Name: Tracy Cote
Year: Fourth Year
Major: Foreign Affairs Major // Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor
1. What activities/extracurricular activities are you involved in at UVA?
I am mainly involved in Gamma Phi Beta Sorority.
2. What roles of leadership to you have at the University of Virginia?
I am the Gamma Phi Beta Chapter President at UVa.
3. What would you say is your type of leadership?
I’m definitely more of a hands on leader. I prioritize getting to know each member personally and being approachable. I also try to be extremely available for meeting up with members. Accessibility is key.
4. What are certain characteristics you think are important for every leader to have?
Compassion and determination. Compassion is crucial because if you don’t care about your members, no one will want to follow your lead. A leader is nothing without the support of those she leads. Determination is necessary to get to the top of any organization because leading requires one to understand every aspect of an organization and be willing to take on any roles necessary. You have to be willing to give it your all and make sacrifices for long term goals.
5. What stereotype(s) about college sororities would you like to clarify and why?
There’s definitely a myth that there is a specific type of sorority woman. My family and friends never expected me to go through recruitment, but I ended up finding my perfect home and can’t imagine my life any other way.
6. In the current world context, what are some challenges female leaders have? Do you have potential solutions to them?
Female leaders create their own setbacks. Competing for roles instead of working to build one another up is a self-imposed obstacle many women create. Also, a lack of confidence can really hold a woman back from reaching her full potential. Confidence comes with continuously reaching outside of your comfort zone. Honestly, “fake it ’til you make it” is some of the most useful advice I’ve ever gotten. That’s why I love Gamma Phi Beta’s mission of “Building Strong Girls”, because as we make an impact on the lives of young girls, we are able to promote the next generation of female leaders.
7. Do you have any advice for women striving to reach similar goals/positions to the ones you have reached?
You have to be willing to start from the bottom. I began my sorority experience as an assistant to one of our Vice Presidents and then took on her position the following year. Taking on roles from the start helped to set myself up to take on the role of President. And as I mentioned above, getting to know everyone and making connections is vital. Without support, I don’t know how anyone could handle a leadership position.