Kappa Kappa Psi Presents: S3 E18 – Podcast

Transcribed by Luis Luigi Bencomo and Kyla Buettner

Bang: Hello brothers, and welcome back to KKPsi Presents. I am your host, Bang Co, National Vice President for Student Affairs, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this production. Of course I could not do any of this on my own, I have some amazing help from our National Communications Team, our Student Advisory Committee, and a special shout out to our editor Ryan Smith for all his hard work and dedication to KKPsi. So, to all of our fraternal listeners, welcome back and thank you so much once again for your support. For those of you joining us for the first time, welcome to our show. We appreciate you taking the time to join us today to listen in. This podcast is of course brought to you by Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity. The purpose of this series is to provide some insight, some helpful tips, suggestions, and to simply showcase the different voices of the brotherhood in an entertaining fashion that will hopefully keep you coming back. Now, today’s guests are joining us all the way from the SED and the WD. More specifically, South Carolina and California. These brothers are currently serving as presidents for their respective districts and I’m very excited to see what they do with their time. So without further delay, let’s pass things over to our guests for official introductions. 

Tarshae: Hello brothers, my name is Tarshae Odom. I am from the Zeta Eta chapter at South Carolina State University. I am a senior Music Education major with a minor in History, and currently I am serving as your Southeast District President. Fun fact about me is that I’m a French horn player, and I hate French horn players that play on trumpet mouthpieces.

Bang: Noted, well we’ll have to make sure that happens at NIB. Awesome, thank you so much Tarshae. Nicole?

Nicole: Hello brothers, my name is Nicole Gage. I’m from the Nu Sigma chapter at Cal Poly Pomona. I’m actually a graduate student researching Seismology and Geophysics, and this year I am the Western District President. Things about me, my undergraduate degree is in Physics, and I’ve played clarinet since middle school and I’m self-taught. 

Bang: Fantastic, awesome, thank you both so much for joining us today. Very excited for this episode and very excited to have you both help us kick off our highlights of our district presidents for the 2020-2021 term. So speaking of 2020, it has been the longest decade that I have been alive for. 2020, how has it been for you so far? How is this new role been for you? We’ll start with Nicole.

Nicole: To put it shortly, it’s been a rollercoaster. It didn’t start off well for me, actually, because, well actually it started off really nice because I was elected district president. So that was really cool. But two days after, I got very very very sick, and with COVID-19, all of the nurses and doctors turned me away, I couldn’t go to any emergency rooms because I could walk. So best guess, after three weeks I had untreated bronchitis, got very lucky it didn’t turn into pneumonia. But after those three weeks, it’s difficult to describe because we’re still going through it, but for the most part, I’m doing pretty good. I’m adapting much better than I thought I would to shelter in place going on and off of being mandatory in California, and living near LA, and then with the Black Lives Matter movement going on and so much tension, there’s a lot of stuff I could not predict. But overall, I think I’m doing okay. I’m enjoying having more free time than sitting in traffic, getting gas, finding parking. So overall okay. 

Bang: Gotcha, yeah definitely been a lot happening again in this 2020 decade. So thank you so much for sharing. Tarshae, how about you? How is this new normal for you?

Tarshae: 2020 is a year in the books already. Can I say normal? Nothing is normal about this. 2020 is testing us personally, spiritually, mentally, it’s testing us right now. Transferring over to virtual status for school stuff was very hard, very troubling because I don’t like sitting in front of a computer all the time doing work. It’s very mind-boggling, very boring at times. But, nothing normal about this, working still, glad about that. So, yeah. 

Bang: Awesome, awesome. Well thank you both so much for sharing, I mean, honestly it has been a rollercoaster ride and I agree there’s really nothing normal about this. So from there, 2020, let’s kind of put that aside for a bit because I want to know a little bit more about your past and your history. So I’m going to ask you, how did you get involved with music and KKPsi? We’ll start with Tarshe.

Tarshae: Well, my story is very funny. Been a French horn player. First of all, I started music at an early age of 5, learned how to play the piano at that age. Got into middle school, my band director said what do you want to sign up for? I said the flute, he gave me that. Then he said a year later, he said no, you’re going to the French horn. I said okay. Finished high school, got into college, got recruited by some great band directors here at South Carolina State, and I guess from there, watching those brothers before me in the chapter, how involved they were in the musical field, playing their instruments in different ensembles. It made me want to get more involved, even before becoming a brother. So, joining different ensembles such as the French horn choir, brass quintet, wind ensemble and symphonic band. Then I became a brother and was still involved in all those ensembles. I’m getting ready to actually bring back the French horn choir. But being in KKPsi has definitely inspired me to focus more on my music, especially being that it is my major. 

