Admittedly, I can be a bit cheap. And when it comes to my discretionary time – my personal time – I am downright stingy. So I pass on attending a lot of “leadership seminars” because I have found them often to be nothing more than rah-rah sessions. I have found most to be a waste of my money and scarce time.
That’s why I had politely declined a friend’s earlier suggestions to attend an annual Global Leadership Summit, which is broadcast to an audience in Bakersfield, as well as other audiences in nearly 900 host sites.
But my friend, a successful local businesswoman who is sold on the benefits of the Global Leadership Summit, continued to persist until I agreed to attend my first summit last year.
The Global Leadership Summit turned out to be far more than a collection of motivational speakers. The summit is strategically designed to give local business, education, government, nonprofit and church leaders the skills and inspiration they can use to improve their organizations, communities, families and personal lives.
Panels of internationally recognized leadership experts present information in one- and two-hour sessions throughout the two-day summit, which will be held this year on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 11 and 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Valley Baptist Church, at 4800 Fruitvale Ave., will be the Bakersfield host site.
While sitting through eight hours of speakers each day might not sound appealing, the reality is that the days flew by, and by the end of each session I was starving for more. The speakers were entertaining and insightful. Most importantly, the content they provided was applicable to my everyday life.
With the backbone of the Global Leadership Summit being the Christian faith, I can honestly say the summit challenged me to be a better leader in the workplace, my community and my household. I left understanding what a shared vision truly looks like.
At the conclusion of last year’s conference, I immediately met with my direct reports and support staff to share the principles of good customer service that I learned during the summit. One summit speaker, a top executive of the Ritz-Carlton Group, was particularly inspirational and informative regarding an organization’s need to provide outstanding customer service.
This year’s speakers will include Bill Hybels, the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, who founded the Global Leadership Summit 20 years ago. Broadcast from the church’s campus near Chicago, the summit is conducted through the Willow Creek Association, a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 7,000 member churches, from 90 denominations and 45 countries.
Other summit presenters this year will include such notables as Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Alan Mulally, former president and chairman of The Ford Motor Co.; Horst Schulze, CEO of Capella Hotel Group and founding president of The Ritz-Carlton Group; Wilfredo De Jesus, author and senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church; Erin Meyer, author, consultant and professor at INSEAD; Dr. Travis Bradberry, author and co-founder of TalentSmart; Patrick Lencioni, author and founder of The Table Group; Chris McChesney, author and executive at Franklin Covey; Danielle Strickland, Salvation Army officer, advocate and author; Jossy Chacko, founder and president of Empart; and John C. Maxwell, author and leadership coach.
Last year, I took one employee to the summit with me. This year, I plan on bringing my entire leadership team at Terrio Physical Therapy & Fitness Inc. Many organizations use these summits as staff retreats and team-building experiences.
A recent independent study by the Colorado Springs-based Excellence in Giving revealed Global Leadership Summit participants reported having success when they applied the skills they learned. The study concluded that the Summit is playing a vital role in supplying organizations with passionate and qualified leaders.
John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. president, noted: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
I want to be that kind of leader. I believe attending the annual Global Leadership Summits will help me achieve that goal.
For more information about the Global Leadership Summit, go to www.bakersfieldleaders.com.
Ken Beurmann is the chief executive officer of Terrio Physical Therapy & Fitness Inc. in Bakersfield.