I recently had the opportunity to attend the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute and the only way I can describe my experience is to call it monumental. The Leadership Institute consists of top scholars from across the U.S that attend HBCU’s. The institute was created in an attempt to provide minorities opportunities to work for top tear companies and to establish more diversity within these companies.
During my time at the leadership academy I got the opportunity to network with hundreds of top scholars along with a various companies such as Georgia Pacific, John Deere, Caterpillar, Hershey, Alliance Bernstein, and Kellogg’s to name a few. I am extremely grateful for having the opportunity to be chosen to attend the leadership institute. It’s rare one has the opportunity to network with over 30 top tear companies in one setting.
Besides the business aspect, the staff of the Leadership Institute was extremely personable and helpful. They were all genuine individuals who took their time to answer any questions and provide encouragement for us students. When talking to a few staff members such as, Jerry Strayhorn, I found out that he was actually a Thurgood Marshall scholar himself. He took the time to tell me about him trails and tribulations that helped him get to this point in his career. I was appreciative of the fact he took time out of his busy schedule to sit down and have this personal conversation with myself.
The conclusion of the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute came in the form of a Gala. Many famous people were in attendance. I was surprised to see Jussie Smollett, as he arrived to present a Thurgood Marshall scholar.
I will forever be grateful to the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute for the opportunities they presented myself as well as hundred of other scholars with. The conference also allowed us to be drenched in developmental tactics to apply going forward in our careers via various workshops and through a wide range of accredited guest speakers who represented their respectable companies. My biggest take away came from one of the keynote speakers who discussed our largest task going forward. He stated, “We must strive for excellence no matter what daunting task we’re faced with, and remember any obstacle can be viewed as impossible up until someone overcomes it.”
Author: Stanley (Marcus) Jenkins
Fayetteville State University
Southern Region Assistant Executive Director (ΑΦΑ)