Bang: Awesome, and what year did you join KKPsi?

Tarshae: I am a Spring 2018 initiate.

Bang: Okay, very cool. Much appreciate, awesome thank you so much. Nicole, what about you?

Nicole: So with music, very much the same thing as Tarshae’s, I wanted to play flute in elementary school. It’s the cutest instrument, it sounds amazing, but I can’t play it for my life. I can’t make a sound.

Bang: It happens.

Nicole: I asked my teacher, “what is the closest instrument to a flute?”, and he said the clarinet because they sit next to each other. 

Bang: So literally the closest. 

Nicole: Yeah, that’s what he told me so that is now why I play clarinet. 20 something years later, and I love it so much. Even though I went into a STEM field, music and those people were always my people and that’s where my school family was. I actually colonized the Nu Sigma chapter November 18, 2017, so my introduction to Kappa Kappa Psi is not normal for most people. I did not even hear about it until I think my fourth year in school, and I was working to be vice president of the colony and then I ended up being the colony president, chapter president, and it was a really hard time. It took a long time to colonize. But what it’s been doing for our department the last three years is amazing. It’s a completely different program now. My band director is helped and he’s not thinking about what to do for the department on his own anymore. He has his little minions and it’s absolutely amazing to see that all the time I put into getting this organization on my campus and seeing it flourish and quadruple in size in just three years, and I’m incredibly proud of being the 16th active chapter in the Western District right now. 

Bang: Very cool.

Nicole: So it was not a traditional introduction, but I think it gives me a very unique point of view to the organization. 

Bang: I love it. I love it. Awesome, well thank you both so much, and I just wanted to add in there as well that I am, and have always been a flute player/piccolo player. I was such a bad musician that they were like, “no you sit”, because there were so many flutes already that they were like, “just sit near the end”. So I will proudly stick to the flute. Very cool. Alright, so my next question for you all is, looking back at your KKPsi experience, why don’t you, I mean this is pretty hard for some people and it may not be for you, but I wanted to know what was your favorite thing or memory or aspect about KKPsi? So for example, I may say Jessica Lee is my favorite part, but she’s on thin ice right now with me, (I’m just kidding). So she’s not my favorite part anymore, but I will say student advisory committee, honestly, serving as VPSA, has been amazing because of the student leaders get to work with, so like I said it doesn’t have to be a memory, but overall, what is your favorite thing, memory, or aspect of KKPsi?

Nicole: I think my favorite thing is actually seeing the reactions of my chapter brothers and watching them talk about how we can make an impact in our community, how to help our director of bands, and seeing them not just reading from a book, but they’re working together now as a unit. And seeing that flourish from where it didn’t exist before, it blows my mind sometimes, and I’ve cried a couple times just being so happy. In particular, I think my favorite memory was watching my little find out that he was going to get a little of his own, because he’s waited a few years, and for me that was such a weird sense of accomplishment because I started from not even knowing what Kappa Kappa Psi is, to installing it, to passing on enough confidence and empowerment to my little to feel confident to take on his own little. He is now the current chapter president, and for me that was one of my favorite experiences was watching how special that was for him. 

Bang: Yeah, yeah, no that’s deep, and that really is special to see somebody in your family, your little kind of grow up kind of right before your eyes. So that’s amazing. Awesome, well thank you so much. Tarshae, what about you? What’s your favorite thing, memory, or aspect of KKPsi?

Tarshae: Well, right now one memory that’s very very dear to my heart is actually being able to attend Centennial last year at National Convention. I enjoyed that so much because at first I did not think we were going to have as many brothers as we did attend with us. For our chapter to go together and actually drive 16 hours to just attend in that one vehicle together, it was amazing. The bonds that we built just on that trip to go and spend time eating out with other brothers from around the country, and that’s one memory. But also one thing that’s dear to my heart is actually being able to encourage brothers and work with different brothers to actually get them to understand how to be better leaders, how to involve their chapters, to work with better relationships with their director of bands and their sponsors. So that has been something that’s very impactful, especially within this past year. 

