Sisters Who Serve the World: DeAnne Wingate

DeAnne Wingate (Upsilon Beta | Rollins College). After extensive travel abroad, DeAnne saw the need to help eradicate the exploitation of children. She established Ripled Purpose to help fight human trafficking and child labor through education.


Deanne Wingate joined Chi Omega at Rollins College, where she was given the opportunity during the month of January (J-term) to travel the world to study or volunteer. Her brother was a year behind her at Rollins and went to Guatemala on a service-learning project for his first J-term while she chose to study French in Canada. He was actually the one who later encouraged her to venture to Guatemala for the following J-term…and it changed her life.

During her time in Guatemala, she helped build a medical center for a small mountain village that had no electricity, running water or bathrooms. The people were impoverished yet they were so happy. This experience rocked her world because, at the time, she believed money was the foundation of happiness. Yet these villagers had more joy than the people she knew with the most money.

She also discovered the powerful gift of serving others while in Guatemala. It filled her heart and soul with so much love and she realized why we’re here on this planet – to do for others. Love in action and not just in words. Letting our light shine every day with eyes wide open, searching for those in need of our love.

DeAnne left a successful internet advertising career in New York City in 2010 to follow her heart!  Wingate’s journey took her to India to initially work with girls forced into the sex slave trade and children living in slums.  While there, she learned the power of education in eradicating the vulnerabilities fueling the exploitation of children.

She returned to Charlotte (her hometown) in 2012 and established a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Rippled Purpose, to fight human trafficking and child labor through education.  Wingate’s school in India has 75 children enrolled. “It is a dream come true! My vision is to partner with other local change makers across the globe to offer education and provide love to every child,” says Wingate.

Wingate believes anything is possible when we are driven by love. Her mission is to empower women to change the world for our children. #everychildmatters

“My hope is to inspire others to help their neighbor – whether near or far. When we get outside of ourselves and serve others, we receive the greatest gift in return!”

Thank you, DeAnne, for being such an inspirational Sister and a Sister who serves the world! To contribute to Rippled Purpose, consider giving a gift here.


DeAnne Wingate graduated from Rollins College in 1996 with a major in Politics and minors in Economics and Spanish.

She left a successful internet advertising career in New York City in 2010 to follow her heart.  Wingate’s journey took her to India to initially work with girls forced into the sex slave trade and children living in slums. 

She returned to Charlotte  and established a 501(c)3 charitable organization, Rippled Purpose, to fight human trafficking and child labor through education.  Wingate also founded Blessed Lotus, a women’s apparel company, on the principles of social entrepreneurship.  

Wingate believes anything is possible when we are driven by Love. Her mission is to empower women to change the world for our children.

Sisters Who Serve the World: Jennifer McQuade

Dr. Jennifer McQuade (Lambda Gamma | Virginia). Known as one of “Harvey’s Heroes,” Sister McQuade (far right) helped mobilize medical efforts in Houston after devastating Hurricane Harvey hit earlier this fall.


Dr. Jennifer McQuade is a physician-scientist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. In the August 2017, she became involved in medical disaster relief when she helped set up medical shelters in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. From this, she formed the Medical Disaster Response Network which has sent countless medical supplies to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

Dr. McQuade jumped at the opportunity to help her community when Hurricane Harvey dumped 51 inches of rain on Houston. When she went to the George R. Brown Convention Center to bring her donations, she saw controlled chaos. “Helicopters landing on the overpass every 10 minutes to drop off evacuees from high-water rescues, people arriving soaking wet loaded into the back of garbage trucks. There was one first aid table with one other doctor and 2 nurses who also lived in the neighborhood doing basic first aid with donated Band-Aids and Tylenol,” she recounts.

