Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®

Central Region

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated®

Central Region

Former Regional Directors

Pauline Kigh Reed

Central and Western Organizer
1919 – 1922
Initiation Chapter: Zeta

Pauline Kigh Reed was the first Central and Western Organizer. The geographical sections under her supervision included Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota.




Fredericka Brown

2nd Central Organizer
1922 – 1923
Initiation Chapter: Kappa

Fredericka Brown was elected as Central Organizer during a time of expansion. Her duties included identifying cities where both undergraduate and graduate chapters could flourish. Her charge per the sixth Boule, was to formally establish the separation of undergraduate and graduate chapters in a city where there were five or more graduates and five or more undergraduates.

Carolynne Payne

3rd Central Regional Director
1923 – 1925
Initiation Chapter: Zeta

Carolynne Payne’s tenure continued to see and embrace change in the sorority. During her term, Gamma House talks would begin. In addition, the sorority, reorganized and adopted the designation of Regional Director and defined their roles as per the Boule.

Murray B. Atkins

4th Central Regional Director
1925 – 1927
Initiation Chapter: Kappa

Murray B. Adkins was the first to be elected with the title of Regional Director.


Althea M. Simmons

5th Central Regional Director
1927 – 1930
Initiation Chapter: Gamma Omega

Althea Merchant Simmons was elected Central Regional Director in December 1927 and served until 1930.



Blanche Hayes Clark

6th Central Regional Director
1930 – 1934
Initiation Chapter: Gamma Omega

Blanche Hayes Clark served as Central Regional Director from 1930 until 1936. Under her leadership, the first Central Regional Conference was held, May 23-24, 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Alice E. McGhee Smart

7th Central Regional Director
1934 – 1937
Initiation Chapter: Gamma

During her first year in office as Central Regional Director, Alice E. McGhee Smart visited all of the chapters located within the region except Alpha Mu Omega and Kappa Chapters. She initiated the first Central Region Awards to stimulate and encourage civic and community interests and scholarship among undergraduates.


Arlene J. Washington

8th Central Regional Director
1937 – 1940
Initiation Chapter:

Arlene Jackson Washington was elected Central Regional Director at the 20th Boule in New Orleans, Louisiana. During her term, the deed to Gamma House was transferred to the national body.

Blanche L. Patterson Williams

9th Central Regional Director
1940 – 1943
Initiation Chapter: Gamma Omega

Blanche L. Patterson was elected Central Regional Director at the 23rd Boule in Kansas City, Kansas. The conditions of World War II caused the cancellation of the 24th Boule in 1942. As a result, Blanche L. Patterson served as Central Regional Director until 1943. She also presided over three Regional Conferences which had themes that addressed defense issues emanating from the War.

Maenell Hamlin Newsome

10th Central Regional Director
1943 – 1946
Initiation Chapter: Alpha Mu Omega

Maenell Hamlin Newsome was appointed by the Directorate in 1943.Under her term, all chapters observed Founders’ Day and Negro History Week. During her time in office she stressed the following:
1. Improvement of scholarship (grades) on college campuses.
2. Improvement of sisterly relations everywhere.
3. Better program planning in graduate chapters and consideration of having auxiliary groups in graduate chapters.
4. Greater assistance of retiring officers for newly elected officers.
5. Realization of Graduate Advisors of their authority and responsibility for their undergraduate chapters business, social activities and procedures.
6. More publicity of chapter activities and the achievement of chapters and individuals.

Lucille Wilkins

11th Central Regional Director
1946 – 1950
Initiation Chapter: Beta

Lucille Wilkins brought to her administration a commitment to the National Programs of the sorority. The Central Regional Conferences under her leadership, emphasized the
National Non-Partisan Council on Public Affairs, the American Council on Human Rights, the sorority’s endowment fund, health, and Gamma House.


Evelyn Roberts

12th Central Regional Director
1950 – 1954
Initiation Chapter: Beta Delta

Evelyn Roberts was elected to the position in December 1950 and served until December 1954. It was during the early fifties that the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and the City of St. Louis would be designated as Central Region.

Maude L. Mann

13th Central Regional Director
1954 – 1958
Initiation Chapter: Beta

Maude Lillian Mann served admirably as Central Regional Director from December 1954-August 1958. Her interest in youth and health were carried into her administration. She presided over the 22nd, 23rd and 24th Central Regional Conferences. During her tenure as Central Regional Director, there were no chapters chartered. The state of Kentucky joined the ranks of Central Region.


