Banking executive, Deborah Catchings-Smith, the Vice President of Operational Risk Management Governance at Citibank, has been elected to a two-year term as the international president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Catchings-Smith was born in Jackson, Mississippi and raised in Illinois. She attended the University of Illinois where studied business and finance and was inducted into the Epsilon Chapter of the sorority in 1978. In 2000, she took the position of Vice President of Operational Risk Management Governance at Citibank, a position that she has held for 16 years.
With over 34 years of leadership experience in the sorority, Catchings-Smith, has held numerous positions including the Basileus, Anti-Basileus, Grammateus, Anti-Grammateus, Tamiochus, Epistoleus, Nominations Chair, and Elections Chair on the local chapter level. She is currently affiliated with the Eta Mu Sigma Chapter in St. Louis where she is a charter member and the Charter Basileus. Catchings-Smith is also a supporting Life Member of the sorority.
As the new international president of the sorority, she has outlined her platform and plan for the future. This plan includes being, “laser-focused on identifying opportunities for collaboration within and outside the Sisterhood” and using fact-based decision making. She also plans to get the work of Sigma Gamma Rho, “done in the most effective and efficient manner possible.” As the VP of Operational Risk Management Governance at Citibank, she has stated that, “One of my strengths as a leader is designing and implementing effective processes that reduce duplication of efforts, rework, stress and burnout.” She also plans on increasing security of the financial and membership data increasing and promoting the culture of accountability within sorority.
“Each year, this Sisterhood impacts the lives of countless families in our community,”Catchings-Smith stated on her campaign website. “What do I see from those we touch? I see the warm embrace of gratitude, the smiles of understanding and joy, and the nod of approval.”
“I know firsthand the power of our Sisterhood,” she followed. “I have experienced your love so often. I have felt the strength of an extended hand. The extended hand of Sorors I know and have never met, who join with me on social media and at conferences as I celebrate the many milestones in my life. Those are the same hands that extended across the miles to pray with me, offering comfort when my husband was fighting for his life in the hospital. They celebrated his full recovery with me. Yes, this is the true essence of our Sisterhood.”
“I have a vision for our future and a plan to demonstrate our relevance to those outside our Sisterhood. I have a vision that includes you. I am your candidate with 20/20 Vision.”
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28 Rare Pictures Of What Pledging A Black Greek Org Looked Like Back In The Day
We have compiled a list of 28 rare pictures of what pledging a Black Greek fraternity/sorority looked like back in the day. We feel that these pictures honor NPHC history and give you a good look into the past. Enjoy!
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Black Sorority Members Speak On The Rise Of The D9 Blerd(Black + Nerd) Movement
The Blerd(Black + Nerd) community’s online presence has grown immensely over the last couple of years and has given a space for Black people across the globe to connect, form communities and showcase their passions and creativity to the world.
We knew that with the emergence of the Blerd movement, it was only a matter of time until members of Black fraternities and sororities would become visible. We were right, the time has come finally come where Black greekdom and the Black nerd lifestyle has intersected.
We at WatchTheYard.com recently came across the Instagram of @ccthegreekgeek a self-professed Blerd and proud 2008 initiate of Delta Sigma Theta’s Zeta Delta Chapter at Bowie State who had teamed up with other D9 sorority members to Blerd out and cosplay as characters from the Sailor Moon anime series.
“I LOVED Sailor Moon growing up. Its what got me into anime,” she told Watch The Yard. “I really identified with Sailor Mars, although I admired Jupiter as well. Mars fiery passion and blunt honesty was often misunderstood.
I decided to create a cosplay page that also offer a lens to the NPHC experience. When brainstorming my own cosplay ideas, I KNEW Sailor Mars would be toward the top of my list. Luisa (the AKA) was already on my team (she’s one of my best friends), so I thought it would be cute for her to cosplay Jupiter and take photos with me. After giving it further thought, I realized that there was pretty much a sailor Senshi whose colors were almost identical to the D9 Sororities colors.”
She teamed up with an AKA, Zeta and SGRho and they made an amazing cosplay team, holding it down for their beloved organizations, black nerds everywhere and some of their favorite anime characters all at the same time. There is one thing that we have got to say about Black greeks, if something includes their org’s colors, there is no doubt that they will show extra love to it and Sailor Moon was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
We were excited to find out that Black greeks are not only engaging and participating in Blerd community but they are also at the forefront of organizing it. It turns out that Blerdcon, the up-and-coming convention catering to the Black Nerd community is being run by a Delta(@ccthegreekgeek), and Alpha (@conmanhilton) and a Kappa(@cosplayhass).
As the center of the Black greek community online, we at WatchTheYard.com are excited to find ways to involve ourselves with this convention and we are announcing that we will be featuring Black greek cosplays both young and old on our website and Instagram pages every month. If you are a Blerd and a member of a D9 Org who cosplays or does something that you think our audience would find noteworthy within the Blerd community, please send us an email describing what you do with photos and you could get a chance to be featured on our site!
Check out the pictures below from the Sailor Moon cosplay photoshoot at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.!
