Black FLEX Conference 2022 February 5, 2022

The Black Future Leaders Experience (Black FLEX) Conference is a 100% student-run leadership conference hosted annually by SABU The purpose of Black FLEX is 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.

The theme for the third annual Black FLEX Conference is Global Cooperation. It's easy to find yourself living inside of a bubble while going about your everyday life as a Black student in the US. In this regard, Black FLEX: Global Cooperation will be a welcome adventure. This conference will nurture your curiosity by exposing participants to an array of cultures and perspectives. Young leaders will be immersed in a global experience with interactive workshops and diverse panels. Black Flex: Global Cooperation will touch on topics such as appearance within the Black community, professionalism, advocacy, and sustainable development. This leadership conference is hosted by the Student Association for Black Unity.

February 5, 2022

8:00 - 9:40 a.m. Check-in & Breakfast
Elrod Commons
9:40 - 10:00 a.m. Opening Address
Stackhouse Theater
10:00 - 10:45 a.m.Session 1
Hands off my Crown
Watson Galleries
Build Black: Sustainable Development in Black Communities
Northen Auditorium
Building Your Professional Brand: Black Professionals
Huntley 221
11:00 - 11:45 a.m.Session 2
Advocacy within the Diaspora
Huntley 221
Global Show and Tell
Leyburn 119
Media Coverage of Black Stories
Northen Auditorium
11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Lunch
Evans Dining Hall
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Keynote Speaker: Tolu Olubunmi
Stackhouse Theater
2:15 - 3:00 p.m.Session 3
Career Panel: STEM
Northen Auditorium
Career Panel: Business
Huntley 221
Career Panel: Humanities
Huntley 327
3:10 - 3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks
Stackhouse Theater

Session Topics

  • Global Show and Tell — Interested in sharing more about your culture or learning about others? This session will bring students together to share in their culture through interactive ways. Participants are encouraged to bring an cultural item of value to them to share with the group.
  • Building your Personal Brand: Black Professionals — Being a Black Professional, regardless of where you choose to work, can bring with it a multitude of new and diverse challenges. From professional etiquette and attire to communication skills and networking, young Black students have to build upon a wide range of skills in order to not just succeed but excel in an increasingly Global workplace. This workshop will provide students with an overview of important ideas such as communication, networking, branding and more as well as providing a foundation to continue to build these necessary skills moving forward.
  • Career Panels: Different Disciplines working Globally
    • STEM — Our STEM Career Panel seeks to allow students to hear from and network with professionals across the STEM fields. Panelists working in the biological sciences and medicine, chemistry, engineering, computer science, physics, geology, and mathematics will discuss career opportunities in their respective fields. Students will hear about research opportunities, graduate school options, and ways to build up their resumes as undergraduates. Above all, students will see how the skills learned while pursuing STEM majors can be applied to make a positive impact on a rapidly changing world. In the face of a global pandemic, rapid diversity loss, and increasing carbon emissions, the importance of inspiring students to pursue careers in STEM cannot be understated. The STEM Careers panel will show students how careers in the STEM field can help them solve issues on a local, national, or even global scale.
    • Humanities — This year's Black FLEX Conference will connect students to cultures across the African Diaspora. Many of the shared histories, exploitation, and cultures between black people are recorded and addressed through the works of scholars in the humanities. For our Humanities Career Panel, students will hear from scholars of history, language, politics, and sociology to learn about how their chosen field can question broken structural systems at home and abroad. Students will learn about the plethora of opportunities offered by a career in the humanities as well as the solutions to social problems they can offer the world. Widespread problems like growing wealth gaps, societal unrest, and the relics of former and current imperialist policies have harmed black countries and people across the world. Students attending our Humanities Career Panel will leave empowered to address structural issues throughout the diaspora.
    • Business — The consequences of the racial wealth gap as well as the economic exploitation of black people around the world are felt in nearly every black community. Social equality must go hand in hand with the economic empowerment of black people and communities. Our Business Career Panel will inspire our future financial analysts, accountants, and economists to address such issues. Our panel will include black scholars' intent on promoting economic equity across the world.
  • Advocacy within the Diaspora: The Culture and The Struggle — As Global connectivity increases in the modern area, the ability to share and consume culture on such a wide scale shines a light on cultural divides and historical issues within the African Diaspora. Moving into what is being called a Second Civil Rights Movement, it is more important than ever that members from every culture within the Diaspora are intentional about how we engage with and advocate for our own cultures as well as others. This roundtable discussion will center around how we as Black students can consciously consume culture and advocate for each other with the ultimate goal of promoting unity within the African Diaspora.
  • Build Black!: Sustainable Development in Black Communities —Over the last year, we have seen communities around the world debilitated by the Pandemic. We have also seen the importance of circulating the Black dollar within our own communities. This session offers a broader view of how we can go about building Black communities from Harlem to Lagos on a foundation of sustainable development through the promotion of Black entrepreneurship. Students will leave with a greater idea of how to build economic prosperity beyond simply buying Black.
    • Speakers: Allyson Davoll and Jessica Reese
  • Hands off my Crown: Hair and the Black Community — Hairstyling and haircare are important facets of black culture throughout the African Diaspora. Despite this, many black people experience hair discrimination in social, professional, and academic settings across the globe. From school athletes being asked to cut their dreads and hair beads in the U.S., to natural hair banned in South African schools, afro-textured hair is often villainized. In the "Hands off my Crown Session," Sharon Norwood will discuss her "Root of the Matter" art exhibit as it navigates themes of identity, beauty, and systems of power. Ms. Norwood will be joined by Posi Oluwakuyide, who will share her work on the significance of hair in the black community.
  • Media Coverage of Black Issues — In the 21st century, Blackness dominates much of popular culture as it pertains to television and films. Black actors like Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong'o have quickly become household names recognized for their talent. Despite this increase in Black imagery, that has not effectively translated into accurate portrayals of Black issues in mainstream news or proper recognition and compensation for Black films and television. In this session, Dr. Adedayo Abah will discuss her research on Black media and lead discussions on current issues in this sphere.
    • Speakers: Adedayo Abah