For LaTasha (Roberts) James, ’07, connecting with the Baker University community by participating in multiple clubs and organizations became a way of life. The skills and habits she gained in Baldwin City have continued in her personal and professional life since she graduated 15 years ago. Last spring she was named president of Greater Kansas City Alumnae Panhellenic.
Recruited to Baker from Louisburg, Kansas, to run track, James, was an active member in the Phi Mu sorority. James also was involved in Speech Choir, Forensics, Earth We Are, Mungano, Student Activities Council, Panhellenic Council, Lions Club, Baker Radio, Student Senate, and S.T.A.R. and served as a University Admissions Assistant.
“My time at Baker taught me about collaboration, time management, and communication. I work in fast-paced environments with many moving parts, so the critical thinking skills come into play. Baker offered a full package to help mold me and prepare me for the life I live today. Everything I do, I first did at Baker.”LaTasha (Roberts) James
At Baker, James held leadership roles with Phi Mu, including president, executive and corresponding secretary, social chair, intramurals chair, and philanthropy chair. The connections, mentoring, and growth opportunities inspired her to embrace sorority life.
“I was able to create lifelong relationships that to this day inspire me, allow me to give back, and enhance my leadership skills and garner future business connections,” James said.
When James arrived at Baker she was a biology major. She added speech communications at the urging of Professor of Communication Studies Susan Emel and earned an interdisciplinary degree in biology and speech communication.
“Dr. Emel saw my natural ability and continued to push it further,” James said. “This was where I learned, ‘If you do something you love, it doesn’t feel like work.’”
James has been involved with Greater Kansas City Alumnae Panhellenic since 2011. She served as vice president of the organization in 2020 and in April 2021 was promoted to president of the organization that serves 23 National Panhellenic Conference members, including two Baker alumnae from Alpha Chi Omega and two from Zeta Tau Alpha. Baker alumae represent half the executive board, James proudly pointed out.
James became involved in GKCAP after receiving encouragement from her Phi MU pledge mom, Amanda Miller, ’04. James was completing her term as vice president of the Greater Kansas City Phi Mu alumni chapter when Miller approached her about becoming involved in Panhellenic.
When she is not leading GKCAP, James manages two jobs and a family. She is the director of event management for The Veil KC and a project manager, healthy living coach, and healthy heart ambassador at YMCA of Greater Kansas City.
“I enjoy executing an experience that makes people happy, and secretly I love saving the day,” James said of her role with The Veil KC, an event-coordinating business. “I am excited for spring and summer as events were back in full swing during that time last year. The warmer weather allows for safer gatherings.”
Flexibility and building trust with her manager have allowed her to maintain a work–life balance.
“My boss at the YMCA believes in allowing me the freedom to do it all as long as the work is done on time, high quality, and with customer satisfaction,” James said. “My hard work and loyalty have been rewarded with trust.”
Her philanthropic endeavors have been noticed, too. She received the Spirit of Community Award from the Hope House, which provides domestic violence shelter and services in Kansas City. She is an ambassador with the American Heart Association. Professionally, she was awarded the Mountain Mover award by her wedding industry peers. Nationally, she has been recognized by The Knot and Wedding Wire as a top couples choice award recipient and is in The Knot Hall of Fame.
The trust James receives from her supervisors and peers allows her time to be a room mother at her son’s school and to volunteer weekly. James and her high school sweetheart, Caleb, have been together for 22 years and married for 14. They have an 8-year-old son, Malachi.
“With my husband’s support, I have been able to only work jobs that allow flexibility,” James said. “My tribe of sorority sisters and friends offers encouragement, motivation, and mentoring, always pushing me to be a better version of myself.”
James reflects fondly on her years at Baker.
“I am so thankful for my time at Baker University. Not many kids who grew up like me get half the chances I did. I am blessed.”
Steve Rottinghaus, '14 MSM