2021 NGLA Featured Speaker Series

NGLA is excited about our Featured Speaker Series for the 2021 NGLA Virtual Conference from February 25 – 28, 2021. These presentations are intended to engage the audience with topics that are viewed as “critical” to fraternity and sorority life in today’s context. The program format is approximately 60 minutes of content with the remaining time available for in-session application of concepts.

The Featured Speaker Series is on Friday, February 26, 2021 from 4:15pm - 5:45pm.



Name Your Story: Let's Get Real about Mental Health
presented by Dr. Lauren Cook

It's been a hard year, right? Dr. Lauren Cook gets it. As a therapist, she has been in the trenches with students this year as we've navigated through panic attacks, depression, and struggles with being at home. Lauren is no stranger to anxiety herself. As a wounded healer, she has been on her own personal journey so that she can better serve those who are also in the thick of their mental health battle. Lauren is here to encourage us, inspire us, and remind us that it's okay to not be okay.

Presenter Biography:

Dr. Lauren Cook is a therapist, speaker, and author. She is passionate about bringing mental health to people of all ages, especially to college students. Lauren began her training at UCLA, where she majored in Psychology and Communication Studies. She then earned her Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California. Dr. Cook then completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She developed the Name Your Story mental health curriculum for collegians to utilize and is the author of the book, Name Your Story: How to Talk Openly about Mental Health. She is a proud Chi Omega and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and Siamese cat, Mochi.

Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @Dr.LaurenCook


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An Insta Story: A Perfectly Curated Life 
presented by Lizz Carter Clark and Shelby Fritts

Social media is a "primary source" of communication and PR today for our chapters and individuals. So, what does our feed really say about us? During this candid conversation we will talk about our goals, fears and strategies while breaking down myths, lies and the hypocrisy of comparative-culture. We will discuss why we compete and discover where we are falling into traps of prioritizing social standing over values and taking the bait in ways that don't benefit us or our organizations. Students will address the root of their expectations, hopes, and insecurities and leave more socially savvy, more aware of games being played and more equipped with tools to use it all for good.

Presenter Biography - Lizz Carter Clark:

As a television and film actress with a heart for young people knowing their worth, Lizz has spent the past 20 years on screen, on stage and mentoring collegiate women. She can be seen in episodes of Jane the Virgin, Baby Daddy, and Nashville along with other shows for major networks and studio films alike. Lizz has served as a sorority Membership and Recruitment Advisor, Chairman of an Alumnae Advisory Committee, a Risk Management and Policy Specialist for Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, and more. Lizz now travels the globe conducting workshops, producing EMPOW(h)ERment Events and presenting Keynotes about self-worth, comparative culture and "how to be a change-maker" on campuses across the country.

Email[email protected]
Instagram: @thelizzcarter and @collegemoxie

Presenter Biography - Shelby Fritts:

Shelby resides in Stillwater, OK where she works for Oklahoma State University as a student event planner and advisor to multiple student leadership organizations at the OSU Alumni Association. While a student at Oklahoma State, Shelby served in Recruitment, Risk Management, and Panhellenic leadership roles within her Kappa Alpha Theta chapter as well as on her Panhellenic Council. Shelby has been on the College Moxie team since 2018, where she now serves as the Director of Community Outreach and Campus Coordinator. With a BS in Human Sciences and an MS in Educational Leadership, Shelby is passionate about assisting individuals to better understand themselves and their worth in this world.

Email[email protected]
Instagram@shelb.yay and @collegemoxie


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Claws, Coke, & College: An Honest Conversation 
presented by Archie Messersmith-Bunting

In every college, coming-of-age movie, beer pong, parties, and hangovers are basically a guarantee. For most, the big screen reflects our reality. A majority of students will at least dabble in alcohol use, perhaps even experiment with other drugs. It's normal, right? While most will not find themselves in a hospital ICU, most of us will know someone who battles alcoholism or addiction. These battles are often fought alone, with many of their friends having difficulty confronting the dark nature of the disease. In this powerful program, Archie will use his own personal journey to show how easily partying turns problematic. Students learn how to spot warning signs in their peers. Ultimately, equipping us all to have vulnerable conversations that can help those struggling find a path to recovery.

