Leadership conference celebrates African-American history

Published 11:22 pm Monday, February 6, 2012

The 11th Leadership Conference Celebrating African-American History Month at Troy University over the weekend attracted more than 400 participants.

The conference opened Friday night at the Trojan Center Theater and closed with a luncheon on Saturday at the Trojan Center Ballrooms.

Dr. Randel Pinkett, founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a technical policy- consulting firm in Newark, New Jersey, gave the keynote address to more than 300 Conference participants and community leaders at the opening session.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Pinkett told the audience that, as he prepared to speak before the Conference, the one word that kept coming to mind was legacy.

“Every one of us can leave a legacy,” Pinkett said. “We are benefiting from the fruits of the labors of the generations before us. Now, will we strive for success or will greatness be our goal?”

Pinkett said that success is what one does for himself or herself.

“Greatness is what you do for someone else,” he said. “Success is momentary. Greatness is maintained for all time. Success is a destination. Greatness is a journey.”

Pinkett said everyone can be great because everyone can serve and it is that willingness to serve that defines a person.

“It’s what you do when there are no cameras around that matters,” Pinkett said. “The ultimate goal in life is to leave something positive for others.

“You lead by your light, by your example. Your light is your spirit. You are to love others and treat them the way you want to be treated.  Your service to others is the payment for the space you occupy. The greatest legacy any generation can leave is to be good ancestors.

“Your life should have an impact. If you leave nothing behind, you have wasted time. What we do for ourselves dies when we do. What we have done for others lives on. Success should not be the standard. Greatness should be our goal.”

The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, closed the two-day conference at the luncheon on Saturday.

Warnock received two standing ovations as he challenged the Conference participants to do something to make a difference.

“There is a phrase I often hear as I travel around but it is one I have yet to understand – ‘somebody ought to do something about that.’ That demonstrates one’s grasp of the issue while simultaneously absolving oneself of the responsibility and accountability,” Warnock said.

He reminded the participants of the Biblical example of Nehemiah who returned to the city of Jerusalem to rebuild the city’s walls that had been destroyed.

“Nehemiah saw something that needed to be done and he did something about it,” Warnock said. “He convinced the people they could do something and they committed themselves to the common good.

“We need to decide, like Nehemiah, that we can do something to make a difference and then we need to go forth and make a difference.”

Shelia Jackson, a member of the Conference advisory board, said the 11th Annual Leadership Conference was once again a great success.

“Again, we had a large number of participants and again they were challenged from the beginning of the Conference when Dr. Pinkett challenged all of us to lead by example and to strive for greatness,” Jackson said. “He said greatness is achieved by doing for others. I think everyone took that thought home with them.

“Rev. Warnock brought everyone to their feet with his closing remarks. He said there is brokenness all around us and that we can do something to make a difference. Like Nehemiah, we can each do something and it’s up to us to do it.”

Jackson said Warnock likened the participants to a flock of geese that fly in a “V” formation.

“Rev. Warnock said we are all in this together and that every person in the formation is important, not just the one in the lead,” she said. “It’s not our individual location that is important. It’s our collective destination. His challenge to all participants was to do what we can where we are. I think everyone left Troy University on Saturday dedicated to doing what they can where they are. That was the success of the 2012 Leadership Conference.”