Strength of Sisterhood

 

Bring a group of community-minded women

together and great things are sure to happen.

On April 2, 2016, just over a dozen women

chartered a chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,

a sorority new to Northeast Wisconsin.

 

Members represent communities from Fond du Lac to Green Bay. “Sisterhood, our history in African-American experiences and service to our communities tie us together,” says member Dr. Omobolade Delano-Oriaran. Delta Sigma Theta is an international organization of college-educated women committed to the development of its members and to public service. The sorority’s primary focus is on the black community. Since its founding in 1913, more than 200,000 women have joined Delta Sigma Theta. There are more than 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters.

 

The Northeast Wisconsin chapter includes women

from nonprofit and for-profit organizations, educational institutions and more. The sorority sisters believe they’ll be able to increase their impact through collective power by tapping into their resources to influence social

change.

 

“While we could accomplish things on our own or individually, it will certainly be a lot more impactful to

be part of a movement of women all focused on similar

goals and initiatives,” says Brittany Grimes Zaehringer.

Margaret Antoinette Lardinois (Toni) explains the women are tied together under the core values of the

organization, known as the Five Point Program Thrust — economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health and political awareness and involvement.

 

“Because we have dedicated our lives to making the communities we live in and those around us better, the energy, passion and commitment among us allows us to come up with innovative ways to best serve,” adds Jenene Calloway. Lardinois explains, “Establishing the graduate chapter of the sorority will allow us to bring together our collective skills and resources to continue the work toward building positive communities for current and future generations to live, grow and prosper.” Thirteen members of the Northeast Wisconsin chapter

of Delta Sigma Theta agreed to reveal why they joined the sorority and share their impact on the community.

 

Margaret Antoinette Lardinois (Toni) - Principal, Green Bay Public School District

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

In college I knew and believed in the core values of the organization around public service and wanted to be a part of making a contribution to the organization.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

I hope that my work in the public sector for the past 26 years will connect us to resources and opportunities we can use to help others.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

Hands down, I am most passionate about educating and supporting our youth. They are our future and they deserve to have access to quality education and career opportunities.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

Personally I give my time to the youth at my school promoting education with my students. I have been very involved in political efforts, and on the lighter side enjoyed dancing with the Nia African Dance group.

 

Your professional impact?

I am actively involved in school at the building and district level as we continuously explore best strategies to improve learning opportunities for our students and staff.

 

What is something few people know about you?

I am a daredevil at heart.

 

Veronica Warren - Associate Director of the Counseling Center, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

Although I witnessed the public service activities that the sorority conducted on the University of Michigan campus, it was a personal conversation with Dr. Alexa Canady that solidified my decision to be a part this great sorority. I was so humbled by the fact that the first female

African-American neurosurgeon took the time out of her busy schedule to talk to me and share her passion and love for Delta.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

A lifetime of leadership skills and genuine love for people.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

Providing the community with an image of educated African-American women who want to be an influential part of their communities by empowering and educating others.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

• Continually motivating students to push beyond their perceived boundaries.

• Founder of D.I.A.M.O.N.D Girlz.

 

Your professional impact?

• Promoting wellness through mental health services at the Counseling Center.

• Implemented a Multicultural Process Group.

 

What is something few people know about you?

I was a cheerleader in high school and I am still cheering people on to reach their goals.

 

Ameerah N. McBride - Special assistant to the Chancellor, Director of Equity and Affirmative Action, Title IX Coordinator, University of

Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

I joined Delta Sigma Theta because I wanted to align myself with a group of college-educated women dedicated to service. After learning the history of the sorority, knowing that the founders’ first public act was participation in the 1913 Women’s Suffrage March, made Delta Sigma Theta an obvious choice for me.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

My greatest contribution will be my continued active membership, service to my community as well as leadership on the local, regional and national levels.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

I am currently a member of several community organizations that work within the African-American community to provide empowerment to students and parents through advocacy work. I also serve as a board member on several community-based organizations such as the

Head Start Board of Advisors.

 

Your professional impact?

