Several months ago, I met with the founding dean of the college of arts and sciences at Lipscomb University, Dr. Norma Burgess. She wanted to discuss an upcoming womenâ€™s conference. As she talked excitedly about topics of leadership and faith, I wanted to scream, â€śNoooo!â€ť Every organ in my body begged to yell out, not another church folk conference with a bunch of women spouting yaky, yaky.
Sensing my dismay, Dr. Burgess said, â€śThis is going to be different, you will see.â€ť She was extremely confident, while I had flashbacks of several recent encounters dancing in my head. I told Dr. Burgess I was sick of folks planning and meeting but not accomplishing anything while leaving an awful taste in my mouth at the same time, wasting time and energy. Was I negative or what?
She gave me the look of a mother who loves her child, flaws and all, and continued to talk about her big bodacious plans for an event as if I had never said a word. The event was planned to draw women nationally but maintain an intimate setting. Gloria Mayfield Banks of Mary Kay would be the breakfast keynote speaker. Mary Kay cosmetics is an international recognized brand and Lipscomb would be the host to the company's $24 million pint-sized-tornado selling machine. "What"? I thought to myself. I was intrigued right away.
As if that was not enough, Dr. Burgess said the luncheon keynote would be the great-great-granddaughter of the signer of the Navajo Treaty of 1868. Wait a minuteâ€”a black woman multi-millionaire and a Navajo chiefâ€™s great-great-granddaughter speaking at a conference in Nashville on leadership and faith? This I got to see! â€śI am in,â€ť I said.
She also gave me my assignment to spread the news. That was it. No selling tables, chasing down sponsors, or media hype needed. â€śShare this with anyone you would want to be there,â€ť she said smiling. Hmm. That was not what I was expecting her to say. Donâ€™t get too excited, I told myself, you are going to be thoroughly disappointed if you do. Have I been burned or what? But Dr. Burgess' gentleness and surprising list of speakers left me speechless and I promised her I would tell everyone. That I did.