the Disneyland Resort, providing her with a background in training and development. After college, she was a part of Sigma Kappa staff for four years – initially traveling as a leadership consultant. Currently, she works as the credit officer at Citi Bank who supports Best Buy leaders.
Her job requires focus on growth, development and strategic operations to assist stores in reaching their optimal performance. Her experiences as a Black woman have allowed her to bring D&I development into her personal and professional spheres. Jessica currently serves as the programming coordinator for district 7. Her travels with Sigma Kappa allowed her to see the need for DEIA education, support and development for members across the country. She wants to bring the cultivation of new ideas and expansion of thought to Sigma Kappa to build a bridge between our past and future.
“Sigma Kappa must be a space where our sisters, regardless of their identities, will be able to receive the lifelong development we promise.”
Theressa Irigon-Rachetto, Co-chairwoman
Mu, University of Washington
Theressa works as a Diversity and Inclusion Senior Specialist for Alaska Airlines, where she creates and influences the design, development, and delivery of company-wide D&I strategies. She is dedicated to outreach and support for not-for-profit organizations and communities of underrepresented minorities. Theressa is the advisor to the D&I chairwoman for the Mu Chapter. She is excited about the opportunity to be part of our Founders’ legacy that opens the door to more sisters and creates a sense of belonging and inclusion in Sigma Kappa.
“Sigma Kappa is not just about sisterhood, it's about commitment to education and uplifting our sisters and community."
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Committee
Emma Britez Ferrante
Kappa Iota, University of Pennsylvania
Emma is a candidate for a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Societies with a concentration in Race, Gender and Health. Her coursework is grounded in the histories and social construction of race, gender, and sexuality in the US, as well as the basics of humanitarianism, public health, medical ethics, and mental health. She is a leader in Moelis Access Science, a STEM educational partnership between Penn and West Philadelphia schools, whose mission is to further educational equity. Emma is the chapter president for Kappa Iota and was previously the vice president of academic excellence. As a Paraguayan-American woman, it is her desire to see anti-racism and social justice reflected earnestly in the Sigma Kappa experience and shown in our interactions with ALL women. Emma hopes to act on the problems collegians see as most pressing and create tangible and lasting change.
“I applied so that I could share my own perspective and amplify the voices of my peers (Sigma Kappas, Panhellenic women, and college women broadly) to address the barriers to thriving in Sigma Kappa.”
Theta Mu, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Kayla is attending UNC Charlotte and is majoring in Criminal Justice and Sociology and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was part of the Gender Excellence Learning Community (Gen-X) last year and worked with her classmates to analyze social justice issues relating to women and gender. This group allowed her to create positive change in the Charlotte area. Kayla serves as the house manager for Theta Mu. She is joining the DEIA committee for the opportunity to amplify the voices of all minorities within our organization.
“I hope to ultimately assist in amplifying our voices, allowing for change to be not just found here in Sigma Kappa but also in the outside world.”
Theta, University of Illinois
Pau is a senior search engine optimization (SEO) analyst for the Engagement & Optimization team at Cox Media Group, a national media conglomerate, where they educate stakeholders on how to create content and products that are more accessible to users. Pau is originally from Mexico City, is a first-generation American, and identifies as neurodivergent, trans/non-binary and Latinx.
They currently serve as advisor to the vice president of communication and operations, PR chairwoman, and diversity & inclusion chairwoman for Epsilon Epsilon; advisor to the vice president of academic excellence for Gamma Psi; vice president of membership for the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter; and the collegiate editor for the Sigma Kappa Triangle.
“This committee interested me because it felt like a natural progression in the work I've done over the last few years as a mentor and advocate within this organization.”
Theta Lambda, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Teri is a former Air Force officer with experience in Aerospace Engineering, IT project management and Enterprise Architecture.
She spent two years in MIT’s rigorous six-week residential summer introductory program tutoring underrepresented minority high school seniors. She currently works at the Library of Congress. Teri is active with MIT's Indigenous Alumni community and Office of Engineering Outreach Programs.
She created the first strawman website for Sigma Kappa and has connected members since the mid-90's including as the online community coordinator for the Sigma Kappa alumnae Facebook group.
She currently serves as the alumnae co-vice president of philanthropic services for the European Alumnae Chapter. Teri believes that regardless of race - or religion, sexual preference, or physical disability, there will always be women who seek the same close comradeship as our five founders.
“Diversity, equity, inclusion and access will enable our sisters to be more effective and empathetic sisters and citizens of the world.”
Lauren Redd Ertekin
Delta Nu, Longwood University
Lauren has spent 20 years at the helm of student leadership and empowerment programs in Virginia schools. Her unwavering mission has been to provide a safe space in classrooms regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or place of origin. Lauren served as treasurer for her chapter in college. After college, she volunteered as the vice president of programming for the Hampton Roads alumnae chapter. She applied for this committee because she believes these times require us “to be uncomfortable and have uncomfortable conversations”. She described growing up in a world where “not seeing color” or “discussing religion” was the correct way to combat racism and prejudice and not offend. She now believes that this world must stop stripping the people we love of essential parts of themselves.
