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“Be Able to Pivot”

Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Inc. 74th Southwestern Regional Conference -Leadership Forum Review

March 26, 2021, Zoom – The first African American Greek lettered business sorority, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Inc. held its 74th Southwestern Regional Conference, virtually. It is the second time the sorority has used a virtual platform for this large of a “gathering” since the global pandemic.

The conference came to session with a powerful leadership summit, facilitated by Assistant Southwestern Regional Director Rosetta Davis – Alpha Kappa Chapter. Each speaker expounded on different aspects of being a leader. A relevant topic because it is during the regional conference that the sorority installs new regional officers and solidify its candidates for national office.

White Rose Queen (WRQ), Lilian Parker – Alpha Kappa Chapter opened with a piercing question: Are leaders born or made? “This is Your Year to Rise.” stated Madam WRQ Parker. After giving us a chance to reflect and chime in, she answered, “BOTH, a leader can be born or made.” She continued with points of reference for those who are ready to rise into leadership. WRQ Parker said it is important to identify : what is your mantra, what are your notables and why did you pick these notables. A notable is a person or thing that you use as your guide.

“To be successful as an Iota leader your mantra should be Iota - you should sing the song of Iota everywhere you go. Your notables should be mentors you have met in Iota and our protocols. These should be your notables because you want to have an executive presence…”, said Madam Parker.

On par with what we all love about WRQ Parker, she left us with an uplifting and inspiring charge. She said, “the new view of every chapter should be to establish an executive presence, one of poise, dignity and decisiveness.”

Soror Juanda Wallace – Regional Chaplin, Psi Chapter, followed with a beautiful slide featuring a flock of geese. It assisted her in painting a colorful picture that “Teamwork is Unity”. She reminded us that teams come together to complete not to compete. A group of people who share a common goal and are moving in the same direction, reach their goal quicker than a group competing against one another. She goes on to say that it is impossible to lead if no one is following. If people are going to follow you, you must know what your leadership style is, do you have a passion to lead and are you inclusive. All the sorors agreed in the chat that her slide was packed with great tips for leaders. It was like a step-by-step guide to becoming a great leader.

The title of this article is credited to the next speaker, Soror Melaniece Slone – President of Epsilon Omicron Chapter, she made the comment, “Be Able to Pivot,” about the technical difficulties she was having. But, everyone agreed and it was echoed through the rest of the forum. It was the perfect phrase for this period of time. This pandemic has taught us all to pivot in one way or another. This wasn’t the only gem we received from Soror Melaniece. She gave us the “Green Print” which is a four-point plan. Do it afraid; don’t wait to feel comfortable to act. Find a mentor and be a mentor; engage and maintain the connection. Be a learner; open to new and different ways of doing things. This point has been key during this unprecedented time. And her final point was to remember the beginning. This will keep you sharp and relevant.

Our final presenter was none other than our 23rd National President, Madam Dorothy M. White, Alpha Chapter. She admitted that this was the first time she had written a speech. For a first timer, she delivered a timely speech on “How the Pandemic Impacted the Sorority”. It eloquently tied into the conference theme and focus. Though it is not the official name of the speech, based on my notes I am affectionately calling it the 5-I speech: innovation, increase, image, improvement, and inclusion.

According to Madam President White, the pandemic encouraged the sorority to use Innovation to keep on track with our programs and projects. Due to the Increased visibility the sorority has received using social media, we’ve inducted 100 new Sorors this year! The sorority’s Image - national executive officers have taken this time to develop a policy to synergize the way we represent Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Improvement - the sorority has held workshops, published monthly journals and hosted a townhall meeting which are the steppingstones for capacity building. Inclusion - the sorority has fostered partnerships with US Census and US Saves.

The leadership forum facilitator, Soror Davis, did an amazing job. The speakers were very inspiring as they exhibited the characteristics Soror Davis highlighted as leadership qualities: Character, Competence and Cause.

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