What is Leadership Summit?

Summit 2021 will be the 23rd annual session of the Leadership Summit course.  Summit is a January short course held at beautiful Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado. Last year’s course sold out in record timing and featured 88 undergraduate students, 13 distinguished guest speakers, 5 mentor couples, and several experienced course faculty and staff.  Summit is a unique course experience where academic rigor, spiritual insight, and a community learning environment interact to equip students for spiritual leadership in the workplace and beyond.

See the Summit 2020 Post-Briefing Report

The 2020 Speaker Line-Up

A unique aspect of Leadership Summit is the opportunity for students to hear from CEO’s, inspiring speakers, and ACU faculty and staff and get to know them as individuals. In fact, students are able to spend time talking with speakers one-on-one and share meals with them. One of last year’s attendees said, “I have never been to a conference like this where I was academically and spiritually fed simultaneously. It was truly a unique experience and applicable to any area of life.”


2020 Speakers Included: 


  • Mo Isom Aiken:  New York Times best-selling author and renowned speaker.
  • April and Mark Anthony: April is CEO of Encompass Home Health and Homecare Homebase and Mark serves on numerous boards and works with private investments and charitable endeavors.
  • Rick Atchley: Senior preaching minister at The Hills Church in Ft. Worth, TX.
  • Wendy Davidson: President, U.S. Specialty Channels Kellogg Company.
  • David Eaton:  Co-founder and President, Axis.
  • Tim Goeglein: Senior Advisor to the President and Vice President for External Relations at Focus on the Family in Washington.  Tim served as special assistant to President George W. Bush where he was Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 2001-2008.
  • Elise Mitchell: Founder and Chair of Mitchell Communications and CEO of Dentsu Aegis PR Network, author of Leading Through the Turn: How a Journey Mindset Can Help Leaders Find Success and Significance (2017).
  • Carlos Sepulveda: Chairman, Triumph Bancorp, Inc., former President and CEO of Interstate Batteries.
  • Janeen Uzzell:  Chief Operating Officer, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
  • Mike Willoughby: Chief Executive Officer of PFSweb, Inc.

Course Faculty:

  • Richard S. Lytle, PhD:  President and CEO, CEO Forum and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership.  Dr. Lytle is also a Professor of Marketing at Abilene Christian University and is the former Dean of the College of Business Administration at ACU (1999-2016).  He is the co-founder of the Leadership Summit course which was established in 1998.
  • Dennis J. Marquardt, PhD:  Director of the Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership and Assistant Professor of Management at Abilene Christian University.  Dr. Marquardt has served in the Leadership Summit program since 2015 starting as a mentor couple with his wife, Monique, and joined as faculty of the course in 2016. 

Summit Staff:

  • M.C. Jennings:  Communications and Events Manager for the College of Business Administration at ACU.  M.C. manages the operations for Summit, including the guest and student experience, and makes everything behind the scenes operate smoothly.  She’s been a staff leader in the Summit program since 2015.
  • Tim Johnston:  Assistant Dean for External Engagement in the College of Business Administration at Abilene Christian University.  Tim directs the planning and logistics for Leadership Summit which he has been a leader of for 22 years.  Tim is one of the co-founders of Leadership Summit, established in 1998 and has been dubbed, Summit’s “Indispensable Man.”