Annetta M. Lawson

14th Central Regional Director
1958 – 1962
Initiation Chapter: Alpha

Annetta Molten Lawson was elected Central Regional Director at the 50th Boule. Her administration was guided by the National Program theme, “Assessing the Strength of Alpha Kappa Alpha for Future Investment for Service”.

With her warm smile and pleasant personality, she presided over the 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th Central Regional Conferences. She chartered Delta Omicron, Eta Kappa Omega, and Eta Mu Omega Chapters.


Lee Anna W. Shelburne

15th Central Regional Director
1962 – 1966
Initiation Chapter: Beta Epsilon

Lee Anna Shelburne was elected Central Regional Director at the 1962 Boule in Detroit, Michigan and served for three and a half years. She initiated the Regional Director’s monthly newsletter, developed the Regional Nominating Committee and orchestrated chapters celebrating Joint Founders’ Day.



Ordie Amelia Roberts

16th Central Regional Director
1966 – 1970
Initiation Chapter: Gamma

Ordie Amelia Roberts was elected Central Regional Director in 1966. During her administration the idea of a chapter “Round-Up” as a reactivation method, was introduced. She presided over the 33rd, 34th, 35th, and 36th Central Regional Conferences and chartered eight chapters. She holds the distinction of having chartered all of the undergraduate chapters starting with the Greek letter Epsilon in Central Region. She had a down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach to solving problems of the region.

Johnetta Randolph Haley

17th Central Regional Director
1970 – 1974
Initiation Chapter: Alpha Iota

Johnetta Randolph Haley was elected the 17th Central Regional Director at the Kansas City Boule in 1970. At each Regional Conference, Johnetta Haley began something innovative and new for the region. During her first Regional Conference, chapter representatives were asked to come on Thursday to attend an evening workshop on chapter operations. At her second conference she began the Sunday morning Rededication Breakfast, which was patterned after the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. After her reelection in 1972 and during her third Regional Conference that she presided over, she initiated the undergraduate “Dress Out” which gained numerous participants, and her “All Night Party” for undergraduates became an overwhelming success. Johnetta Haley was an ardent advocate for undergraduates, visiting each chapter in the region and appointing an undergraduate as co-chairman of every regional committee, as well as appointing one undergraduate as assistant to the Regional Director.

On the first Saturday in December of each year, she held a “Basileus-Graduate Advisor’s Work-Day” These sessions were for program planning, chapter procedures, awareness and fellowship.

Gloria E. Smith Bond

18th Central Regional Director
1974 – 1978
Initiation Chapter: Alpha Psi

Gloria E. Smith Bond was the first minority to hold an elected office in the State of Indiana. She also wrote the first Protocol Guidelines in 1976 and also established the Graduate Advisor’s Council and gathered historical data from all past Directorate members in Central Region to form a past Regional Directors’ Council that functioned as a committee. To help undergraduates prepare for group meetings, Gloria Bond conducted the most area retreats on college campuses with undergraduate chapters as host. She honored past Directorate members at Regional Conferences and extended the first gratuitous registration for these members. She was first to include the cost of awards in the conference budget and named awards in honor of former Regional Directors. To increase membership, she established two Regional Awards — one for the highest percentage of undergraduates transferring to a graduate chapter upon graduation and another for highest percentage of membership reactivation in a graduate chapter.

Peggy Jean Lewis LeCompte

19th Central Regional Director
1978 – 1982
Initiation Chapter: Alpha Iota

Peggy Jean Lewis LeCompte’s administration as the 19th Central Regional Director was highlighted by several innovations and firsts. She introduced the first Soror of the Year award for undergraduate and graduate members. She gave undergraduates a significant voice by introducing Undergraduate Round-Ups, utilizing undergraduates as Regional Conference Parliamentarians, committee chairmen and workshop leaders and appointed undergraduate chapters as hostesses for Area Retreats. Peggy LeCompte wrote and disseminated a Central Regional Handbook for undergraduates and reinstituted the undergraduate Step Show at Regional Conferences. She expanded the duties of the Graduate Advisors Council, introduced potpourri sessions at area retreats; brought back the Central Regional Conference Public Meeting, published two editions of Who’s Who in Central Region; and revised the Regional Chapter Booklet. Nine chapters were charted during her tenure.