Bang: Yeah, no that’s really powerful, and sort of leads me to my next question here actually. Before I do that, I just want to say, Centennial was fantastic but I don’t know if any of you remember how hot it was in that auditorium? That was my least favorite thing about KKPsi so far, is how hot it was.

Nicole: Pool of sweat just walking across the campus.

Bang: Oh my gosh, it really was. I don’t even know how most people dealt with it, but I mean I got to a point where I was just like, I think I may pass out in front of the entire delegation.

Tarshae: I’m glad we’re not going back to Oklahoma a little bit, just a little bit.

Bang: Oh my gosh, yeah so just a disclaimer, if Jessica is listening, you are close to my favorite, but Student Advisory Committee has my heart. So, before I get in trouble I just want to put that disclaimer out there. So, Tarshae you talked a little bit about part of your favorite experience so far, and I believe it has something to do with you being a district officer. And the reason I’m asking this question is because not everyone has the opportunity to serve as a district officer, and a lot of people don’t know what that means, what goes into it and what has to happen behind the scenes. So I just want to ask you, tell us a little bit more about your experience as a district officer so far. 

Tarshae: Okay, so April 4th will always be a day I will never forget. That was the day I was elected as Southeast District President, and since that day, it’s still a little bit like “no you’re not president”, but yes you are. So right now, honestly within the 2, 3 months so far, it has definitely been just trying to connect with my district a little more. I’m trying to get people to understand who I am on a business level and on a personal level because a lot of times, I sense people don’t try to reach out to their district officers as much, unless it’s about business. I don’t want that, I don’t want that approach all the time. I’m not going to have a business hat on 24/7. I’m a people person, I am very shy at times, but I also like to interact, I like to talk, I like to cut up, I like to have fun. So right now, my experience is making sure I stick to planning that we have set out so far, making sure that I continue to reach out to my district faithfully, even on an everyday or every other day basis so that they know I’m still here. I’m not just sitting behind a computer doing nothing. I want to reach out, I want to talk every day, I want to know how y’all are doing, how are y’all handling 2020 so far? Especially with everything taking place in the world. If you need to talk, I always just tell anyone that if they need to talk, I’m here to talk, I’m not afraid to voice my opinion, just like you shouldn’t be. I mean, our opinion’s our opinion. So right now, my experience as a district officer so far has been very fun. But also very stressful at times. 

Bang: Yeah yeah, well awesome. Thank you so much, and I appreciate hearing that, was it yesterday, was the SED social call, which I thought was a fantastic idea. So, love to hear that, and just a quick story. I don’t know if Tarshae remembers this, I’m going to call him out real quick. I tried to talk to him at Nat Con, because I was running at that point, and I don’t know if he was shy or what he was feeling, but he was just like, nah.

Tarshae: It was very shy, because I knew that you were running, so yeah I was shy. 

Bang: Yeah, he was like, “nah I’m good”, and I was just like, “oh, okay”. I just kind of sat down for a second and was like, “I don’t know what to think or say about this. But I won’t put you on blast, I don’t know if this is considered putting you on blast, then go ahead and fast forward. So anyways.

Tarshae: You just put me on blast!

Bang: Nicole, what about you?

Nicole: Yeah, so my experience as district officer so far is not relatable to being a chapter officer in almost every way. But in the best of ways because I’m finally learning what it means to be a president and the impact that has on people when you’re not “on”, and just learning that my job is not to create programming, it’s not to create workshops, it’s to empower my council. And I use my position, I use my authority, so to speak, to give them a voice, to give them a stage to get their expertise out. And for me to see that just how amazing Megan, Angie and Joey have been so far, and we live states away. It blows my mind how productive we’ve been able to be through a pandemic, through a virtual environment, through everything else going on. So for me, in that aspect, it’s been absolutely amazing. And the relationships I’ve built so far with all of the district officers, all the district presidents, with council, governors, national leadership, I can’t quite put it into words just how special it’s been and it’s only been like three months. But another part of that is there is so much that I just don’t know. How do I encourage people to be excited for Fall when we don’t even know what Fall looks like? You know, so those are kind of the things I am asking myself, how do you be a leader when no one has been through this before? 

Bang: Yeah. 

