UNCF Convenes 12th Annual Student Leadership Conference

Media Contact

Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231 monique.lenoir@uncf.org

Virtual event empowered students to learn from corporate leaders and executives how to enhance their skills for career opportunities

UNCF hosted its 12th annual Student Leadership Conference (SLC) May 25-26, connecting a large group of college students from across the country to meet leaders and executives from a wide group of career fields.

The 2022 SLC theme was “We Got the Keys: Unlocking the Leader Within” and featured sessions relevant to today’s workforce and how to excel within it. This was the third UNCF SLC that was completely virtual, and it concentrated on enhancing critical thinking skills by offering strategies to support effective verbal and written communications in work environments and improving leadership and networking skills.

The conference also provided students with opportunities to help develop skills needed to become successful interns and early career professionals.

Hosted by Wells Fargo and supported by Equitable and other corporate and foundation sponsors, 183 attendees joined including 122 college students from across the country. Representatives from 18 UNCF internships and professional development programs attended the event:

  • Panda Cares Scholars Program
  • United Health Foundation
  • Exelon HBCU Corporate Scholars Program
  • Budweiser Natalie Johnson Scholarship and Internship Program
  • UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship
  • Volkswagen Group of America /UNCF Corporate Scholars Program
  • The Walt Disney Company/UNCF Corporate Scholarship and Internship Program
  • Black Females moving Forward in Computing Program
  • Lighted Pathways – Asset Management
  • UNCF/Kimberly-Clark Corporate Scholars Program
  • Bimbo Bakeries Student Professional Program
  • Henkel Scholarship Program
  • UNCF/Best Buy Scholars Program
  • Papa John’s RISE Internship Program for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Lincoln Financial Scholars Program
  • UNCF/Old Dominion Scholars Program
  • UNCF Institute for Capacity Building
  • UNCF Medline Corporate Scholars

“Thank you to Wells Fargo, Equitable and our other partners for your generosity and continued support because, for the second year in a row, UNCF was able to host one of its largest Student Leadership Conferences to date,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “Our students are the future leaders of America and the world. Through opportunities such as SLC, they are exposed to new ways of thinking and networking to achieve successful careers that will benefit not only themselves but our nation’s communities.”

“The 2022 Student Leadership Conference was awesome and served as a powerful testimony to the incredible increase we have seen over the past 12 years from corporations, associations and foundations and their commitment to increasing internships and job opportunities for our students to develop the skills necessary to excel in today’s marketplace,” said Taliah Givens, senior director, student professional development programs, UNCF. “We are grateful and are working to continue to grow partnerships that enable UNCF to help our students become the leaders who will change our nation and the world.”

Speakers offered great advice to the attending interns.

Jarian Kerekes, CEO, Equitable Foundation, welcomed the students by noting “This is a very distinguished conference. Your opportunity to network and talk about this experience in job interviews will serve you very well!”

Sharon Murphy, chief information officer and the head of operating office technology for Wells Fargo Technology, offered the following advice, “When you are looking to start your personal journey, start with something that you love. An internship is a perfect opportunity to understand a corporate culture—an opportunity for you to stick your toe in the water and understand if their culture is aligned with your values.”

Keynote speaker Ed Smith-Lewis, vice president, strategic partnership and institutional programs, UNCF, shared with the students three tips to becoming a successful leader. “Be a sponge, soak up every potential opportunity. Build a network of people around you who can support, advocate and guide you because no one can do it alone. And always show up, and do your very best.”

Lodriguez Murray, senior vice president, public policy and government affairs, UNCF, reminded the student scholars, “You don’t start off where you will end up. Don’t forget that you have to start somewhere, and you have to work toward where you want to go.”


About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 13% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 24% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.