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SLI joins Southern University for leadership conference

Members of (SLI) Student Leadership Initiative. Courtesy photo

Members of the President’s Student Leadership Initiative (SLI) sharpened their professional and social skills during a Professional Development and Leadership Institute conference.

Grambling State University and Southern University are arch-rivals in sports and students have a fierce but friendly banter with opposing schools. However, for two days differences were set aside and the leaders of both institutions brought together aspiring student front runners to prepare them for life outside of college.

The event was held on the campus of Southern University in Baton Rouge Feb. 8 and 9.

During the two-day event, discussions centered on resume building, social/dining etiquette, searching and acquiring internships, developing goal setting plans, strategies for success and corporate attire and professional behavior.   

Beverly Hill-Hercules, executive director of Title III and the founder and leader of SLI, noted that student attendance at the conference was another initiative to ensure that they obtain first-class status in all that they strive to accomplish.  

“In SLI, we promote the standards of excellence and encourage each member to attend seminars designed to assist them to become the best version of themselves,” Hill-Hercules said.

“Through the training seminars, students receive all the possible information that will propel them to become excellent young adults and employees; thereby, making our University proud.”

The keynote speaker at the conference was Dr. Darryl L. Scriven, co-founder of the African American Family Enrichment Institute and the Dean for the College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education at Winston Salem University in North Carolina.  

Scriven challenged students to be creative and develop ideas, which can turn into income generation. He told the participants that despite his humble beginnings, he never allowed fear, failure and a lack of finance to deter him from reaching his goals and providing a comfortable lifestyle for his mother and sister.  


Scriven encouraged students not to be afraid of hard work, as this will help them to accomplish their goals. He reminded them that through their pathway to success they will encounter many trials, but that should be an opportunity to fortify their strength, increase their faith, as they keep their goals and mission in sight.


Makayla Hill, a history and political science major and President of Grambling State University’s SLI, lauded the organizers stating that the conference helps to further enhance leadership qualities among their members.  


“We learned about table manners, how to dress for an interview and how to successfully prepare ourselves for life,” Hill said.  “I think the training we receive will help us to be better leaders and we will be able to use the training for not only in the corporate world but in everyday life.”


Jazmine Cyprian, a criminal justice major from Santiago, Calif., reflected on the conference.


“The conference was really beneficial and I learned different techniques on how to build my resume….I got the opportunity to network and met several different individuals who can assist me while I build my professional career,” Cyprian said.  


Another member of Grambling’s delegation, Angelo Collins, a pre-nursing major from Monroe, also agreed that the conference enlightened his knowledge about social media and he intends to change “what he posts on social media.”


Among the list of speakers at the conference were Calvin Mills Jr., founder, CEO and President of CMC Technology Solutions and author of “No Secrets to Elevation”, Emily Stich, who conducted a practical session on dining etiquette, and Donnell Cooper, and founder and CEO of My Name is Chivalry.