Nicole: You know, so I don’t know if I have a word for that, but that’s definitely one of the biggest experiences I could not have predicted. But personally, I have grown so much in such a short amount of time that I feel more confident in helping people. It’s such a hard thing to describe, and to have this opportunity is something I wish more people sought, and I want to help people want to join the district councils. It makes me speechless sometimes because I was in shock for probably four days after I was elected. It didn’t seem real. 

Bang: No, that’s awesome. So thank you for sharing that, especially that first part, definitely speaking something that I fully believe in is the fact that often times you look at the president and think they’re the quarterback, they’re the center snare, they’re the person that everyone has their eyes on. And to be able to utilize that influence and that clout you have to be able to bring in others and share that spotlight and highlight them is an incredible, incredible opportunity for any leader. And I think from what you shared in the second part, to me, I would call that impact. The opportunity to create impact, the opportunity to create impact in the unknown. There’s something terrifying, but also very exhilarating about that unknown and then the opportunity, because here’s the thing though, what I’ve been telling people is that yeah you may not know, we may not know about Fall right now, but we could have, let’s say Corona kind of held off for a little bit and we were in Fall and we were all ready for Fall and then all of a sudden Corona hits. That would’ve been an unknown too. So, you know, this really is a great opportunity and I’m very excited to see what you and all the rest of the district officers do. So with that being said, looking forward with your term, and looking at what you know now, I wanted to ask you as a district president, not as a district officer, not as the person for your district council, but just you as an individual, just you as a district president, what is your number one goal that you would like to achieve during this term as DP?

Nicole: So if there is a number one goal, which has definitely adapted the last three months, because I had my campaign, it’s on the same track but with everything we’re experiencing now, I want my district membership to know that they can make a difference in this fraternity. They can make a difference for their brothers. And if there is something so deeply important to them that they have so many opportunities to make a positive impact on others. And when they get those opportunities, that they need to go for it. And you’re going to be scared everyone’s been scared, no one knows what they are doing, and I want to empower them to take action on what they know is right and to challenge the status quo. And no matter in what context or if it’s just something small like a friend group or their chapter or their band program, district level, national level, whatever it might be, that I can show them that if I can do this, that they can. So if I can instill that in at least one person, I know that I achieved my goal as district president.

Bang: I love it. I love it. Awesome, well thank you so much. I think that’s great, and you know, sometimes people overlook that impact, that individual impact you could have with your members of your district and they just kind of look at the programming, the logistical, and I think something that you had mentioned that I definitely vibed with is no more paralysis by analysis. Right? There are so many unknowns at this point, that we can let that unknown and that fear, hold us back, but at this point we need to take action, we need to do something, right? We need to figure out a plan, and whatever that means, if we mess up, we mess up, and we lean into that failure and we get back up and we do it again, we do something better, we improve upon something. So I appreciate that. Tarshae, what about you? What’s your number one goal as DP?

Tarshae: Well, my platform before even election, it was about equality. Right off the bat. And like Nicole said, it has evolved. My platform has evolved to be so much better. SED, we use a little quote, “Strength, excellence, diversity.” And we use that, but right now, how much strength is in diversity? How much of that excellence is in that diversity? How are we working together as a brotherhood? So as district president right now, my goal honestly is to make sure that our brotherhood in the SED, and even across the entire organization, understands that brotherhood is something true. It’s real. How can you call me your brother when you’re doing certain things behind my back, you know? That’s not brotherly. So my focus is to make sure our district understands that brotherhood, fellowship, and then bonding together is something that needs to be genuine, it needs to be something real and comes from the heart. If you didn’t want to be part of a brotherhood, you shouldn’t have joined this organization. Right off the bat. And if we can’t accept one another for who we are, then you shouldn’t have joined this organization. And as district president, it’s going to be my job to make sure that my council and their platforms, whatever they are trying to push, gets achieved because every last one of my district officers thus far including our webmaster and parliamentarian that just got into office, their platforms are amazing. And it’s genuine, and it’s real, and it’s something that is going to better our district. So my goal is to push that. That’s what I want. 

