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October 22, 2004

Etiquette Expert to Present Formal Dining Etiquette to ULM Students

Students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe will have a chance to learn about etiquette at a free seminar sponsored by ULM's Student Life and Leadership and Campus Activities Board. The dinner will be Monday, October 25 at 6 p.m. in the University Conference Center on the 7th floor of the ULM Library. Etiquette expert, "Mom" Nonnie Cameron Owens, will share her experience with the students of ULM.

Students interested in attending should register in advance with the Office of Student Life and Leadership in the Student Union Building room 213. Register soon, space is limited. In addition to formal dining, the seminar also covers peripheral issues such as making introductions, alcohol consumption, and cocktail party etiquette.

This is the second seminar in Student Life and Leadership's Leadership Academy Series. The program is designed to teach students the skills they will need to dine with elegance and confidence. This event is open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Dinner will be provided and professional attire will be required.

For more information, call Duke Johnson at 342-5287.

About the speaker:

When Nonnie Cameron Owens was invited to speak to the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter at Southern Methodist University in February of 1990, little did she know that it would be a turning point in her life. Cameron had had many invitations to speak on the topic of etiquette, which was her hobby. Her real career was with American Airlines as an international flight attendant.

A week after her program, Owens was asked if she would help the chapter members with their gentlemanly behavior. That request led to her serving as a volunteer housemother for the chapter for two and a half years, while still working as a flight attendant.

During her work with the chapter at SMU, she became involved with the national fraternity headquarters and began speaking at regional conventions and at chapters throughout the country. In the fall of 1992, after speaking to the Purdue chapter the previous spring, Nonnie moved to Indiana and became their first live-in housemother. In addition, she had found a new "profession," teaching students and others about etiquette.

In 1996, she retired from a 32-year airline career to start a company called Image Matters, recently renamed Etiquette Plus. Ever since, her services have been in high demand for corporate training, fraternity and sorority national conventions, campus leadership programs, career preparation courses and other programs. She has spoken or done training at more than 100 events nationwide.

"Mom Nonnie," as she is affectionately known in the college market, feels strongly about the rules of decorum, calling them "the tools to help one gain the competitive edge" in today's society. She stresses that there is more to etiquette than knowing how to hold a knife and fork. Interpersonal skills and knowing how to deal with people are a must for success.

Her fun style of teaching has built rapport between her and college students, which has made her one of the most popular speakers for fraternity and sorority events nationwide.

"If I were to philosophize about my purpose on this Earth, I would comfortably say that God's plan was to place me at a large university in the heart of middle America so that I would be in the position to travel all over the country and be a Greek cheerleader," Owens said. "I vividly remember the pain and vulnerability of the college transitional years. Our society is so much more complex today, and I feel strongly that college kids need cheerleaders."

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