AKA (Sailor Jupiter): Luisa Spencer
Initiated FA08, Eta Chapter, Bowie State. Bachelors in Psychology from Bowie State. BSN from the George Washington University. Full time nurse, part time health coach and triathlete. Star Wars Fanatic.
Delta (Sailor Mars): Chauna C. Lawson
From: Washington, DC (currently residing in Silver Spring, MD)
Initiated Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Zeta Delta Chapter, April 28, 2008. Bowie State University. BS in Sociology/Criminal Justice with a minor in Spanish, May 2009. Full-time, feminist/blacktivist for a private non-profit. Part-time wedding coordinator via MAPDJA, LLC. Founding member of @BlerDCon.
ZPhiB (Sailor Mercury): Kayla Pankey
Proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated Upsilon Mu chapter at Towson University Spring 2015. Graduated May 2016.
SGRho (Sailor Uranus): Crystal C. Drakeford
Proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. via BSU . Masters of Science in Management, Concentration Project Management, University of Maryland University College. Currently a Program Analyst for the Federal Government.
Photographer/Editor: @gizmo3squire / Make-up: @prettystaceface
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Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Named Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Named Presenting Sponsor of 2017 FINA World Junior Championships
The following is from a press release issued by the sorority.
INDIANAPOLIS – With just under 100 days to go until the world’s top 18-and-under swimmers open competition in Indianapolis, USA Swimming is pleased to announce the event’s presenting sponsor and officially kick off ticket sales for the 2017 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, presented by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Hosted by USA Swimming and United States Aquatic Sports, the event will be held at the iconic Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI from Aug. 23-28, and all-session, single-day and single-session tickets are on sale now at usaswimming.org. Single-session tickets start at $10 for children (12 and under) and $15 for adults.
Longtime USA Swimming partner Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. will serve as the presenting sponsor of the event, which will feature an early look at young athletes who will vie for positions on their respective nations’ Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 rosters.
“We are honored to welcome Sigma Gamma Rho on board as the presenting sponsor of this prestigious event,” said Mike Unger, USA Swimming’s Interim CEO. “USA Swimming is excited about expanding our Swim 1922 partnership with the Sorority through this event, and its commitment will help ensure a world-class competition in Indianapolis. Our organizing committee is hard at work putting together what will be a spectacular week for athletes and spectators.”
Swim 1922 is the partnership between USA Swimming and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. created to increase participation in the sport and minimize drowning rates within the African-American community by engaging local communities with swimming programming. Founded in 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis, Sigma Gamma Rho is an African-American Sorority whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for women and their families globally through community service, civil, and social action. Last year, they hosted 100 swimming events nationwide, logged in over 1,000 hours of community service hours related to swimming, with 2,500 swim lessons completed and 500,000 laps swam.
“We are honored to expand our five-year partnership with USA Swimming to include the exclusive sponsorship of the 2017 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships. As the only non-profit sorority involved in this world-class event, we look forward to helping USA Swimming and FINA bring attention to the benefits of swimming to increase participation and to decrease drowning rates around the world,” said Deborah Catchings-Smith, international president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.
Open to female athletes aged 14-17 and male competitors aged 15-18, the 2017 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, presented by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. will be the sixth edition of the prestigious competition which was first held in 2006 in Rio de Janeiro and hosted in 2015 in Singapore. Nearly 1,000 athletes from more than 100 countries are expected to compete in the six-day meet. Past competitors at the FINA World Junior Championships include Team USA Olympic medalists Ryan Murphy, Simone Manuel, Chase Kalisz, Josh Prenot and Kathleen Baker.
The United States entries will be selected based on the results of the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships, also slated for the Indiana University Natatorium from June 27-July 1. In 2017, 18 Americans have posted 26 world top-10 swims among 18-and-under athletes.
The historic Indiana University Natatorium has been host to some of the biggest swimming competitions contested, including U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Phillips 66 National Championships, Duel in the Pool, arena Pro Swim Series, NCAA Championships and the annual Indiana State High School Association Championships.
The last time the United States hosted a FINA World Championships competition was also in Indianapolis with the 2004 World Championships (25m) at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Fédération Internationale de Natation, founded in 1908, is the governing body for aquatics worldwide. FINA’s five discipline Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Diving, Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming – are all included in the Olympic programme. High Diving made its first appearance in FINA events at the 2013 FINA World Championships. FINA counts 207 affiliated National Federations on the five continents and has its headquarters in Lausanne (SUI).
About USA Swimming
As the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 400,000-member service organization that promotes the culture of swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. Our membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team, as well as coaches and volunteers. USA Swimming is responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Olympic Games, and strives to serve the sport through its core objectives: Build the base, Promote the sport, Achieve competitive success. For more information, visit www.usaswimming.org.
About Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Seven educators founded Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. on November 12, 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sorority has more than 500 chapters in the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Korea and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is the mission of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. to enhance the quality of life for women and their families in the U.S. and globally through community service, civil, and social action. Our goal is to achieve greater progress in the areas of education, health awareness, and leadership development. Our members, affiliates, staff, and community partners work to create and support initiatives that align with our vision.
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