Dr. McQuade’s next step was to post a call for help for medical volunteers on a Facebook group page called the Physician Moms Group. From that posting, she received a message from Dr. Ashley Saucier who had set up the Baton Rouge Emergence Aid Coalition after the floods in Baton Rouge a year prior during which she had run a medical shelter. Dr. Saucier encouraged Dr. McQuade to start a medical shelter and explained how to make it happen.

“I did not run the shelter. The City of Houston EMS MD team did and did an amazing job. But when I came back to the shelter on Day 2, there were 5,000 evacuees and still no medications other than over the counter medications and not enough medical personnel to care for this vast tide of humanity with pressing needs for insulin, cardiac medications, antibiotics, advanced wound care, etc.”

Dr. McQuade put another call out on social media and by that evening, had an entire pharmacy set up of medications donated from a small independent pharmacy who heard of the need as well as physicians that emptied their sample closets.

By Day 3, there were 10,500 evacuees and a full team of 30 medical professionals round the clock with an operational triage system, different levels of care, and even an “assisted living facility” with 75 residents.

On Day 4, when the Federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team arrived to take over operations, they said it was the most well-stocked and well-run medical shelter they had ever walked into.

They then shifted the resources which continued to pour in to set up medical shelters at NRG Stadium and Lakewood Church and then began trucking and flying medical supplies via the Cajun Airlift to eastern and coastal Texas and western Louisiana.  From this, Dr. McQuade formed the Medical Disaster Response Network, a grassroots medical relief group meant to connect needs and resources during medical disasters.

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, 1,800 lbs. of excess medical supplies from the Houston shelters that were now closing were sent to San Juan for medical relief there. Dr. McQuade has now been involved in 11 flights of over 100,000 lbs. of disaster relief supplies to San Juan.

“I got involved because there were people in need and as a physician I have both the calling and the resources to help. I have stayed involved for the same reason. The first day in the shelter, I had diabetics that had been without their medications for 48 hours and I not only didn’t have insulin but I couldn’t even check their blood sugar. Patients with new cardiac stents that we didn’t have Plavix for, infected wounds we didn’t have antibiotics for, patients with epilepsy that we didn’t have seizure medicines for. That is a horribly desperate and helpless feeling. And I have heard that same helpless desperation in the voice of physicians in East Texas and in Central Puerto Rico. That feeling has kept me going and has left me with nightmares.”

Sister McQuade is a true Sister who serves the world! In disaster relief, she was able to immediately meet critical needs of her Houston community. Dr. McQuade is an alumna of the Lambda Gamma Chapter at the University of Virginia.

Her advice to the future generations of Chi Omega is to, “Get out there, get your hands dirty and DO something! Chi Omega is a service organization. Don’t just be the sister that enjoys the fundraising parties.”

 

Sisters Who Serve the World: Mary Evelyn White & Mary Anne Culpepper

 

Front Row: [L-R] Mary Evelyn Merritt White, Iota ’61 – Personnel Advisor; Mary Anne Massengale Culpepper, Iota ’59 – Rush Advisor, House Corp. Member*; Patsy Wren Potts, Iota ’57 -Forms & Records Advisor,  House Corp. Member*
Back Row: Kay Couger Hamilton, Kappa Zeta ’62 – Asst. Rush Advisor; Pat Rembert Hamilton**, Special Initiate Xi Kappa ’75 – Social Advisor; Susan Couger Tremont Jackson, Iota ’70, Financial Advisor, House Corp. Member*; Cathy Conway Jackson, Sigma Theta ’70 – Pledge Advisor; Beverley Cardwell Straub, Epsilon Zeta ’68 – Scholarship Advisor
*House Corporation Members:  House Corporation was formed in 1976, so at the time of the picture, it had not yet been formed.

Mary Evelyn White and Mary Anne Culpepper (both Iota | Texas). Both Sisters began advising at Xi Kappa | Texas A&M in its infancy, more than 40 years ago, and have helped lead the chapter to become one of the highest performing chapters at one of the largest schools in the state.


