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 Lambda Upsilon Sigma Alumnae Chapter in Collin County, TX (including Allen, Plano, McKinney, Frisco) and did an interview with Sharlandria Shaw 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. Sharlandria Shaw, who works as a Regional Operation Manager, has been in the position of Basileus for two years.
We interviewed Sharlandria Shaw, who is a Fall 1991 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. (These answers have been edited for clarity)
What motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
It was the natural progression for vice president. I was the Grammateus before that and that where you get to learn about the operations of the chapter. I had a very good leader who made it clear that I was part of her succession plan which is key in a large chapter.
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?
This year’s platform is the The RHOyal R.E.S.E.T ( R³, ENGAGEMENT, SUCCESSION PLANNING, EDUCATION/EMPOWERMENT AND TRAINING and DEVELOPMENT) which will focus on: Recruitment, Retention, & Reclaimation the act of keeping something in place while adding greatness.
Engagement – Emotional connection one feels toward the chapter based upon individual interests and dedication to specific activities.
Succession Planning – Developing future leaders to effectively perform.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
I chose Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. because it was WHO I stood for; Service, Sisterhood and the act of GREATER progress. As dark as this picture I’ve posted, there was NOTHING dark about our SisterRHOod or our commitment about our love for Sigma Gamma Rho. We brought a beacon of LIGHT to the campus of UNT. We were intentional about our dedication to the organization. I love my parents my mom and dad for not knowing (they really did) what they were paying for (lol). It was TEN young women breaking the mold of what had been known before us and embarking on what was truly something different and special.
I want to share and reflect of Sigma Gamma Rho means to me. One of my fondest memories of my supportive father dropping of monies for me to make it happen and my mom getting my white dress ready for induction. You know they were so supportive of my decision and I’m GLAD about. Thank you Lecia Swan (OMEGA RHO) for the footwork, the encouraging words, your support and paving the way for Eta Alpha Re-chartering Fall’ 91. My life has never been the same and I’m forever grateful! Eeee-yip! On to 32 more years in the SisteRHOod!
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Being present, offering guidance and supporting the campus and professional goals.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
Monthly sisterhood activities and workshops before our chapter meetings. One special part of the year is the Rededication Ceremony!
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
Know what you stand for, whose you are, and align your morals and traditions to what will keep your “why” strong when you don’t have the energy to keep moving forward.
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?
My mentors are from all walks of life and experiences that allows me to continue to be rooted and grounded.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
It’s a platform for those who are curious about Greek life. It allows you to create long lasting friendships and networks that span across the world.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
It is me and I’m it. It allows me to do the work of Sigma Sisterhood, Scholarship and Service and not lose who I am. It makes for a good balance.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Sharlandria Shaw for her work as the Basileus of the Lambda Upsilon Sigma Alumnae Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2013.
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