Over Christmas break I had the opportunity to spend five days in Buena Vista, Colorado participating in COBA’s 15th annual Leadership Summit.

That’s right; I earned three hours of upper level business credit while listening to some of the most prominent church and business leaders in the world and living in the midst of this:

Because I was so busy hiking through the Rockies and eating dinner with guests like Stephen Quinn, Chief Marketing Officer of Wal-Mart, I didn’t have time to blog while I was at Summit. As a result, I’m now playing catch up, and while a couple of paragraphs come nowhere close to capturing the life-changing experience that is Leadership Summit, I’m going to do my best to give you some highlights from each day. Hopefully this meager snapshot will give you a better idea of the life-changing five days that compose Leadership Summit.

Leadership Summit: Day 1

Because Summit supports the perspective that leadership should transcend all aspects of life, our first day on the mountain was about leadership in the family. As a result, our speakers on this first day were very family-oriented.

This remarkable ensemble of presenters was made up of Greg and Erin Smalley, of the Marriage and Family Formation department of Focus on the Family, Glenn Stanton, director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, and Lisa Anderson, director of young adults for Focus on the Family. Together, these speakers delivered powerful, humor-infused lectures on everything from the importance of communication in relationships to the top reasons young adults don’t mature.

While I was impressed with the messages delivered by all four speakers, my favorite part of the first day was actually the time we got to spend in small groups with mentoring couples. COBA invited four couples young couples to talk about what life had been like as they entered the real world, pursued careers, and started families. As a result, they were able to give us students some insight into how the next ten or fifteen years of our lives might play out.

As I listened to these incredible leaders share stories from their lives and advice on how to deal with other people, one of them reminded us of this quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

“People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.”

This is why relationships matter, whether in the family or in the workplace. At COBA, we understand that knowledge alone is not what makes a great leader. A great leader goes beyond knowledge, because a great leader is someone who cares.