Mary Evelyn White and Mary Anne Culpepper began their Chi Omega days together at the University of Texas back in the early 60’s and that was just the beginning for this dynamic duo. Mary Evelyn and Mary Anne were in the chapter together. Mary Anne was Rush Chair when Mary Evelyn pledged. Mary Evelyn went on to serve as Personnel Chairman and G.H.  They were also involved in service organizations during their college days and they have continued to serve their communities and Chi Omega ever since.

As young brides, both Mary Evelyn and Mary Anne ended up living in College Station, TX, the home of Texas A&M University. They each connected with area Chi Omegas and became involved with the local Panhellenic group. In the late 60’s, there were no sororities on the A&M campus as women were only admitted beginning in 1963. Members of the Panhellenic group began to discuss the need for more social activities for the relatively small group of women on campus. They approached the TAMU Dean on Women to determine the interest of sororities. After their initial questionnaires, only 3 out of 700 women expressed an interest!

Three years later, four NPC groups were recruiting members and starting colonies on the Texas A&M campus.  Mary Evelyn along with other local Chi Omega alumnae worked with Winnie Bowker, S.H., to gain the support of Chi Omega to move forward with colonization. Mary Anne was eager to help recruit an advisory board to assist with the new chapter. In 1975, The Xi Kappa Chapter of Chi Omega was installed with our very own Shelley Eubanks Potter serving as a Charter Member.

In 1979, six sororities had purchased land and Chi Omega was able to build a chapter house. All of the local Chi Omega leaders worked hard to show the university examples of good citizenship and Chi Omega’s national and local high standards and restrictions for housing as well as the commitment to provide leadership and supervision for these young women and their living quarters.

From the beginning, Mary Evelyn and Mary Anne along with other dedicated Chi Omega alumnae, worked seamlessly to recruit potential members by hosting parties, planning interviews and meetings all while showing them the excellence and joyfulness that waited them as Chi Omega Sisters. After pledging these young women, the founding advisors became big sisters and mentors to the new members and were fondly thought of as aunts, older sisters and even second mothers.

As founding advisors for Xi Kappa Chapter, Mary Evelyn served as Personnel Advisor from 1975 to 1990, and  Mary Anne served as the Recruitment Advisor from 1975 to 1998. These Sisters continue to serve Chi Omega and their communities in meaning and purposeful ways!

Looking back over the last forty-two years, Mary Evelyn and Mary Ann are so proud of the chapter they helped begin in 1975 and are so grateful for all the wonderful women that helped along the way. The goal for the chapter was to build a strong, loving and caring sisterhood with character, integrity and leadership that was unique. Their example of service has influenced thousands of Chi Omega and their legacy of service will live on for generations of Chi Omegas to come!


Mary Evelyn White is a former Supreme Governing Council member serving as S.T.B., former chair of the Executive Headquarters Building Committee and current Executive Headquarters chair. She is the interior designer for the Executive Headquarter, both for the original construction and furnishings as well as for the most recent renovations and furnishings. Mary Evelyn currently serves as the Xi Kappa House Corporation President. Mary Evelyn was also awarded the Outstanding Personnel Advisor Award in 1990 and was the 1996 recipient of the Chi Omega President’s Award.

Mary Anne served as Recruitment Advisor for both Iota Chapter and Xi Kappa Chapter. She also served as a former Area Recruitment Information Chair and served as the Xi Kappa House Corporation Treasurer. Mary Anne currently serves as the Xi Kappa Panhellenic Advisor and as the Xi Kappa House Corporation Vice President. Mary Anne was also awarded the Outstanding Recruitment Advisor Award in 1994.

Sisters Who Serve the World: Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith (Alpha Lambda | Valparaiso). Nicole began a day of service and acts of kindness in honor or her daughter, Olive, who lived a short but meaningful life. Nicole also brings attention to infant bereavement and parenting and pregnancy loss through speaking engagements and writing contributions.


