October 06, 2016

Media Advisory -- Simon Leadership Weekend

An annual conference designed to influence the lives of young men from the Metro East will take place this weekend at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The 14th Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s Leadership Conference will bring 45 junior high and high school students to campus for two days of activities.  The focus is on enhancing leadership qualities of African-American young men through reinforcing positive qualities, building skills and increasing career awareness education.

"Show Me Leadership: Personal Leadership & Development in an Ever-Changing World," is Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9, at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center and various locations on campus.

Reporters, photographers and video crews are welcome to cover the activities. For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact Linda Renee Baker, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute/university professor and project director, at 217/553-6660.

The weekend focuses on providing students with leadership skills through team-building and communications activities. For a second year, AT&T is sponsoring this weekend’s event. The young men who attend are involved in local mentoring programs and selected to participate in the leadership event.

This year’s keynote speaker for Saturday’s luncheon, set for 12:30 p.m., in the Touch of Nature Camp II Friends Room, is Marcus Creighton, vice president at Wealth Protection Advisors, a private wealth management firm in St. Peters, Mo. He has 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, specializing in helping individuals and small business owners in all aspects of planning their financial lives. Creighton has qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table, a top industry award that only 1 percent of financial advisers qualify. Creighton sits on numerous local boards and is affiliated with many organizations, including St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the National Urban League of Greater St. Louis, Boy Scouts of Greater St. Louis, and the March of Dimes.

Afternoon panels will include sessions on transitioning to college and financial aid. An alumni panel featuring SIU Carbondale graduates Oliver Keys and Willie Lyles, who will discuss the importance of preparation. Keys is a technical training instructor with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Lyles is a third-year student at the SIU School of Law. The group will attend the Saluki football game against South Dakota State. Later, Nathan Stephens, director of the Student Multicultural Resource Center and director of the Black Male Initiative at SIU, will moderate a discussion on responsibility as a college student.

At noon on Sunday, another SIU Carbondale alumnus, Marty “Joe” Murray, Jr., will present the keynote address, “Political Leadership: It’s Never Too Early.” Murray earned his degree in business management and while at SIU, worked for Attorney General Lisa Madigan after receiving the Vince Demuzio Governmental Internship.

He is a 7th Ward Democratic Committeeman in St. Louis and works as a project manager for a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 firm. At 1 p.m., Baker will announce the winner and runner-up of the 2016 Paul Simon Leadership and Character Award. Information on the Metro East Youth Leadership Weekend is available here.

Institute founder and former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, then-associate director Mike Lawrence and Baker established the program in November 2003.  Simon participated in the inaugural event in 2003 shortly before his death a month later.