By Whitney Johnson
The 12th Annual Hampton University Executive Leadership Summit began on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 and lasted until Friday, November 9, 2012; it was held on the campus of Hampton University. The summit’s objectives included, but were not limited to, examining leadership issues confronted by college presidents and other executives, creating relationships with executive leaders and those who are aiming for top positions, and creating networks among those who hold top positions at universities and colleges. Dr. William R. Harvey, the president of Hampton University, presented the basic principles of the William R. Harvey Executive Leadership Model at the opening session. Furthermore, throughout the summit, the participants underwent eight sessions of leadership training to enhance their leadership skills and mentalities.
On Thursday, the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute was very fortunate to be able to experience the Executive Leadership Summit. These students participated in the opening session, as well as three individual sessions that followed. Ms. Bessie Sherman, the Minority University Outreach Officer/Workforce Management for the National Park Service, informed the participants about the purpose of the National Park Service and the opportunities that it provides. Shalanda Grier, a sophomore Biology major and Leadership Studies minor from Highpoint, NC, started interning with the National Park Service over the summer. “I truly enjoyed and still am enjoying my experience working for the Denver Service Center, National Park Service. I would encourage students to remain open minded and enthusiastic. I also would encourage students to find a point of contact on campus or visit the website to stay connected,” said Grier. Additionally, during this session, groups were formed according to the students’ assigned topics: healthy living, economic empowerment, community stewardship, and conflict resolution. Each group presented a variety of ideas that could be executed in a reasonable amount of time. The Intern and Fellows Program Manager, Omar Eaton-Martinez, introduced the National Museum of American History internship program as well. His topic focused on jobs and internship opportunities at Smithsonian.
The next two sessions were actually held in the leadership institute. The two speakers were both Presidents and CEOs of flourishing businesses. Senator Kenneth C. Alexander is the President and CEO of Metropolitan Funeral Service. He concentrated on the topics of business, entrepreneurship, public service, and leadership. Alexander emphasized how important it is to know what hurts one’s business and what helps one’s business. He stated that one of the first things a leader must do is know the product when asked to be a leader and be consistent with the product. The students also learned that, as business men and women, it is always good to give time, but do not give away the product.
Representing women in leadership, Ms. Tamala M. Jones related the students to entrepreneurship, women in leadership positions, and the business of health care. As the President and CEO of Pearl Consulting Group, LLC, she stressed the fact that “being an entrepreneur is more than not working for someone else.” Jones also stated that leaders in an organization have to understand the business. With that being said, she encouraged all majors, especially nursing majors, to take business courses. Moreover, Jones declared that professionalism is extremely important for black females to gain respect. This includes being to work and meetings on time, looking and acting professional, and serving as an example. She mentioned that respect comes through credibility then delivery.
For the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute, the executive leadership summit was very beneficial toward the future careers of its students. They were able to learn about internship opportunities, grasp tips from leaders of successful businesses, and gain helpful information to better understand which direction to go. In the words of our beloved president, Dr. William R. Harvey, “Leadership is the main ingredient in any organization or entity.” Therefore, the Hampton University Executive Leadership Summit is essential for current leaders and future leaders to reach excellence in their particular fields.