In July 2014 after a textbook pregnancy, I delivered our firstborn child. Olive was born unresponsive and unexpectedly passed away 36 hours later. My world was rocked, to say the least. I had prayed for and dreamed of this baby for so long and then she was just gone. I recognized I had two choices: I could stifle my grief or I could share it; I chose to share it. I began my blog Olive and Her Branches as a way to process my grief and to help educate others on infant loss, pregnancy loss (we’ve had three miscarriages) and parenting after loss (the joys and challenges of having a child after loss).

As the first anniversary of Olive’s birth and death approached in 2015, we asked people to do an act of kindness in her memory. I set up a Facebook event to help us see the beautiful ways people were spreading joy and love by using the hashtag #olivesbranches. We were blown away at the response. That first year, thousands of people all over the world spread kindness as a way to remember her and other babies/children that had been lost. It was beautiful; we witnessed everything from paying for someone’s Starbucks to delivering bottled water to local homeless shelters. We even had someone anonymously pay tuition for children to attend a private day school in our community!

What amazed me so much was the support I received from my Chi Omega Sisters. Both my initiating chapter and the chapter I advise showed support for our #olivesbranches day on their social media pages, and sisters that I hadn’t seen or talked to since college were posting the amazing ways their families were celebrating Olive’s life. Women I advised with showed up at the run/walk to benefit our local children’s hospital; ready to walk with our team in memory of Olive. I still, three years later, have Chi Omegas that will reach out to me and encourage me and let me know they are praying for our family; sisterhood truly never stops!

Each year #olivesbranches has gotten bigger and more meaningful to us. It’s been a great way to help us through a difficult day, but more importantly it’s a way for others to share love and kindness with a world that so desperately needs it.

The most rewarding part of all of this has been giving the community and, more specifically, other loss parents an opportunity to have an open and honest discussion about grief and loss – and what that looks like to each of us. I have been able to share my story from behind a computer but I feel most connected when I’m able to stand in front of a group of people and give a face to loss. Not one of us is exempt from death or loss and there is a stigma that we should deal with our feelings in private, but I disagree. While social media can be an outlet for oversharing, it can also open us up to discussions with people we wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to reach. Discussing one’s vulnerability with the public isn’t for everyone but it has been a great tool for me; helping others to know they are not alone – that they don’t have to grieve in silence or in shame – has been very powerful.

My faith has played a huge role in my journey. I believe the words of Jesus when he told us to love God and to love others (Mark 12:30-31). In Matthew chapter 14, beginning at verse 13, we see Jesus feeding the five thousand. “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.”

It’s easy to overlook this really important piece of the story. The “what had happened” in verse 13 that Matthew is referring to is the killing of John the Baptist. Jesus was mourning the loss of his cousin; his friend, the man who baptized him and prepared the way for him. Jesus tried to retreat, but the people continued to follow him and he does a remarkable thing: he serves them.

You don’t have to be religious or spiritual to find the importance in serving. We live in a world that so desperately needs to see our truth as human beings: we hurt, we help, we persevere. Sometimes we need the lifting and other times we do the lifting; it’s the most profound way to live in unity with each other.


Nicole Genthe Smith is an initiate of the Alpha Lambda Chapter of Chi Omega at Valparaiso University in Indiana. As an alumna she serves the Beta Lambda chapter as Personnel Advisor. Nicole also serves Chi Omega as a member of the Advisor Recruitment Team and the Fair Play for Chapters team. Prior to joining those teams, she served on the National Advisory Training Team for six years.

Nicole is married and resides with her family in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI. Since her daughter’s passing, she and her husband have welcomed a son, Abner, in 2015. In their free time they enjoy spending time at their lake home in northern WI. Nicole also enjoys cooking, reading, writing and public speaking.

You can follow Nicole on Instagram @oliveandherbranches, where she is most active, or read her blog, www.oliveandherbranches.blogspot.com.