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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Omega Psi Phi International Undergraduate Representative John Faison, Jr.

In an effort to shed light on the emerging young leaders assuming pivotal roles within Black fraternities and sororities on the national and international level in 2024, Watch The Yard is highlighting John Faison, Jr. who serves as an International Undergraduate Representative on the Supreme Council of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

A Spring 2021 initiate of the North Carolina A&T State University’s Mu Psi Chapter of the fraternity, Faison works as a Project Engineer for a General Contractor (Whiting-Turner).

In our conversation, we explore Faison’s position, aspirations, and the significance of leadership within his fraternity. 

Read our full interview below:

What motivated you to take on a role at the national level of your fraternity?

It was really the encouragement of my district and my prophytes. I honestly had no idea the position existed going into February 2022. Originally I had ran for 2nd Vice District Representative for my district but lost. After that I was encouraged to run for my current position.

What specific initiatives is the undergraduate council helping head up this year and how do you think they will improve local community or the broader Black community?

We are making sure we give our undergrads exposure for all the great things that they are doing. This helps by shining a light on our young Black brothers in a world where they are seen as less than. It also shows a younger generation how we all as undergraduates participate in the duplicity of the fraternity. Having fun, but also taking care of business.

What made you want to pledge Omega Psi Phi?

My dad is a member of the fraternity. He crossed over in the spring of 2000 through the Nu Psi chapter at Virginia State University. With that being said, I basically grew up and was raised by the bruhz. They were my first introduction to how Black men are supposed to carry themselves. I always wanted to join Omega Psi Phi since I was a kid so when I got to A&T, there was no confusion for me.

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

The mighty sixth district has never changed. On top of that we are very versatile. I don’t really know anything that our district can’t do.

How is your work on the national level providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?

The work is very rigorous. From being on calls to going to different places across the country to help out and support our undergrads, we are constantly on omega time. Although the work is hard, we definitely enjoy the connections and fellowship. We indulge in when at work.

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

The number one way for anyone to understand anybody is to listen. If both the younger and older generation would listen to each other while they talked, both sides could receive great insight and uplift. I have found that simply hanging around older members of the fraternity has benefited brothers. You listen to them and gain lots of wisdom and understanding. Once the brothers reciprocate this with younger brothers, it becomes an even exchange of information and understanding. This isn’t to say that this responsibility falls on one particular group, this is only to say that we all must listen to each other, and by listening, I mean listen to understand, rather than to talk back.

What advice would you give to aspiring undergrad leaders within Black fraternities and sororities who may aspire to take on roles of leadership on the national level?

Me personally, I would say at least care. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care if you have the want to serve and benefit others rather than yourself, that right there will propel you. After that, I would say, have a game plan coming in without a vision the people perish. With no sense of direction you will just wonder aimlessly through your term accomplishing nothing.

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 in so many ways. The job I have right now was referred to me by people in my corner, wanting to see me succeed even within the fraternity when I came in there were many older brothers, who welcomed me with open arms.

Many brothers within the fraternity have been mentors to me it’s too many for me to name them all. To name a few I would have to say my Dad, Bro. Shelvey Convert (Fall ‘85 Eta Sigma) , Bro. Jamison McLaughlin (Spring ‘01 Alpha Eta), & Bro. Rashaun Davis (Spring ‘02 Psi Zeta)

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

Black greekdom, especially the D9 community already is put in a negative light day by day from those on the outside. Watch The Yard highlights, the great things that our Black organizations are doing within the community. If you want to look for inspiration, images, or anything else pertaining to what Black greeks are doing, look no further than Watch The Yard.

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

The brotherhood and fellowship within Omega Psi Phi is very genuine. We don’t just say friendship is essential to the soul for no reason, you ACTUALLY feel it the moment you become a member. We pride ourselves on the friendships and bonds we build with our brothers. Of course, we may not agree all the time, but at the end of the day we understand that our friendship is way more important than a disagreement.

Lastly, what does brotherhood/sisterhood mean to you?

Brotherhood means to me selflessness. Once you master the act of putting others before yourself, you automatically personify the essence of what brotherhood is. At least, in my opinion.

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Our conversation with John Faison, Jr. offers a glimpse into the multifaceted world of leadership within Black fraternities and sororities in 2024. Faison’s dedication to his role as an International Undergraduate Representative on the Supreme Council of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. underscores the depth of commitment among young leaders in shaping the future of Black greekdom. Faison’s journey serves as a testament to the enduring relevance and impact of leadership in fostering growth, unity, and progress.

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