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Phi Gamma Delta: Growing Through Adversity

by Matt Farrell

Phired Up/TechniPhi is sharing stories of growth professionals across the industry. 

If you are a brother of Phi Gamma Delta, or recruiter anywhere, you will learn a lot from this story. 

Jake Lueck is Phi Gamma Delta’s Director of Expansion. Jake is a great friend, amazing recruiter, and will have a primary role in guiding FIJI through these challenging times. 


Jake Lueck

Jake Lueck is Phi Gamma Delta’s Director of Expansion


Matt: It’s obvious to everyone who meets you that you love growth. Tell us where that passion comes from.

Jake: As an undergrad at Kansas, I was passionate about bringing new guys in and what that could do for them. Looking back though I had no idea the real scope of that potential. After visiting Fijis across the country, starting chapters and building homes for people, it’s been transformative for me.

The reason I’m still doing this job goes back to the expansion of FIJI at the University of Texas San Antonio almost three years ago. It is a place where you really have to go out and get people, but that environment was awesome for us. As our group grew, my expansion partner Adam and I started noticing something. Guys are not just buying into FIJI, really they’re buying into Adam and I as people. That’s a really cool feeling. We were rallying people together, undergraduates, graduate brothers, staff to help build this vision.

I realized at that moment we were getting to build homes for people who really didn’t know what home was. They didn’t know where to go for anything. School, friends, their future. There is no limit on your impact in situations like that.

That’s what drives my passion.

Matt: We talk about starting new chapters all the time, but you had a year visiting all sorts of chapters big and small. What’s a recruitment moment that still stands out?

Jake: University of Florida. They had everything on paper. Great group of guys, so friendly, raised a ton of money for philanthropy, they just didn’t really have success meeting strangers. They were a lot smaller than they should have been and felt stuck. I remember after their chapter meeting, it was late…probably 9 or 10 pm. I asked guys to stay a little longer and run through recruitment.

About 15 guys stayed which was most of the chapter, and I put together an activity for them on the fly. Drills. 1 on 1 conversations, role-playing as PNMs, and getting them pumped the best I could.

They drilled it, we went to bed, and then I got to see the long-term results flow in from the road after the visit. The guys were excited. Two years ago and that’s stayed with me.

Matt: Recruitment Chairs reading this are starting to think “how can I use this for my career. To grow as a pro in anything.”

Jake: It’s all sales and marketing. How well can you sell an undergraduate, a faculty and staff member, a parent? You need to sell excellence, you need to sell safety. That entire process happens exclusively through building a trusting relationship. And a lot of that is formed through your marketing – who you reach, how you reach them.

They’re not rushing us, we’re going out and recruiting them. And that’s the case in the real world. Phired Up talks about the funnel so we can build a list, find out how to move people through, and then figure out who’s right to stay. Marketing to the right people is what starts our funnel.

Not every recruitment chairman will go into sales or marketing, but you’re gonna use these skills everywhere. Personal skills. Interviews. Working with a team.

I worked as a gas dock attendant over the summer and used these skills all the time.

Matt: We’re in an interesting time. How can we get ahead of the curve as we fight through it?

Jake: There’s a lot of what-ifs still. There’s so many unknowns. So let’s stop being afraid of problems and focus on solutions to solve these problems. Right now we need to create strategies that will help us in all these situations.

We need to identify as many quality prospects as we can and talk to them. You (the recruitment chairman) don’t have to talk to every single one. They can delegate to other brothers in the committee or chapter to help get through the long names list.  The amount of relationships, then the companionship you build… that’s everything.

Most people are joining fraternities for friends. So many people are looking for friends right now. They’re lonely, they’re confused. We need to reach out to them.

There’s going to be a decline in enrollment too. We have to be prepared and have to start now.

Matt: Speaking of which, more HQs are starting to get involved with their groups’ growth. What would you say to a chapter that doesn’t think they need your help?

Jake: Our emphasis hasn’t been on the recruitment for big groups in the past because you haven’t needed it on paper.

We believe our chapters that don’t struggle with recruitment need to teach and lead courageously as much as they learn and adapt. Headquarters staff encourages those chapters to support others that are struggling with recruitment. We believe this gives those chapters some equity in the game and we, as headquarters, can show them how they can support. This has allowed us to bridge the gap with those chapters and see how they can still grow.

So we can  help these chapters because we bring that strategy and that impact to our smaller groups. They need confidence and a plan, and that is something we can do together. HQ learns from our undergraduates every single day; we can’t do that if you’re not willing to teach.

And then the technology we’re offering. It’s so important. You keep everything organized, you keep it up to date, you contact people through it. That is why I love ChapterBuilder and its how we start all groups. Even if you are not using ChapterBuilder you need to understand the importance of technology to put everything in one place outside of a spreadsheet.

Matt: Last thing. There’s a brand new FIJI group – tell us about them.

Jake: We started FIJI from scratch at Seton Hall this spring and our team brought in over 60 guys from all over the place. Various student organizations, all years, we left no stone unturned. How we did it is what I want to focus on, because its all things whoever is reading this can do right now.

Messaging on social media, emailing faculty and staff with ideas for how to find members, texting through ChapterBuilder, calling each other to stay excited.

Everything we did foundationally was using our phone and computer.

So whoever is recruiting out there, we may think students are only worried about COVID-19 right now but that’s not true.

People are looking for friends, so let’s find those friends.