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Golden Key 2014 International Summit: Recap

August 20, 2014

BE DRIVEN, You Hold The Key. This was the theme of our 2014 International Summit and it rang true for all of the superb attendees who have the drive and potential to make an impact not only in their communities, but also on the world.

The 2014 International Summit was held at the beautiful Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston, MA from 31 July to 3 August. With more than 700 members, advisors, alumni, partners and friends attending from all over the world, this International Summit was a not-to-miss event! We would like to send a big thanks to GEICO, our International Summit Presenting Sponsor, without whom this event would not have been possible.

Before Summit was officially kicked off, attendees that came early had the opportunity to go on tours of Boston area sites led by local Golden Key members and HQ staff.  The group that went on Tuesday, 29 July, visited the Freedom Trail, Massachusetts “New” State House, Faneuil Hall and the Museum of Science.  The Wednesday group went to the New England Aquarium and had the chance to explore Harvard, the square, the university itself and their museum of natural history.  One participant said, “I loved the pre-tour! It was a wonderful chance to get to see the city, and get to meet fellow Golden Key members. I would definitely do it again, and I would recommend the pre-tour to others.”

1Thursday, 31 July was the first day of the conference. The delegates arrived throughout the day and visited the on-site registration for their name badges, conference goodies and t-shirts.  Then it was time to officially welcome everyone at our conference kick-off, the Opening Session!

Opening Session started off with a flag processional with members from each of the countries where Golden Key is present.  The Boston Police Gaelic Column Bagpipe band, a tradition to many local Bostonians, led the processional. Next Brad Rainey, Golden Key Executive Director, welcomed all attendees and played a video that recapped all of the wonderful accomplishments of our chapters over the past two years. Next, it was time for our keynote speech. Golden Key member A’kena LongBenton from Wayne State University won the opportunity to welcome keynote speaker Ethan Zohn.

1623597_430929543716139_5298146472767539290_nEthan Zohn is the 2002 winner of the U.S. reality television show Survivor. With his 1 million dollar prize money, Ethan co-founded Grassroot Soccer, a nonprofit organization that trains professional soccer players to teach African children, a tailor-made SKILLZ curriculum, about HIV/AIDS prevention. In May of 2009, Ethan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer and has now successfully beaten it—twice.  He spoke about being a survivor, gave life lessons and left us all inspired and motivated.  “Opening Session was very fun and energetic! Ethan Zohn was a fantastic speaker, and I appreciated his story,” said a delegate. We then had the amazing opportunity to induct Ethan as an Honorary Member. Ethan also announced that he will be dedicating a scholarship to a Golden Key member next year.


Opening Session continued with the recognition of 2013 scholarship recipients who were present at the conference. Next, we were excited to unveil our new Global Service Initiative:  SPARK a Change.  We played a video and let the attendees know they could participate in the first ever SPARK service event on Saturday. The Opening Session was a great way to start the conference. Afterwards, delegates were then given the chance to network and mingle while advisors and VIP guests were taken on a boat cruise that sailed the beautiful Boston Harbor.

GEICO_exhibitorDay 2 started up with our Plenary Sessions where delegates were served breakfast and heard an update from headquarters.  The EXPO and Marketplace were open from 8am-4pm so attendees could stop by on their breaks. The EXPO consisted of more than 30 exhibitors consisting of graduate schools and organizations.  Exhibitors included Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Collegefeed, Harvard Kennedy School, Columbia University’s school of education, The Princeton Review, King’s College London, Vault, Rotman School of Management—just to name a few. The Marketplace was the interactive area of the EXPO hall where attendees could take pictures in the photo booth, play games (such as Heads Up and corn hole), get professional headshots taken free of charge and charge their electronic devices at the charging station.

photo xnkhs.JPGThroughout the day on Friday there was a large variety of workshops that delegates could take part in. From chapter specific lessons to personal/professional development workshops to a track specifically for chapter advisors, the workshops had something for everyone.  Attending the various workshops to grow professionally and take lessons back to one’s chapter is the most important part of the Summit.

postersessionSeveral other activities happened throughout the day.  For the first time, Golden Key held a Poster Session. Delegates had the chance to display their academic work for the chance to be awarded scholarship money. All attendees were welcome to visit the Poster Session to view the academic work of the participants.  On the last day we were able to present the Poster Session winners with their checks.  Jennifer Greer was awarded 1st place ($1,000), Aygul Gaysina was the runner up ($750), followed by Stacy Philip in 3rd ($500) and an honorable mention for Sahil Gupta ($250).  There was also a New Charter Reception and Online School Reception.

