In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorority sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.’s Upsilon Epsilon Omega Chapter in Catonsville, MD (Baltimore County) and did an interview with Kendra Brown the Basileus of the chapter.
The position of Basileus/president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Brown, who works as a Vice President – Public Policy (Mastercard) and Maryland State Advisory Committee Chair- U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has been in the position of Basileus for 4 years.
We interviewed Kendra Brown, who is a February 2008 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
I was motivated to take on the role due to the impact I felt our chapter could continue to forge in the community and also in our sisterhood.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
With the theme Soaring to Greater Heights of Service and Sisterhood, the 2022-2026 administration seeks to build upon Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s rich legacy of service by galvanizing our sisterhood of more than 120,000 active members to lead on the front lines of change, education, and advocacy. Currently, UEO has partnerships with several schools in the Baltimore County Community through the Childhood Hunger Initiative Power Pack (CHIPP) Program and the Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), both taking place within our Empowering our Family Program Initiative. Additionally, through Our Enhance our Environment Program Initiative, we have partnered with local community organizations and schools to plant trees, plant community gardens, and host Shred Day events for waste reduction and recycling. These initiatives, in addition to others, will improve the local community by mentoring our Youth, feeding children across the county and through environmental restoration.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
I wanted to join Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated as I lead a life committed to service and I wanted to join with others who shared the same commitment in order to positively impact the community.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The chapter has a diverse background of members of many ages and backgrounds making it a chapter with something for everyone. From service opportunities to engaging Sisterly Relations events and our leadership development program—UEO University—we consistently offer substantive programming designed to uplift and empower.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
We supervise the Tau Theta Chapter on the campus of Stevenson University. The Graduate Advisory Council as well as the Graduate Advisor and Assistant Graduate Advisor assist with the programming and planning of Tau Theta’s events and also serves as mentors to the chapter members.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
An approach I find effective in fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among members is really meeting members where they are. Building our sisterly bonds is a goal of all members of our Chapter. As the Chapter President, I work with our Chapter leadership to ensure our efforts have a key focus throughout the programmatic year to innovatively build unity and camaraderie.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
The advice I would give is to be sincere in your path, know the history of your organization as it helps to guide your path and know how the work your chapter is undertaking meets the needs of your local area and the global efforts of the organization.
How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?
Mentorship has helped me get to where I am today. My chapter is in the North Atlantic Region and we have tremendous leaders in the North Atlantic region. Additionally, our International Directorate has wonderful and innovative leaders, including or current and former International Presidents. Finally, my professional background has always included working with Congressional leadership so I am appreciative of the mentoring provided to me by the Members of Congress who are members of my sorority.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
It is important to share the impact sororities and fraternities have in the community and how they add to the tapestry of our nation and globe.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
I love being a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated because it was formed at a time when higher education was not easily attainable for African Americans. Additionally, those who began our organization were only one generation removed from slavery and were sensitive to the needs of underserved communities. Because of this legacy of service, we continue to be of “Service to all Mankind” today, standing strong on our bonds of sisterhood, leadership, scholarship, civic engagement and public service.
Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?
To me, sisterhood is uniting for the common cause of service and empowering our members in order to forge continued impact.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kendra Brown for her work as the Basileus of the Upsilon Epsilon Omega Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1994.
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