Upcoming Global Leadership Summit

Digital version of this month’s Man’s Point of View column in South Carolina Woman…

It’s almost that time again. You know, the event that takes place each and every August in Myrtle Beach and over scores of other sites all over the world. It lasts several days and features both celebrities and non-celebs showcasing the lessons that made them great.

Oh, you mean you don’t know about it? You don’t even know what it’s called? I’m talking about The Global Leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek Community Church. It’s been going on for more than a decade. Since 1996, the Willow Creek Association has held an annual Leadership Summit.

Speakers at the Leadership Summit have included Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Karen Hughes (Special Advisor to President George W. Bush), Lady Vols’ women’s college basketball coach Pat Summit, Bishop T.D. Jakes, University of Southern California president Steven Sample, Yahoo!’s Tim Sanders, business author and leadership consultant Marcus Buckingham, Rick Warren, (pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life), and former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The 2006 and 2009 Leadership Summit featured Bill Hybels interviewing U2 frontman Bono. In his first appearance Bono blasted the church for not doing more to help relieve poverty-stricken areas of the world. His second appearance was mellower. In so many words, he told Bill Hybels that the church was doing pretty good. Bono’s 2006 challenge resonated with Christians and non-Christians all over the world and caused change.

Last year’s lineup included former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Gary Hammel, Tim Keller, Jessica Jackley of Kiva.org, Dan and Chip Heath, David Gergen and many others. Jessica Jackley’s interview was the highlight of last year’s event for me. As soon as I arrived home following her session I signed into Kiva and made microloans to two entrepreneurial ladies operating food vending stands in Central America.

Although the event is live at Willow Creek’s campus outside of Chicago, it is also simulcast live in churches and other facilities all over the world. Christ Community Church in Conway will be the Myrtle Beach area location for this year’s Summit simulcast. They will be showing both days of the event live and are already signing up early bird registrants. I’m part of the staff working as promotional strategists for the event, so if you need additional information, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Now that I’ve hopefully whetted your appetite, let me give you the facts about the Summit. It takes place on August 5-6 from 10 am to 6 pm. Various speakers are scheduled throughout the day, so don’t worry if you can’t spend the entire time there. Working folks are coming in and out all through the day or just dropping in to hear their favorite speakers. Like many conferences and seminars, it’s cheaper if you register early, so jump on in.

The lineup for this year includes…

Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and Built to Last

T.D. Jakes, Pastor of The Potter’s House

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric

Tony Dungy, Super Bowl winning football coach

Blake Mycoskie, the Chief Shoe Giver at Tom’s Shoes

…and more

It’s a pretty impressive lineup. The only thing missing is a rock star.

I’ve attended several summits in the past, including last year’s. They’ve meant a lot to me and have helped me to recharge my batteries and learn new lessons to help me find success in various areas of my life.

So far, I’ve talked a lot about the religious aspects of the summit. After all, it’s offered at a church and features several pastors. It’s alright to attend though, even if you aren’t a Protestant or Christian. Neither are all of the speakers. I remember one year, famous business author Ken Blanchard got up on stage and let fly with a few four-letter words before he realized it. Although the Summit is unapologetically Christian, it doesn’t mean that the speakers and the sites are out to convert you or brand you with a scarlet whatever for being different. There’s enough business, leadership, and life content that anyone should be able to walk away with a deeper education.

Leading up to the summit, various churches and businesses will be hosting preview sessions showcasing speakers from past summits. Keep an eye out in the paper, on the Summit website, and my Facebook page to keep track of any pre-summit events. If you’re not sure you’d like to attend the entire event, the Summit preview events offer a free opportunity to take it for test drive, sample a flavor, kick the tires…you get the message.

I hope to see you at the Summit or one of the other events. Come find me if you make it out there. I won’t be able to make all the pre-events, but I’ll be in attendance for the entire Summit itself. For additional information, there’s a link to the Global Leadership Summit on my website on the “Contact Us” page. Be sure to check out my book review column in this month’s Transitions, the sister publication of this magazine. There’s a review of Axiom, one of Bill Hybels’ best books.


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