Pi Beta Phi’s Leadership and Nominating Committee (LNC) has responded to member feedback for increased transparency in the process of identifying and selecting Fraternity officers and a greater focus on ensuring diversity within the leadership ranks. Pi Phi’s officer nominations process was heavily promoted in the fall of 2020, which included a Ring Ching Chat with LNC Chair Schabahn Day. Members of the LNC and DEI AC collaborated to identify opportunities to recruit more diverse officer candidates and to outline qualifications that would demonstrate a candidate’s ability to actively support Pi Beta Phi’s DEI goals. The LNC has taken great care to listen to any member who has been willing to offer feedback on potential Fraternity leaders, discussed any candidate’s DEI-related experience and remained focused on elevating to the top of the candidate pool those members who show evidence of servant leadership traits. In fulfilling the slate for Grand Council and elected Directors, LNC worked to conduct the slating process through the lens of Pi Phi’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Welcome New Inclusion Officers
At the 2021 Convention, delegates voted on legislation proposed by Grand Council requiring all chapters elect two new chapter officers: a Vice President Inclusion and a Director Community Inclusion. The new officers are supported by an additional member of AAC. The Grand Vice President Inclusion/Community Relations member will oversee the Fraternity’s existing Community Relations team as well as the new Specialty Director, titled Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and nine new Inclusion Specialists. A webpage has been developed to explain these changes.
This legislation followed a biennium-long pilot program to incorporate a Director Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) into the Chapter Leadership Team. In January 2020, 20 chapters opted to participate in the pilot program. Over the summer, an additional 60 chapters were welcomed to pilot the office for the fall 2020 term.
The Fraternity officially welcomed the new chapter-level inclusion officer roles in January 2022. While these roles were adopted at the 2021 Convention, their officer terms officially began in the fall 2021/winter 2022 terms. These chapter roles include Vice President Inclusion and Director Community Inclusion, and they will be advised by the AAC Inclusion Advisor. Fraternity officer roles went into effect over the summer and utilized the fall term to train, begin integrating work within Regional Teams, and prepare for these new collegiate roles to begin.
The Fraternity continues to fill AAC Inclusion Advisors who will provide guidance that helps the chapter Inclusion Team implement strategic and programmatic diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to create a more inclusive chapter experience. If you are interested in volunteering with Pi Beta Phi or know a sister who would be a great fit, please submit this form.
Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Announced
Earlier this month, Pi Phi introduced California Eta Daphney Rose Bitanga as Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI). Daphney has held a variety of volunteer roles for our sisterhood, including chairing our inaugural DEI Advisory Committee. In her new role, she will continue to help shape the Fraternity’s DEI strategies, provide leadership and guidance for the Inclusion Specialists, support chapters and clubs implementing DEI efforts, and promote meaningful collaboration among members and leaders with the support of the DEI Advisory Committee. Daphney will work closely with Teresia Williams, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director on Headquarters staff who is another integral part of the DEI team.
Inclusive Education at Virtual College Weekend
Keynote speaker Tianna Soto kicked off our Virtual College Weekend in early January 2022. In tie with the College Weekend theme, "The Inclusive Member Experience," Tianna’s presentation, “Living Between Worlds,” encouraged chapter officers and AAC members to explore their personal identities, celebrate the journey and feel confident in their unique strengths. Tianna is a Puerto Rican, Jamaican-Chinese storyteller who empowers students to care for their mental health and wellness and face the college journey with confidence. Her work is heart-centered, service-driven, culturally-informed, and rooted in empathy. Additionally, College Weekend programming included specialized training for the newly-elected chapter Vice Presidents Inclusion as they began their new roles.
Training Our Volunteer Leaders and Staff
Pi Phi is excited to be partnering with The Nova Collective, a Black-owned, woman-owned strategy and consulting firm, to provide continued DEI education and training to Grand Council, Pi Beta Phi Foundation Trustees, Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) board members, Fraternity officers and all Headquarters staff. The training will explore social identity, bias awareness, allyship and the development of inclusive leaders, giving critical support to officers and staff as they carry out the DEI-focused work included in the Fraternity’s strategic and operational plans.