During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."
"A comma is used to separate, but I always saw it as something to join us together," said Walker, who led a group that has more than 60,000 active members. "I wanted people to understand that while we are a large corporation, we can and we will handle business in a sisterly manner.
"Conveying that to the mainstream society was hard. We had to help them understand that a corporation is like a Bill Gates, but we always had that sorority piece. I think I was able to combine the two of them and make it work for Delta."
Walker's tenure officially came to an end last week at the sorority's 53rd National Convention, but the local sorority members will honor the Valrico resident at 11 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 26) at a special charity luncheon celebration at the Tampa Hilton Downtown. The event is open to the public and Walker says attendees can expect to find her overwhelmed.
"I mean that in a positive way," Walker said. "I'm overwhelmed, I'm humbled and I'm appreciative. I just see me as Paulette. I always have."
While Walker exudes humility, her sorority sisters hold her in high esteem. She served two terms as national president, with a constant focus on maintaining the sorority's 104-year mission of promoting academic excellence in education; community service; and participation in political and legislative processes.
Walker cites communication as one of the keys to her success.
"I did a whole lot of listening," Walker said. "I believe every Delta counted and every Delta was accountable. Some sorors would disagree and they had a right to disagree. I would always say, 'Let's talk,' and they would be surprised when I would personally call."
Tickets for the luncheon are $60 and proceeds from the event will go to two of Walker's favorite charities: The American Cancer Society's Minority Breast Cancer Initiatives and the Mount Olive AME Church, Allen-Smith-Lang-Crawford Scholarship Fund.
For more information and tickets, visit dstta.com/charitycelebrationluncheon.