Leadership Highlight: Meaghen Kelleybrew, Basileus of Sigma Gamma Rho’s Alumnae Chapter in Conway, Arkansas
In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorors of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.’s Kappa Xi Sigma Alumnae Chapter in Conway, Arkansas and did an interview with Meaghen Kelleybrew 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. Kelleybrew, who is a Licensed Attorney and Law Clerk for 6th Judicial District, 5th Division Circuit Court, has served in the position of Basileus for six years.
We interviewed Kelleybrew, who is a Spring 2012 initiate of her sorority, 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 does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
For me, being a chapter president means being knowledgeable of our International, Regional and Local bylaws and guiding the chapter in meeting the assessed needs of its members and surrounding community it serves. It means connecting with and bringing together many different faces, personalities, and backgrounds. It means making tough decisions in an effort to serve in the most effective way. It means continuing the legacy of excellence of the sorors who served in this capacity before me and giving inspiration to the sorors who will carry the torch long after I am gone.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Kappa Xi Sigma’s highlighted initiatives this year includes the Sisters United initiative and support of March of Dimes in the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Both initiatives fall under our sorority’s overarching initiative Project Reassurance: Healthy choices, Healthy living, and Healthy generations. Kappa Xi Sigma holds near and dear to its heart the partnership and support of Conway Cradle Care. Conway Cradle Care is where our passion meets purpose. Conway Cradle Care provides free childcare for teen parents to encourage them to continue achieving their goals. Kappa Xi Sigma hosts Safe to Sleep Showers to educate young parents and their support systems on ways to prevent SIDS, as well as, provide them with safety tips for prenatal- and postpartum care. This initiative improves the surrounding community by ensuring that the little ones’ bright futures have a fighting chance from conception into adulthood.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
I have always walked my own path and followed my own convictions, whether in sports, values, education, choice of career, even fashion. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.’s foundation in education, service, and sisterhood spoke to my inner passions. Its members left a lasting impression on me that Sigma life was not about fitting the popular mold but about celebrating my individuality, pursuing the best version of me and trailblazing! Long story short, joining Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. was like coming home.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
My chapter is small but mighty and resilient! In the six years I’ve been blessed to serve as Basileus, Kappa Xi Sigma has grown from only a few members at reactivation in 2012 to a current 20 members. We are comprised of a plethora of professions: law, nursing, art, accounting, etc.—and you guessed it—education! No matter the chosen field in this chapter, at heart, we are all educators in our own way and are careful to pass down what we know to younger generations. We range in ages and backgrounds; for Kappa Xi Sigma that means the wisdom, fresh ideas and energy is balanced. This allows us to do what we can to make a positive impact in a small city where we are a minority and underrepresented.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Alumni chapters across all orgs need to be open to increasing their online and social media presence. I would like to see an influx of uplifting and celebratory posting. The public is interested in knowing not only the chapter as a whole but also those who makes up your alumni chapter. While it is of the utmost importance, we must not be afraid to show more than the business side of membership. Highlight your members individually and who they are as people. The digital age means immediate access to information; with that in mind, I encourage my fellow alumni to be intentional in your content and strategic in your outreach.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me means seeing the collective whole but remembering the individual. It means giving credit but taking the blame. It means being approachable, teachable, emotionally intelligent, empathetic and most of all leading by example. If I ask my chapter members to do it, know that I am right beside them in the trenches doing the same actions I ask of them.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is important because it highlights the positive aspects of greek life. In a world that magnifies flaws and dissension among black greeks, Watch the Yard continues to uplift all organizations, their chapters and individual members. It looks to display the real work being done in communities by black greeks. It is a space that I hope continues to promote unity.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood is more than being a fair-weather friend. Sisterhood is love in action. It is seeing a sister in need and doing what you can to help her. It is having your sister’s back. It is correcting your sister in love. It is sharing a meal, supporting accomplishments and counseling failures. It is being an ear, a hug, and an encouragement. It is being a cohesive unit in furtherance of our common love for our beloved organization.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
The most obvious provision is financial. And while we do assist and support them financially, the support of greater importance is that our undergrads see us. Kappa Xi Sigma is sure to have grad sorors at any and every event Lambda Xi participates in. They literally see and feel their support. We are intricately involved in their development as young women. The undergrads know they can call me (or any of my chapter members) if they need anything. Support can range from providing a meal, a hug, a prayer, allowing them to vent, offering tutoring and academic advising, or just confirmation that they are on the right path. Whatever is needed, we provide that support to them.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Meaghen Kelleybrew for her work as the Basileus of the Kappa Xi Sigma Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2007.