Professionally, I work within the university community to ensure fair and equitable hiring practices, as well as equitable treatment for all members of the university community. I also provide counseling, guidance and insight to community organizations regarding university

policies.

 

Kimberly Watts - Global Marketing Director-Feminine Care, Kimberly-Clark

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

The members of my alma mater, Theta Zeta, exemplified the type of women I aspired to be. They were not only beautiful and sophisticated, but they were passionate about their public service and had tons of fun doing it. They demonstrated how helping others is a great way

to bond and feel great.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

Leveraging my experience in business to help the chapter establish clear and focused objectives, goals, strategies and measures for our first few formative years.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

Disadvantaged children.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

Volunteering with the local Girls Scout Troop 2101.

 

Your professional impact?

I am an active mentor to up-and-coming marketing managers at Kimberly-Clark.

 

What is something few people know about you?

I am a devoted wife to Leonard and mother to Lena, 11, and Levi, 9. When I’m not traveling the globe, I enjoy celebrating any and every accomplishment from a game win, to a good grade on an assignment to turning another year old.

 

 

Daphne C. Lewis - Vice President-Branch Manager, JPMorgan Chase Bank

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

I was motivated by collegiate sorors who supported a college prep summer program that I attended throughout high school.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

Cultivating a safe and inclusive learning environment for our children in the state of Wisconsin.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

I’m serving as Associate Pastor at Bethel Worship Center in Oshkosh, under Senior Pastors Joe Sr. and Chaun Butler.

 

Robyn Y. Davis - President, Freedom House Ministries, Inc.

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

As a junior attending a predominantly white university, I was looking to connect with other young women of color for sisterhood, support and service to the community.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

My connections in the Green Bay area with local organizations and individuals will be helpful as we establish our service to the community along with my passion to encourage others to reach their full potential whether it is in their homes, professions, community or in the

church.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

I am most passionate about encouraging and walking alongside families in their journeys to become self-sufficient.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

I believe I am making an impact personally through my ongoing involvement at my home church, Living Hope in Green Bay, as well as the relationships I have developed while serving in other community organizations.

 

Your professional impact?

By working collaboratively with other organizations to shatter the stereotypes about homeless individuals and families and seeking solutions to end of homelessness in our community.

 

Valerie A. Hines - Owner/CEO, Inspired Creations by Valerie

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority represents the mission, vision and impact on society I desire to be a member of.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

My compassion for humanity and my empathy to pass a blessing forward.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

Abuse; socio-economic disparity.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

By taking on the following roles: secretary for my church, Bethel Worship Center; Girl ScoutTroop 2101 volunteer leader for the Brownies and Juniors; member of the prison ministry at Bethel Worship Center; substitute teacher to show a more positive role for African Americans.

 

Your professional impact?

I believe I accomplish this by participating in the Oshkosh Farmers Market spreading the word of the Gospel by selling prayer pillows with scriptural verses, KJV, screen-printed on the face of the pillow.

 

What is something few people know about you?

I was a member of a Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

 

Brittany Grimes Zaehringer, Esq., MSSA - Human Resources Director, Brown County, Wisconsin

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

My mother, a retired school teacher, is one of my biggest role models. She is a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I also believe in the sorority’s mission and it aligns well with my personal values.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

During this startup phase, I believe that my greatest contributions will be my knowledge of the sorority and its operations — as an active member for 20 years I’ve held various local and national leadership positions — along with my background in compliance and internal

controls. As the chapter matures, I believe that my expertise in grant writing, program development and evaluation will help us expand our programming and measure its impact.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

I am excited to learn about where our sorority’s programmatic thrusts align with the community’s needs. As a small chapter, we have to be strategic about where we focus our resources.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

I just moved to this community less than eight weeks ago. I believe that the sorority will be my entrance into serving this community. In the past, I’ve served on over 30 nonprofit boards and committees to improve my community.

