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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: LaShonda Royal the President of Zeta Phi Beta’s Epsilon Epsilon Zeta Chapter in Orlando

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorority sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Epsilon Epsilon Zeta Chapter in Orlando, FL and did an interview with LaShonda Royal the president of the chapter. 

The position of president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. LaShonda Royal, who works as a Client Services Specialist, has been in the position of president for one year.

We interviewed LaShonda Royal, who is a 1995 Wichita, KS initiate of Zeta Phi Beta 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 motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?

I became chapter president because I want to see my chapter thrive. I wanted to be an example of a leader with integrity and how to lead with love. 

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

I am really excited about our foster care initiative. There are so many black and brown kids that get lost in this system especially if they are not adopted. It is our mission to educate our communities about the system and how to become foster families. We also want to encourage and motivate the kids in the system to live out their dreams in spite of their circumstances. From a national perspective we are carrying out our social action initiatives around social, health, and economic justice for women. We have to do better at advocating for ourselves. 

What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?

I became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc because I wanted to be a part of something greater than myself. The first person I met on campus was a Zeta and she took time to know me before she even introduced me to her sorors. By the time that she did I knew Zeta was the organization for me. The principles of the organization fit what I wanted for me life. 

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

We are the Exquisite Epsilon Epsilon Zeta chapter. Exquisite might sound bougie but we are exquisite in serving our communities. We continually find new ways to meet the needs of the people we serve. We also have a lot of fun and might be super competitive but at the end of the day we live out our principles. 

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

We support our undergrads by providing leadership and support. One of the ways we are building our connection is peer to peer mentoring. The graduate chapter eboard officer will mentor the undergrad eboard officer. 

How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?

My favorite principle is sisterhood. That word means different things to different people but for me it means connection. In my chapter we have Zeta dates, quarterly sisterly love events, and chapter retreats. The retreat is a time to connect, reflect, and celebrate our accomplishments at the end of our service year. 

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?

You can know all the rules and regulations but you can’t lead from a selfish place. If you wanting to be in charge is not about doing what’s best for your chapter then please don’t put your name on the ballot. Our chapters need leaders that have vision and integrity. 

How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?

I have the privilege to know many dynamic women who are leaders in my organization. I am a firm believer in watching what people do and not what they say. Although I haven’t had official mentors I have had some of the best women in leadership encourage me such as Paula Kay, who serves as the first elected state director for the state of Florida. She is a perfect example of a Finer leader. 

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

Watch the Yard is important because it celebrates us. It’s a repository of history, it’s a pulse point of what’s happening now. It’s good to see our organizations being highlighted in a positive manner. 

Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?

I love Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated because she saw something in this young woman who can now bold shout she is a FINER woman and FINER leader. 

​​Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?

Sisterhood means connection. It means having sisters who love and care about me even if I wasn’t president. 

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend LaShonda Royal for her work as the President of the Epsilon Epsilon Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1954. 

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