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 Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.’s Mu Omicron Sigma Chapter on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and did an interview with Kia Proctor 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. Kia Proctor, who works as a communications specialist, has been in the position of Basileus for one year.
We interviewed Proctor, who is a University of Maryland Eastern Shore (Nu Delta Chapter) Fall 2017 initiate of Sigma Gamma Rho 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?
Since joining Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. I have been intentional about taking an active role. During my undergraduate career, I served in multiple capacities including undergraduate chapter president. Our previous Basileus, Valerie Harris, did an amazing job chartering the chapter and setting the foundation. I felt that I had a lot to offer the chapter in terms of both dedication and new, innovative ideas. I wanted to see our chapter grow, not only in membership numbers, but in our presence on the Shore.
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?
I believe the most impactful initiatives we have on the calendar for the upcoming year are our Project Cradle Care initiative in which we plan to donate baby items to a first-time mom who has a baby on our organization’s founders’ day (Nov. 12), our Youth Symposium held on March 9, 2024, which will be a program geared toward young women with the theme “I am Fearless,” and the partnership we plan to establish with the Department of Juvenile Services where we host programing for young women who are in the detention center in Salisbury.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
My interest in Greek life was prompted by my desire to do more for the community. Although I was already participating in community service on an individual level, I wanted to branch out and connect with likeminded people. I did research on all the D9 organizations and Sigma Gamma Rho stood out to me as the organization’s focus on education aligned with my values and interests.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The most unique thing about Mu Omicron Sigma is the membership body. We have women from various professions and walks of life and with different Sigma experiences. Many of them do not live in our service area (the Eastern Shore of MD) but have ties to the region and are passionate about our illustrious organization and the work we do in the community.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Many of our chapter members, including myself, joined our organization through the undergraduate chapter we advise (Nu Delta). Therefore, we provide a lot of support in various ways. My vice president and I often attend the undergraduate chapter meetings to give our input, suggestions, and guidance. Other members have provided encouragement and mentorship to our younger Sorors. Our chapter’s often hold joint events to take some of the planning and financial burden from our undergraduate Sorors.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
Because there is so much physical distance between our members, it can be difficult for us to find time to meet in person. One committee that we created last year was the Sister Social Committee (a brilliant idea suggested by Soror Lisa Musgrove) a committee that works to carry out the events that strengthen sisterhood and focus on member development. Another idea we have adopted this year is “Golden Service Saturdays” where all of our members dedicate themselves to service with their sisters. We pick a volunteer activity to participate in and those of us on the Shore get together and those across the bridge pick a similar activity and get together amongst themselves. Although we are doing service in 2 locations, we are able to include those near and far.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
The greatest advice I would give is to be willing to listen and compromise. As leaders, we often have our own vision and goals for our chapter and its members. However, people stay where they feel they are heard and valued. From my experience, members are more willing to volunteer their time and talents this when they are appreciated and shown that no one’s voice is more important than someone else’s.
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?
I believe that mentorship has played a significant role in where I am (and who I am) today. There are several women who have made an impact on my life but support and guidance from Dr. LaKeisha Harris and Dr. Malkia Johnson have propelled me forward the most. I met Dr. Harris back in 2017 as an interest. Declaring interest in an organization can be exciting but also anxiety inducing. However, when I met her, she welcomed me (and the rest of my TORCH sisters) with open arms. I immediately felt a sense of sisterhood and comfortability with her. As my advisor during my undergrad career, she helped me to refine my leadership skills, develop better interpersonal skills, and celebrated my accomplishments in all aspects of life. She has continued to do so to this day. Over the past (nearly) 6 years, we have stayed connected in different capacities. First as advisor/advisee, then as co-advisors to the Nu Delta chapter, now as VP/president, friends, and true sisters. The second person who has been impactful also serves as a vice president in our chapter, Dr. Malkia Johnson. When I first met Dr. Johnson, the thing that stood out the most was that she was on fire to serve. I admired that she was always willing to step in to help in whatever capacity she could. Now, I know her better as a woman and she has shown that she leads with her heart in her career, in the chapter, and in her life outside the letters. Even though she is my VP, she has been an SGRho longer than I’ve been alive, and I’ve been able to learn so much directly through our hundreds of phone calls and indirectly through her actions. The support from Dr. Harris and Dr. Johnson empowered me to pursue the role of president and I wouldn’t be able to run the chapter without them. Both of these women are the type of woman I aspire to be: driven, selfless, down-to-earth, caring, and so much more.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I think Watch The Yard is important to black greekdom because the positives of the D9 can often be overshadowed by rumors, speculations, and stereotypes. Having a platform that highlights the good things we do is imperative not only for women and men who are interested in our organizations but for the world at large who look to us for community engagement and partnership.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
I love being an SGRho because it empowers me. I am encouraged to be myself, but also to grow as a woman. There is so much I’ve learned about myself, about sisterhood, and about the world as a result.
Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?
True sisterhood is lifelong and unwavering. Sisterhood truly transcends generations and is not bound to a specific age. I do not have biological sisters, but I have met women who have played the true part of a sister for (almost) 6 years and I know there will be a mutual love and support for a lifetime.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kia Proctor for her work as the Basileus of the Mu Omicron Sigma Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2018.
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