Behind the fall welcome sign, walls are decorated with serene farm scenes and paintings that remind her of home. Pausing to view the gray barn framed by wild flowers painted by her sister, Arlene McCollum feels right at home in the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house. She is their fearless house mom, maintaining a calm demeanor and working to develop young men.
“Ms. Mac pushes us to be the best version of ourselves and is doing a great job at keeping us in order,” said Alpha Gamma Rho member Jarod Rains. “I appreciate her behind-the-scenes work and unwavering enthusiasm.”
The tie to Alpha Gamma Rho came from her experience with Chillicothe native, Jerry Litton. Ms. Mac worked closely with the Litton family during his campaign for the U.S. Senate. She first connected with Litton as a member of his singing group and quickly became one of his most trusted partners traveling across the state.
“Working with Jerry opened my eyes to the world of possibilities,” McCollum said.
In fact, Ms. Mac has encountered life experiences in many parts of the country. After growing up in Missouri, she moved to Arizona for most of her middle life before going on to Florida. Ms. Mac is back in Missouri proving, once again, that life has a funny way of turning full circle.
She encourages young family members to be open to new adventures. When each niece or nephew graduates high school, she takes them on a trip of their choice abroad.
“Go see the world, because it makes you a different human being,” she said.
Her life experiences and genuine curiosity weave their way to a variety of topics and unlikely connections.
“For the past several years she has served as a source of advice, and a listening ear for our sisters,” said Sigma Alpha member Caitlyn McGuire. “She has lived quite a life and has so much wisdom to share, and our sisters have quickly come to realize this. Ms. Mac has also led an etiquette dinner for Sigma Alpha.”
Empowering women was never a focus for Ms.Mac, but her example and awareness of self-worth is strikingly inspirational to any young woman she comes in contact with.
“Ms. Mac is so giving and full of love, and that is apparent upon first meeting her,” McGuire said. “She is also a strong woman, with a resume that would knock anyone’s socks off and too many successes to count. This past year, Sigma Alpha initiated Ms. Mac as an honorary Sigma Alpha to show her how much we appreciate her.”
From working for Jerry Litton to dedicating her time as an administrator in Arizona schools, or creating a consulting company to be a source for keynote speaker engagements, Ms. Mac has a teaching heart. These skills were perfected when she took on an entrepreneurship endeavor as a consultant, developing leaders and writing curricula for job trainings.
McCollum credits her work ethic to lessons learned at a young age while growing up on a farm in north Missouri. With encouragement from her father to pursue her dreams as far as they might go, she has found success in a myriad of career paths.