If you had the opportunity to spend a week in the winter wonderland of Colorado learning from some of the nation’s foremost experts on business, faith, and family, wouldn’t you take it?
Of course you would!
Buena Vista, Colorado
What if you got class credit for it?
Well then, you’d already be signed up.
The great thing about this theoretical event is that it is a reality. In fact, every January, nearly one-hundred-and-fifty students from all over ACU’s campus pack up their scarves and coats and head off to Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado to participate in what could well be the most transformative class of their college career.
It’s called Leadership Summit.
Tim Johnston, Assistant Dean of COBA and one of the masterminds behind Leadership Summit, explained that even though Summit is put on by COBA, it doesn’t just view the world through the lens of business. Instead, Summit takes a step back and views the larger picture that makes up our society.
“What are key things happening in society?” Johnston asked. “The family unit is critical to society. Church is critical to society. Business is critical to society.”
Dr. Rick Lytle, dean of COBA, and former COBA professor Mike Winegeart work together with Johnston to bring in renowned speakers who will make these three areas of focus a reality for the students participating in Leadership Summit.
ACU Students at Leadship Summit 2012
Leanne Blair, a senior Accounting major, participated in Summit last year and really enjoyed what the speakers had to say.
“The best part about Leadership Summit is the speakers,” said Leanne. “ACU does a phenomenal job at getting influential speakers to Summit that you get to interact with on a personal level. You’re given the opportunity to hear lectures, ask questions and just hang out with big time CEO’s, presidents and the like, who openly share how they have integrated faith and business. It’s a rare opportunity where you and your fellow peers can grow in faith together… in COLORADO! Oh and there’s great food.”
While the 2013 speaker slate is not yet set in stone, many of this year’s speakers have already been determined. They include the following:
Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, who speak all over the country on marriage, will provide insight into healthy marriages and families.
Glenn Stanton, the director for Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, who will be working with Lisa Anderson, founder and president of LMA Consulting Group to discuss cultural trends and their effect on society.
Jarrod Brown, President and Co-Founder of Mission Lazarus, will be speaking about using business as a mission.
John Aden, former president of Mac Tools and a current Executive Vice President of Wal-Mart, will speak about faith in the workplace.
Mike Haley, who has been rated Leadership Summit’s number one speaker over the past several years, will once again be sharing a message on culture.
Rick Atchley, preaching minister at The Hills Church of Christ, will be talking about the necessity of strong leadership in the church.
As always, the diversity provided by Leadership Summit’s speakers is part of what makes the experience so transformational, and when that unique diversity is combined with cool Colorado air and the smell of pine trees, well, lives change.
“When you have a mountain top experience, it’s different,” explains Johnston.
Come experience that difference for yourself.
For more information, be sure to attend one of the Summit interest meetings, where chapel credit will be awarded. The meetings will be held at 11:00 in COBA Room 201 on the following dates:
Wednesday, September 26
Tuesday, October 30
Friday, November 16
Please click here to access the Leadership Summit website (which contains more logistical details), and feel free to contact Nuria Hall at email@example.com with any questions you may have.
ACU Students at Summit 2012
What sells coffee, necklaces, leather goods, and carpentry while simultaneously educating children, providing medical care, and employing local people?
Mission Lazarus, of course.
What’s even better than an organization that does everything listed above?
One that serves in the name of Jesus.
“Our projects are a mean to an end. Our end is bringing people to Jesus Christ,” said Jarrod Brown, President and Co-Founder of Mission Lazarus.
Jarrod, who spent about a decade in Honduras before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, joined professors Andy Little and Monty Lynn this week in a three-part lecture series on social entrepreneurship at ACU’s annual “Summit” conference.
Jarrod Brown, President and Co-Founder of Mission Lazarus
Social entrepreneurship, which can be defined as mission-driven entrepreneurship with a distinctly social focus, is a rapidly growing segment of the nonprofit landscape. In order to further explore this elusive concept, Drs. Little and Lynn left the textbooks behind and joined Jarrod in providing a unique intersection of principles that have been taught in air-conditioned classrooms but applied in the mountainous jungles of the third world.
As he discussed the rare marriage of business and missions that is Mission Lazarus, Jarrod talked about the dangers often lurking behind short-term missions. As he pointed out, Americans often take advantage of orphaned or impoverished children when they visit for a week, post the highlights of their trip on Facebook, and then return to the States feeling as if they have utterly changed the world.
However, the sad reality is that when Americans go home on emotional, self-congratulatory highs, monetary poverty continues to run rampant throughout the third world.
So how does Mission Lazarus differ from this standard model of self-fulfilling aid work?
It’s structured, in some ways, like a business.
You see, like any successful business, Mission Lazarus is focused on perpetually raising up new leadership, much of which is actually from Honduras. By partnering with local people, Mission Lazarus is able to form relationships and provide mentoring that goes beyond the typical workplace interface and that extends beyond a week. As a result, these relationships provide the opportunity for Christ to be shared through the work Jarrod and his co-workers are doing in Honduras.
COBA Students on a Study Abroad trip to Mission Lazarus
Another business-like aspect of Mission Lazarus is the fact that it actually contains several for-profit agricultural ventures, like a coffee plantation. (To buy Mission Lazarus coffee, click here.) Through these ventures, Mission Lazarus is able to cover 12% of its total expenses…by itself.
This self-sufficiency not only provides donor confidence in where money goes, it also means that as Mission Lazarus needs less and less money to run its current opportunities, it has the chance to continue growing and expanding.
