TROY—The keynote speaker of the 11th annual Leadership Conference Celebrating African-American History Month urged an audience of almost 400 to strive for greatness through a life of serving others.
The speaker, Dr. Randal Pinkett, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of BCT Partners, a management, technology and consulting firm, opened the conference Friday at the Trojan Center Theatre on the Troy University campus. Dr. Pinkett, known nationally for winning season four of the hit TV reality show “The Apprentice,” drew on the life lessons of noted African-Americans to make his points, citing such figures as Harriett Tubman, Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama.
Dr. Pinkett said that success is fleeting and finite, while greatness is about “ building a legacy.”
“Success is what you do for yourself,” he said. “Greatness is what you do for somebody else. Leadership has little to do with the pursuit of success but it has everything to do with the pursuit of greatness.”
Dr. Pinkett, who was introduced by TROY Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. as an outstanding entrepreneur, author and leader, shared his three “Ls” of greatness:
He urged conference attendees to return to their communities, schools and churches and build on the legacy of past of great African-American leaders by forging the next generation of leaders.
“You have a responsibility to stand up for others because somebody stood up for you,” he said.
A self-described “serial entrepreneur” who began his first business venture while in college, Dr. Pinkett is the author of Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business. Dr. Pinkett holds five academic degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. from MIT Media Laboratory. He was the first African-American to receive a Rhodes Scholarship at Rutgers, which led to a master’s degree in computer science from Oxford University.
The conference is sponsored by Troy University and the City of Troy, provides information to enhance the quality of leadership and civic participation of community leaders, area residents and university students. Major sponsors of the conference since its inception have been the ministry of Reverend S. D. James and Wal-Mart. Pike County Commissioner Homer Wright is serving as chair of this year’s conference and Tonya Terry, TROY alumnus and WSFA anchor, served as the emcee for the opening ceremony.
The conference will continue on Saturday morning and close with a noon luncheon featuring the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, as the keynote speaker.