(202) 556-1859

Founder’s Day Message 2013

Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.


June 2013

“A United Sisterhood of Business and Professional Women Striving for Economic Empowerment”

Dear Sorors:

As we celebrate another Founder’s Day, I want you to travel back in time with me. Back to 1929, when our Founder, Lola M. Parker, called six of her friends together to share her vision. She boldly envisioned an organization that could offset the effects of the Great Depression, especially its devastating impact on women and people of color. What a phenomenal woman our founder was!

Now compare 1929 to 2013, when many women, due to the “Great Recession,” must now seek new skills while they still often face discrimination, health care disparities, and an eroding educational system that dramatically affects us on the basis of race and class.

Today, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., continues the legacy of our Founder by encouraging, inspiring, nurturing and assisting women in business and other careers. Now, more than ever before, we as Iotans need to focus on economic empowerment for ourselves and the women within our various communities.

So today, Sorors, as you travel this road back in time with me, let us put more energy into achieving economic empowerment by getting involved on all levels of public life and by letting our voices be heard. Let us take the advice of author and entrepreneur Cheryl Broussard, who writes in her book Sister CEO that “our strength and success lie in our ability to bond with each other . . . and begin to pool our resources and our talents and begin networking on a business level.” Too often we have met the enemy and it is ourselves. In essence, we don’t praise our own pond. When we begin believing in our sorority and our individual abilities, we can show the world just who we are.

So on this, our 84th Founder’s Day, let us pledge to put aside our differences, adjust our attitudes and concentrate on developing strategies that will result in economic strength and success—for our sorority, our communities and ourselves.

When we stay focused on our Founder’s mission and purpose, we will no longer strive for economic empowerment—we will have reached that goal and our work will not have been in vain. We will then be able to say our Creed with conviction, believing in today and the work that Iota Phi Lambda is doing; in tomorrow and the work that Iota Phi Lambda hopes to do; and in the sure rewards that the future holds.


Phyllis H. Shumate National President