For those of you who follow my personal Twitter and Instagram, you know I traveled to Washington, DC this weekend to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of my beloved Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
You almost had to be living under a rock not to know about it! Even I was surprised at the amount of attention our Centennial Celebration garnered. From appearances on both Good Morning America and the Today Show to segments on CNN and MSNBC to Mayor Bloomberg declaring “DST Day” in NYC … It was just amazing! And when the President turned the White House from white to RED in honor of us, I could hardly contain myself!! (our colors are crimson & cream)
Founded in 1913 at Howard University, Delta Sigma Theta is a public-service Sorority of over 200,000 college-educated women across 900 chapters on 6 continents. Our Sorority boasts such illustrious members as Cicely Tyson, Natalie Cole, Alexis Herman, Dorothy Height, Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Myrlie Evers, Lena Horne and Soledad O’Brien … I am privileged to have pledged at the Rho Rho Chapter during my undergraduate years at the University of Richmond.
As I spent time this weekend with some of my closest Soror friends and over 10,000 more women that I share the bond of sisterhood with, I felt so full of joy and excitement and honor to be a witness to and apart of this moment in history! I’ve carried that high with me into my week … and now it’s spilling over into today’s blog post.
Since I was the great number 8 on my line of 11, it is only fitting I give the Top 8 things pledging DST taught me about HR!! Here they are, in no particular order:
1) Learn your history. We were taught and regularly tested on our knowledge of the history of Delta during our pledge process and throughout our time in the sisterhood. It is critical to know how Delta has evolved and who championed those changes within our society at large, our sorority and our local chapter
- In HR, we must know the evolution and champions of our industry, organization and department. This helps us better understand the landscape and relationships so we can be more effective.
2) Respect your elders. We were taught and accountable to revere those who came before us in the sorority. It sucked to be the youngest Delta in the room because it meant you were responsible to properly introduce yourself to everyone and make sure they had everything they needed to feel comfortable before you could sit or eat or do anything else. However, the insight and wisdom you gained from listening to the experiences of those before you was worth it.
- In HR, we’re often pulled into situations where we have to clean up someone else’s mess. Or we’re forced to sit through the umpteenth meeting on some regulation. It sucks — but we can’t let the great lessons get lost in it. We have to look for the wisdom nugget.
4) Know your loyalties. Our Delta values are based on Christian principles. We were taught our loyalty is first to DST, then our chapter, then our line — and one should never test or violate the other for gain. That is out of order. If it happens, be prepared for serious correction.
- In HR, our loyalties are to the laws, then our organization, then our department. We should never lose sight of this. We should never push our own agenda to the detriment of the organization. And when someone gets out of order with the mission, vision, values and policies of the company, we should correct and redirect — swiftly and sternly.
5) Protect your linesisters. The women I was initiated into Delta with are some of my dearest and best friends. They know things about me that no one else ever will; they know things that no one else could ever understand. And just like when we pledged over 16 years ago, we will always be responsible to take care of and look out for one another.
- In HR, we do a crappy job at protecting one another sometimes. We compete and compare and criticize based on specialty. We downplay our own importance and significance — then wonder why so many find our profession and its function unnecessary. Instead, we need to protect and look out for one another.
6) Celebrate your sisterhood. We relish opportunities to get together with other Deltas and reminisce about good times, discuss current projects, vent our frustrations and plan future initiatives.
- In HR, we have to make a point to connect and cultivate our professional network. There is much to be learned, gained and accomplished by getting together to recharge, renew and plot world domination!
7) Keep the secrets. We are a public service organization and much of what we do is visible. However, there’s a lot of parts of our sisterhood that are sacred — never to be shared or viewed by anyone outside our circle.
- In HR, we are subjected and privy to lots of sacred information about our organization and its employees. We must keep their confidence. It is a privilege and we should never take it lightly.
8) Represent with pride. And reverence. And class. And dignity. When we adorn ourselves in our Delta letters and other paraphernalia, we are expected to behave like women worthy of the honor. There are things we simply do not do because we are Deltas, especially when wearing our letters. There are things we simply do not let our letters be put on or near because it is not becoming of us as Delta women … That probably sounds a little conceited. It should. I’m proud of being a Delta and I don’t treat that just any ol’ kinda way.
- In HR, we need more swagger. The work we do to keep balance and uphold the standards of our organizations can’t be treated loosely. We can’t allow the reputation of our function to get sucked into or placed alongside actions and practices that are unbecoming of HR. Our work is important and we should never misrepresent that.
If you were paying attention, you may have noticed there is no #3 … Yep. I did that on purpose … Why? I can’t tell you (See # 7).
Happy Centennial to my Sorors!!!! Ooooooooooooooo-ooooooop!!!