Bang: No, I appreciate it. And that is really powerful, especially in this time where again we have COVID, we have the fact that many of us have not seen each other in person, shared a hug, done our secret handshake. There’s just so much happening right now we can’t even be together in band and play music together because of the illness, because of everything going on. And that brotherhood is so important, so how do we double down on that? How do we continue to share that and develop that aspect of brotherhood and the bond that we have with one another? And not even just maintain it, but to further that bond as well, so I think that’s incredible. So from there, you shared with us your number one goal as DP, now I don’t want you to share too much, because we want to leave some secrecy for the district to find out with the upcoming months, but if you could share one or two thing that your council as a whole has been working on. Tarshae, let’s start with you. 

Tarshae: Ok, my apologies, I was getting ready to start speaking. So to not jump the broom, the Southeast District council is working very, very hard. Actually, the day after elections we were on it. We were talking about things we wanted to do, things that we wanted to push forward. Right now, we are doing our focused connections bro to bro pilot program. That is a program where brothers from different chapters connect with individual brothers from different chapters, and to see how well this program will work out, we want to push that, because that individual bond is something. Because we already do chapter pen pals with each other, so that individual bond is something that is very special. And you don’t know what type of connections you could build, lifelong connections for your work environment, networking all that stuff could take place. So that’s a program that I’m very proud of. Madeline Lee, our Vice President of Programs, definitely something she had a part to play in. But as far as the entire council, honestly, we’re working. When I say we’re working, we have a new thing coming this Fall, and right now we’re just trying to make sure that we get all the logistics down packed with it because once we present it, we don’t want there to be any loopholes, nothing. We want to make sure that it’s for all of us, not one person, not just one race, not just one gender, for all of us. So right now, I’m just going to say that diversity is real, and it’s coming.

Bang: I love it. I love it. So pay attention everybody, and be on the lookout for updates and just to see what is going to happen, and again our student leaders are putting in a lot of work, which again I am super, super excited for and very proud of. So Nicole, what about you? What is one or two things that your council has been working on?

Nicole: So a few things we’ve been working on. It’s absolutely amazing. So Megan, our VP, she’s looking into creating a podcast so people can learn about coming to events and how to do different things through the year. And then Angie, our Sec/Treas is putting together budget workshops. One will be happening in the next week for anyone to learn about the financial side of Kappa Kappa Psi and how to put together a budget, and how to just start getting more involved in your chapter. And then Joey, our Member at Large, has finally figured out a decade long issue we’ve had, which is our emailing system. And just how to keep out bugs and all this. So he’s been absolutely amazing with that. And in general, with all of the COVID-19 and, you know, the racial tension awareness and everything going on, just like the Southeast district, we have a couple programs that we’ve been working on. Which, in some ways, I do apologize that our district has appeared quiet. Because we know that we want to do action and not just put something on Facebook. And that to us is incredibly important. We’ve had additional meetings outside of our numerous meetings that are required every week, and they’re going to be announced sometime in the next few weeks, hopefully within a month. And just like Tarshae said, they’re designed for everyone, for everyone to learn, educate, and I am so honored to be able to have a council who can put this together and put this out, because what Tarshae and I are working on has never existed in our organization yet, and it’s something we don’t take lightly. So there’s a lot.

Bang: Yeah, very cool. Very powerful stuff, and you know, it’s very powerful stuff and it’s going to be powerful. And sometimes, you know, we look at the things we do and the impact we see is probably just the tip of the iceberg because that impact sometimes once you’re serving in a leadership role, we don’t really see that impact for years to come, and so I’m just excited to see how this all unfolds and to see how it all plays out and to see you all in your element and to continue to do and drive the very important passionate topics that affect all of us. Right? We should all care about these topics and we should really care about how, I mean, I guess for me when people say the next 100 years, the next 100 years, fantastic, but what does that look like? And if you were to ask me that now, these are the things that to me, honestly, it’s expected now. This starts here. It starts with the diversity, it starts with the brothers, it starts with who we are, and figuring out how we can make sure that everyone feels safe, feels wanted, feels that they are welcomed, feels that they belong. You know, so this is incredible work that I am extremely, extremely excited for. So with that being said, I think that you all just showed kind of a side or an aspect of who you are as individuals. But I want to I guess just more directly ask you, how has your experience in KKPsi helped shape who you are now?

