February 23, 2011
Ibn A. Salaam '12
Last month Hampden-Sydney College sent three students and Assistant Dean of Students for Intercultural Affairs, Mladen Cvijanovic, to the National Black Student Leadership Development Conference (NBSLDC) in Vienna, Virginia. The Delegates for this conference included Senior Jonathan Mudd and Juniors Ray Romero and Ibn Salaam (right). These Hampden-Sydney students took their place alongside some of the country's brightest collegiate leaders.
The theme of this year's NBSLDC was "Leadership: The Process and The Journey." This theme embodied the true meaning of leadership. In order for a person to realize his individual potential, one must go through a life process and, when his potential is fulfilled, he will reflect and honor the journey that was taken to become a leader.
The conference workshops encouraged networking and interaction among students and professionals alike and allowed students to gain insight on the importance of being true to one's self, staying positive in the midst of negativity, and not allowing ego to overcome one's life. Delegates had the opportunity to hear political activist and MSNBC contributor Jeff Johnson as he led a workshop titled: Young, Gifted, and Black: Maximizing Manhood and Avoiding the Pitfalls of Male Ego. He stated, "The moment of our greatest success is when we will encounter ego the most." This is something that each person will have to come face to face with one day, but if people remain honest and true to themselves, then ego will have no place in their lives.
The conference featured some of the most profound African-American speakers. The most notable was Judge Glenda Hatchett, who was the first African-American Chief Presiding Judge of Atlanta's Fulton County Juvenile Court, and who is also known for her award-winning, nationally syndicated show, Judge Hatchett, which is shown all over the world. She gave an invigorating speech that challenged each individual to be committed and purposeful throughout his or her life. She stated, "Leaders don't seek shelter, they seek to be in front." This quote has profound meaning to those who work to live up to the honor of being called Hampden-Sydney Men. This quote essentially empowers us to prepare ourselves for life's battles outside of the gate of Hampden-Sydney College.
The National Black Leadership and Development Conference gave each Hampden-Sydney delegate a glimpse of the potential that can be reached through hard work, perseverance, and faith. As we continue through this process of life, we must remain humble and confident that our potential as leaders will be reached.