QUINCY -- For the first time, the Crossing Church opened its doors this week to major area employers for the Global Leadership Summit.
The summit, a two-day seminar telecast by the Willow Creek Association of Chicago to 565 locations in North America, brings together 12 motivational speakers who share their tales of overcoming adversity and the leadership skills they have applied to their lives as a result. The summit was Thursday and Friday.
Among those speaking were Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; Marcus Lemonis, star of CNBC's "The Profit," and Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
"This is not about the Crossing," said Jim Dennis, the Crossing 48th Street campus pastor. "We felt we could help Quincy and the surrounding communities become better leaders. This is about loving our communities."
Over 400,000 people in 128 countries participated. Dennis hopes the Crossing will begin hosting the summit, which individuals can also register for, annually. Before the Crossing began hosting it, the closest available site to view the seminar was in Springfield, Ill.
"Anytime you go to a conference like this, it makes you uncomfortable with the status quo," Dennis said. "It makes you uncomfortable with things staying the way they are."
Dennis said a ripple effect can stem from such a conference, which in turn improves the overall quality of life of a community.
"If you have a good leader, you enjoy working more, which will improve the business," he said. "If I'm being led well, and my leader wants to make the world better, that's contagious. Young people will become more outward and will want to make the community better."
Quincy YMCA CEO Brandon Dowdy, like many other area employers and managers, brought several members of his staff to the conference.
"It's enlightening and exciting to see several hundred people come together to improve their leadership skills," Dowdy said. "During the sessions, you go through self-awareness and self-analysis: What can I be doing better?"
The summit shifted Dowdy's focus to empowering his staff to become better leaders, and he left with a particular question in mind.
"How do I make my team, or those around me, become their better selves?" he asked. "By investing in our staff to become better at what they do, customer service and customer experience thrives."
Larry Shepherd, executive vice president of the Personal Trust Group at First Bankers Trust, walked away from the event with the realization that business is not always about the bottom line.
"It's about serving the clients and serving the employees," Shepherd said. "Storytelling is really powerful to anybody. We go out and we tell our stories, and it resonates with people, just like leadership stories resonate with leaders."
First Bankers Trust had 10 employees attend the seminar.
"We brought a team here," Shepherd said. "We're in the middle of our strategic planning, so this is a good break to help everybody re-center to determine what direction we're going and how important leadership is to our organization."