© 2019 by Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

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CHELSEY RONEY

(Texas A&M-College Station)

The Creator of Select-a-Sis

"We were brainstorming about recruitment and thought it would be neat if voting were electronic instead of manual."

Where did you grow up?

Grapevine, Texas.

Who is your role model?

Jenna Kutcher.

Where do you live now?

Seattle, Washington.

What are four things you can't live without?

My family, friends, beach trips and iPhone.

Currently, Chelsey works at Microsoft focusing on digital marketing campaigns for Surface and Windows products, but in college, she created Select-A-Sis, a membership selection software. Before the program, all recruitment voting was done on paper, and in fall 2010, Chelsey and her boyfriend (now husband) Aaron worked together to launch Select-A-Sis. Chelsey did the marketing and sent emails explaining the benefits to National Panhellenic Conference organizations. “The explosive growth we experienced was truly unexpected,” she said. “I think this is because we solved a niche need with a product that went above and beyond expectations.” In 2018, Chelsey and Aaron sold Select-A-Sis, but Chelsey is still a part-time consultant for the product, and she has plenty of ideas for her next entrepreneurialopportunity!

Extended Interview

What is your current role and what are your daily duties?

Right now, I’m a marketing technologist at Microsoft. I help deploy digital marketing campaigns for Surface and Windows products. I work with content creators and marketing strategists to deploy content on appropriate online channels (this might be email, webpages, webinars, etc.) to targeted online audiences. I develop the email, webpage or webinar channel and insert the content, then make sure the right audience sees it at the optimal time in their customer journey. This means I spend about half of my time consulting the Surface and Windows marketing teams in meetings and the other half developing solutions on my computer. While working full time at Microsoft, I also ran Select-A-Sis before we sold it earlier this year. Along with my business partner and Little Sister, Julie Sewell (Texas A&M-College Station), we developed relationships with national partners, worked on product development and supported customer questions. Additionally, I worked on other areas of our small business such as accounting, marketing and legal/insurance matters. We were working with more than half of the sororities in the country and met so many fabulous women along the way!

Why do you love what you do?

I love working as a marketing technologist because I get to spend about an equal amount of time thinking analytically and strategically and the other half working with people. I thrive most when I have a combination of these two types of work. I also love working at Microsoft! There are so many smart, driven people, lots of opportunities for professional growth and infrastructure to make work fun (beautiful campus, famous speakers, organizations, benefits, etc.). I loved Select-A-Sis because I was able to own the vision, direction and every aspect of operations as a small business owner. I love the fact that I was able to directly correlate effort to outcomes. Owning a small business is thrilling!

How did you come up with the idea of Select-a-Sis?

A past Gamma Phi Beta International President, Karen Kline, was volunteering at Zeta Rho (Texas A&M-College Station) at the time I was chapter president. We were brainstorming about recruitment and she thought it would be neat if voting were electronic instead of manual. We thought my boyfriend (now husband) might be able to code us a solution. From there, I worked with Aaron to develop the tool and we launched it for use in the fall of 2010. We worked with Gamma Phi Beta nationally the following year. Word started to spread and eventually we partnered with other National Panhellenic Conference organizations and refined Select-A-Sis every single year!

This or That

Early Bird or Night Owl

Facebook or Instagram

iPhone or Android

Left Brain or Right Brain 

Heels or Flats

What did the marketing of Select-a-Sis look like at the very beginning?

At the very beginning, I sent emails explaining the benefits of Select-A-Sis to the director of Recruitment position at each NPC organization. This started the conversation and conversion of several national bodies. From there, word of mouth was our strongest source of customers. Traditional marketing tactics did not seem to work because people like to get recommendations for key processes like recruitment from people they know and trust rather than from a stranger.

Did you ever expect it to become as big as it is today?

Never! The explosive growth we experienced was truly unexpected. I think this is because we solved a niche need with a product that went above and beyond expectations.

What does your involvement with Select-a-Sis look like now compared to when to you were creating it?

Currently, I’m working as a part-time consultant for the company that purchased Select-A-Sis. We are making sure our customers’ questions are answered and that Select-A-Sis maintains its functionality.

How did you discover your passion for business and entrepreneurship?

It has always been in my blood! My family and friends tease me because I mention a new business idea every week. I do not try to suppress idea generation because one of them will be “the one!” I am addicted to the entrepreneurial journey of creating a product or service and bringing it to customers. I’ve been creating businesses since I was under 10 (first I ran a business selling flowers, then a business teaching swim lessons and many more after). I believe each of these experiences have taught me unique lessons that I can apply to the next venture.

How do you define success?

My definition of success is morphing over time. I used to feel that success must mean the prestige of sitting in a corporate office, making steady money with benefits. Big success might mean that you were able to manage people at this job. Now, my definition of success equates to creating the happiest version of my life. For me, this means creating a happy household for my family, spending time at a job that I enjoy and giving back to the community. I’m on a journey to bring this version of success to life!

What motivates you?

Progress. I love even the smallest bit of progress in all areas of life! It could mean adding a half of a mile to my jog, getting a new customer for my business or completing a home project.

The person who nominated you said that they felt Select-a-Sis wouldn’t be the last business you create. Do you have any plans for another entrepreneurial opportunity?

Absolutely! I have a couple of ideas in the pipeline currently and I’m waiting to see which one will play out successfully. Hopefully one day I can make one of my ventures my full-time endeavor!

"We were working with more than half of the sororities in the country and met so many fabulous women along the way."