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 Psi Mu Zeta Chapter in Charlotte, Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius in North Carolina and did an interview with Ta-Tianna Nealy-McFadden 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. Ta-Tianna Nealy-McFadden, who works as a Sr. Digital Project Manager, has been in the position of Basileus for two years.
We interviewed Nealy-McFadden, who is a Spring 2000/Christopher Newport University 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?
Having the ability to lead is important whether on the front lines or behind the scenes. Everyone plays a part in the Sorority. When I joined my graduate chapter as a general member I started off just attending meetings and serving on a committee. This helped me to get engaged in the sisterhood while they poured into me. Sometimes you don’t see your own talents or potential. I appreciate the knowledge, coaching and sense of empowerment I received from my Sorority sisters. After serving as Chair of several committees and on the Executive Board I was inspired to be Chapter President. I wanted to be a beacon of support and positivity for my chapter to make a powerful impact in the community. As well as a representative for our principals of Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood and Finer Womanhood.
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?
Psi Mu Zeta Chapter is excited for the following initiatives this Sorority year. Back to School Greeters – Welcoming our youth when they get off the bus back to school. Cheering for the students brightens up their day and gives them the boost they need for a successful school year. Elder Care – We volunteer at a local nursing home. Hosting a day of fun and games with the residents. Some residents don’t have family members that come and visit. In turn our volunteers may be the only visitors they have to brighten up their day. Storks Nest – Our Storks Nest program sponsors two cohorts a year for expecting mothers. We provide tools and resources for prenatal/postnatal care. As well as an incentive based program where mothers attend courses and graduate upon completion of the program.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
Since my early childhood I was exposed to black greek life. My father is an Omega, my mother is a Delta, and my sister is a Delta. While growing up I saw the various sororities and was captivated by the women of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. As my cousin was a Zeta. She was heavily involved in Zeta with the community. I also attended events with her where I always felt embraced and connected with the Zetas. So, at 13 years old my decision was made! I told myself. I am going to be a Zeta!
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Let me just say that the Psi Mu Zeta chapter is the BOMB! OK! Psi Mu Zeta chapter is composed of women from all walks of life. We are diverse in age, ethnicity, professional backgrounds and in our years in Zeta. Yet we all come together for the sisterhood! Psi Mu Zeta chapter is the largest graduate chapter in North Carolina. Our chapter culture is personable and infectious. Not only do we have Zetas we have our undergraduate chapters Queens University (Sigma Upsilon) and Johnson & Wales University (Delta Phi), Youth Affiliates program (Pearlettes, Amicettes and Archonettes) and Zeta Amicae (Friends of Zeta). All of these wonderful components are pieces of the puzzle. We love serving and we love Psi Mu Zeta!
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Our chapter supports two phenomenal undergraduate chapters Queens University (Sigma Upsilon) and Johnson & Wales University (Delta Phi). We are heavily involved with our collegiate Sorors as they matriculate in their studies, have events on campus and serve in the community. We have always served as mentors and advisors for them. Having a bond with our collegiate Sorors is important. Our collegiate Sorors attend conferences with us, we hold embellishments to expand their knowledge, and host sisterhood events for them to get to know the graduate chapter.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
Being inclusive of all members is critical. In Psi Mu Zeta we encourage all members to be engaged and involved at the level that works for them. We are all professionals with busy schedules however we will meet you where you are. I tell all my chapter members they have a place and I appreciate having them in Psi Mu Zeta. In terms of strategies hosting a variety of internal social events, i.e., aged based group activities, sisterhood brunches and our mentorship program have helped chapter members to network, grow, and get excited about Zeta!
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
Sometimes the roles can be intimidating to members, and they don’t maximize the potential they have. You can do it! If interested in leadership, start by joining a committee and determine which initiative you are passionate about. Be open to the possibilities and give yourself grace. No one is perfect and that’s ok. We cannot please everyone, but we can do what pleases us!
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?
My beloved Sorors have been there for me through thick and thin. Throughout my Zeta career from committee member to now President. Having Sorors who encourage me and support me fills my cup! Providing a listening ear, constructive feedback and sisterly correction has empowered me to be the Zeta I am today.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Shining a positive light on black greekdom is critical! Black Greek Lettered Organizations are a powerful force in the community. We are more than just a social organization. It is important that viewers of all ages understand the history, the diversity, the support and the impacts of all of our Black Greek Lettered Organizations. Thank you, Watch The Yard, for bringing a platform that highlights the authenticity and success of our Black Greek Lettered Organizations! We see YOU!
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
I love having the ability to gain professional skills while serving with my Sorors. I love getting ready for chapter meeting to handle the business of Zeta in Finer Fashion. I love bonding with my Sorors as they understand me and let me be me. I love the diversity in programming that Zeta offers. I love that Zeta grooms leaders personally and professionally. I love meeting new Sorors and showing them all the great things Zeta has to offer. What don’t I love about being a Zeta?!
Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood is a pure, unconditional, and undisputed love for one another. A bond that ties in any and all situations no matter what. #itsthesisterhoodforme
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Ta-Tianna Nealy-McFadden for her work as the Basileus of the Psi Mu Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2010.
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