Kearney drives Minority Mentorship evolution
If you look up the word "passionate" in Webster's, you'll find a picture of Beverly Kearney, the head coach of the Women's Track and Field team. Ditto if you look up the words "dedicated," "determined," "unwavering," and "strong."
You ought to find a picture of a woman who was the first African-American female coach to win an NCAA Division I Championship and the second African-American coach overall to ever win a Division I national title, with former Georgetown coach John Thompson, Jr., being the first.
Kearney, who knows well that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step, is preparing for more steps with the second Minority Mentorship Symposium, April 6 at 11 a.m. in the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin.
This event comes nearly two years to the day of the initial symposium, which was the brainchild of the Hall of Fame coach who has been at Texas since 1993.
"The symposium two years ago was to introduce our student-athletes to high-profile minority executives and allow them to listen to the execs' stories, get advice, ask questions," Kearney said.
"I also see this as a tremendous networking opportunity," she added. "I want that to be a big part of what this is about."
Those who already have confirmed are Vince Young, former Texas Football great and current quarterback of the Tennessee Titans and a NFL Pro Bowler; Morace Landy, executive vice president of Atlantic Records; Cheryl "Salt" Wray, Salt n' Pepa recording artist/reality show; Chauncey Childs, CEO of Axis Music; Deavra Daughtry, president and CEO of Excellent Care Management; Kelli Lawson, former executive vice president of BET; and Keyshawn Johnson, former NFL standout and current football analyst on ESPN.
"What an awesome group of people," Kearney said, referencing all that are participating in the second event. "For them to take time out of their schedules to be here shows their commitment, shows what is important to them.
"It also is a message to our students, that you are never too busy to help someone. You are never too big to help someone."
Carla Carter, a best-selling author and TV talk show host, also has confirmed along with Keesh Winkler-Smith, make-up artist to the stars; Sylvester Stevens, author and playwright; Paula Goins, publisher of Style and Substance Magazine; Greg Anderson, writer/producer of "Stomp the Yard;" N.D. Brown, president of Tri-Destined Studios; and Glen Milburn, a Stanford University alum and former NFL player.
Kearney also has three returnees from the initial symposium in 2006: Karen Taylor Bass, CEO of TaylorMade Media in New York; Mister Mann Frisby, author and editorial writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer; and Amber Noble, former director of marketing for Def Jam.
"I wanted the student-athletes to know, especially as minorities, what situations they would face," Kearney said. "We're not only concerned with a student-athlete's academic success, but we're concerned with she or he getting the right experience to be ready after graduation.
"With this second symposium, we're evolving."
Kearney noted that part of the evolution is the inclusion of students from all races at Texas.
"Also, we're inviting students from other schools in the area," she said. "I am not sure how many will be here for this one, but it is something that we will expand in the years to come.
"I see this as a wonderful collaborative effort to help the students."
Another who participated in the inaugural symposium sees this as another example of how special Bev Kearney is.
"She is about the total development of the student-athletes," said chief executive officer of the FedEx Orange Bowl Keith Tribble, who hired Kearney when he was at the University of Florida.
"Bev wants the student-athletes to have the business skills, the social skills and the understanding that each of them needs to give back to the community," he said.
And she is doing just that.