Participants make snack bags for the homeless

Participants make snack bags for the homeless

Next it was time for day 3, Saturday, where our service activities, sponsored by Dream Careers, were the focus.  Attendees also had the chance to attend additional workshops if they did not want to participate in the service projects.  Those participating in the service projects were welcomed and learned about the two organizations we teamed up with: the City Mission Society of Boston and the Biojewelry project of the WY Partners of the Americas. Attendees were randomly split up into groups for the different projects. The projects with the City Mission Society of Boston included making fleece blankets, hats and scarves; bagging toiletries and snacks; making watercolor artwork; and the school mailings and book program.  A former homeless man and woman spoke to these groups about their experiences living in homelessness and working with the City Mission Society of Boston. The group working with Biojewelry created jewelry from Brazilian seeds and nuts.  The funds raised from the sale of the jewelry will go towards buying mobile mammogram units for women in remote locations of Brazil. Watch a recap of the service projects here!

The service projects were our first SPARK events.  Through the hard work and dedication of the GK members present, 849 hours of service were completed and 2,175 lives were touched.  We hope each of the attendees will leave this International Summit and head back to their local communities to begin SPARKing a change and helping us accomplish our SPARK goals of 400,000 hours of service, 400,000 lives impacted and raising $40,000 by our 2017 International Summit!

That evening, the Red Carpet Reception was held. Those that registered for this additional event had the opportunity to mix and mingle with Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s and our 2014 Closing Gala keynote speaker. As 6pm rolled around on Saturday, it was time to close out the conference at the Gala.

Before dinner and entertainment began, we had a silly, fun way to recap the conference with our “Happy” video. Next it was time for our contest winner, Jon Morris who is Auburn University’s Chapter President, to introduce our keynote speaker. We also had a chance to share a little bit about Jon’s story by playing his winning video.

GK Members Pose With Jerry

GK Members Pose With Jerry

Then it was time for Jerry Greenfield to address the captive audience.  Jerry and his long-time friend and business partner Ben Cohen are the men behind one of the most talked-about, and least conventional success stories in American business. Co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., Greenfield has helped to build a store front venture into an ice cream and business marvel by making social responsibility and creative management strengths, rather than weaknesses. Jerry shared funny stories of getting started and wisdom about why he thinks his venture became a success.  One attendee raved, “Jerry Greenfield has got to be my favorite speaker of any conference I’ve attended.” We then had the distinct pleasure of inducting him as a Golden Key Honorary Member—and if you were at the conference you would know this was a real treat for Jerry!

Then dinner was served and attendees were entertained by an awesome performance by a local a capella group called The Eight Tracks. After dinner, there were just a few more things to wrap up.  Key Chapter recipients were presented with special plaques, our raffle winners from the day before were announced and the Spirit Cup winner was announced—congratulations to U.S. Region 3!

Before we officially closed the Summit, we revealed the location of the next GK International Summit: Gold Coast, Australia!  The announcement was a great way to end such an amazing event.  GK members, see you on the Gold Coast in 2015! Golden Key would like to thank everyone that attended and helped out at the 2014 International Summit!

More pictures coming soon to

Introducing SPARK a Change

August 11, 2014

Golden Key is proud to announce SPARK a Change, our new global service initiative. The mission of SPARK a Change is to bring all our chapters together towards a common objective: to impact and improve the lives of at-risk youth across the globe through literacy, education and real-world preparedness.


It is estimated that one in five adults in the world cannot read or write. Even among those who are literate, many face challenges in receiving a quality education. As a society that recognizes the importance of education, Golden Key identifies literacy, education and real world preparedness skills as rights that everyone is entitled to. In an attempt to improve the lives of those who are not fortunate enough to receive a quality education or have tough circumstances to overcome, Golden Key’s SPARK a Change will give members, advisors and volunteers the opportunity to help youth who may not have the resources to reach their full potential.

With the creation of SPARK a Change, Golden Key projects that our chapters will help us complete our goal of more than $40,000 raised, 400,000 hours of service performed and the lives of more than 400,000 people affected by the year 2017! Golden Key will also give out scholarships totaling $1,000 this year to chapters who have the greatest impact in their communities.

