John Robert Lewis Leadership Conference set for Feb. 2-3

Published 6:19 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Chief Executive Officer of The Same House Rodney Bullard and educator, motivator and performer Michelle Summers will serve as the keynote speakers for the John Robert Lewis Leadership Conference Feb. 2-3 at Troy University.

Presented by the University and the City of Troy, the conference, now in its 21st year, seeks to bring individuals together to promote dialogue that fosters multicultural collaboration to strengthen relationships and empower diverse leaders with the tools to better serve their organizations and communities.

Rodney Bullard

Launched through the University’s Leadership Institute in 2002 as the vision of the late Lamar P. Higgins, Troy University Trustee and alumnus, the leadership conference was renamed to honor the memory of Lewis, a Troy native, in 2020.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Adult registration is $30, while student registration is $15. Registration is available online at

Bullard, who will deliver the keynote address during the conference’s opening session at 6:30 p.m. in the Trojan Center Theatre on the Troy Campus, is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, received his Juris Doctorate in Law from Duke University School of Law in 2001, and his MBA from the University of Georgia in 2012. A proud veteran, he served in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps, eventually working at the Pentagon as a Congressional Legislative Liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

The Same House, which Bullard currently leads, is a community-driven movement addressing the social and economic challenges facing the world today. The public benefit corporation, based in Atlanta, is rooted in the values and aims of the Beloved Community, an annual experience created by The Same House to bring all of Atlanta together, and the uplifting words of Congressman John Lewis: “We’re one people. We’re One family. We all live in the same house.”

Bullard previously served as Vice President of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at Chick-fil-A, Inc., and Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, where he stared and scaled the company’s corporate responsibility, environmental, community engagement and philanthropic functions. He led Chick-fil-A’s efforts to revitalize the Westside of Atlanta, the Beloved Benefit, aimed at bridging social and economic division, created the True-Inspiration Awards, and inspired several successful public-private partnerships that touched the lives of more than 30 million annually.

The best-selling author of “Heroes Wanted: Why the World Needs You to Live Your Heart Out,” Bullard was named to The Atlanta Magazine’s “500 Most Influential Atlantans” list for five consecutive years and was recognized by the Georgia Secretary of State as an “Outstanding Georgia Citizen.”

Michelle Summers

Summers, a native of Chicago, will provide the keynote address during the conference’s closing luncheon beginning at 11:45 a.m. on Feb. 3 in the Trojan Center Ballrooms.

Summers came to Montgomery to attend Alabama State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Education in Language Arts Secondary Education. Her relationship with ASU continued following her graduation as she served as head of acting for Dr. Tonea Stewarts’ performing arts camps.

Summers, whose career as an educator spans more than 24 years, currently serves as an educational facilitator with the Department of Youth Services where she seeks to provide hope, direction and educational services to disenfranchised adjudicated young me within the state of Alabama.

She is the founder and CEO of Michelle Summers Enterprise, LLC, as well as the creator and host of the social-media platform “Michelle Speaks (Life),” which has amassed thousands of followers nationwide.

Summers has performed on diverse stages throughout the nation and is an accomplished inspirational, educational and motivational speaker. She currently serves as President of the MMEA Chapter of AEA and is a sister of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She is the proud mother of a daughter, Elizabeth Caroline.

In addition to the two keynote addresses, participants can take part in plenary sessions that begin at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 3. Plenary session speakers include Salaam Green, a Teaching Artist with the Alabama’s Writers Forum and a Certified Listener Poet through the Good Listening Project; Troy native and U.S. Navy Veteran Alisha Brown, owner and lead consultant of Alisha D. Brown Career Consulting, LLC.; and, Dr. Henry Terry, founder of the Community Awareness Organization of Enterprise.