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Leadership Highlight: Tara Lockett the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta in East Point, Georgia

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 Kappa Iota Zeta Chapter in East Point, Georgia and did an interview with Tara A. Lockett 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. Lockett, who is a registered nurse, has served as Basileus for a year and a half.

We interviewed Lockett, who is a 2001 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?

It’s an excellent opportunity to work with the leaders in my chapter to formulate our plan for continued forward movement in the community we serve. It allows the opportunity to partner with community leaders to know what the community needs are and how we can work together to meet those needs. I am also fortunate to work with my Sister Presidents of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. in the Metro Atlanta area as we support each other in accomplishing the goal of building upon the principles established by our Founders in 1920.

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

One of the initiatives we sponsor it the Stork’s Nest, which is a program we’ve had with the March of Dimes since 1971. It was started here in Atlanta by Soror Evelyn Brown, and is now a national initiative. It is an incentive program that encourages expectant mothers to obtain needed prenatal care. Points are awarded for attending our educational workshops and Doctors appointments. The points can be used to shop in our’Nest’, which is a fully furnished baby store. There are several benefits to this program: The need for prenatal care is met which can contribute to decreased birth defects; expectant mothers receive education on how to care for herself while pregnant and caring for the baby after it is born, and she can obtain needed items for her baby all at no charge. We adopt families for the holidays which consist of us providing all gifts and dinner for the kids and parents, and we participate in Angel Tree through our adopted school which provides gifts for children whose parents are incarcerated. We will also participate in events to raise awareness of Domestic Violence, Elder Abuse, Prematurity, Breast Cancer, and Lupus.

What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is constitutionally bound to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, inc. A very close friend is a member of Phi Beta Sigma and I was impressed with the work I observed him doing in the community. My thought process at the time was that if this is what the Sigma’s are doing and the Zetas are their Sisters, then they must be doing the same and I wanted to be a part of that. I have not been disappointed.

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

One of the things that make us unique is our diversity. We have newly graduated Sorors in their twenties; Sorors we refer to as Doves who have been Zetas for 50 or more years; Sorors who came in as undergraduates, and those who completed Membership Intake as graduate members. We have various professions such as healthcare, marketing, attorneys, and educators. The different perspectives allow us to have a variety of thought processes, which gives us the ability to create programs across a spectrum of needs.

Credit: Mike Izenady

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?

Alumni chapters definitely need a robust social media/technology team that can build and maintain a website as well a post across all social media platforms. If this expertise is not held by one of the chapter members then I would suggest including it in the budget to obtain this service, The team should consist of members who have actual IT experience and can appropriately represent their respective organization.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership means that you take care of the people who elected you to serve. Your job is to provide the direction for the chapter and be a support to the committee chairs and members as they carry out the vision. At no point as a leader are you to cease serving: You are the first to arrive and the last to leave.

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

Watch The Yard does an excellent job of shining the light on the activities of Black Greek Organizations. It lets the world know that we are about service to our communities. It provides information that counters the negative stereotypes seen in the media.

What does sisterhood mean to you?

It means having that relationship with those who you share an oath with; it means that wherever you go you have someone to have your back; it means you are always covered.

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

We provide advisors to guide them on their Zeta journey. In our chapter we also provide mentors who either hold or have held the position the undergrad is serving in to assist with their chapter performance. We attend all of their events, support all fundraisers, and include a line item in our budget for additional financial assistance.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Tara Lockett for her work as the Basileus of the Kappa Iota Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1980.

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