Through this stellar example of social entrepreneurship, Jarrod and his entire team have followed God’s lead and found themselves right in the middle of God’s work in Honduras. As a result, lives are being changed, not just through the provision of food and education, but through the knowledge of who Jesus is and how He can utterly transform lives.
In Tuesday’s session, Dr. Lynn made a profound point: “Development must be both inward and outward.”
At Mission Lazarus, inward and outward development are every day occurrences.
What are you doing to develop yourself as both a leader and a follower of Christ today?
For more information about Mission Lazarus, click here, and to find out more about COBA’s Summer Study Abroad Trip to Mission Lazarus, email Andy Little at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim Litton at email@example.com
COBA Students in Honduras
This Wednesday the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy kicked off its Entrepreneur Speaker Series with a lunch presentation by Dan Austin, co-founder of 88bikes.
With an audience of nearly one-hundred-and-fifty, Dan spent the better part of an hour regaling his audience with tales of life as a social entrepreneur.
Dan Austin, Co-Founder of 88bikes
Originally an author and filmmaker, Dan began his journey with 88bikes in 2006, when he and his brother, Jared, took a biking trip across Cambodia. At the conclusion of their journey, the two donated their personal bikes and 86 additional bikes to children at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Seeing the joy elicited by their gift of 88 bikes, the pair was moved to action, and they began pursuing their vision of “joy-inspired philanthropy.”
Since their initial gift of 88 bikes, Dan and his coworkers (none of whom receive salaries) have connected donors with children all over the world through their one-to-one giving model.
Because of the unique giving model implemented by 88bikes, donors know exactly where their money goes. Furthermore, they receive a picture of their child standing next to their new bike with a picture of their donor in hand. Through this photo exchange, 88bikes is able to create a unique international connection.
Children receiving bikes and photos of their donors from 88bikes
As Dan explained, this one-to-one connection is fundamental to 88bikes, and—in his opinion—to any social entrepreneurship venture.
As part of this presentation, Dan offered three critical pieces of advice to budding entrepreneurs:
1. Connect one-to-one.
2. Raise the bar.
3. Go local.
As Dan went on to explain, the success that 88bikes has found is largely due to these three components.
88bikes’ one-to-one connection creates loyal donors who are truly invested in the organization and the children it serves. In addition, the organization raises the bar set by traditional aid agencies by focusing on the intrinsic human need for joy as well as physical needs like hunger. Finally, 88bikes employs local bike merchants and mechanics in order to boost the local economy. As a result of these strategies, 88bikes is continuing to grow and thrive.
Cassie Powers, a junior here in COBA, is currently in a Social Entrepreneurship class. “The biggest issue that I have learned so far in social entrepreneurship is that you need to set yourself up for failure because it is going to happen,” said Cassie. “You have to work around it to make it work or come up with a new idea.”
Dan talking with ACU students after his presentation
While listening to Dan, Cassie was really impressed with the way that she saw her class curriculum align with Dan’s real world experience and advice. “It really connected when Dan Austin spoke about the barriers he had,” continued Cassie. “One thing he said was to have your organization grow organically. Meaning if it happens it happens.”
All in all, the inaugural event of the Entrepreneur Speaker Series was a huge success, and undoubtedly had a profound impact on everyone who attended.
Be sure to check out the next speaker in the series, Jarrod Brown, who will be joining us next Tuesday to talk about his work in Honduras with Mission Lazarus. For more information on the Entrepreneur Speaker Series, please click here.
For more on 88bikes and the incredible work that Dan and his organization do, click here, and be sure to thank the Griggs Center and the members of our CEO organization for all that they do to make these events possible.
Dan with COBA students after his presentation
Last week COBA’s very own Karen Viertel received an incredible honor: Abilene Christian University’s Unsung Servant Award.
Karen with her husband, Mark
Since 1995, the Students’ Association has annually presented this award to a staff member who goes out of their way to be helpful and caring towards students. This award is a remarkable accomplishment because it is presented to a person who serves students in an exceptionally Christ-like and friendly manner.
Karen, who is an academic advisor for the College of Business, is incredibly good at what she does. As Mason Smith, a sophomore management major points out, “Mrs. Viertel has always provided immediate, informative responses to my concerns, large or small. In regards to scheduling and counseling, she is an invaluable member of the COBA team.”
Furthermore, Stephanie Day, a sophomore accounting and finance major, believes that Karen plays a prominent role in helping students figure out the direction they would like their degrees and their lives to take.
“Karen instills a confidence in the students of COBA while simultaneously pushing them to be better,” says Stephanie. “Karen makes it her job to ensure that those of us in COBA not only fulfill our course requirements, but that we also maximize the full potential of our ACU experience. Karen’s extensive knowledge of all things COBA is truly priceless, and she uses that knowledge to make sure that every student is enrolled in the courses that will maximize the learning curve for that particular field.”
The thing that makes COBA so special is the fact that students get to interact with people like Karen who are not only good at their job, but who truly enjoy it.
“I am so extremely thankful to be working here at ACU in COBA where I have so many wonderful students that are willing to share their lives with us,” says Karen, in response to her award. “The students are what keep me excited about coming to work every day. It is an honor and a privilege to work with our student body, staff and faculty in COBA and it’s exciting to see what our grads do after they leave ACU.”
If you see Karen this week, be sure to congratulate her on this exciting accomplishment!