When all of our chapters can work together towards a common goal, we can truly move the needle on important societal issues. We are so excited to see all the wonderful projects that our members get involved in. YOU can SPARK a Change!


Watch our video to learn more:


Want to get involved? Log into and click “Chapter Toolkit” in the upper right hand corner to visit the Service Toolkit with helpful guides on how to get started.

New Associate Director Spotlight: Tricia Forbes

July 10, 2014

We are excited to welcome a new associate director to the Golden Key team! Tricia Forbes will be overseeing Region 4, which is comprised of upstate New York, Ohio, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Get to know her better with this Q&A.


Where are you from?

I was born in Macon, Georgia, but I grew up in Destin, Florida.

Where did you go to school?

I originally attended Florida State University in Tallahassee but then transferred to the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

What did you study?

Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Business.

What are some of your hobbies?

Having grown up by the beach, I love boating, but I also enjoy cooking and yoga.

What is your favorite sport?TriciaForbes_082013_Print-1

College football. Hotty Toddy!

What is your favorite TV show, movie and

TV show: House of Cards

Movie: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Singer: Van Morrison

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?


If you could live anywhere, where would you move to and why? 

San Diego because it’s San Diego.

What are you most scared of?

 Definitely failure.

What excites you most about working at Golden Key?

Having the opportunity to travel to different college campuses and meet new people.

Is there anything else we should know about you? 

I used to be a news reporter, and I went to the Masters and the Super Bowl this year!


2014 North America Key Chapter Award Winners

June 24, 2014

Considered to be one of Golden Key’s most prestigious honors, the Key Chapter Award is presented annually to select Golden Key chapters that have achieved a Gold chapter standard, the highest possible reporting in the Society. In order for a chapter to achieve said status, the chapter must fulfill all activity and service requirements determined by Headquarters; only 25% of the Society achieves this status. Although a chapter must be of Gold status to receive this award, being named a Gold chapter does not necessarily mean that a chapter will be named a Key Chapter. Of the 84 chapters that earned a Gold status in 2014, only 23 will be named a Key Chapter for the 2013-2014 academic year.


The Key Chapter Award Winners in North America are:

      • American Public University
      • Ashford University
      • California State University, Los Angeles
      • Florida International University
      • Metropolitan State University of Denver
      • Norfolk State University
      • Oakland University
      • Pace University, Pleasantville
      • Stony Brook University
      • University of Alabama
      • University of Alberta
      • University of British Columbia
      • University of California- Riverside
      • University of Florida
      • University of Hawaii at Manoa
      • University of Puerto Rico- Mayaguez
      • University of Texas- Arlington
      • University of Texas- Dallas
      • University of Texas- El Paso
      • University of Virgin Islands- St. Croix
      • University of Virgin Islands- St. Thomas
      • University of Wisconsin- La Crosse
      • Wright State University


Congratulations to all of our dedicated chapters!

2014 Society Leadership Election Results

June 19, 2014

We’re proud to announce the results of our 2014 Society elections!

International Leadership Council Vice President
Linda Naimi

International Leadership Council Student Member
Roberta (Bobbi) Capps

Council of Student Members, US Region 1 Representative
Nicole Marte

Council of Student Members, US Region 2 Representative
Ian Anderson

Council of Student Members, US Region 3 Representative
Kelvin Chavez

Council of Student Members, US Region 4 Representative
Urmimala Chaudhuri

Council of Student Members, US Region 5 Representative
Zenobia Bey

Council of Student Members, US Region 6 Representative
Billy Gurr

Council of Student Members, US Region 7 Representative
Bradley Mason

Council of Student Members, US Region 8 Representative
Kellie Rollins

Council of Student Members, Canada Representative
Azin Zanganeh

Council of Student Members, Asia-Pacific Representative
Timothy Ng

Council of Student Members, South Africa Representative
Nerissa Smith


Young Entrepreneur Leaves Google to Create Start-Up

June 16, 2014

Some could say that Ryan Hayward is the archetype of a young entrepreneur. Not too long ago, he left his well-established and successful career to pursue his dream of creating a new form of e-commerce that enables users to be involved in the creative process of their purchases. Oh, did we mention that his career was with Google?

