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 Delta Sigma Sigma Chapter in Greensboro, NC/Guilford County, NC and did an interview with Turkesshia Moore 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. Turkesshia Moore, who works as a Senior Director for New Teacher Center, has been in the position of Basileus for over one year.
We interviewed Moore, who is a Fall 1998/Greensboro, NC 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?
I am the past First Anti-Basileus (First Vice President) of the chapter and in that position I was responsible for spearheading the chapter’s membership plan. After seeing our chapter grow exponentially, even through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was interested in continuing to strengthening all that we have been able to accomplish as a thriving chapter in the Piedmont Triad.
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?
We have mapped out our annual calendar of community service for our local area. We participate in four of our five international programs: Operation BigBookBag (OBB), Women’s Wellness Initiative, Project CRADLE Care, and our Annual Youth Symposium. Through OBB, we have been able to serve and impact over 1,000 students and their families with our school supply drives and support programs. We have had three community partnerships so far for OBB and hope to continue to support schools throughout the year through the program. Women’s Wellness is also a strong push in our chapter. We have also implemented a focus on the wellness of our own chapter members. We know that in order to serve others, we must be whole. We have planned sessions to occur throughout the year under the umbrella of DSS Academy, the professional development and training arm of our chapter.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
This is always an interesting question to answer and my answer might surprise some people. I had never heard of Sigma Gamma Rho before coming to college. All I knew of sororities was one of the other orgs and what I thought they represented. I say “God always knows.” He knew what I would need and what Sigma could offer me even when I didn’t know myself.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
One of the things is how we’ve grown so much, especially during the height of the pandemic when many organizations were struggling to maintain membership. Above all, we have endeavored to serve our community whether we had 18 and now that we have almost 80. While we are probably one of the smaller NPHC organization in our area, we were able to complete over 5,000 community service hours as a chapter between 2018 and 2022.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
We currently sponsor three undergraduate chapters: Gamma Chapter at North Carolina A&T State University, Nu Nu Chapter at Bennett College, and Omicron Eta Chapter at the University of NC at Greensboro. Our previous Basileus pushed strongly for us to advocate for and train our undergraduates. I have endeavored to continue that by making sure that training opportunities are available for our undergraduates as well as inviting them to many of our social events. We also try to support as many of their on-campus programs as possible.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
When you get a bunch of women together from different backgrounds, different histories, and different values, morals, and beliefs, you never really know what to expect. I can say that we have grown in fostering unit in our chapter, but we still have a ways to go. We continue to provide opportunities for members to participate in community service and attend social events to just have fun. We complete annual surveys to gather data on the types of service projects we want to do as a chapter, what social activities members are interested in, as well as measuring the temperature of the chapter. We use the data from the survey to plan our annual calendar and provide more specific professional development to member. This year, we are excited to implement affinity groups to provide additional outlets for members to gather and socialize.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
Leadership is not easy, but it’s worth it. I always encourage people to study and make sure you know what you’re talking about. I want to be sure that as I’m leading any group, that I can either find the answer myself or have someone on my board that can help with the answer. Leadership is a shared responsibility. No one person can lead everything or know everything. There’s so much that I still need to learn! Also, make sure you have people you can count on.
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 think mentorship is undervalued. I had to realize that mentors aren’t always older than you. My soror, Nichole McCall, does a great job of explaining the difference between a mentor, coach, and sponsor. I won’t plagiarize her words, but in hindsight, I think that I’ve had mentors who serve as guides and coaches who supported my efforts to grow. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a sponsor who would put themselves on the line for me and that’s probably because I haven’t asked. Other sorors who have made impact on me as mentors are Soror Naomi Jones (THE G.O.A.T.), Soror Minnie Evans (RIP), Soror Earline Sutton, Soror Toya Jacobs, and Soror Pamela Pryor Hardy. We have a soror in our chapter who is 99 years old. Soror Sarah Greenlee makes sure her dues are paid and that she can participate in meetings when she can. I want to be like her when I grow up! This list isn’t exhaustive, but these sorors have shown up for me in ways you wouldn’t imagine.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
People don’t always understand Greek life. They’ve seen movies and television shows, but that’s not always an accurate reflection of the day-to-day work it takes to keep our organizations running. I think it’s also important to note all of the service we do in our communities. We are the boots on the ground changing our communities one service project at a time.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
I do love it. I’m an educator and to be a part of an international organization founded by educators is something I’m very proud of. that On the international level, our sorority provided over two million hours of community service leading up to our Centennial celebration in July of 2022. Also, many of these ladies have become my sisters.
Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?
I have biological brothers and sisters so I wasn’t looking for additional siblings. Sisterhood is about having someone you can call on after the meeting is over when your life is falling apart and you can’t call your siblings. Sisterhood is about building a genuine friendship based on common goals. After induction, you become sorors. Through the good and bad, ups and downs, tears and laughter, sorors become sisters.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Turkesshia Moore for her work as the Basileus of the Delta Sigma Sigma Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1976.
Share this on Facebook and help us highlight Turkesshia Moore’s chapter.
Leadership Highlight2 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Michelle Banks the Basileus of Sigma Gamma Rho’s Gamma Omicron Sigma Chapter in Jacksonville
Leadership Highlight2 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Sharae Half Sharp the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta’s Sigma Psi Zeta Chapter in Fort Washington, Maryland
Deltas2 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Takija Gardner the President of Delta Sigma Theta’s Oakland East Bay Alumnae Chapter