 

Imogene B. Edwards - Retired Educator, Retired Gary Community Schools, Adjunct Professor at IVY Tech Community College, Educational Consultant State of Indiana Impact Program

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

As a teenager, the women I admired most in my community were all members of Delta. They were educated, leaders in the community and just classy.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

Now at 84 years old, I want to share the wisdom that comes with age and life experiences. I am also the cheerleader, encouraging for my young sorors to be leaders in their communities, to go that extra mile, to a make a difference.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

Serving as mentors to the youth in this community especially in these turbulent times. Our young people need to understand the sacrifices

made in the past and to take control of their own destiny — to become the best they can be.

 

How are you personally and professionally making an impact on the community?

I still utilize my skills as an educator to consult on service programs dealing with youth.

 

Joi Kennedy Brown - Supplier Manager, Pierce Manufacturing (An OSHKOSH Corp. Company)

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

I grew up surrounded by Delta women. They were my role models, my heroes, including my mother Imogene B. Edwards. They instilled in me the importance of serving and giving back to the community. They preached that it’s important to take action where there is a need and not to wait for others — to be one of the driving forces for change and improvement.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

Persistence and determination are my greatest strengths. I keep pushing for those things I believe in. The establishment of this chapter is one of those things. It took more than 18 years but now we a have Northeast Wisconsin Alumnae chapter.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

Providing programs for our youth. Providing resources for them to grow, academically, personally and spiritually.

 

How are you personally and professionally making an impact on the community?

Currently, I am on the board for Building for Kids Children’s Museum in Appleton. I have also served on the several other local boards.

 

Jenene N. Calloway, M.S. - Partner Development Team Leader, Schreiber Foods Incorporated

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

Fourteen years ago, when I joined, I wanted to join like-minded women in understanding the needs of our community and strategically work together to close the gap.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

I am passionate about helping single moms and dads get back on their feet so they can support their family and helping women build the confidence they need to accomplish their personal and professional goals.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

I frequently have the opportunity of participating in events that educate the community on topics around diversity and inclusion. By providing and participating in these opportunities, I am hoping that my sons will grow up and continue to be comfortable in a predominantly

Caucasian community as African American men.

 

Your professional impact?

In my roles at work and in the community, I provide coaching, mentoring and training on a variety of topics. Skills developed through my coaching/teaching are what I believe to be nuggets to help people understand each other better and help them reach their highest

potential.

 

Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler, Assistant - Vice Chancellor Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

I knew I would become a “Delta” when I was a young girl. There were several professional African American women in my community in upstate New York that I wanted to emulate.

 

What are you most passionate about in terms of the community?

I have spent my life moving young people from uncertainty to success through education. I want African-American youth, especially girls, to understand the power and transformational nature of an education.

 

How are you personally and professionally making an impact on the community?

I give back as often as I can by responding to as many requests to speak or facilitate inclusive excellence conversations as my schedule will allow. I can always do more. I am a firm believer that you must give back to the communities in which you reside. Currently, I am the chair of the Oshkosh Housing Authority Board and the Vice Chair of the Oshkosh Area Food Pantry Board.

 

What is something few people know about you?

I am married to Master Sergeant (Retired) Paul E. Butler and have three children: Evian, Delano and Xavier.

 

 

Dr. Omobolade Delano-Oriaran -  Associate Professor of Education, St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI

Why did you become part of Delta Sigma Theta?

I became a member in fall 1985 while attending Savannah State University. I joined because of its commitment to academic excellence, focus on professional black women and dedication to public service. Furthermore, as a woman of Nigerian descent, I wanted to be part of a

global organization of movers and shakers committed to social action in our world.

 

What do you believe will be your greatest contribution to the sorority?

My contribution to the community is a reflection of my academic background and expertise: ensuring that African American/Black children have access to quality public education, which I am already doing through African Heritage, Inc.

 

How are you personally making an impact on the community?

I am blessed that my professional life intersects with my personal life, giving me the opportunities to transfer my academic interests and expertise to responding to the needs of my community.

 

Your professional impact?

My work at St. Norbert is to provide new teachers the tools and abilities to work with diverse communities and break down stereotypes of race. The future generations in my community will have competent, knowledgeable and compassionate teachers able to navigate difficult questions on race, gender and other difficult topics surrounding privilege. w

 

 

 

 

 

 

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