Emerging Leaders’ Conference gives FAMU students insight

The Emerging Leaders’ Summit Conference provided insight to Florida A&M University students Feb. 3 on how to apply quality leadership in their everyday life and post-graduation.

The Florida Conference of Black Legislators has hosted the conference for the past eight years. This year's conference was held in the Grand Ballroom on FAMU's campus. Their mission is to provide an interdisciplinary leadership conference for all students, promoting the development of great leaders many who are alumni of FAMU.

Chairman Vincent Evans was an active member of Student Government Association and is a 2011 FAMU graduate. He is passionate about making sure the conference continues to build new leaders.

“The Florida Conference of Black Legislators, made up of members of the House and the Senate, have committed to investing in young people, understanding these young people here will one day take their seat in the senate as business leaders and community leaders,” Evans said.

Although traditional institutions address some of these needs through undergraduate programs, Evan believes that sometimes students need direct guidelines on how to pursue their career and not just class lectures.

Evan also said challenges facing future minorities require the engagement of professionals in industry, academia and government agencies. He added that it is necessary that professional societies provide training in these areas.

“We have a wonderful keynote speaker this year, Janaye Ingram, who will be able to really encourage students to press forward and pursue their career,” Evan said.

Ingram is now acting national executive director of National Action Network, founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton.

Students at the conference spoke about the challenges facing the African-American politicians and black leaders of today. Some said that before the conference they may not have had the resources needed or the proper training if it were not for this conference.

Kimberly Rolle, third-year FAMU political science student, is indecisive about her career. Rolle said she is not sure what her future will look like, but she knows that she will be successful in politics.

“I love politics,” Rolle said. “I’m here because I’m not sure what exactly I want to do with my degree, but I refuse to change it because of societal norms.”

Fourth-year FAMU political science student Stephon Satchell said this was his second time attending the event.

“I hope to receive from this year’s event the tools of success and leave here with a better understanding of what I can do to be a better leader for my community,” Satchell said. “For anyone who has never attended this event it is a great opportunity to network and use your resources because there are always opportunities.”

The conference began with a 7:30 a.m. check-in that also included continental breakfast available in the gallery followed by a 12:30 p.m. lunch, and a free professional headshot for all the registered students.

This is the largest registration the conference has scheduled in the last two years.  

“Every year we grow bigger and bigger and it gets better and better,” Evan said.