Mable Evans Cason

20st Central Regional Director
1982 – 1986
Initiation Chapter: Beta Xi Omega

A promise of power and collaboration, sisterliness and mutual support between members and chapters was the motto by Mable Cason. To quote her, “We are a sharing, we are a caring, and we are a loving sisterhood.” She emphasized the importance and necessity for closer relationships and open communication between undergraduate and graduate chapters.

Highlights of her Regional Conferences included the adoption of the Gamma Omega choir as her official performing group, developing an open forum for the Regional Director and initiating the VIP breakfast. She stated in one of her reports, “My strength, if I have any, I think is not on the building of new chapters that is in saying let’s start another chapter, but in reclaiming members.” Due to illness, she was unable to preside over her final conference.

Loann Julia Honesty King

21st Central Regional Director
1986 – 1990
Initiation Chapter: Beta

On her election as the 21st Central Regional Director, Loann Julia Honesty King, pledged to execute the responsibilities and duties of the office with tenacity, loyalty, dedication and sisterly love. She fulfilled her pledge and brought a rejuvenated vision, a deeper understanding of the sorority’s organizational structure, and an exciting innovative and creative style to the region. Loann King promoted equity, fairness and sisterly cooperation by using skills, talents, and expertise of the membership. She introduced the Chapter Roll Call and titled the Regional Director’s Report as the “State of the Region Report.” Chapters were kept informed via 30 issues of the Central Times and instructed in correct chapter operations and procedures at 20 Area Retreats. She has authored three editions of “The History of Central Region – Pledged to Remember.”

Yvonne Perkins

22nd Central Regional Director
1990 – 1994
Initiation Chapter: Kappa

During the administration of Yvonne Perkins, three chapters were chartered —Pi Lambda, Pi Nu, and Tau Gamma Omega Chapters. She established the Regional Basileus of the Year Award for each undergraduate and graduate chapter, published the Central Region Directory and established a regional fund to provide matching funds for undergraduate chapters as they submitted the chapter Corporate Office Improvement Project (COIP) Assessment.

Martha Perine Beard

23rd Central Regional Director
1994 – 1997
Initiation Chapter: Alpha Pi

During Martha Perine Beard’s tenure her commitment to ensure that Central Region was “second to none” was evident as the region carried out the national program theme, “Building the Future: Making the Net Work.” She kept communications open by disseminating information to the region through her newsletter, chapter visits and 22 area retreats. In addition, her leadership brought to the region a renewed sisterliness. Her first Central Regional Conference was convened in her hometown, St. Louis, Missouri in April 1995. During that same month, she chartered Rho Lambda Chapter at Indiana Institute of Technology. In 1997, she chartered Upsilon Mu Omega Chapter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Each of her three regional conferences — 61st in St. Louis, Missouri, 62nd in Louisville, Kentucky, and the 63rd in Chicago, Illinois — were informative, entertaining, and allowed for engagement in sisterly fellowship.

Peggy Jean Lewis LeCompte

24th Central Regional Director
1997 – 1998
Initiation Chapter: Alpha Iota

Peggy Jean Lewis LeCompte was called upon to serve as the 24th Central Regional Director to complete the unexpired second term of Martha Perine Beard who due to career advancement was relocated to Memphis, Tennessee.

Peggy Lecompte graciously and effectively accepted the torch and her incomparable leadership was demonstrated as she planned and executed the 64th Central Regional Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Nadine Celeste Bonds

25th Central Regional Director
1998 – 2002
Initiation Chapter: Epsilon Xi

Nadine C. Bonds was elected the 25th Central Regional Director during the 1998 Central Regional Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana where she served as the General Conference Chairman. Her reelection for a second term in 2000 put her at the helm as Central Region entered a new century. During her tenure, she presided over the 65th, 66th, 67th and 68th Central Region Conferences, visited all chapters of the Central region published 41 issues of the Trailblazers newsletter and participated in all Directorate meetings/conference calls. The Nadine C. Bonds EAF Endowment Fund was capitalized during her tenure.

