Leadership Conference offers military, industry views of leadership

Posted: Thursday, 22 January 2015

TROY – A U.S. Navy admiral from Alabama and leaders in civil rights, business and industry will provide their perspectives on leadership during the Leadership Conference Celebrating African American History Month at Troy University Feb. 6-7.

The conference, now in its 14th year and co-hosted by the University and the City of Troy, seeks to promote dialogue that fosters multicultural collaboration and equip diverse leaders with the tools to better serve their organizations and communities.

"The Leadership Conference is held to promote unity by offering a venue that generates dialogue on topics instrumental to building positive relationships that will enhance diverse community engagement. The conference will cater to all age groups including our high school and college students with exciting and motivational speakers," said Mark Griffin, who chairs the Conference's advisory board.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Frank Ponds, a native of Autaugaville, will provide the keynote address at the Conference's closing luncheon. Adm. Ponds is commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, assuming the post in 2013. He commanded the U.S.S. America, one of the nation's newest amphibious assault ships on its shakedown cruise from Ingall's Shipbuilding in Mississippi to its homeport of San Diego.

Ponds commanded Amphibious Squadron 8 from November 2007 to May 2009 as commander of Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group operating in four numbered fleet areas of operation in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, counter piracy operations, and operation Sea Angel II-Bangladesh humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR). He also served as mission commander for operation Continuing Promise 2008 and Haiti HA/DR operation 2008.

Ponds commanded U.S.S. Fife (DD 991) from October 2001 to February 2003. Additional sea billets include: damage control assistant and assistant first lieutenant in U.S.S. Mauna Kea (AE 22); boilers material officer in U.S.S. Midway (CV 41); engineering officer in U.S.S. Berkeley (DDG 15); flag secretary for Commander Amphibious Group 1 (CTF 76); and executive officer, U.S.S. Paul F. Foster (DD 964).

His shore assignments include inspector for Pacific Fleet's Propulsion Examination Board; inspector in the Office of the Navy Inspector General; Assessment Division/Capability Analysis Group team lead for Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (N81/N00X), Resources, Requirements and Assessment; senior naval advisor in the Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Department of State during 2005 Pakistan earthquake relief operations, 2006 Lebanon non-combatant evacuation operation, and Hurricane Katrina disaster relief; senior fellow on the 2010 Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group; and commander for Navy Region Hawaii, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (three), Meritorious Service Medal (five), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various service and campaign awards.

The Conference opens Friday night at 6:30 p.m. in Sartain Hall with an opening general session address by award-winning actor and bestselling author Hill Harper. It continues on Saturday at 8 a.m. in the Trojan Center with plenary sessions for adults and students.

Presenting the adult sessions are Sheyann Webb-Christburg, a Civil Rights activist from Montgomery who will present "Remembering Selma to Montgomery;" Patricia Barnes, founder of Sister Schubert, who will present "Overcoming Road Blocks and Speed Bumps while on the Pathway to Success;" and Dr. Carl Cunningham, Jr., director of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of South Alabama, who will present "Continuing Legacy of African American Achievement."

Dr. Cunningham will also present the same topic during the student sessions and will be joined by presenters Mitch Steed, founder of Physiques by SUSO of Troy, who will present "Health and Wellness: It's a Lifestyle" and Dr. Jasmine Younge, founder and chief operating officer of Havah-Younge, Inc. of Atlanta, who will present "The New Culture of Rising African American Leaders."

"The City is once again honored to partner with Troy University to present the 14th Annual Leadership Conference in honor of African American History Month. The conference has been a benefit to all who have attended in the past, and we expect this year to be one of the best ever," said Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves.

Registration for the conference is now under way, and may be completed online at http://www.troy.edu/leadershipconference/index.html. The cost of registration is $30 for adults and $15 for students until Jan. 30, when a $10 late registration fee applies. Additional information is also available by contacting Barbara Patterson at 334-670-3204 or by email at bpatters@troy.edu or Sheila Jackson at 334-670-2283 or by email Sheila.jackson@troyal.gov. Registrants who wish to pay by check should contact Patterson by phone.

TROY TrojanVision News

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Frank Ponds