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Conference celebrates 10th year

Volunteers met recently to continue planning for the conference.

The 2011 Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month will be the featured event of the weekend with more than 300 people from all across area expected to participate.

“This is the 10th anniversary of the Leadership Conference and we have grown from the humble beginnings of 30 participants to the huge conference that it is today,” said Lamar Higgins, chair of the Conference committee. “The Leadership Conference was created to bring together community leaders from the university, city and county to address the current needs of the community and to help individuals fulfill their leadership capacities.”

The Leadership Conference will open on Friday night with Bishop Vashti McKenzie as the keynote speaker. McKenzie is the first black female elected as bishop of a major denomination. McKenzie is serving as bishop of an A.M.E. church in the Washington D.C. Beltway area.

The featured speaker for the Saturday luncheon is Calvin Mackey, a speaker, author, professor, inventor and former associate professor of mechanical engineering at Tulane University. Mackey was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and is an inspiring and challenging speaker.

Special music will be presented by the Troy University Gospel Choir under the direction of Lewis Webb Friday night and by Shelia Jackson and Company at the Saturday luncheon.

The list of plenary speakers is a distinguished one headlined by Bishop S.D. James, senior bishop, Evangelistic Pentecostal Churches (worldwide). James is the executive officer of the S.D. James Evangelistic Association, editor-in-chief of Open Door Publications and the author of more than 200 books, transcripts and periodicals.

Kenneth Anderson, president of Maximum Life Enhancement, Inc., is a nationally certified counselor with more than 30 years of experience in the mental health profession. He is a community organizer and host/producer of a weekly radio talk show, “2nd Chance.”

Plenary speaker Eric D. Thomas is a youth activist, speaker, author and motivator. Thomas is rising to national prominence by delivering a high energy message that tells youth, through firsthand experiences, how to live up to their full potential and greatness by breaking the cycles of crime, hopelessness and despair that many face daily.

Jason Branch of J. Branch and Associates, is an energetic and dynamic speaker who offers a unique perspective to a variety of subjects including leadership, relationships, mentoring, goal setting and achieving success. He encourages people to chase the important things in life such as solid character, strong personal relationships and a sense of purpose in one’s life.

Torian Kyle Salary, chief executive officer TKS Motivations, interjects humor, interaction and a light-hearted spirit into his motivational speeches. His journey and experiences throughout life has become the basis for his speeches.

Shelia Jackson, board member and publicity chair, said the 10th Annual Leadership Conference is shaping up to be one of the best with one of the largest number of participants.

“We have an outstanding lineup of speakers whose reputations preceded them,” she said.

“The Conference will get off to a tremendous start with Bishop McKenzie and will close in the same fashion with Calvin Mackey. The Saturday plenary sessions will prepare the participants, both students and community leaders, to be more informed and energized leaders and team players. And, the benefactors will be the communities they represent.”