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 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Houston Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter in Houston, TX and did an interview with Tracee M. Fletcher the President of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Fletcher, who works as an Accounting Manager, is currently in her 3rd year of being president of her chapter.
We interviewed Fletcher, who is a Fall 1994/Alpha Kappa Chapter initiate of Delta Sigma Theta 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?
I initially had no desire to be an officer of an alumnae chapter. I thought to myself, “These chapters are huge and very intimidating.” However, in 2005 I was elected as a financial officer and served for 6 years. I then took a sabbatical, staying financial and working in the background, before coming back in 2017. At the nudging of several sorors, I ran for first vice president and lost by 10 votes. It just wasn’t my time. I then began to think about what I could do to make the chapter a little bit better. I decided to try again two years later and despite running against two others, I was elected first vice president. I served for two years before running for president. I knew that I wanted to continue to serve, lead and help my chapter remain a staple in our community, and am happy to say that I have just started my second term as president.
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?
Houston Metropolitan is an award-winning chapter within our sorority. We have won awards under several of our Programmatic Thrusts, including Economic Development, Physical and Mental Health, and Social Action to name a few. We will continue our focus on instilling financial fortitude into our community and dedicate ourselves to bringing awareness to the health and wellness of the Black community. Given that the heartbeat of our sorority is Social Action, we will strive to ensure that issues impacting our local community, country and world are at the forefront. Utilizing partnerships with community organizations, we will empower our Houston community and take every opportunity to offer education on social justice issues and the protection of human rights.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
Although two of my favorite aunts are AKAs (insert smirk), on the campus of Huston-Tillotson College (now University) the ladies of DST were doing it big. Every time I turned around they were volunteering and working on and off campus. Being an athlete, it was the Delta Homecoming Week that had me mesmerized. The sorors ran the yard!!!
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
I believe that Houston Metropolitan is unique in the fact that we are a very diverse group of women ranging from early twenties to late nineties. Our oldest member is 97 years young and she does her best to attend every event we have. I have made a point for the last 4 years as first vice president and now president to make sure that each of our members feel like they are important to the success of our chapter and the impact we have in our local community.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Through our Collegiate Transition Taskforce we encourage and assist with a smooth transition from the collegiate chapter to an alumnae chapter. We invite and collaborate with our collegiate sorors on events, meetings and other activities. As a collegiate initiate who transitioned immediately after graduation, I appreciated the fact that the Houston Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter waived my local dues. This affords an opportunity to build and maintain relationships with our sorors on the collegiate level.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
For me, as president of more than 300 women it is important to understand that we all come from different walks of life and we are all dealing with life’s ups and downs. Our tagline this year is “It’s GAME Time” and the acronym stands for Getting All Members Engaged. It is important to me that each member knows and understands that in order for our chapter to be successful it takes all of us. It is my goal to make sure that all members young and old are given the opportunity to interact with one another as we make an impact in our communities. A smile goes along way and a hug even further. As leaders it is important for us to make sure all of our members feel appreciated for the work that they do in the chapter. If I shine, they shine. When they shine, I shine. We will all shine together.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
As a young 20-something young woman right out of college it was important for me to jump right in and get active and stay financial. I worked my way up the ranks serving in several different roles as an appointed officer, committee chair and now executive officer but it didn’t happen overnight. We are all leaders in our own right; however, we must take the time to learn and understand the mission, vision and goals of our sorority. Finally, you have to make sure that you are mentally and emotionally prepared for leadership in our beloved Sorority.
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?
Having a mentor or someone that you can emulate and go to for advice and wisdom is very important. Even now as president I still have sorors that I can call on to get reassurance that I am on the right track in my thought process. I have leaned on several individuals throughout my almost 30 years in this bond. Ms. Gwen Grant, one of our past Regional Directors, comes to mind as she is always only a phone call away. Ms. Nikita Phillips is one soror who ever so gently pushes me to be an even better Soror. Then there are several of our past presidents in HMAC that I can lean on when I need a little advice. And finally, we have a tight-knit group of Houston Area chapter presidents, and we are able to bounce different ideas off one another and just let our hair down when needed.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I believe Watch the Yard is important because it is a resource and outlet for the Black community to learn more and stay abreast of what is happening in Black greekdom. Furthermore, Watch The Yard provides an opportunity for the world to see the accomplishments of our organizations and members across the globe and in our local communities. Although I know and feel that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is the greatest of the Divine Nine, we are all doing great things and Watch The Yard is the outlet to highlight our organizations’ missions and our purpose.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
With almost 30 years in this bond, I think I love the growing relationships that I have developed with my sweet sorors on the local, state, regional and national level.
Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood motivates us to set an example within our communities and pushes women to avoid stigmas that prevent us from excelling. It also allows Delta women to reflect on themselves, challenging them to love unconditionally, laugh all the time, and live life to the fullest. Delta women observe March as Sisterhood Month, a time when we all put forth an extra effort to reach out to one another and show just a little more love.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Tracee Fletcher for her work as the President of the Houston Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1974.
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