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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Darcell Norwood-Baugh the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta in Alsip, Illinois

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 Tau Psi Zeta Chapter in Alsip, Illinois and did an interview with Darcell L. Norwood-Baugh 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. Norwood-Baugh has served as Basileus for one year.

We interviewed Norwood-Baugh, 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?

As one of the first initiates of Tau Psi Zeta Chapter, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the President. Especially heading into our Centennial Year, which will make my term even more special . During the beginning of my term, I was very nervous because of the size of the chapter. I knew much would be required for a large chapter. But I have been blessed to have access to a diverse group of leaders with over fifty year of experience to assist me in preparing for the role and challenges thrown my way.

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

Charity is said to begin at home. Our chapter is fortunate to serve Alsip, IL, which is part of greater Chicago area. As a working, active chapter, we have a wide runway in which to make a local impact. This fall season you can see Tau Psi Zeta Chapter in action at service events like the ALS Walk, the Redeeming Grace Food Pantry in Roseland, Adopt-A-Highway, and Making Strides of South Suburban. We are also fortunate to have international partnerships with our Sorors in the Bahamas. Our outreach to them will become critical in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. I encourage all of my NPHC brothers and sisters to keep the Bahamas in your prayers and plans for outreach

What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is the only sorority that stood out to me because I align with the principles. While in Undergrad the members of Lambda Epsilon Chapter were very down to earth and trailblazers on the campus and surrounding communities. Although I did not join while in college,I always aligned myself with the members. Upon my return to Chicago, I started searching for a Graduate Chapter to join. There were several chapters to chose from but I heard about a new chapter merging. As a person that likes to be the first, I fell in love with joining a new chapter. So, I inquired and was initiated into Tau Psi Zeta Chapter after three months following their charter.

Credit: Darryl Hammond

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

Our chapter, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Tau Psi Zeta Chapter Alsip, IL, celebrates its 15th anniversary on September 22, 2019. In that span of time, TPZ has emerged as the largest graduate chapter in our international sisterhood with nearly 300 members. We also currently hold the record for the largest intake group, the 24 women of Nu Class. Numerous Sorors continue to reclaim their membership in our organization through TPZ. Numbers are certainly wonderful. However, a large part of TPZ’s success can be attributed to our devotion to service and the work of Zeta. Leaders and aspiring leaders have numerous opportunities to hone their talents through the many projects that are available.

We have dubbed ourselves as the Pearl Zone as we strive to be in a unique lane unto ourselves, while exhibiting our principles of service, sisterhood, scholarship, and finer womanhood. We are humble enough to always lean on each other, but strong enough to lead by example. TPZ is always highlighted and gains attention for exceeding expectations. We view being the largest graduate chapter as a blessing, notblessing not a burden. Give TPZ a task and our Sorors will always find a way to do things differently and with great style.

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 think alumni chapters have to remember to utilize social media as tool to help grow their chapter as well as the organization. In this day and age, the digital world is key to everything. People use it reconnect, promote businesses, share great moments, etc. Instead of always posting pictures, chapters could start posting more videos of the service we provide to the communities. This helps those interested in joining your organization see what you do as a chapter in instead of only seeing party footage.

Alumni chapters must represent themselves in a positive light at all times because people are always watching. Chapters should represent themselves online how they want others to perceive them, but how you represent yourself is how you should be in person as well.

What does leadership mean to you?

The term leadership can be defined in so many ways, but becoming president I learned the true meaning. I define leadership as having the social influence to maximize the efforts of others towards the achievement of a goal. As President of a large chapter, it’s also important to organize the efforts to effectively work thru the plans.

Credit: Darryl Hammond

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

Since its launch in 2014, Watch The Yard has quickly filled a niche for those interested in black collegiate culture. Greekdom, as defined by the National Panhellenic Council, has always been essential to that celebration, conversation, and the advancement of our culture as a people, nationally and internationally. It is wonderful to know that Watch The Yard embraces its mission and is dedicated to capturing every moment possible.

What does brotherhood/sisterhood mean to you?

Sisterhood is knowing you will always have a sister to support you. My sisters are the people that are there to celebrate my triumphs and see me through my struggles. It’s more than friendship. It’s a bond that transcends race, religion, age, background and way of life. It’s finding unconditional love in the most unexpected people. It’s the comfort in knowing that no matter where you find yourself in life, you will always have a sister that has my back.

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

As a chapter sponsoring two undergrad chapters (Omicron Delta & Nu Delta), we support these young ladies by providing each of them with Charms also known as mentors. Charms are provided to each of the young ladies to guide and help them throughout their undergrad years and beyond. Both the mentor and mentee form a bond within and outside of Zeta, which allows them relax and be themselves with one another. This forms a relationship that will be ever lasting.

Also, each year we hold an Undergraduate Retreat. This retreat gives us the opportunity to teach our undergrads how a Zeta should carry and represent herself at all times, the correct way to run meetings, understanding bylaws and bonding activities. etc. The retreat allows the undergrads to speak openly about their concerns and expectations they have for themselves and their chapter.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Darcell Norwood-Baugh for her work as the Basileus of the Tau Psi Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2004.

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