PM360 recently spoke to Lori Hancock, Director Oncology Multichannel Integration Team, Merck, about maintaining a sisterhood formed in college over the course of 30 years.

Lori, third from the right, and her friends enjoyed the beaches at Riviera Maya in Mexico in 2017.

PM360: You have maintained a friendship with a group of friends from college over the course of 30 years by taking trips to celebrate the anniversary of your meeting. How did this start?

Lori Hancock: It began when 12 dynamic women met at the University of Maryland in 1987 and we pledged our sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, together—we’ve been close ever since. After graduating, we started our careers and settled across the U.S. and Canada. We decided we would come together to celebrate the anniversary of pledging our sorority every five years. Of course, we would also meet up at life events like weddings. When we started having families, we would find times to bring them together, including for what we called Mommy/Sweetie weekends. Now that our children are grown, we decided to connect more frequently, so we try to get together every two years now.

How many trips have you taken over the years and where have you gone?

In addition to our local get-togethers, we have taken approximately five major trips together. We’ve been to Chicago, Toronto, South Beach in Miami, Montreal, and Mexico.

The group’s 2014 trip to Toronto.

What are each of these trips like?

We normally try to explore some of the city sights and culture. For instance, in Mexico we visited some of the historic ruins. We also do a lot of fun things like go bowling at Lucky Strike in Chicago and attend a Second City show in Toronto. Plus, we always have an evening where we talk about what’s going on in our lives, our families, and just reconnect on a personal level. It is also about uplifting and supporting ourselves as we go through different life events and helping each other get through the ups and downs of life.

Lori (center) and her friends visit Montréal in 2019.

Do you have the next trip picked? What is the process like for planning these things?

We are getting together for a wedding in June, so we’ll plan our next trip from there. Typically, we decide on a planning committee each year with a couple of people taking the lead to gather feedback, coordinate dates to make sure as many of us as possible can attend, and determine the best travel options.

Do you have any dream destinations?

I would love for us to travel to Africa. Maybe go on a safari together and enjoy the different cultural aspects as well as history of the country.

Do you ever envision an end date to these trips?

I don’t see an end date because it’s a great way to stay grounded, gain a little perspective from the people who know you best, and just share a sisterhood that is hard to find as you grow in life. It also allows us to renew our commitment to the reasons we joined the sorority in the first place—a dedication to community service, sisterhood, ourselves, and friendship.

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