“Sigma Kappa has enough heart to build up our communities, and I can’t imagine not being part of that kind of evolution!”
Gamma Omega, Wittenberg University
Charlotte is a senior at Wittenberg University, double majoring in International Studies and Spanish. She has been involved in inter-sectional sexual assault awareness and prevention training for the Greek community, has collaborated closely with Wittenberg’s fraternity/sorority advisor to change policies and hold chapters accountable to DEIA, and has worked with student government to improve DEIA on campus.
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, she wants to make sure that there is space for all women within each Sigma Kappa chapter like she has gained in hers.
“I hope to be able to add insight from my experiences and those of my other sisters who have been impacted by a lack of DEIA within the Greek community. I believe that the truest form of loyalty is to show up for all of our sisters and that this change is a part of that.”
Jane Harris Nellams
Alpha Phi, University of Oregon
Jane is a journalist, community volunteer, wife, mother, cook and gardener.
She has been highly involved with the Junior League of Seattle, serving as its first African-American president and on its Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. She also served on the Nominating Committee for the Association of Junior Leagues International. Jane was chapter president of the Alpha Phi Chapter and previously served as an advisor for the Mu Chapter at University of Washington.
“My sorority membership has been a lifelong source of pride and strength. I want that for women of all backgrounds. I still hope that I can help make that happen.”
Delta Eta, University of Central Missouri
Christina currently serves as the Director of Chapter Services and Conduct for Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, Inc. (ZBT) and has recently started her own business as a speaker, consultant, and instructional designer on diversity, equity, and inclusion from a holistic perspective. She is a recruitment supervisor for our Zeta Kappa Chapter and is the specialized recruitment coordinator and recruitment supervisor for the Beta Zeta Chapter. Prior to these roles, she was a specialized chapter coordinator, advisory board supervisor and PR chair advisor.
In the past few months, Christina has worked with various campus and inter/national fraternal organizations on diversity, equity, and inclusion and feels we have a social responsibility to help educate others. She is collaborating with NPC to educate undergraduate students on creating a more inclusive recruitment experience.
“Because of my membership and continued service to Sigma Kappa, I felt this was also within my sphere of influence and wanted to help the organization progress in this area.”
Kappa Omega, Northeastern University
Pooja has been enthusiastic about DEIA since she was a kid, attending a conference about diversity and inclusion as early as middle school. Her high school job was facilitating an afterschool club for middle school girls, eventually helping to develop the curriculum as well. As the daughter of two Indian immigrants, growing up in the Bay Area and Texas, DEIA seemed like a natural passion to her.
She has her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in architecture and is working toward her license as an architect. Pooja’s background includes urban design, community planning, and accessible design, and she is a member of DEIA-related professional organizations. She was a founding member of the Kappa Omega chapter. She believes sorority life is an enriching experience that needs to be accessible to those who want it.
“For many, including myself, sisters have empowered us to be ourselves and feel loved for who that is. I am proud of Sigma Kappa's work in DEIA so far and wanted to be a part of this much needed positive movement.”
Beta Omega, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Lindsey has been a traveling teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for eight years in the greater Omaha area. Her experience includes teaching students with a range of needs and helping them gain access to services that further their abilities and make society more inclusive. While in graduate school, she realized her passion was advocating for individuals with sensory impairments. Her goal is to ensure that our schools and communities improve their focus on inclusion and access. She is proud that Sigma Kappa is highlighting this conversation. Lindsey currently volunteers as a creative content coordinator for the programming team. Previously, she worked with the collegiate management team as an advisor and collegiate coordinator for district 5.
“While it's always best to include individuals with unique needs directly in the conversation, I am humbled to share my experience and expertise gained from working in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing field.”
Theta Upsilon, Bowling Green State University
Carly received her Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of North Texas. She currently serves as a program coordinator for the Greek Village in the office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of South Carolina.
One key responsibility of her job is to develop and facilitate residential programming around racism, sexism, body positivity, and mental health, including specific discussions around racist incidents happening on campus. She is also a certified LGBTQ+ Safe Zone Ally, Recovery Ally, and Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper as well as a certified Intercultural Educator.
Carly currently serves as the recruitment supervisor and vice president of programming advisor for Theta Upsilon and the vice president of membership advisor for Lambda Epsilon. She is a member of the Sigma Kappa Foundation scholarship and grants committee and has served as a collegiate philanthropy supervisor in districts 2 and 6.
“I have felt called to show up and push for change on a chapter level and campus level, and now I want to push for more. I love Sigma Kappa so much and I want her to be the best she can be.”
Ann O'Connell Adams
Theta, University of Illinois
Sigma Kappa National President
Theta Iota, The State University of New York at Fredonia Island
Sigma Kappa Foundation Workgroup Chairwoman Property Management
Ann-Marie Lagoy Fontaine
Phi, University of Rhode Island
NHC Vice President of Property Management