Dorothy W. Buckhanan

26th Central Regional Director
2002 – 2006
Initiation Chapter: Psi

Dorothy Wilson Buckhanan was elected 26th Central Regional Director at the 68th Central Regional Conference in Chicago, Illinois. Program implementation, membership retention and increased sisterly relations were the hallmarks of Dorothy Buckhanan’s regional administration. From the beginning of her tenure, she used her extensive leadership and marketing skills to help refine the region’s image as the Competent, Confident and Classy Central Region. All aspects of the region’s internal and external communications, including its newsletter the Ivy Atlas, reflected this hard working, elegant image. She also encouraged membership growth by chartering five graduate chapters which included the largest graduate chapter chartered in sorority history — Chi Omega Omega Chapter–with 101 members.

During her term in office she set a new standard for productive, creative, well attended and inclusive, regional conferences. She presided efficiently over the 69th, 70th, 71st, and 72nd meetings. A number of innovations were initiated, including the Community Outreach Project, Regional Gala, EAF Breakfast, and Legacy Breakfast/Luncheon.

Pamela Bates Porch

27th Central Regional Director
2006 – 2010
Initiation Chapter: Delta Beta

Pamela Bates Porch, was elected the 27th Central Regional Director at the 72nd Central Regional Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The hallmark of her administration was strong effective communication with members of the region. Her administration focused on the Reclamation and Retention of Members, Effective Chapter Standards and Operations, Sisterly Relations, and Mentoring and Modeling for Undergraduates, with a strong focus on service in the local community. Sisterly relation campaigns such as the Central Regional Sisterhood Day and the Ivy Strong Campaign strengthened the resolve of members to serve the sorority. Making the relationship with chapters paramount by speaking to the membership in real time, cultivating relationships and developing emerging leaders in Central Region was the premier focus. Her administration was instrumental in developing action plans for the successful return of undergraduate chapters Tau, Gamma, and Mu Rho. Additionally, during her tenure the largest reactivation of membership was manifest during the Centennial in 2008.

Giselé M. Casanova

28th Central Regional Director
2010 – 2014
Initiation Chapter: Boule

Giselé M. Casanova was elected 28th Central Regional Director at the 76th Central Regional Conference in Chicago, Illinois and installed at the 64th Boule in St. Louis, Missouri. During her tenure, the region grew to 92 chapters with 53 graduate chapters and 39 undergraduate chapters. She encouraged membership growth by chartering four undergraduate chapters — Tau Iota, Tau Mu, Tau Rho, Tau Chi and one graduate chapter — Mu Delta Omega.

Giselé M. Casanova presided over four record-breaking Central Regional Conferences where she utilized technology to increase the availability/accessibility of information. She introduced the first Central Region “app” that gave real-time updates and information about the conference and its events.

She recognized the importance of supporting the Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF). During her term as Central Regional Director, the Haley, King, and Beard Endowment Funds were capitalized in 2011 and the Giselé M. Casanova Endowment Fund was capitalized in 2013.

Kathy Walker Steele

29th Central Regional Director
2014 – 2018
Initiation Chapter: Delta Delta Omega

Kathy Walker Steele was elected 29th Central Regional Director at the 80th Central Regional Conference of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., held in Chicago, IL, in March 2014. She was re-elected to serve a second term in 2016 and concluded her service as regional director in July 2018.

During her administration, the Central Region enjoyed its first digital magazine, the “CONNECT.” Green Initiatives were apparent with the Chapter Files Archiving System and the electronic submission of award entries. Webinars were hosted for chapter basilei and graduate advisors for training and information dissemination. Regional conference expenses were reduced through the purchase of regional assets. In addition, the Kathy Walker Steele Endowment Fund was capitalized within six months of her assuming office — a first for the Central Region.

An energetic, fiscally conscious, and goal-driven director, Kathy Walker Steele approached her duties with her pragmatic flair for problem-solving and program development, which resulted in measured successes and improvements within the region. Under her leadership, the region drew a record number of attendees at its annual conferences. The region’s active membership significantly increased. Chapters and members were often highlighted for their accomplishments; and successfully launched programs and services that benefitted thousands of recipients throughout the eight states which comprise the Central Region. An effective communicator, Kathy sought to be fair-minded and approachable throughout her tenure. She aligned her guiding strategies with the overarching purpose of the Sisterly Relations Committee, so much so that she came to be known as the Sisterly Relations Soror.

Ever dedicated to ensuring the sorority is at the forefront of its mission, Kathy is unwavering in her commitment to serving humanity through the articulated mission of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Sonya L. Bowen

30th Central Regional Director
2018 – 2022
Initiation Chapter: Epsilon Rho