In honor of our seven founders, we get to know one Alpha Chi Omega through seven questions.
After working on the front lines at a hospital during the pandemic, Sarah Fogel (Beta Lambda, University of Arizona) took a leap of faith to establish her own private therapy practice and consulting business. She looks at this new chapter as a way to be true to herself and shares advice for living authentically.
Q: What is your passion?
My passion is helping women achieve their goals. I feel that women experience numerous challenges in life, and many are invisible. This leads us to keep these issues quiet or not open up in detail because we are worried about being judged, misunderstood or seen in some other negative light. I have always felt that if we spoke up about the challenges we have in safe company, we would be a much happier society. Providing a space to normalize feelings and challenges help us empower each other and live our best, most authentic life.
Q: Tell us about your professional leap of faith.
I was working on the front lines of COVID-19 in a hospital throughout the pandemic. To say it was stressful is an understatement. My colleagues and I were challenged in a way that I never imagined possible, physically, emotionally and mentally. In that time, there were other big changes happening in the hospital, and I was concurrently building my private practice in the evening. Initially, this started as a way to pay off my student loans sooner with extra income; however, I started to see that no matter how depleted I was from working on the front lines of a pandemic, I was overjoyed to come home and work with my private clients. I quit my full-time job, devoted all my time to my private practice and quickly learned about being my own boss. It was terrifying and there was a lot of self-doubt, but I have never been happier or less stressed.
Q: What does “authenticity” mean to you?
I feel that sticking to your values and having them guide all your life decisions allows you to be your most authentic self, both in the workforce and in your personal life. I found that I could be most authentic by leaving a large healthcare organization, providing direct care to individuals whom I am passionate about supporting and making quality therapy more accessible in my community.
Q: What is one thing you’d want to tell sisters when it comes to women’s health and well-being?
That thing you are really embarrassed about? Whether it be that you are upset with your partner, uncertain about your sexuality or pleasure, how you feel about having kids or anything that you think is taboo – you are not alone! So many other women are going through that exact thing, and the more open and vulnerable we are with others, the less alone we feel. Normalize the taboo.
Q: What is one skill or trait that defines you?
I would say determination. I rarely take no for an answer. That determination has led me to learn a great deal about my work, the needs of my clients, the injustices and challenges that they face, and how to get them the best care possible. I never stop learning, and this allows me to provide the best care possible to each of my clients. I also live by the motto that I treat my clients as I would hope a provider would treat my family or me in the same situation.
Q: How has Alpha Chi Omega had an impact in your life?
On Bid Day, I cried. I was unsure if I really wanted to be an Alpha Chi or if it was the home for me. The older sisters of my chapter really made an effort to bring me in and connect with me, and I remember my mom saying, “These girls really want to get to know you and care about you; you have to find out why and maybe you will really connect to them!” I am so glad I listened and never looked back. I made some of the closest friends I could imagine in Alpha Chi as a collegian and an alumna. I learned how to be my truest self and figure out where I belong in the world. I learned how to lead when I was unsure of my own self. I learned how to “adult” when my feet were to the fire at times as a chapter advisor. Without the bonds and connections I have made throughout the years with Alpha Chi, I would not be the woman I am today.
Q: What does being a real, strong woman mean to you?
Being a real, strong woman means being independent, yet knowing when to ask for help. It means knowing your value and your limits, and respecting your own boundaries. It means reaching for your goals, even when others tell you it is not possible. Being a real, strong woman means being your truest, most authentic self, not shying away from challenge and knowing you always have sisters who will pick you up if you fall back so you can keep moving forward.
Learn more about Sarah and her work at sarahffogel.com.Want to share your story with sisters? Visit the Contact Us link at the bottom of this page to tell us more!