40 under 40 — Tom Florczak
Delta Chi, 2017 — Recognized in: 2018
Tom Florczak, a graduate from the Delta Chi chapter, has made significant contributions to Zeta Psi and his community at large since graduating in 2017. One achievement that he’s likely most recognized for in the Zete-sphere is his work with Matt Carnovale in establishing the In Flanders Fields Fund (inflandersfields.org). The In Flanders Fields Fund was established as a nonprofit organization to commemorate the legacy of the poem In Flanders Fields by Dr. John Alexander McCrae, a brother of Zeta Psi, during the poem’s 100th anniversary. They held their first event on the National Mall at the DC War Memorial where they continue to hold annual commemoration events, and have since become a significant financial contributor to Thanks USA, a non-profit which supports military families that receive affordable education.
Elsewhere, Tom’s service to those around him have extended across organizations and brought him multiple accolades. During his years as an undergraduate, he served in multiple roles on the Interfraternity Council, including President. Tom simultaneously worked for sexual assault prevention through the university’s Sexual Assault Working Group, taught introductory Macroeconomics as a Teaching Assistant, and mentored 70 freshmen as a Resident Assistant. These accomplishments, and others, provided the basis for numerous university awards for service, including recognition for receiving the “Service to the University Community Award“ the second highest service award at American University. In addition to his community impact, he still maintained a 3.97 GPA, was invited into Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated from the American University Honors Program.
Over the past few months since graduation, he has continued showing his dedication towards positive community impact. Outside of work, he sits At-Large on the American University DC Young Alumni Chapter Board, which plans social and service events for young alumni in DC. The In Flanders Fields Fund still continues strong with a recent $2,000 grant to Thanks USA, and Tom has expanded his role in the Zeta Psi DC Elders Association as the Social Media Officer.
When reflecting on how Zeta Psi has helped shape his networking and career development following college, Tom looks back fondly:
“Zeta Psi will always remain the most life-changing experience of my college career. I knew that I wanted to join a fraternity in college, but the unique opportunities which DC Zetes offered me while at American University allowed me to grow personally and professionally. Fraternity mentors such as Matt Carnovale provided me coaching for my professional career. When we began our mentoring relationship, I was a sophomore and wanted to honor the centennial of the poem In Flanders Fields. All Zetes know this poem because our brother, Lt. Col. John McCrae, wrote it. Matt, a young professional in DC, taught me how to network and present myself in pursuit of my passions. He built upon my initial desire and challenged me to think larger, culminating in the formation and continuation today of our fundraising and remembrance efforts for veterans through the In Flanders Fields Fund.”
Tom has also recently become Executive Director of the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program – a program that has had a long history of working with, and developing young Zetes.
“A great example of the strength of our Zeta Psi brotherhood is from our involvement with the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program (“WSFP”). Originally founded by Rear Admiral [Ret.] James J. Carey, a past Phi Alpha, this program attracts young professionals looking to start a career in DC. WSFP recruits promising future leaders, offers practical professional training, and places them with top DC internships in public service and policy. This program does not restrict itself to only benefitting Zetes, but I have been humbled by the generosity of the Zeta Psi Educational Foundation’s contributions and the support of our donors and volunteers who are Zeta Psi’s brothers or friends.
This network improved my life when I participated in the program as a scholar during summer 2016. Through the guest speakers which WSFP engaged, I learned from experts in the fields of communication, networking, and professional presentation. During my internship, I had the opportunity to work on interesting projects in public service which have furthered my career. Finally, the network of Washington Scholars has helped me connect with professionals across DC and settle in my new home here. I would have never connected with WSFP if Zeta Psi did not lead me to other alumni of the program such as Matt Carnovale and Kyle Breckenridge. Today, I hope to give back as a volunteer to the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program as its recently named Executive Director. It is my aim to offer transformative experiences to new scholars and train more leaders in the same vision of our brother, Rear Admiral [Ret.] James J. Carey.”