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 Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Phi Psi Zeta Chapter in Lewisville, TX serving Denton and Collin County and did an interview with Daphney Ford 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. Ford, who is a Leadership Development Consultant, is newly elected in the position of Basileus.
We interviewed Ford, who is a 2004 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 truly an honor to serve as president of Phi Psi Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I get to work alongside my sisters to implement various national initiatives throughout our community, while upholding our principles of scholarship, service, sisterhood, and finer womanhood. I’m thankful for the guidance of past presidents of Phi Psi Zeta, our Regional, State and National officers, and working together with current presidents of other chapters throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It is truly a community of support and sisterhood, and we are excited to continue the legacy of our Founders as we enter our Centennial year.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel) is a national service program in which we empower people from all walks of life, in our community, through mind, body and spirit. Phi Psi Zeta will continue to empower people in our community through various community service projects and scholarship programs and events. We have a robust scholarship program this year that is going beyond a college prep workshop, by educating the youth (elementary through high school) on different aspects of college throughout the year. We are also providing workshops to educate parents on preparing for college and tips on how to prepare for such a major change in their lives and the lives of their children. These events and programs will help children make smarter decisions, improve their writing skills and develop strong work ethics.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
I wanted to join Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. because their values and principles were very similar to mine and what I was taught growing up. I loved the support and sisterhood that I saw and felt from members of the organization before I became a member, but most importantly, I fell in love with the work that I saw them do in the community. I wanted to be surrounded by educated, community conscious women that were going to help me grow in my personal journey of becoming the woman that I am today, and the woman I aspire to be in the future.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
What makes Phi Psi Zeta Chapter unique are the members of the chapter. We all come with different life, educational and work experiences, and that has helped all of us grow. We are truly a family of sisters that provide an incredible support system for one another. We have a lot of members that have relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and at times it can be difficult to be so far away from family, and we became each other’s family because we understand the importance of needing that type of support. People always comment that we are very friendly, welcoming and sisterly.
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?
I would encourage alumni chapters across all organizations to embrace social media. If you have someone in your chapter that is knowledgeable about the different social media platforms, have them manage your social media. It is a way to go beyond your community to let people know what your chapter is doing and how they can support your initiatives. Post your community service, fundraising, and all of your organization’s events, as well as chapter members having fun and supporting other organizations. Show the world the unity that exists within the Divine 9.
What does leadership mean to you?
John C. Maxwell is an author that has written many books focusing on leadership that organizations use to develop their leaders. One of his quotes that resonates with me is “leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” My hope is that I influence the lives of the members of the chapter as much as they have influenced my life. Every conversation, interaction and moment I have with my sorority sisters, always teaches me something new. It inspires me, as well as, empowers me to continue to be a servant leader.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I think Watch The Yard is important because it highlights educated black men and women doing great things in the community. I love seeing highlights of college graduates, our men and women serving in the military, working in businesses, and having fun in college. It shows black men and women in a positive light supporting each other, and I think that’s really important to show in today’s society.
What does brotherhood/sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood to me is knowing that I have a family support system. It is knowing that I have a group of women that I can call on and ask for help and they will be there for me. We are an international organization, which means I have a friend wherever I may go. When I travel for work, I can post a note about where I’ll be and a group of my sorority sisters will meet me and show me their city. Whether it’s work or overall life situations, there’s always someone there to help and I make sure I pay it forward.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Even though we don’t have an undergraduate chapter that we sponsor, yet, we make an effort to support undergraduate chapters throughout. We attend their events, probates, provide scholarships and volunteer on all levels to show them support.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Daphney Ford for her work as the Basileus of the Phi Psi Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2008.