Plans underway for leadership conference

Published 3:00 am Saturday, June 13, 2015

Although February 2016 seems like a long time away, Charlie Dunn, chair of the 2016 African American Leadership Conference, said the conference is just around the corner as far as he and his committee are concerned.

“This will be our 15th Annual African American Leadership Conference and we want it to be the biggest and best ever,” Dunn said. “That’s a tall order.”

Dunn said the African American Leadership Conference advisory committee came together on one accord. Suggestions for the theme and the keynote speaker were the main topics of discussion, he said.

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The African American Leadership Conference is held annually at Troy University in February in honor of African American History Month. Each year, the conference has continued to bring more business and community leaders together to promote dialogue that fosters multicultural collaboration.

This collaboration strengthens relationships and empowers diverse leaders with the tools to better serve their organizations, their businesses and their communities, Dunn said.

Shelia Jackson, Troy public relations director and committee member, said the conference feature breakout sessions for both university students and community participants.

“These breakout sessions give participants opportunities to meet in smaller groups to discuss a specific topic of interest,” Jackson said. “Those who participate in the break-out sessions have a chance to actively participate so they learn from each other as well as from the facilitator.”

The breakout sessions are a vital part of the African American Leadership Conference but the keynote speakers always leave a lasing impression on the participants.

“Over the 14 years, we have had speakers that inspire and motivate the participants to go back to their communities and make them a better place through their leadership and their commitment,” Jackson said. “It is almost impossible to attend the African American Leadership Conference and not leave committed to making a positive change in your own life as well as in your own community. Those who attend the African American Leadership Conference are making a difference in their communities. I believe that. I know that.”

Jackson said last year’s keynote speakers were empowering.

“Hill Harper, an award-winning actor, opened the conference and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Frank Ponds, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, closed the conference,” Jackson said. “They are going to be hard acts to follow but Sarge Dunn and his advisory committee will be equal to the task. It will be exciting to learn who the committee chooses for this milestone year for the conference.”