Living an Authentic Life and Helping Others Do The Same

Being an empowered woman goes beyond personal experience. It’s in every act of living as an authentic, genuine representation of what’s inside, no matter the circumstance. It’s in supporting others who need a sa­fe harbor to begin their own journey to authenticity.

For Kentucky Alpha Maggie Ibrahim-Taney, empowerment is living her life proudly and remaining true to herself, as well as encouraging others to do the same. Not only has Pi Phi been one of the greatest sources of support for Maggie, but she continues to provide that same support to the next generation of Pi Phis through involvement as an alumnae volunteer and Foundation donor.

Maggie’s path to an authentic life was complicated by coming to terms with her sexuality, sharing that with her Catholic family and the process of working through those challenges to eventually love and accept herself fully.

For Maggie to come out to her parents— two people steadfast in their faith — there was always the risk they couldn’t accept her for who she was. While their initial reaction was not what she hoped for, they found a way to balance their strong familial bond, the teachings of their faith and their daughter’s truth. Maggie says her experience with her family and Pi Phi sisters shaped who she is and how she wants to live her life as a resource for others looking for support.

“Pi Beta Phi empowers me to be authentically myself,” Maggie says. “I’ve never experienced any awkwardness or pushback from other Pi Phis. My Pi Phi sisters have backed me from the beginning and continue to do so without judgment. I’m so grateful for their acceptance because it’s opened so many doors for me and allowed me to empower other Pi Phis!”

Because of Maggie’s Pi Phi experience, she continues to give back to Pi Phi – currently as the Region Two Collegiate Operations Specialist. In this role, she has the opportunity to connect with other Pi Phis — collegians and alumnae — and serve as a resource and support system for members. “Everyone has been so accepting of me, and I want to be part of someone else’s journey if they need that support. To me, empowerment is living with authenticity and being your true self while being accepting of others. It’s about empowering others by not only showing that I’m proud of who I am, but I’m also accepting and proud of others who live their authentic lives,” she says.

"To me, empowerment is living with authenticity and being your true self while being accepting of others."

Maggie makes Pi Phi a priority because her sisters gave so much to her and it’s her chance to do the same for others. They gave her support when she most needed it, they offered acceptance when it wasn’t the default option and they promised Sincere Friendship to last a lifetime. “That’s why I continue to give back to Pi Phi,” she says. It’s because of this outpouring of support from those she loved that Maggie felt comfortable accepting herself and living a life of authenticity and acceptance.

While she still wavers in some moments, wondering whether people will accept her, one place Maggie doesn’t worry about that is Pi Phi. She has shared her story at convention, mentored chapter leaders as a Regional Team member and spoken to other alumnae at College Weekend. In all those instances — and many more over the years — she says she’s never once been met with anything other than acceptance and love from her sisters.

“Pi Phi has really paved the way and changed my life,” Maggie says. “I have friends around the world who support me no matter what. I met my wife because of a Pi Phi and I’m in a role right now that allows me to connect with and help others in an impactful way. I can be the confidant they need the same way so many others were for me. I’m not afraid to be open about who I am because of the encouragement I’ve received. We should all feel that way, especially with our sisters.”