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Founder’s Day Message 2015

 Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.

Founder’s Day Message

June 2015

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

Dear Sorors:

Founder’s Day is a day of reverence, a day to observe with great awe and devotion. It is also a day for us to reflect on our Founder, Soror Lola M. Parker and the vision and determination she had back in 1929. What an awesome woman she was to decide to establish Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. How could she have known that her vision would endure some 86 years later. Soror Parker and her six friends stood up for their beliefs and ideals when it was not the most popular thing to do. They persevered and today we owe them a debt of gratitude.

On this, my last Founder’s Day message to you as your National President, I challenge each of you to consider these words from Jackie Joyner-Kersee: “It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” Change is inevitable and necessary, and we must commit ourselves to fulfilling Soror Parker’s vision to encourage, inspire, nurture and assist women. On this 2015 Founder’s Day, I wish to share some of my most intimate thoughts about our Sorority. Many of these thoughts have been incorporated in my previous messages to you, but I sincerely feel they are worth repeating.

In 2012, I asked you to remember our beginnings and build on the work and experiences of the sorors who have paved the road for us. I also stated that the grass may seem greener elsewhere, but we must learn to cultivate and fertilize our own grass, and discover ways to appreciate our uniqueness and value.

In 2013, I asked us to 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. This is essential because we all know that a house divided cannot stand. We must be united to continue this journey with success.

In 2014 I suggested that we use the slogan “yes, we can and yes, we will” in our personal lives and in our individual chapters. I challenged us to speak out against injustices that exist here in our country and around the world, and to raise our voices in support of educating all children. We must believe that we can make a difference and not allow anyone or anything to suggest otherwise.

As I traveled from conference to conference this year, my 2015 message to all sorors centered so around the theme “Will the real Iota Woman Stand Up?” I believe that one of the best ways to honor our founder is to commit to walking the walk and not just talking the talk. We must not only learn and recite our Pledge of Sisterhood and our Creed, but we must live our pledge and creed each and every day. We must remember to always be loyal to the ideals of this Sorority and to preserve the golden links of friendship and love.

Too often, we get caught up in focusing on ourselves rather than on our Sorority. To paraphrase Oprah Winfrey, the more you praise and celebrate Iota, the more you will have to celebrate and brag about. We must discover who we are and find ways to let others know just who we are. We have much to be proud of and do not need to imitate anyone else. We must let our Iota light shine and continue to strive for economic empowerment.
Sorors, let us strive to recognize that there is a difference between interest and commitment. Author and leadership expert Ken Blanchard has the perfect definition for that distinction: “When you are interested in doing something, you only do it when it is convenient. When you are committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.”
So today, as we celebrate our 86th anniversary, I ask you to reflect on this excerpt from John Mason’s book Expect to Win: “Don’t be a middle-of-the-roader because the middle of the road is the worst place to try to go forward. You can do everything you ought to do once you make a decision.”

As you gather across Iotaland, have a wonderful Founder’s Day observance — and make the decision to continue to be a united sisterhood of business and professional women striving for economic empowerment.

Phyllis H. Shumate
21st National President