Presenter Biography:

Archie has been championing mental health awareness and addiction for more than a decade. His vulnerability and authenticity allow today's students to rethink complicated and emotional topics like depression, suicide, alcohol, and drug addiction. He guides attendees to a place of self-reflection, allowing them to find balance and begin to reclaim power of the emotional baggage that can often control our lives. Archie reaches students in a personal way as he chooses to openly and honestly share his own struggle with addiction and clinical depression. He weaves the research of top therapists and addiction specialists into his examples, allowing audiences to understand the potential for loss and pain. Whether it's a conversation with campus staff about mental health in the workplace or an orientation or student leader keynote, Archie delivers a vibrant mix of life lessons that will leave students inspired, empowered, and ready to make authentic change in their life.

Email[email protected]
Instagram: @archie_cares
Twitter: @archie_cares
Facebook: Archie Cares


Expectations Expectations Expectations: The Way We Grow Our Chapters Might Lead To Our Biggest Problems and Risks 
presented by RJ Taylor and LaShatá M. Grayson

Every move you make. Every smile you fake. Every choice you make. Every single day. Prospects are watching you. And those prospects are deciding not just whether they want to join or not... they're deciding what it means to be a member of your organization. So in a semester from now or in a year from now, many of their behaviors will be rooted in the way we marketed to them, in the way we recruited them, in the way we offered them an invitation for membership, and in the way we onboarded them. Expectations are set early, and they're really hard to break. The bad news: we're not great at setting high expectations for our prospective members to live up to as they become members. This session will look closely at expectation creation and alteration as an approach to overall organizational improvement.

Presenter Biography - RJ Taylor:

RJ Taylor is a professional sorority/fraternity evangelist and deeply believes in the power of people together. He serves as Vice President of Phired Up & TechniPhi and leads the Education and Strategy Team. Since 2012, RJ has helped start more than 20 fraternity chapters across the country, guided numerous campus communities and inter/national organizations through marketing strategy work, and trained thousands of student leaders in the art and science of dynamic recruitment. He has previously worked as the Director of Growth for Alpha Tau Omega National Fraternity (ATO), led growth for a retail start-up company called Wanderlust Outfitters, and served as Squad Leader on an 11-month 11 country trip around the world with his partner Kayla. RJ is a proud alumnus of Austin Peay State University, brother of ATO, and even prouder #girldad to his 1-year-old daughter Ada. His family is on a mission to visit every country in the world and has currently visited 37 of 196.

Email [email protected]
Instagram: @RJexcited
LinkedIn: RJexcited

Presenter Biography - LaShatá M. Grayson:

LaShatá M. Grayson is a committed first-generation college student that truly believes in the gift that keeps giving. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of Student Engagement for Fraternity and Sorority Life at Missouri State University and as an Adjunct Organizational Growth Consultant for Phired Up Productions. LaShatå holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Event Management and Management from Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis where she also joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. LaShatá worked as an Elementary Special Education Teacher for several years prior to attending Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville to pursue a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel Administration. She has served as a volunteer for seven inter/national organizations in the NIC, NPC, NPHC, and within two professional associations. LaShatá has engaged thousands of fraternity and sorority members around recruitment, leadership development, and the overall member experience through coaching, curriculum development, instruction, and delivering engaging content. Throughout her work, LaShatá has become a true architect of building a community of empathy and care around inclusion, while simultaneously advocating and bringing awareness to the narratives and experiences of underrepresented students.  In her spare time, LaShatá enjoys visiting unique coffee shops, CrossFit, and spending time with her family and friends.

Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @lashata.marie
LinkedIn: LashataGrayson