2008 Minority Mentorship Symposium to be held Sunday, April 6
AUSTIN, Texas -- On Sunday, April 6, The University of Texas Athletics Department will conclude its annual and nationally acclaimed Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays track and field competition with a unique event, the "Conversations with Greatness" minority mentorship symposium.
The Minority Symposium features high-profile minority leaders, executive and stars from the business, entertainment and music industries. This exclusive educational and networking event is for all Longhorns male and female student-athletes as well as representatives from the general student population. It is being held in conjunction with the 81st Annual Texas Relays and the Urban Music Festival, which attract 30,000 attendees from all over the country.
The Minority Symposium takes place at 10 a.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Austin and is the brainchild of UT head women's track and field/cross country coach Bev Kearney. This is the second such Minority Symposium, and the first "Divine Diva Brunch" that Kearney and her Pursuit of Dreams Foundation have initiated around the Texas Relays event. The first "Conversations With Greatness" took place in April of 2006.
The Symposium begins with a 10-11 a.m. networking brunch for the presenters, student-athletes, UT Athletics staff and special guests. This will be followed by "Conversations with Greatness" introductions, panel discussions and breakout sessions (11:00 a.m.-2: 30 p.m.).
Among the special guests and presenters at the Minority Symposium are Grammy Award winner LeToya Luckett, Capital Records recording artist, Cheryl "Salt" Wray, recording artist of Salt n' Pepa; and former NFL great and sports analyst Keyshawn Johnson.
The Minority Mentorship Symposium will feature introductions from Kearney and UT football head coach Mack Brown and a welcoming address by Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, UT's Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, who is a leading national figure in advancing a richly diverse educational environment for students, faculty and staff alike.
Additional presenters at the Symposium include: Kiana Dancie, renowned comedienne and actress who will serve as moderator; former Longhorn great and current NFL star Vince Young; and entertainment executives Morace Landy (Executive Vice President, Atlantic Records), Chauncey Childs (CEO of Axis Music), N.D. Brown (President of Tri Destined Studios), Greg Anderson (Writer/producer of `Stomp the Yard'), Kelli Lawson (Former Executive Vice President, BET) and Amber Noble (former Def Jam Director of Marketing).
"I began this Symposium to bring together a distinguished group of minorities with stellar credentials who have excelled at their given profession and who can provide our student-athletes a look into what it takes to make a successful transition into the corporate world," Kearney noted.
"Bev has once again done a great job putting together an unbelievable list of successful minority leaders for the mentorship symposium," Brown said. "It's a program that provides our student-athletes and students in general such a tremendous opportunity to learn from and talk to people who are the very best at what they do."
Other guest speakers include Deavra Daughtry (President and CEO, Excellent Care Management), Carla Carter (best-selling author and TV talk show host), Keesh Winkler-Smith (celebrity make-up artist), Sylvester Stevens (author and playwright), Mister Mann Frisby (editorial writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer), Paula Goins (publisher, Style and Substance magazine), and Karen Taylor Bass (CEO of TaylorMade Media). NFL Pro-Bowl standout Glyn Milburn also represents the sports industry.
"I strongly believe that as our student-athletes and minority students look to graduate that they have not only accessed the knowledge through the academic educational system at the University but just as importantly that they have accessed "intellectual wisdom" that can only be provided by the opportunity to network and be mentor by successful professionals. We will continue the legacy of teaching and inspiring each generation to become great leaders and role models in our communities," Kearney stated. "On April 6, they will talk on a variety of issues - all of which are important to being successful in life."
Prior to the Symposium, a special invite-only "Divine Diva Brunch" will take place at the Four Seasons, beginning at 9:30 a.m., with prominent African American women from a variety of professional areas, including sports, entertainment, business, government and academia from across the nation. This gathering will serve as an opportunity for fellowship, mentoring and networking, and the attendees will also participate in the Symposium that follows.
The attendees at the "Divine Divas" brunch will be honoring media and public relations executives Paula Goins, Amber Noble, Jocelyn Coleman, Toi Crawford, Dorcey Kuti and Karen Taylor Bass. Comedienne Dancie will host the brunch.