Nicole: My experience in Kappa Kappa Psi, there is no way I would have been able to become as empathetic as I am now. And even though I am still working on that every single day, that there were just some experiences that I’ve had and just some community-building exercises and harsh lessons, I had to learn, in summary, that words matter. The way you say something, where you say it, who you say it to, the platform you say it, that words matter when you say them and when you hear them. And, you know, through my field of study I’ve never been artistic or expressive. So for me to have to learn how to be very artful and learn how to practice empathic listening is not natural for me, and it’s getting easier. I have those now, but I know I can always do better. And you know, through that I’ve been able to look and really reflect on my leadership style and understand that I can always take the extra step back and let people run on their own. That’s why for me, being district president and learning the difference between district and chapter president is really letting go of those details, letting go of that power, and just pushing other people up. Because before this year, I kind of took sort of a step back with leadership positions in Kappa Kappa Psi so I could just go through the motions and enjoy the products, and that gave me an entire year to compare my leadership style with leaders that I respect and look up to, and the one thing I realized is that they would listen to me. They would never give off the impression that they didn’t care what I was saying or what I was going through, even if it was something very meaningless and drama-related, it still affected me and for them to just be like, “you know I’m always hear to listen.” And most of these people were my current band director, and other directors who have come and gone, and that one year, this past year is what has flipped my leadership style. Because I can’t do everything, and more often than not I’m probably wrong. So you know, learning that humility and learning to ask for help, that’s been the biggest thing that’s shaped me into who I am today. Learning those lessons the hard way, and some of it sucks, you know I won’t lie, but ultimately made me a better person.

Bang: Yeah, I love it. Yeah, that was very deep stuff, very powerful stuff. So thank you so much for sharing, and, you know, I think we should speak to my mother and maybe share some tips about how to be empathetic, because she’s a little lacking on that side of things. But anyways, Tarshae, what about you?

Tarshae: It is so funny how much me and Nicole do have in common. I’m definitely a Leo.

Bang: You’re a what now?

Tarshae: I am a Leo.

Bang: Oh goodbye! I’m just kidding.

Tarshae: So sometimes asking for help is definitely a struggle. So before becoming Southeast District president, I served as chapter president. Even before that I was just service committee chair before becoming chapter president. And in my mind, you know, it has always been do it myself, do it myself, I’m going to get it done. Because once I ask you to help me, and once you don’t move right away, I’m going to be like, “man, bump it, I’m going to do it by myself”. Becoming a brother, especially within the Zeta Eta chapter, not even just our active brothers, but our alumni brothers that are still active in the organization, they were always willing to help. They were always willing to give advice, and it was some great advice. So to shape me into the person I am today and to also become district president, it has me able to learn how to delegate more and how not to micromanage. I learn to just, you say you were going to do the job, I’m going to leave it in your hands that you’re going to get the job done. Also, maybe this may be seen as a little bad sometimes, but it also shaped me to put up a guard sometimes against certain people. Because everyone is not for you, and that traces back to the whole brotherhood thing, so it put up a guard, so I’ve really tried my best to be as real, as genuine as ever because, you know, if you turn your back on me, you bite my finger off, then guess what? That karma is going to come back. So I’m just that person that honestly, I enjoy what the brotherhood has shown me, I’m proud of the leader I am today, I love my council, I love my district, and I have enjoyed working with some great national leaders thus far. 

Bang: I don’t know who you’re talking about. I’m just kidding. No, I think that’s great, and to me, the reason I ask this is one, because I’m curious. Two, is because I think so often we think about KKPsi, especially when we join, one we don’t realize that our time as actives is going to end, and our opportunity, especially the opportunity you have right now as district presidents, is going to come to an end at some point. And when you look at leadership development, just wait until you know, that election happens and then you’re old news, it hits you, it hits you. It’s like turn the page. You know, when you look at leadership opportunities and you look leadership development, there’s honestly, and especially you’ll start to learn this in the real world as well, that there’s just not a lot of that in the real world. You’re sort of just expected to show up and be your best self, and it’s like, well, leadership, I haven’t had any training, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. And that’s why, to me, it’s beyond the music aspect, beyond the service aspect, all that adds to the foundation of the fact that this is personal development. This is not just leadership development, this is helping create who you are, this is helping shape who you’re going to be and how you’re going to add to our society, and how you’re going to, you know, just be a good citizen, just be a good human being. So I am very, very thankful that you both shared that, that means a lot. It also helps me know a little bit more about you, and just kind of keep my eyes on things and just see, because part of being a national leader is, kind of like you all were talking about developing those within your council and your district, for me, I’m secretly also looking at how can I provide opportunities for you to continue to grow as well. So thank you so much for sharing. So now the next question. Or series of questions, because I just changed them in my mind. So what’s going to happen? Who just spoke? Tarshae, you just spoke last, right? Ok, I’m going to ask a series of questions, and I’m going to need you to respond within like, two seconds, the first thing that comes to your mind, and it’s just going to go Tarshae, Nicole, Tarshae, Nicole, Tarshae, Nicole. After I ask each question, it’s very rapid fire. Alright? So, and to our listeners, this is just for you to get to know them, and if, you know, whatever they respond with, feel free to put them on blast for it. Alright. So, first question, favorite candy bar? Tarshae.