ryan HatchSix years ago, as an undergraduate student working towards a Bachelor of Science in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, Ryan was approached by Google for a job opportunity. At the time Ryan was still considering the option of going to law school, but later chose to move to San Francisco to start his career with the illustrious company. While on the airplane, he met a fellow University of Pennsylvania graduate and future Google employee– Anastasia Leng. Ryan went on to become a Product Marketing Manager, working on Google AdWords and leading the launch of Google Places, and Anastasia soon after moved to London to work in New Business Development and Product Marketing, which made her responsible for the early-stage partnerships for Google Voice, Wallet and Chrome. Years later Ryan moved to Tokyo to take on the role of managing the Asia-Pacific regional marketing for Google+, which distanced the two to opposite ends of the Earth, literally. As fate would have it, though, the two met at a wedding not long after, which would lead to a future business partnership that would soon conceive their brainchild– Hatch.

Having become fascinated by the culture while living in Tokyo, Ryan noticed that Japanese people had a strong focus on quality rather than quantity; as a people, they had a strong appeal to high-end products and service. Whether it be furniture for their home, a present for a birthday or just dinner at a restaurant, they had a taste for exemplary service and premium-quality products. This appealed to Ryan and became an initial “spark” for the idea of Hatch.Hatch He wanted the products to not only be of high quality but also for them to represent something meaningful, so he came up with a platform for selling top-notch merchandise that is customizable to the consumer’s liking. With makers in eighteen different countries from across the globe, Hatch presents consumers with an experience that is similar to working with independent artisans without the hassle and guaranteed high quality. You can learn more about Ryan and the dream that he pursued at

Six Reasons Why Millennials are The Best Workers

June 11, 2014

In conjunction with Golden Key’s recently established partnership with Collegefeed, we would like to share an article that was shared by the founder and chief executive of Collegefeed, Sanjeev Agrawal.

In recent years, millennials have been the targets of scrutiny and animosity for a number of reasons, whether it be our lethargic approach to work, our sense of entitlement or perhaps just being self-absorbed. Many in Generation X believe that our generation is the worst group of workers in memory, but Sanjeev Agrawal thinks otherwise.

From his time as Senior Director at Cisco Systems to being Global Head of Product Marketing at Google, Sanjeev has employed hundreds of people ranging from recent college graduates to experienced professionals, and he believes that Millennials might actually be the best generation of workers, yet. Here’s why:

  1. Style of Communication

We, as Millennials, grew up in an era when distance did not affect our ability to directly communicate with others. Now we live in a time when long distance communication is so simple we can be a part of it during class lectures or at work, and we can do it without even having to open our mouths. The same cannot be said for Generation X and the Baby Boomers.

While members of older generations struggle to adapt to new services in the office, such as Basecamp, SharePoint or Yammer, Millennials have been exposed to these tools for years. As a generation, we are familiar with communicating in a one-to-many paradigm having grown up during the rise of social media. The capacity to think like this is beneficial for companies that are spread out globally and must rely on interacting in a virtual environment.

  1. Instantaneous Expectations

Many members of older generations complain about how fast the world moves and how Millennials expect everything immediately. Well, turns out this is one of our strongest assets.

While Baby Boomers and Generation X had to wait weeks for critical business documents to be delivered or spend hours researching information, our interpretation of “extensive” research would be going to the second page of Google results. Our approach to work is fast paced and responsiveness is near instantaneous resulting in a more efficient workplace.

  1. Obsession with Technology

Many industries are being forced into adopting web and mobile-first philosophies resulting in a demand for tech-savvy workers that possess skills like coding and programming. Having grown up in a technological age, many Millennials have been more exposed to these skills than older generations, thus, in turn, creating a demand for Millennials. We also have a knack for embracing new technology, as though it is some innate ability that we are born with. Whether older generations admit it or not, Millennials are the bridge to the future.

  1. Train of Thought

Without question Millennials are the most diverse generation in American history. It is expected that minorities, making up roughly one-third of the current U.S. population, will become the majority in the next thirty years. Needless to say, our generation does not just embrace diversity– we expect it.

Diversified workforces are sought after in that it translates into increased creativity, attitude and language skills, problem solving and a more global understanding. By being born into the era that we were, our understanding of society translates into the work environment, which allows for more efficient processes within companies and organizations.


To learn more about why Millennials are the best workers, check out Sanjeev’s article on the Forbes website.


Golden Key members- don’t forget to sign up for Collegefeed to get job offers from hundreds of companies through insider connections.





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