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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Barbara Foushee The Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta’s Eta Phi Zeta Graduate Chapter in Chapel Hill, NC

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the world, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorors of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Eta Phi Zeta Graduate Chapter in Chapel Hill, NC and did an interview with Barbara M. Foushee 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. Foushee, who is a Senior Technologist working in Molecular Oncology, recently took over the position of Basileus for the chapter.

We interviewed Foushee, who is a Fall 1985 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?

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the President of my Graduate Chapter. I look upon myself as a leader/facilitator in this role, allowing my Chapter Sorors to be a part of every decision that is made. It also means that my Chapter Sorors have faith in me to do this job to the best of my ability.

What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?

The chapter has laid out its calendar through the end of 2019 and we have a variety of projects on our plate. We have hosted a Back to School Bash, will attend the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet, put on a fundraiser for our scholarship fund, recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month through a project in the community, recognize Prematurity Awareness Month and assist needy families during the holiday season. This type of programming reaches deep within our community and provides assistance to community members in some key areas.

What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?

In one word, the Sisterhood, also our founding principles aligned pretty closely with my own value system. We are a very close group of Sorors and share a very unique bond with our constitutionally-bound brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. I was introduced to the Blue and White Family as a Sigma Dove during my Freshmen year of college and got to witness the very close bond between our brothers and the Sorors.

What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?

Our chapter is comprised of dynamic women from all walks of life which gives the chapter a very high level of creativity and professionalism. We understand and respect each other; we also strive to keep the lines of communication open so as not to have confusion and disagreements. We support each other inside and outside of Chapter meetings/activities.

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?

We have to continue to have a social media presence, this is the world that we live in now as technology has taken over. This is the most expedient way for folks to know what you are doing, that you exist and that you are functioning as an organization. When we share on Facebook, tweet on Twitter or post on Instagram; it reaches hundreds of folks which is great publicity!

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me is having vision and being able to place the welfare of others before your own. It does involve a level of influence on others but for me the primary goal is to direct and facilitate, allowing chapter members to have “a say” in most chapter decisions. It is also important to me to promote harmony and cohesiveness within the chapter.

Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?

It is important because of the way Watch The Yard showcases Black Greek Life on and off college campuses. Our Black Greek organizations have a unique history and significance and I love the way this is displayed on Watch The Yard. It is a constant reminder that the Divine 9 has been, still is and will always be relevant. Also appreciative of the way Watch The Yard showcases Black History in general.

What does brotherhood/sisterhood mean to you?

Sisterhood is everything to me, the bond that the Sorors of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated share is second to none! I know that I can count on these women for love and support at any time. Sisterhood is one of our founding principles and it is exemplified throughout our beloved sorority. A sworn obligation to be there for each other…on the shield.

How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?

In the past, we have supported our undergraduate Sorors by embellishing and leading them. We participated with them through service projects, fundraisers and our MIP process. Our graduate chapter has always provided the utmost support for our undergrads in every way possible. They are our future…

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Barbara M. Foushee for her work as the Basileus of the Eta Phi Zeta Graduate Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1974.

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