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Leadership Highlight: Kappa Alpha Psi’s North Central Province Polemarch Darren Adams

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading Black fraternity life across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.’s North Central Province which includes Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota and did an interview with Darren Adams the North Central Province Polemarch.

The position of Province Polemarch in Kappa Alpha Psi is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Adams, who works as a Director of Operations & Finance, was just appointed North Central Province Polemarch in July 2023 but had served as Senior Province Vice Polemarch for 6 years before that.

We interviewed Adams, who is a Fall 1989 – Alpha Delta Chapter initiate of his fraternity and talked to him about his 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 North Central Province Polemarch?

I have always had a heart to serve and lead. From the time I joined JROTC in high school, I always felt like I had good ideas and people often asked me for my input on certain events and activities. So one day when I was attending one of our Province Council meetings, I saw and heard the function of Past Province Polemarch Eldridge T Freeman Jr. and was thoroughly impressed with his knowledge and execution of the rules of our organization and Roberts Rules of Order. This on top of the respect that was given to him by all Brothers, made me say that is a Brother I would like to try and mimic my Kappa career behind. Therefore, I made the decision to pursue higher levels of responsibilities in our Noble Klan and thereby I have the honor and Privilege today to serve in the same position he held as North Central Province Polemarch.

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?

Well as a new Province Polemarch, I have numerous ideas and initiatives I would like to undertake. The first and most important task in my opinion if to assemble a team of Brothers that have the desire to lead, perform and execute on the initiatives we set forth as a team. The Platform I am undertaking for my administration is “Upliftment of the Brothers, Upliftment of the Brand and Upliftment of the Community”. I believe in focusing on these three pillars, we can accomplish some great things.

Now specifically on each one:

Upliftment of the Brothers – Kappa Alpha Psi and specifically the North Central Province has some stellar achievers in our ranks and I desire to highlight these Brothers at every opportunity I get. We have CEO’s, States Attorneys, Political leaders and I plant to let our community and the work know about these members. The greatest form of flattery is imitation. We desire for all our Brothers to know that they to can accomplish these great things and realize your have role models and mentors waiting to assist.

Upliftment of the Brand – As we know there is truly a negative narrative out there right now on Greek letter organizations with the overall question being, do they still serve a purpose? The answer is a resounding YES. I believe in creating your own narrative. Therefore, through all forms of social media, print, radio, television, our plan is to let the world know what Kappa is doing. This is not a search for glory, but an informative way to write the forthcoming history of our organization and for those that may become future Brothers of our organization to feel pride in seeing their Brothers and themselves in a positive light.

Upliftment of the Community – This is THE most important pillar for my focus and that of my administration. We want to make significant impacts in everything we do. For example, we have an upcoming Conference in October to train, retrain and educate our Brothers on various items pertaining to fraternal operations and leadership fundamentals. While at this conference we will also make an effort to maximize on our new Fraternity partnership with The Red Cross and leaving a lasting impression on the community in which we are in. We will be focusing on not only doing a local blood drive in that community, but we are also planning to go bigger. The North Central Province has 51 active chapters in our Province and we will therefore be doing 51 simultaneous Blood Drive throughout the 5 states we serve all on the same day and at the same time. This is just one example of the type of impact we plan to make for our community. An additional focus will be for this event is to see where we can possibly affect the black community in this endeavor as well.

What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?

In high school I had my first introduction to Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, inc. I was sure I wanted to be like the great teachers, educators and administrators I saw. When I went to college and saw my opportunity to join, I was steadfast on my mission. I did go to a Greek Symposium put on by the school to see what the other organizations were like, but my mind was already made up. I have tons of friends that are part of other organizations, but my heart, body and soul has always sought out Achievement in every field of Human Endeavor. I Nupe I am and a Nupe I will forever be!!!

What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?

So, leading the North Central Province is nothing short of an honor. I say so for many reasons to include the fact that the NCP is the Birthplace of Kappa Alpha Psi, Indiana University, in Bloomington Indiana. This Province has so much history and achievement to follow behind its almost intimidating, however, I’m a NUPE so I never get intimidated. The NCP has more single letter Chapters in the Province than any other Province in our Fraternity. As well we have more founders buried here in our Province than anywhere else. Also, the Brothers of the NCP are truly special. They are great group of Brothers that fight together, worship together and most importantly Serve the community together. Lastly, our Grand Polemarch (National President) Jimmy McMikle is originally from the NCP, as well as our Junior Grand Vice Polemarch (Highest Undergraduate in the Fraternity is also from the North Central Province. We make and create the best. NCP leads from the front!

How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?

This is one of the shining moments for the North Central Province. We have created numerous avenues of support for our undergraduate Brothers. Starting with the NCP Tax Holiday. This is an initiative that was formulated here in the North Central Province. To operate a chapter on an annual basis can be very costly, so we have developed programs and initiatives to alleviate some of the financial burden on these Brothers. Secondly, we have several activities and events that purposefully direct funds towards undergraduate support. We have also built in other financial mechanisms to make sure we support our undergraduate Brothers. Outside of the financial support, we also have several programs such as the achievement academy to assist our Brothers in personal and professional development. I leave you with this, keep an eye on the NCP as we have some new things coming down the runway soon.

How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?

My desire is to create opportunities and avenues for us to come together on a common cause. When Brothers are laser focused on a mission or a task for the greater good, it is a natural developer of unity and camaraderie. Social events, but also working on community service which help to shine a positive light on the Brothers, make every feel better out who you are and what you do and belonging to an organization that was and is a part of that.

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your fraternity/sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?

My advice is to focus on the people you are serving, The Brothers, and not on oneself. Leadership is not about self-glory, it’s about the Glory of others. if you keep others in the forefront, your mind, you will be truly successful. Your heard must be in the right place because if you are doing this for self-glory, you will not be satisfied with your end result.

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?

This has been a cornerstone in my Kappa life. From my Undergraduate Advisor back at Fisk University, Brother Steve Handy who not only taught us about handling the business of Kappa, but he also talked to me back in 1989 about being a good man, Brother and husband. I actually called him last year to just thank him for pouring into me a while lot more than he could have imagined and I am ever so grateful. One of my closest mentors is a quite giant Brothers Art Thurman and Bob Engram. They are both members of the Maywood Wheaton Alumni Chapter of which I a member of here in Chicago. They’ve shown me leadership, humility and grace inside and outside of Kappa. I likely would not be in this position without them. To them both I say YO! Finally, I take the responsibility of mentoring others very seriously, as you are guiding and shaping other people lives, so I do it with love!

Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?

The evolution of social media has been transformative in our world as we see it today. As I always believe, we need to have control of our own narrative. With a phenomenal platform such as “Watch the Yard”, we can do just that. We expect the facts and the truth in its rawest form. I am grate for the platform you have created and look forward to a long and evolving relationship between our communities.

Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?

I love being a member of Kappa Alpha Psi because It guides me in purpose on a daily basis. Next to my daily walk with God who is my shining light and navigator in this life, the principles of Kappa help guide me step by step in this journey we call life. I couldn’t think of a better Group of Brothers to walk through life with. We are the Nupes! Enough said!

Lastly, what does brotherhood mean to you?

Brotherhood to me means looking out for one’s Brother more than looking out for yourself. The Bond of Kappa Alpha Psi is about the “Relationship” of likeminded individuals in pursuit of a common cause and goal. Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor!

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Darren Adams for his work as the North Central Province Polemarch.

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