March 18, 2011

Minority student conference set for March 31

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The 2011 Minority Student Leadership Conference at Southern Illinois University Carbondale offers a chance for minority students to learn, share and celebrate their heritage.

The theme of the conference, set for March 31 at the Student Center, is “Building On Our Legacy, Meeting Global Challenges.” Event coordinators are the Southern Illinois University Collegiate Chapter of the NAACP and Blacks Interested in Business, a registered student organization.

The organizations are extending the welcome mat particularly to all minority students including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, women and the disabled. There is no cost to attend but students must pre-register by March 22. The registration form is online at

“This event is a full day of empowerment, enrichment and celebration of minority people. It is geared toward students and honors their accomplishments and what others who have gone before them have achieved,” said Michael Haywood, director of the Office of Minority Affairs in the College of Business and academic adviser for the Blacks Interested in Business.

The conference begins with registration 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the John Corker Lounge and includes breakfast, a luncheon, workshops and interactive presentations participants can attend as well as an awards presentation. It all wraps up with a 3:30 p.m. panel discussion. The event’s purpose is to enhance corporate practices, leadership skills, communication strategies, financial management skills and outreach initiatives along with helping participants achieve personal and professional skills development needed to leverage existing diversity initiatives, Haywood said.

“The goals of the MSLC are to enhance student development and student knowledge by encouraging underrepresented students through the use of well designed workshops. The MSLC will give students the opportunity to interact with former Blacks Interested in Business and colleagues from a variety of business entities. From the field to the classroom, the conference is designed to educate students and help them utilize the knowledge they gain, presenting them with valuable information through idea-sharing, panel discussions and workshops,” Haywood said.

The workshop topics cover a wide range of themes, including preparing a business plan, personal finance, the power of networking, creating high-quality resumes, starting a business, leadership, health and wellness, workplace diversity, business communication and more.

The luncheon will celebrate the University’s long history of diversity inclusion. Plans call for recognizing the first black graduate of the College of Business, Walter Clark in 1961, and the 42nd year for the Blacks Interested in Business RSO. Crystal Kuykendall and Kenneth Brown are the keynote speakers for the conference.

Kuykendall, a Chicago native, earned her bachelor’s in government at SIUC, her master’s in sociology at Montclair State University in New Jersey and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. With considerable teaching and leadership experience, she is an author, attorney, founder of Kreative and Innovative Resources for Kids and a popular motivational speaker. She’ll present the luncheon keynote address.

Brown, presenter of the breakfast keynote address, was born in Chicago to teenage parents. He worked his way through SIUC as a bus boy and waiter, graduating in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition, and went on to become one of the youngest African-American owner/operators of a McDonald’s franchise. The author of “A Leap of Faith” and “L.I.F.E. -- Living in Freedom Everyday,” Brown travels the country as a life coach and speaker, sharing his story and his business expertise.

The event will also include the announcement of three new minority scholarships, each carrying a $1,000 annual award to SIUC students. The new scholarships, all established by SIUC College of Business alumni, include:

• The Douglas E. Kelly Memorial Scholarship, named for the late accountant and IRS employee.

• The Janaya D. Tucker Scholarship established by Tucker (bachelor’s in accounting 2007, MBA in 2008), an associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Chicago.

• The Marquita Vines Scholarship, established by Marquita Vines, a 2008 MBA graduate and Saluki track team competitor.

There will also be awards for several College of Business alumni. Awards being presented include:

• Ralph G. Moore of Chicago, Blacks Interested in Business Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award the group gives, commemorating a lifetime of leadership and significant achievements.

• Larry D. Bailey of Washington, D.C., Blacks Interested in Business Global Business Award, presented in recognition of success with a worldwide initiative or for contributions of global proportions.

• Les Hale of Springfield, Business Achievement Award from the Blacks Interested in Business, an award recognizing outstanding accomplishments and excellence in the business world and service community.

• Carol Henry of Carbondale, the College of Business Minority Alumni Achievement Award, an award for an alum who excels and succeeds in his or her field.

For more information about the 2011 Minority Student Leadership Conference, visit the website at or contact Haywood at or by calling 618/453-7498.