TROY—In 2002, Troy University and the City of Troy sponsored the first Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month, designed to teach leadership skills to leaders in southeast Alabama. The conference drew 42 registrants and organizers were ecstatic.
The 10th anniversary of the conference is scheduled for this weekend, Feb. 4-5, and organizers say a lot has changed in a decade. The conference now draws between 400-750 participants to the Troy Campus annually. Keynote speakers have included such world-renowned figures as former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, actor-director Tim Reid and television Judge Greg Mathis.
Lamar P. Higgins, a member of the Troy University Board of Trustees and one of the key founders of the conference, said the secret of the event’s success is a combination of the nature of the event itself and the volunteers who make it happen.
“No one else in the region offers a conference quite like this, as we provide practical leadership advice and instruction tailored for both working adults and college-age students,” said Higgins, who is serving as the chair of this year’s conference advisory committee. “We have people coming from a three-state area to participate because they can’t find anything else like it.”
Higgins added many of the same volunteer committee members have worked on every conference so continuity of leadership has ensured continuity of quality.
“We are constantly looking for ways to make the conference better,” he said. “Because we draw many of the same participants year after year, we change the content and the focus to cover different aspects of leadership.”
This year’s conference features the first woman elected to the office of Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Vashti Murphy McKenzie, who will deliver the keynote address at the opening session Friday beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Trojan Center Theatre. The closing luncheon address on Saturday will be delivered by Dr. Calvin Mackie, President and CEO, Channel ZerO Group, a member of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, leading the state’s rebuilding efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The luncheon will begin at 11:45 a.m. Saturday in the Trojan Center Ballrooms. Plenary sessions dealing with diverse topics such as faith, successful thinking and success secrets will being at 8:15 a.m. Saturday in the Trojan Center.
Higgins said that late registration will be available, for $35 instead of the standard rate of $30, on Friday at 6 p.m. in the Trojan Center Theater.