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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Homecoming Queen Allison Fitts gains respect for her sincerity

“She’s never apologized for who she is,” PHA VP of Programming Abby Flores said.

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The 2015 Mizzou Homecoming royalty candidates pose for a group photo. Allison Fitts and Payton Head were named Homecoming queen and king respectively.

Courtesy of Mizzou Creative/Shane Epping

Panhellenic Association president, ThreadBare co-founder and now Homecoming queen. The list of accomplishments on senior Allison Fitts’ resume keeps growing and growing.

At the start of her freshman year, Fitts joined her first organization on campus, Kappa Delta sorority. Her sisters encouraged her to take leadership positions, both in the chapter and in other organizations. After serving as a Panhellenic delegate and a Pi Chi the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Fitts decided she wanted to join the PHA executive board.

“(PHA president) was the position that I knew had the most potential to affect change,” she said.

Fitts and the other executive board members have been working their entire terms for increased inclusivity and transparency within the Greek community. She cites Community 360, an on-campus social justice retreat she attended as a sophomore, as the spark that ignited her passion for social justice issues.

“That was probably one of the most life-changing experiences, if not the most, that I’ve done at Mizzou,” Fitts said.

Fitts is a member of Tour Team and the Trulaske College of Business’ Cornell Leadership Program. Through these organizations, she became friends with Gabriel Riekhof, who was part of the team that came up with the idea for ThreadBare. Fitts joined the team last spring as chief procurement officer.

“Being her friend for three years, I knew (Fitts) was going to be great in this role for ThreadBare, and obviously I wanted someone who could help make the store as successful as it could possibly be,” Riekhof said.

He cited Fitts’ responsibility as what makes her a good business partner. This trait, among others, also make her a good leader.

“Allison is really supportive of everyone that she works with,” said Abby Flores, PHA vice president of programming. “In her role as president, she really supports the rest of the executive team and finds ways to help us do our best.”

Fitts wants to eventually work in the music industry, hopefully planning live music events such as festivals. She worked at The Blue Note for three years, and last summer she interned with the company organizing Bonnaroo. She helped run the box office for Roots N Blues N BBQ this past September.Eventually, she wants to combine her passion for social justice issues with her ambitions in the music industry.

“I would love to do something with sexual assault prevention at festivals,” she said. “At electronic dance music festivals especially, there’s a lot of drug use, and a lot of times that leads to sexual assault.”

Being a woman in the music industry is powerful in and of itself, Fitts said.

“It’s a very male-dominated industry, so I definitely want to break into that,” she said.

She also said that regardless of gender, the music industry is not an easy career choice.

“What I’ve learned from working in it already for three years, and not even having graduated college yet, is that you really have to love it in order to do it,” Fitts said. “Someone once told me that to work in the music industry means that your work begins when everyone starts having fun.”

Flores said Fitts’ authentic way of living sets a good example for Greek women.

“She’s never apologized for who she is,” Flores said. “She stands up for what she believes in and stands up for the Panhellenic community in an amazing way.”

When Fitts was nominated for Homecoming queen, Riekhof had no doubt she would win.

But Fitts was surprised when she won. She felt that her win was partly for her parents, who met while attending MU together. Riekhof said that as successful as Fitts is, something else matters more.

“All of her accomplishments, all of her successes, all of her leadership positions, all of that is secondary to her treating every single person she meets with respect, compassion and sincerity,” he said. “Being a leader isn’t the most important thing to her. She obviously has that desire, but it doesn’t get in the way of her desire to treat people with respect and sincerity first, and so consequently people respect her and want her to be a leader.”

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