W&L Hosts Fifth Annual Black Future Leaders Experience Conference on Feb. 3 This year’s Black FLEX conference theme is “Around the Clock.”
To help launch Black History Month on campus, the Student Association for Black Unity (SABU) at Washington and Lee University will host its fifth annual Black Future Leaders Experience Conference (Black FLEX) on Feb. 3.
The conference’s theme is “Around the Clock,” with sessions exploring foundational moments in Black history that align with the goals for the conference, including black-owned businesses of the 1840s, civil rights and representation movements in the 1960s, and the increase in Black people entering corporate fields in the 1970s.
SABU plans and sponsors the leadership conference each year, which provides a space for W&L’s young, thriving Black scholars to develop a legacy of their own. This year, the conference will discuss professional skills such as networking and career development, as well as personal skills including financial literacy and mental wellness.
“The Black FLEX conference is a full day of highly engaging programming, and I am looking forward to what conference attendees will bring to the table at the ‘State of the Union’ session,” said Laura Murambarado ’26, president of SABU. “The session was a hit last year, and this year we have organized the conference so everyone will be able to join this discussion.”
The conference will open in Stackhouse Theater with remarks from Murambadoro at 9 a.m., and sessions begin at 9:45 a.m. with an industry and career fair. Inspired by the “Black Emergence into Corporate America” that occurred during the 1970s, conference attendees will be able to connect with professionals and W&L alumni in a variety of fields and build their networking skills. The second session will feature talks titled “Black Mental Health, Self-Advocacy, and Black Organizational Coexistence” and “Financial Wellness and Entrepreneurship,” which will explore both the history and current landscape of Black advocacy, mental wellness and financial literacy.
The keynote speaker for this year’s conference is Dr. Ayesha Kelly, a general surgeon at Carilion Clinic in Lexington. Lunch will be hosted in Evans Hall at 11:45 a.m., during which time Kelly will deliver her address.
The third and final session will be a “State of the Union,” bringing conference attendees to the present day and fostering an open and transparent discussion with insights from people of different backgrounds. Students are encouraged to bring in what they learned in previous sessions, as well as share personal anecdotes to add to the conversation.
Following the day-long programming, SABU will host its annual Black Ball on Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. in Evans Hall. The theme of the ball is “I have a dream,” where the decade-hopping of the conference continues with decorations celebrating significant decades in the context of Black history.
Learn more about Black FLEX and register for the conference and Black Ball here.