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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Kayla Simone Harding the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta at Christopher Newport University

In an effort to highlight the young leaders who are leading undergraduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorors of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.’s Phi Xi Chapter at Christopher Newport University and did an interview with Kayla Harding the Basileus/president of the chapter.

The position of Basileus/president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black sorority is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 19-year-old Harding has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around her.

We interviewed the Psychology major and talked about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership on campus in the digital age.

Read the full interview below.

What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?

Not only is it an honor to be the President of my Chapter but it is also a privilege to be put into this type of position. Just in a short period of time it has taught me valuable lessons such as, time management and leadership skills. The role of being President means more to me than just sending emails and hosting events, in my eyes it’s all about building an indestructible empire of educated women.

What made you decide to attend the Christopher Newport University for undergrad?

I made the decision to attend Christopher Newport University when I was just a sophomore in high school. I went on a tour of my current school and immediately fell in love with the campus scenery. The people were extremely helpful and kind which made my family and I feel as if I was at home.

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

Our main initiative this year is to focus our attention on unity. Whether it be unity between the different walks of Greek life or just the community in general. We would really like to see our campus open up and support all groups and/or clubs. By us creating this sense of urge for unity, it will impact the campus in a positive way due to the fact that everyone’s voice or movement is heard and no one is excluded.

What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?

When I transitioned from high school to college it was extremely difficult. I was not involved in anything on campus and I barely had any friends which was something that I was not accustomed to. In the beginning of my sophomore year of college I had made the decision that Christopher Newport University just wasn’t the right fit for me anymore and I went through the process of transferring. I was then accepted into Old Dominion University and planned to attend college there in the Fall of 2019. This was until I found the illustrious Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I instantly felt as if my presence finally mattered. Zeta honestly saved me and I do not know where I would be if it was not for the Phi Xi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. on the campus of Christopher Newport University.

Photo Credit: Matthew S. @mls_studios_photography

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

My Chapter is special in that we are small in numbers but we still manage to make a big impact on our community.

Photo Credit: Tiara B. @Tiaraaaaaaaa_

We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?

At this day and age everything somehow ends up on social media whether it is good or bad. We all need to be mindful that we are not only representing ourselves online but we are also representing an entire organization. For example: a person might see something negative about one person in a specific organization and generalize that assumption to think that the organization as a whole is negative. The biggest thing that chapters need to accomplish is to uphold the principles of each ones organization.

What does leadership mean to you?

To be a great leader, you must learn to follow. Leadership is not about dictating or being in control. It is knowing how to influence people to a common goal. Therefore, great leadership skills is the ultimate key to success when dealing with Greek life or life in general.

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

I think Watch the Yard is important because it shows the positive accomplishments that black Greeks are doing rather than the negative stereotypes that are portrayed of us.

What does sisterhood mean to you?

Sisterhood is more than being apart of a sorority. Sisterhood is trusting one another, encouraging each other when someone is not at their optimal level of performance, but most importantly sisterhood is about the unbreakable bond that you share with another person. Without having my sisters by my side each and everyday, life would be a lot less eventful but also stressful.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

My plans after graduating from Christopher Newport University are to attend Graduate School at Trinity University in hopes to gain my Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kayla Harding for her work as the president of Phi Xi Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 2001.

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