Tarshae: Reese’s cups.

Bang: Nicole. 

Nicole: Oh, same question?

Bang: Same question.

Nicole: Reese’s. 

Bang: Gotcha. Favorite cereal?

Tarshae: Ooh, oh!

Nicole: This is hard!

Tarshae: Cheerios, honey nut cheerios.

Nicole: That’s what I was going to say! I have a bowl of cheerios right in front of me. 

Bang: Okay, okay. Let’s see, the next question is going to be favorite item on the McDonald’s menu?

Tarshae: Mine’s going to be a double quarter pounder with no pickle, and Mac sauce.

Bang: Okay.

Nicole: Mine is one of those small, simple child cheeseburgers with no pickles and Mac sauce.

Bang: Okay, okay. If you could live anywhere, like not looking at cost or travel or work, if you could live in any city in the world, where would you live?

Nicole: Sydney.

Bang: Love it.

Tarshae: Okay, it would definitely be Honolulu.

Bang: Okay! Okay, great. My next question for you is, if there is any animal that could represent you and your spirit, what would that animal be? 

Tarshae: A lion.

Nicole: Sloth.

Bang: Okay, okay, very different. And my last question here, is your favorite national officer? Don’t answer that, don’t answer that! Okay, actually, my last question, nope, delete that question. My last actual fun question is, if you could do one thing for the rest of your life, it doesn’t have to be a job, it doesn’t have to, just one thing that brings you the most joy, what would that be? And it could be eating at McDonald’s, that’s okay. Right, it could be literally anything. 

Tarshae: That’s nasty.

Bang: If there’s one thing that, look, respect, right, this is a safe zone. So if there’s one thing you could do for the rest of your life, every single day, what would that be?

Tarshae: Dance.

Bang: Love it. Dance.

Nicole: I think wake up motivated. 

Bang: Okay, that was different than I thought.

Nicole: It’s super deep, but if I wake up motivated and make my favorite cup of coffee, I can do anything that day.

Bang: I love it. Tarshae hates coffee, apparently, so I guess he doesn’t like to be motivated. I’m just kidding. No, I love dancing, I also love being motivated. Everything you all mentioned, I will also eat. So, thank you so much for your fun questions, and you know, I’m not a liar, but I like to fib. So my actual last question here is, you’re driving a car, right. So put yourself in this situation, you’re driving a car. You both have your license, right?

Nicole: Yes.

Tarshae: Yeah.

Bang: Okay. So you’re both driving a car, you’re driving down a road, whatever road that needs to be, that’s up to you, and you see a spider coming down. What do you do? While you’re driving. Full speed.

Nicole: Well what I have done is slap the passenger next to me to deal with it.

Bang: What if there’s nobody?

Tarshae: Well my first reaction is that I’m going to start cursing and start flipping out in the car. Okay, but I might end up slapping the spider, okay.

Nicole: I might turn the wheel really quickly.

Bang: Okay. I was going to say stop the car and set it on fire. But that also works. I feel like that’s more reasonable. Alright, so fun questions, and thank you both for playing along. I don’t think I’ve put anybody through that sort of hot seat yet, so it’s going to be a lot of pressure for the rest of the district presidents now. So I just wanted to say once again thank you so much for your willingness to answer these questions, to play along, to you know, be deep about some of the questions and to be vulnerable and to be honest as well. So I’ve asked a lot of questions, my last question for you, a serious question, is what piece of advice can you share with our listeners who would like to maybe serve at a higher level someday, maybe are searching for leadership opportunities, or just potential just want to create some sort of positive change for their community, their chapter, their program, whatever it is. What piece of advice would you have? And we’ll start with Nicole.

