January 2-8, 2015, COBA held the 17th annual Leadership Summit at Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado. There were 139 students from ACU and 19 students from Lubbock Christian University who gathered to hear from professionals and well-known Christian leaders working in the marketplace. This unique opportunity offers a blend of dynamic speakers, practical application, skill building, and spiritual insight, all designed to equip students for leadership in the family, in their community, and in the marketplace. There were a total of 18 speakers and four mentor couples, as well as faculty and staff, on the mountain. Speakers included Mike Haley from Focus on the Family, Eric Pillmore (senior Vice President-Corporate Governance for Tyco International Ltd.), Elise Mitchell (ACU’s 2015 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and founding sponsor of Morris and Mitchell Advertising Agency), Walmart’s Stephen Quinn and John Aden, Jim Mhoon and Glenn Stanton from Focus on the Family, Michael Tremain , and Kent and Amber Brantly (ACU’s 2015 Young Alumni of the Year, medical missionaries for Samaritan’s Purse, and survivor of Ebola).
The Brantly’s spoke passionately about serving your community, whether that is locally or globally, with humility and service. Kent and Amber shared their story from courtship to marriage and how their desire to serve as medical missionaries became a passion that drew them together and continues to guide their decisions as a family.
Eric Pillmore led students through a case study of Tyco, narrating the rise and fall of the executives of the infamous company. As students played the parts of the key figures in the case study, Pillmore discussed the importance of ethics and standards in business practices.
Elise Mitchell shared the story of founding her company, Mitchell Communications Group, and the transitions that accompanied her decision to sell her company to Dentsu Public Relations where she now serves as CEO. She encouraged students to enjoy the journey and emphasized that it is not just about arriving at the destination.
John Aden inspired students to look at the journey of Moses as a guide for life. He explained that just as Moses had his Red Sea moment, a series of highs and lows in life, each of us would face our own stages in life where we have to push forward in faith even though we may be at a low point in our journey.
When surveyed after Leadership Summit, one student responded, ” It was great to hear from those big name people in the business world and to realize that they are people just like us. John Aden sat at my table on day during lunch and it was cool to talk to him and to remember that he is just a regular guy and that he had is struggles and how he used them to further his career and life. All of the speakers were just so humble and really encouraged us to pursue God above all else. Probably on of the best decisions I have ever made in college to attend Leadership Summit. ”
Carolyn Heard, a junior marketing major, loved hearing from powerful and influential leaders in the marketplace. Carolyn especially enjoyed listening to Elise Mitchell speak. She was inspired by Elise’s passion for public relations and her entrepreneurial spirit, and appreciated that she shared her success stories as well as her struggles. After coming down from the mountain, Carolyn felt refreshed and ready to start the new year with the right mindset of relying on God in every situation. She said, “There is this unique atmosphere at Summit; you’re basically in this community for a week that is looking to grow in their business knowledge as well as in their spirituality.”
Jessica Carrigan, a senior marketing major, is thankful for the unique opportunities she was able to experience at Summit. She says, “I loved building a community with people that I normally do not see every day. Because I am a senior, connecting with employers on a Christian level was inspiring for me. I feel empowered to enter the marketplace and be a stronger Christian leader.”
Assistant Professor Jennifer Golden said she truly felt God’s presence on the mountain this year. She was incredibly blessed to see how students soaked in every word the speakers had to say, asking difficult questions and seeking to learn how to deal with hard circumstances in life. “I was so inspired by these speakers’ powerful testimonies of loss, hardship, and success. God is using their transformational stories to touch the lives of students and people throughout the world.”
Since 1999, Leadership Summit has built a special community for students, faculty, and speakers to feel God’s inevitable presence. Leadership Summit continues to empower students to find their callings, equipping them to be strong Christian leaders in the church, home, and community.