20 Years of Sisterhood, 20,000 AKA’s in Houston, and 20 Lessons Learned
This past May I celebrated 20 years of being a member of a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
About half of my line sisters flew into Punta Cana, DR from all over the country to celebrate the momentous occasion. We reconnected, reminisced, laughed, partied, relaxed, and even cried as we reflected on all we had gone through individually and collectively over two decades- marriages, divorces, births…including me becoming the first grandmother of the line, children off to college, new degrees and careers, and even the loss of our sweet #4 Sylvia Patterson.
In July, for the first time in my 20 years as an AKA, I attended our Boule.
I had attended regional meetings, leadership conference, and I had even been a Leadership Fellow. However, I had never made the decision and investment in attending our national conference.
I joined nearly 20,000 of my sorors, including one of my line sisters, in Houston, Texas for an amazing experience. Beauty, power, support, and love…on another level!
I decided then that I would make my best effort to attend every Boule going forward.
I was only 18 years old when I pledged, and I grew up with (and away from) my sisters. My time and decisions in college laid the foundation for what I consider a successful career and a successful life. From my 2o years in the sisterhood and an equal amount of time being an adult, I have learned so many lessons that have made me into the woman I am today.
Here are a few things I learned and suggest others do:
1. Know your history.
From the history of your family to the history of an organization you may join, understanding where you came from, why you were founded, and the challenges and victories of your predecessors makes you appreciate who you are and all you can be.
I’ll try to make the rest shorter.
2. Get involved.
Find an organization to join that fits your interests and goals.
3. Take on leadership roles.
4. Be a good follower too.
5. Look for opportunities to use your strengths.
6. Look for opportunities to gain new skills.
7. Stay connected.
8. Remember why you joined.
9. Invest in yourself.
10. Invest in others.
11. Build a good reputation.
12. Use your people resources.
13. Don’t waste your connections.
14. Speak up.
15. Take chances.
16. Represent yourself and those you represent (family, sisterhood, etc.) well.
17. Life is full of ups and downs, but you have more control than you may think.
18. Embrace challenges.
19. Be a good friend.
20. Keep going.
And if you need any help implementing any of the above, I’ve been there and done that and would love to help you do it too! As your S.O. What! Success Coach, I can’t wait to help you overcome your obstacles and achieve your dreams.
I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges. provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.
Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker? I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.