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 Rho Xi Zeta Chapter in Cobb County, GA and did an interview with Elise Mason 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. Mason, who is a Brand Advisor at Delta Airlines, has served in the position of Basileus for one year.
We interviewed Mason, who is a Spring 1990 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?
To me being a Chapter President is a position of honor. As a charter member of the Remarkable Rho Xi Zeta Chapter, it is important that I leave a legacy for others to follow. As a Chapter President, I strive to be diligent, hard-working, and a role model to my sisters. While in this role I utilize my leadership and organizational skills to enhance the chapter’s success. It takes servant leadership, integrity, and honesty to carry on the legacy of our Founder’s to be in a role as important as Chapter President.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Rho Xi Zeta Chapter has implemented various initiatives to help our community. We’ve focused on providing Mental Health training for our youth population to help students struggling with depression and other mental issues. We are hosting writing workshops for high school students to help them fill out scholarships to better promote themselves. This past August we hosted a Health Fair and Teacher Supply Drive to support various populations in the community. Later this Spring, we will be hosting an event geared towards providing information about Sex Trafficking and Exploitation to educate people on ways to stop and prevent this rising issue, especially in Atlanta. Knowledge and training are critical ways of making a change to the community by educating them on how to combat public health issues.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
Let’s go back to 1989, growing up in a West Indian household in Brooklyn, NY I knew nothing about sororities. Johnson and Wales University hosted an event that allowed you to meet all organizations on the campus. I remember walking in the gym as a freshmen feeling lonely and lost. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Did I want to join an organization?” The one thing I knew for sure, I was not going to join any sorority but boy I was wrong. I met the ladies of the Soooo Sweet Sigma Nu Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporates as I was walking around the gym. They were all so friendly and pleasant. They asked me if I knew anything about sororities and I said, no! They started to share what they do in the community and the founding principles of the organization. The biggest thing that stuck with me was the love they had for each other and myself. They took me under their wings and truly treated me as a little sister. They would check on me, show me around town, help with school assignments, help me find internships, and my resume just to name a few.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The one thing that makes us so unique is the diversity in our chapter. We appreciate and accept everyone’s differences. We welcome all ages and aspects of life. Our chapter ranges from members joining from 1979 to 2018. We are professionals in all areas of the workforce from Doctors, libraries, Managers, Directors, Finance, Engineering, and Teachers just to name a few.
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?
Over the years social media has grown and become the number source of communication. Alumni chapters will benefit from increasing their Social Media presence to reach out to a larger audience. I think all organizations need to have a Public Relations Committee that handles all of their Social Media. It is a great way to network and inform the people what your organization is doing in the community.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me means motivating and inspiring others to achieve a common goal. As a leader, you have to be able to teach and mentor others, build strong relationships, and solve problems. I must be able to challenge myself and be humble. I have to be able to uplift people, ask for help, and listen to others’ ideas and opinions. I feel that it is important to develop activities and outings that build trust, boost morale, and increase participation among chapter members.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important to Black Greekdom because it allows individuals to see the positive things we are doing in the community whether it’s an Undergraduate Chapter or Graduate Chapter. Although the Divine Nine is made up of different organizations, it’s a group of professional people that all have similar goals – Scholarship, Serving the Community, and either Brotherhood or Sisterhood. Watch The Yard allows us to showcase our different talents and uniqueness.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood to me means creating a bond with females who share common goals and interests. It is about building friendships and a support system. Sisterhood is coming together with women of various backgrounds who will push each other to reach their greatest potential. It means holding one another accountable for our actions and true to our promises.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
We provide financial support to ensure our Undergrads can attend conferences on all levels. We provide sisterly support to ensure our Undergrads have rides to meetings as well as attend their campus activities and graduations. We are available to them emotionally and strive to create an atmosphere where they can feel comfortable to converse openly and honestly. We provide educational support by offering training and helping them with their transition into Graduate chapters.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Elise Mason for her work as the Basileus of the Rho Xi Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1999.