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Empowering KKPsi Brothers: Insights on Running for District Office

District Conventions are right around the corner, and with this comes the election of new District Officers! To empower our Active Brothers to run for positions on their District Council, Alumni Brothers Jordan Barnes, Dionicio Cardenas, Liz Duncan, and Erika Goss have shared testimonials about their experiences as District Officers.

Jordan Barnes

"My name is Jordan Barnes and I am a Life Member of the Iota Xi chapter at Norfolk State University. I currently serve as a member of the National Curriculum Committee, Alumni Association Communications Committee, and Chair of the History & Traditions Committee for the Iota Xi Alumni Association. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the NED Historian and Alumni Liaison for the 2019-20 academic year. 

Interestingly enough, the seed was planted for me to run for district office a year before I ran. As a Spring ‘18 initiate, my VPM sent me information for a vacant position within the NED council after my first district convention. Coincidentally, it was the Historian and Alumni Liaison position. I was nervous to throw my hat in the ring, as I was so new to the organization; thus, I wanted to sit back and learn as much as I could. The following year, I gained the confidence to pursue it despite not seeing or knowing if any HBCU chapters elected to pursue district council in recent history, let alone my home chapter. 

This opportunity to serve was so important, as it forced me to be the change I wanted to see and felt others should to. It provided opportunities for me to branch out of my introvertedness and have the confidence to speak with current district officers, district governors, NED brothers from all precincts, and encourage HBCU brothers that serving on the district council is possible. Sometimes it is necessary to walk by faith, and not by sight. You’d be surprised who you may inspire by your hard work and courage. Win or lose, know that you will continue to grow, learn, and evolve. Continue to take chances, continue to take leaps of faith, and continue to water the seeds that are planted by those who believe in you. 

A famous quote that I memorized before submitting my district office packet was by R. W. Emerson. 'Do not go the path they may lead you, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.'"

Dionicio Cardenas

"Hello, my name is Dionicio Cardenas, and I currently serve as the 2023-2025 KKPsiAA Communications Director. My leadership experience outside my chapter started with a vacant spot called for Member-at-Large of the Southwest District of Kappa Kappa Psi. I truly didn't know if I wanted to apply, and let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. While I was appointed to my position, it always felt like it was just meant to be. That year, there were two vacant spots: Vice President for Membership and Member-at-Large. We were appointed a few months after the 2017 Southwest District Convention happened in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The coolest part of this is that we weren't officially installed until that summer. Yes, we were installed at National Convention in Orlando, Florida.

So, the question is, why is it important to put yourself out there and run for district office? Because you will never know the potential you might have until you do it. The hardest thing they can tell you is no, and that is quite literally just life. Remember to always ask for feedback. Reach out to the current officers in those positions for more information. Also, always keep in mind that your Governors are there to help you. They are just human and just another brother willing to serve Kappa Kappa Psi. Running for these positions doesn't only give you opportunities outside your Alma Mater but also open new friendships, connections, and lifelong memories. As the Spicy Southwest District once told me, 'Answer the Call!'"

Liz Duncan

"My name is Liz Duncan and I am a Life Member of the Nu Kappa chapter at Georgia Southern University. I currently serve as the Chair of the Alumni Association Communications Committee, Special Projects Chair of the National Communications Committee, and Finance Chair of the Southeast District Alumni Association. During my time as an Active Brother, I had the opportunity to serve as SED Webmaster from 2020-2021.

I went into the 2020 Southeast District Convention running for Secretary/Treasurer. Finance is where my comfort zone was, I had served as Nu Kappa's treasurer for 2 years at that point and it was naturally the only position I even considered myself for. Spoiler alert, I was not elected and I was disappointed. However, now I can say with confidence that there is truly no other way it should've gone. The secretary/treasurer that was elected did a phenomenal job, and I would not be where I am without the experience I gained as Webmaster. All of that to say, do not put yourself in a box like I did. We all have comfort zones, but take this opportunity and use the support of your Brothers to venture out. I had done website work before, but I in no way thought those skills would be used in Kappa Kappa Psi. Now here I am nearly 4 years later, and I've almost made the full switch to the Communications world.

At the end of the day, putting yourself out there is something that should be commended whether you get the position or not. If you run for District Office and get the position, great! Congratulations! However, if you, like me, run for that position and don't get it do not let that be what blocks your progress. Continue putting yourself out there, try something new, lean on your Brothers, and most importantly continue having fun. The only thing worse than being told no is not knowing what could've been because you didn't take the chance."

Erika Goss

"My name is Erika Goss and I am an alumni from Nu Zeta at Pennwest Edinboro University. Currently I serve on the Alumni Communications Committee, National Communications Committee, and as the Webmaster for NEDAA. I’ve served in many positions as an active brother, namely being the NED Webmaster from 2021-2023 as well as Member-at-Large during the 2022-2023 years. 

When I saw the call for webmaster applications, I knew I could do something as simple as that to serve Kappa Kappa Psi, and admittedly, I applied expecting not to receive the position. I arrived at NATCON in 2021 and was shocked to be appointed as the Webmaster. As a then graphic design student, I was excited for the opportunity. As we got closer to elections in 2022 at NEDCON, I decided I would submit my application to be MAL, as I knew my experiences would aid me in that position. Since 2021, I’ve actively searched for new opportunities in KKPsi and my community to further gain experience and most important to me, meet new people.

If there’s anything I can say about running for a leadership position it’s this: if you’re going into an election for the right reasons and to serve a greater purpose, then anyone can succeed in their position. Lean on your brothers and they will support you in all you do."

It’s not easy to put yourself out there and run for a leadership position, but as you heard, the rewards of stepping forward and taking on this challenge far outweigh any initial apprehension or doubt. Remember, every successful leader started somewhere. Take that leap of faith, trust in your abilities, and know that your brothers stand behind you every step of the way!

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