They were all on the big screen in the United Methodist Church sanctuary, in real-time: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, talking about finding resilience in the face of adversity, Marcus Buckingham sharing how to discover your strengths, and Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor and refugee from Rawandan genocide telling her amazing story of escaping death and how she found the power of forgiveness. These speakers, and other equally inspiring and informative presenters were part of a two-day Global Leadership Summit, held Thursday, August 10 and Friday, August 11,at the United Methodist Church, here in Rolla.

They were all on the big screen in the United Methodist Church sanctuary, in real-time: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, talking about finding resilience in the face of adversity, Marcus Buckingham sharing how to discover your strengths, and Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor and refugee from Rawandan genocide telling her amazing story of escaping death and how she found the power of forgiveness.

These speakers, and other equally inspiring and informative presenters were part of a two-day Global Leadership Summit, held Thursday, August 10 and Friday, August 11,at the United Methodist Church, here in Rolla. It focused on faith-based leadership and was a production of megachurch leader Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church fame. The Summit was simulcast (live feed) by satellite to 675 sites in 128 countries.

Pastor Bill LaMora of the United Methodist Church, and his staff, are pleased with what they have tried to  accomplish. Pastor LaMora said attendees came from all over the area and they will be able to go back and share what they have learned over the 2-day Summit with others, at a time when the country seems divided enough to cause many to have a feeling of hopelessness in their professional and private lives.

“We really believe that people have within them, the power to overcome that,” said the pastor. “It (the Summit) is faith-based, and that is helpful, but each one of us have these incredible gifts buried inside of us that are just not being used, so we become more followers than leaders.”

He added that with training, inspiration and sitting side-by-side with other people that want a better world, those hidden abilities could come to light and be expressed in the work place and at home.

“A real focus of this particular Summit has been to let everybody recognize that they have a thread of influence,” he explained. “As leaders, we are called to be strong, to be faithful and courageous; but also to help others recognize those same qualities in themselves.

He said the spiritual setting is a great place for that because it is based in love and from a God who never turns his back on us and constantly encourages us.

Pastor LaMora pointed out that many of the speakers mentioned that what they were sharing didn’t apply only to the workspace, but at home, as well. Such as making time for family and keeping that priority in line by being encouragers, helping them to build healthy relationships and recognizing their own self-worth. “It was really awesome watching them tie those two back-and-forth.

Rolla City Administrator John Butz was in attendance, but before this particular event, he wasn’t familiar with the program.

“We’ve had a leadership program in Rolla for many years,” said Butz. There were many great leaders throughout the business world speaking about leadership and ethics, among other things, so when I got an invitation to come to this, I said ‘Of course!’”. “Anybody in a position of leadership needs to be challenged, to take the opportunity to do some self-reflection and hear from others.”

When asked by The Rolla Daily News what he might take away from this particular leadership event, he centered on passion, service and a giving of yourself to others.

“[It’s] empathy, putting yourself in other people’s shoes, recognizing that we have a responsibility as managers and leaders to challenge people and provide them the resources and support.

He referred to a speaker who gave a presentation earlier in the morning who said leaders are always doing vision planning and are always thinking about strategic planning—the next year, three to five years out.

“He was saying, don’t lose site of the week,” he shared. “[The speaker said] look for opportunities in the course of every week—that’s 52 steps over the course of a year, so you approach your employee, or director, somebody you have a relationship with, and ask them ‘What are you doing this week and what can I do to help you?’”

“It takes you from the big plans of performance measurement and goal-setting and sort of holding people accountable, with leader support,” he explained. “It’s a very simple message, but I never really thought of it, in that respect.”
Another business tool comment relating to feedback also resonated with Butz.
“He (the speaker) said, ‘You know, people really don’t want feedback,’” related Butz. 

“Feedback is really throwing a hand grenade over the shoulder for what you did last week. He said it’s really about what you’re going to do this week, and what can we do to help you improve that?”
“That was just one of those thousand [in number] points brought up in this day and a half,” said Butz.

He said it was interesting that this is a Christian-based program, but certainly not limited to Christianity.

“I know this first time [for the Global Leadership Summit] exceeded their (United Methodist Church) expectations and I hope the word spreads so more people from all over the area get the opportunity to refresh their viewpoints about leadership.”

There will be another Global Leadership Conference next year and the pastor is already reflecting on this one. Though the presenters are simul-cast by satellite, the big screen had no problem projecting them and the distant audience into the Methodist Church sanctuary, making a personal connection with the local Summit attendees. They appeared to share the same sentiments, whether it was to laugh or marvel at the accomplishments.

“It’s being with other people who you can recognize as being in the same boat you are,” said the pastor.

“It’s having those “a-ha!” moments together and having the opportunity to have those discussions together. Many of us have attended this event in other places and we just knew it had to be available to our community.”