Nicole: I think a piece of advice for serving at a higher level, searching for opportunities, is understanding that leadership begins with you. No one else and no title will be able to teach you leadership. Actually, I think Bang told me this a few weeks ago, but leadership is personal development, which is why it’s so dang hard for anyone to be a leader. You have to go through it, and you have to learn humility. You have to learn empathic listening, because if people don’t like the impression you’re giving and the perception you’re giving, you won’t be there long. So if you want to serve at a higher level, you want to understand what that means for you. What do you want to do for you or for others? Creating positive change, you’ve got to understand what it means to you. Is it personal? Are you trying to help someone in need? Do you want to make a positive change? Do you want to create programming that’s never existed? There needs to be a reason besides “I want the title.” Because that becomes real obvious, and you’re kicked out real quick. But I think it’s turning the conversation inwards and learning those hard lessons, whatever they look like to you. And I only say this because that is the road I took. 

Bang: Great, awesome, well thank you so much. You first said leadership starts with you, and automatically I was like, no it doesn’t it starts with L, but I get what you’re saying. So I appreciate that a lot. Tarshae, what about you? What’s your one piece of advice?

Tarshae: Once again, I love it because Nicole just honestly just said everything. But to trickle back to what she was talking about, you cannot pretend to be someone else. You have to be yourself. When you’re stepping into that role, if you don’t have the understanding that you have to put yourself aside and put others now before you, then you’re going to have a problem. You’re going to get put out of that position. Thinking to this organization, thinking to KKPsi, we have a diverse group of individuals within our organization. And within this organization, we have to put everyone in that one bubble, not having several different bubbles, but everyone has to go into that same bubble. If one thing happens to this person in this situation, of course it’s going to have to happen to that same person in that other situation. You have to be fair across the board. Self aside, think of the organization, think about what type of impact that you will have. I just find it very slight hearted that people get into these positions and they think about just that one person, or just that one race, or that one set of gender. You can’t do that, not when you have a co-educational fraternity, you can’t do that. Because you never know what you’re going to get, so anyone that’s planning to run for national leadership, district leadership, community organizations, you have to think about the people, you have to think about those workers, those people that make this organization run every day, the student based organization, the people that are paying all this money to be a part of this organization, we have to put that in mind. This is a student organization, so their input needs to be valued. You need to listen. That listening skill, it works. I’m very thankful that I can listen to a lot of brothers within my district and be sincere and have an understanding, be compassionate of where they’re coming from and not just being biased to one side, but listening to all sides. 

Bang: Yeah, I mean, both incredibly powerful. Both very, very deep. And I don’t know if you’re both putting me on blast and saying that I need to work on those, things or not, I’m just kidding. I mean, it’s both just such wonderful, wonderful lessons, it’s some things that we hear, but it’s good to be reminded of. Especially when things are so chaotic, when it’s so easy to cut the corners, it’s so easy to hide behind policies and procedures. It’s so easy to say no we can’t, it’s so easy to say sorry not right now. It’s really easy to look past the good and focus on the negative, and it’s so easy to kind of think about how things could go wrong. And with that listening that Tarshae mentioned, and with everything that Nicole mentioned as well, their advice for people looking at leadership is that it starts with what you can do and the impact that you can make. And it just so happens that these two individuals on this call right now do have a title, but I am positive that even before they held these titles that they were making these same impacts. Now they just have a bigger stage, and a platform to do it. So, Nicole and Tarshae, I just wanted to say thank you both so much again for joining us today. And on behalf of the fraternity and the national council, we truly do appreciate you and admire all that you do and that you’re continuing to do to promote musicianship, leadership and service. So I just wanted to say a huge thanks to our listeners for joining today. If you like this episode, then please share and suggest our podcast series to another brother today, and subscribe if you haven’t’ already done so. I know that Nicole is catching up on her episodes, still waiting for Tarshae to subscribe. 

Nicole: Called out!
Bang: We do this not to hear ourselves talk, and actually it’s quite terrible to hear yourself recorded. So, we do this to really share insight that could be meaningful to you, but we also need your help in finding topics to cover and brothers to join me as guests on the show. So if you have any suggestions, please reach out to me at bangco@kkpsi.org. Thanks again for joining us on KKPsi Presents, my name is Bang Co, your host, and I wish you all much love today. And as always, AEA.

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