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Leadership Highlight: Salaine Atkins-Little the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta’s Gamma Omicron Zeta Chapter in New Jersey

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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 Gamma Omicron Zeta Chapter in New Jersey and did an interview with Salaine Atkins-Little 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. Atkins-Little, who works as a program coordinator, has served in the position of Basileus for six years.

We interviewed Atkins-Little, who is a 1994 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?

Being president is just a title. At the end of the day I am a member just like everyone else. I am only as good as my members.

The position allows me the platform to encourage, guide, and teach others. It The passion that I have for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated that pushed me to get more involved in leadership. I saw ways that I could move my chapter forward and wanted to do my part. 

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

Gamma Omicron Zeta Chapter has four major initiatives this year, all keeping in line with our national service initiatives, Zeta Helping People Excel (Z-HOPE).

To expand our Stork’s Nest to additional cities within Essex county; to expand our Amicae group to the local community colleges in the greater Essex County area; to expand our youth auxiliary groups in the Newark, East Orange and Irvington areas, and to begin the process of establishing a 501c3.

Collectively, these initiatives will provide over health and well being support, service and provide guidance to our most needy constituents: young adults, children, the elderly, men and women.

What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?

The Phenomal ladies of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated that I’ve met and knew made a lasting impression on me. Seeing their zeal and ambition was something that appealed to me. 

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

Our most unique quality is the diversity embedded within our chapter members, which is a direct reflection of the demographic of the community we serve. Our diversity ranges across industry, educational backgrounds, skills and abilities, hobbies, interests, hustle, ethnicity, religious beliefs and so much more. In a multicultural community, GOZ sorors are multi-talented, multi-dimensional and a force to be reckoned with.

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?

Understanding their audience is major. Just as undergraduate chapters are encouraged to pay special attention to their campus population, alumni chapters must be cognizant of the variety of Sorors within them and the greater network those members are part of. Alumni chapters need to understand their personal brand, identity, voice and tone (among other areas) and communicate accordingly on all major social media channels to keep the audience engaged, informed and inspired.

What does leadership mean to you?

Strategic thinking and planning, investing in the development of new and emerging leaders and accessibility to those following in the leader’s footsteps.

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

Simply put, it’s a well-known platform that highlights the work and influence Black Greekdom has on and off college campuses, within global communities and in the workforce. From politics and pop culture to academia, public health and technology, we are impacting change that cannot be overlooked – no matter how much society tries to stifle our growth, expansion and influence.

What does sisterhood mean to you?

Endless resilience, support, uplifting and capacity-building.

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

In addition to our 3rd Vice President who oversees the undergraduate chapters, we have an advisory committee of undergraduate advisors to provide additional leadership and support, we host bi-monthly meetings with all undergraduate chapters we oversee and leadership development seminars/workshops on a quarterly basis.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Salaine Atkins-Little for her work as the Basileus of the Gamma Omicron Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1953.

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