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 Delta Alpha Mu Zeta Chapter in West Orange County, Florida and did an interview with Desire Davis 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. Davis, who works as a human resources generalist, has been in the position of Basileus of her chapter since February 1st, 2023.
We interviewed Davis, who is a Fall 2018 initiate of the Sigma Epsilon chapter of her sorority and a graduate of the University of Central Florida 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.
Becoming the president of the dynamic Delta Alpha Mu Zeta Chapter of West Orange County, Florida was driven by my aspiration to lead a more impactful presence in our newly chartered area. As a Charter member and former president, I understand the dedication required to manage a chapter from inception. The honor bestowed upon me to lead our chapter for its first sorority year was a testament not only to the trust my sisters placed in me but also to the purpose within me that propels me to serve as a leader in both my community and our illustrious Sorority.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve local community or the broader Black community?
Delta Alpha Mu Zeta Chapter is focused on initiatives encompassing mental health, economic growth, social justice, and equal access to quality education. As a newly chartered chapter, we’re driven to collaborate with fellow D9 organizations, local businesses, and community entities to amplify our impact within West Orange County. These initiatives, combined with the overarching principles of health and empowerment, align closely with our Z Hope initiative—Zetas Helping Other People Excel through Mind, Body, and Spirit.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
Growing up surrounded by D9 members, including my parents, grandparents, and cousins, naturally exposed me to a world of Greek life. While following my mother’s legacy was the initial plan, I discovered Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. when I witnessed their grace, academic excellence, captivating presence at events, and their commitment to personal development. The historical significance of Zeta’s founders being trailblazers in social work, the arts, and scholastic excellence resonated deeply. The dedication to sisterly love, high scholastic standards, and the unique connection to the Sigmas solidified my decision.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
What sets our chapter, Delta Alpha Mu Zeta, apart is our recent establishment as a newly chartered chapter. This fresh start infuses us with innovation and excitement, allowing us to bring unique perspectives to our community initiatives.
Furthermore, our chapter prides itself on its diverse membership. Our members hail from various backgrounds, enriching our discussions and approaches with a wide array of experiences and insights.
Most importantly, we prioritize empowering all members to assume leadership roles. Whether a seasoned member or a newcomer, everyone has the chance to contribute, lead, and make a positive impact within our community. Our chapter’s commitment to inclusivity and leadership opportunities is what truly makes us stand out.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Although we currently don’t sponsor an undergraduate chapter, my dedicated Third Vice President, Jai’Ehir Jackson-Hawkins, is diligently working to secure training and research avenues for establishing strong undergraduate chapters within our area, ensuring their ability to thrive with our guidance.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
I foster unity through both personal and professional efforts, arranging working sessions beyond formal meetings to encourage Sorors to connect in a relaxed setting. Collaborating closely with our committee chairs, especially in membership events, reinforces this unity. Finer Connect, led by N’yani Strowbridge, and the guidance of First Vice President Candace Jackson play vital roles in enhancing camaraderie and engagement.
What motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
My advice is simple: Serve within your purpose. Research the position, seek guidance from predecessors, and create an execution plan. Leadership should be guided by purpose, ensuring that your service aligns with your community’s needs and not solely personal objectives.
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?
Mentorship has been transformative, propelling my potential beyond expectations. Serving on the international executive board and locally has been guided by mentorship. I’m immensely grateful to Sorors such as Tamara Manning-Gordon, Ivy K. Arnold, LaKeshia Holly Neal, La’Kitha Hughes, and Saniah Johnson for their significant impact. Along with my nine beautiful intake sisters specifically Macy Walker and Kayla Howard.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard showcases the essence of Black greekdom, illuminating the work, sisterhood, and brotherhood that contributes to the world. These articles uplift and honor the positive impact of D9 organizations, aligning with our mission to foster change, community, and academic excellence.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
Being a Finer woman is a daily choice of growth, gratitude, and grace. The continuous growth I’ve experienced as an active and financial member, the legacy that preceded me, and the opportunity to show gratitude, respect, and support to my sisters is what I cherish most.
Lastly, what does brotherhood/sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood is the embrace of women connected by love, shared values, and a higher purpose. Sisterly love, beyond mere association, emphasizes supporting one another, which is essential for personal and collective growth. My connection to a sisterhood that prioritizes sisterly love underscores its profound significance.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Desire Davis for her work as the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Delta Alpha Mu Zeta Chapter.