Media Advisory: Student leaders gather at Indiana State University for the first-ever Black Leadership Conference Feb. 3 & 4

February 2 2006

Who: Indiana State University

What: First-ever Black Leadership Conference

When: Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 4

Where: Hulman Memorial Student Union

More than 100 student leaders will gather at Indiana State University to engage in leadership development. Presenters include ISU alumni, scholars and African-American leaders.

Brief Bios of key presenters:
As Vice President - Human Resources in Verizon's New York office, Connia Nelson has the opportunity to influence and implement some of Verizon's most important initiatives for the Domestic Telecom wireline business.

In this role, she is responsible for aligning human resource initiatives to business strategies, cultivating change, promoting employee advocacy, leading people development initiatives, increasing workforce capability, implementing human resource policies and ensuring the effective delivery of HR services. Her career achievement has been highlighted in Emerge, Upscale and Jet Magazine. Nelson was also featured in the 1999 February edition of Black Enterprise, which focused on the careers of "African American Rising Stars."

She spends time mentoring individuals of all ages, professionally and personally. She firmly believes that investing in the lives of others provides an immeasurable return. Nelson is a native of Lawrenceburg, Ind. and a graduate of ISU.

David C. Lewis was sworn in as the 34th Clerk of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court for the State of Indiana on Nov. 24, 2003. He is the second African-American man to hold this position and the fourth African-American to be a statewide elected official in Indiana.

In 1996, Lewis was named a Governor's Fellow for Governor Evan Bayh. Following his fellowship, Lewis worked for the Indiana Department of Commerce in the Community Development Division as a grant program manager for two years. In 1998, he was appointed by Lieutenant Governor Joseph E. Kernan as special assistant for legislation, working directly with Kernan on issues pertaining to legislative affairs. Following that appointment, Lewis was asked to return to the Indiana Department of Commerce and serve as the deputy director of the Community Development Division where he and his staff were responsible for managing the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), the Community Development Action Grant program (CDAG), the Individual Development Account program (IDA), and the Indiana Urban Enterprise Zone program (UEZ). In 2002, Lewis joined U.S. Senator Evan Bayh's office as his Regional Director for Central Indiana, serving as the Senator's liaison to 26 counties within the central part of the state for one and a half years.

Joyce Q. Rogers is a 1979 ISU graduate with a B.S. in Social Work. Rogers went on to earn her Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1996 from Indiana University's School of Law and was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1997. She has a diverse background and has honed several professional skills. She is an experienced leader, a seasoned contract negotiator and enjoys working with youth and family programs. Upon graduation, from Indiana State, she worked for four years as a caseworker and family counselor. Her drive for leadership provided her the opportunity to serve as president of her family's successful restaurant business for 13 years while raising her own family.

Rogers accepted the position as the first Chief Operating Officer of Indiana Black Expo, Inc. (IBE) in January 2001. Her current responsibilities include management and day-to day operations for several youth and family programs and special events, namely Indiana Black Expo's Summer Celebration and Circle City Classic. Summer Celebration and Circle City Classic's economic impact on the city of Indianapolis combined, exceeds $50 million. Brandon Jackson is a mentor, writer, and educator. He has a passion for encouraging people and developing various leadership programs in the community. He also has a desire to serve. Devoting his time to various ministries at his church to performing community service, he has learned that success in life comes when you do for others.

"You can achieve if you just believe," he says. Jackson has risen above the disadvantages that society has placed on Black males. He has been able to succeed when others counted him out. He graduated from Indiana State University in 2002 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications, and is currently employed at the IPS Career & Technology Center as a Career Specialist.

An exceptional speaker, he has conducted workshops on various topics, such as relationships, preparing for life after college, and goal setting.

Schedule of events:
Friday, Feb. 3: 6-8 p.m. Opening ceremonies Keynote address: Steve Burdine, president and CEO of Affirmation in Action Dede I

Saturday, Feb. 4: 9-10 a.m. Keynote address: Connia Nelson, vice president of Human Resources, Verizon Communications "Achieving Professional Success" Dede II

12-2 p.m. Luncheon Keynote address: David Lewis, clerk of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Tax Court for the State of Indiana "A Commitment to Be the Best" Dede II

2-3 p.m. Session with ISU alumna Joyce Rogers, president and CEO of Indiana Black Expo "Acknowledge and Utilize Your Resources" HMSU 307

3:15-4:15 p.m. Session with ISU alumnus Brandon Jackson, Career Specialist with IPS Career & Technology Center "Your Social Contribution Makes a Difference" HMSU 407


Contact: Charlie Potts, assistant vice president of Student Affairs, (812) 237-8046 or

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783,

ISU Communications and Marketing: (812) 237-3773 or

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The first Black Leadership Conference will be held at ISU

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