Black Future Leaders Experience Conference February 8, 2020

Mission Statement

To provide a space for young, thriving black scholars to cultivate the most distinguished versions of themselves. As the black leaders of today, we strive to promote leadership, individuality and self-discovery, in order to better our tomorrow.

Theme: Metamorphosis of the Black Persona

During the Black FLEX conference, we will expose scholars to an array of topics through various developmental sessions, student-led panels and keynote speakers. From discussions surrounding mental health, financial literacy, politics, professionalism and more, students will emerge better equipped to produce tremendous transformations to society. This all-day leadership conference is sponsored by the Student Association for Black Unity at Washington & Lee University.


Dr. Lena Hill

Dean of the College, Washington and Lee University

Beri Ndifon

Senior Associate in KPMG LLP’s Federal Digital Lighthouse practice

Ted Archer

Executive Director and Global Head of Small Business within Corporate Responsibility at JPMorgan Chase.

Kynai Johnson

PhD candidate, Catholic University's National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS)

Gabriel Pickett

Assistant Director of Employer Development, Washington and Lee University

Vincent Kim

Gates Cambridge PhD scholar, University of Cambridge

Elicia Cowins

Assistant Professor of Accounting, Washington and Lee University

Amber Cooper

Assistant Director of Admissions, Washington and Lee University

Tammi Simpson

Associate Dean of Students, Washington and Lee University

Trenya Mason

Assistant Dean of Law Student Affairs, Washington and Lee University


What Does It Mean to be Black-ish and Lessons to Learn from Our Blackness?

In what capacities do we embrace our variations of blackness? What is blackness? How do we show our blackness professionally, socially, and emotionally? How does blackness vary per background: as an African-American, Caribbean-American, etc.? How do we reconcile the different parts of our identity while owning our blackness? How can we additionally apply our black identity in leadership to political and social movements like Black Lives Matter, Immigration, etc.? This session will center around answering tough question regarding how we embrace and interact with our black identity.

Black Hustle: Passion vs. Profit

"Follow your passion and the money will follow." This session is designed to guide students to think about their passions and how those passions can translate into a future profession. Through a reflective workshop, students will streamline their goals in order to clearly see how their values line up with the future that they have envisioned for themselves.

Be MINDFUL of your Flex: Overcoming the Stigma Associated with Mental Health in our Community

Mental health is often a highly stigmatized concept within our community. As mental health awareness rises in our society, it is time for us as a community to look inward and learn how we can better care for our mental health. This session will focus on self-love and give students the tools to express their emotions and deal with it accordingly.

Securing the Bag: Building and Utilizing networks in the Professional World

Everyone wants to "secure the bag" and achieve their professional goals; however, what steps and actions are necessary to achieve these goals. Through this session, individuals will gain a clear understanding of the importance of gaining, building, and utilizing networks in the professional world to achieve their own personal goals.

Future FLEX: Designing Your Life One Step at a Time

As students, thinking of our future and career paths can be an incredibly daunting task. But what exactly is a career path? How do you find or make one that's right for you while considering both your interests and financial factors? This session unpacks these questions and aims to help a gain greater sense of focus and direction in your career path.

Activism, Protest and Dissent

With the current political climate, it has become increasingly more common for young people to stand up and be heard. The media often shows clips of large marches and segments on twitter movements. However, there are other modes of activism and ways to make a difference in and for your community. This session will highlight how we as young black leaders can do more than just protesting to make a change.

Career Affinity

  • STEM: Do I have to go to medical school since I majored in Neuroscience? Through this panel, individuals from different disciplines of the STEM field will talk to students about life after their undergraduate experience.
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: What can I do with an Economics degree? Sociology? English? This panel is designed to give students a glimpse of the diverse disciplines, jobs, and careers individuals pursue graduating with a Humanities and Social Science Degree.
  • Business: What does a career in business actually look like? This session will unpack the broad term of a business career, offer students insight into different types of jobs in business, and how to climb the ladder of professionalism to obtain their dream job.

Leading with Values

Each participant has a certain amount of money and they must bargain for certain values. This is an interactive session that will allow students to critically think about values and principles that are most important to them. After the activity there will be a discussion where students can reflect upon how these values can help them become effective leaders in various academic, professional, and personal settings. After the activity there will be a discussion.

The Importance of Voting in Our Community

The 2016 election unequivocally sparked an increase of attacks on blackness. With our Head of State setting the precedent, it can be increasingly difficult to feel safe in your skin as the assaults become bolder and tougher to defend oneself against. No matter what shade we are, or where we live, it is impossible to escape this enduring truth. This talk would center around why it is so important for us to vote as members of the black community. It would also stress the importance of not just voting for presidential elections but also local ones since that is where much of legislation is passed.


Student Association for Black Unity, Division of Student Affairs, Alumni Engagement Office, Office of Inclusion and Engagement.


What does the registration fee cover?

  • Program: The registration fee will cover all Black FLEX programming including keynote speakers, panel discussions, breakout sessions.
  • Meals: Your fee covers all scheduled meals –Breakfast, Lunch. There will be heavy hors d’ouevres at the closing networking reception.

How do I get there?

Washington and Lee University
204 W Washington Street
Lexington VA 24450

Additional directions and help with parking can be found on our Getting to Washington and Lee page.

Additional questions?

Contact Vincent Buckman at or Tammi Simpson at