Published October 19, 2020

Better Leadership is Vital to the Health of Our Communities

A call to leadership

I had spent most of my career in leadership roles, but my interest and passion for leadership development started with me accepting who God called me to be. About 20 years ago, I looked at the life of Peter in the Bible and the mess he was early in his life and later who he became. I started to think about how my own emotional health was impacting the people around me. I had this feeling people should be the best they can be, but it wasn’t until I realized I wasn’t leading as well as I could, as a part of church leadership, when I got this on-fire passion for leadership development.

I realized we had to do whatever we could do to get better for the sake of the lives of those we were leading.

I realized we had to do whatever we could do to get better for the sake of the lives of those we were leading. It was a journey—I looked at the people who had left the church or even their walk with Christ over how our leadership handled things and thought, we have to do better.

I believe Christian organizations should be some of the healthiest organizations on the planet because we have Jesus! So, leadership development became my passion. Ultimately, leadership is about the people we lead, and less about the things we do or the results we get—yes, the results are important—but the heart of leadership is people, and the impact we have on their lives.

In 2012, while volunteering at my church, my pastor mentioned a job opening at Movement.org (formerly The New York City Leadership Center) where I could be a part of developing a cohort of leaders in the city, and I got the job! I started attending The Global Leadership Summit—this event was part of our leadership development as an organization. But part of my job was also to convince other churches and non-profits that they should host the Summit too. Once I attended the Summit myself, it was the easiest thing to promote it. Every leader needs to go to the Summit and needs to bring their whole team and whole church.

The Summit became the place where I learned about Patrick Lencioni, Marcus Buckingham and Henry Cloud—these guys became my mentors. So many of the people I follow and the leadership ideas I have now started with the Summit. It has been such a transformative experience for me.

Our organization was strengthened during a vulnerable time as a result of Craig Groeschel’s timely content in 2019.

The Summit has also been foundational to how we’re getting better as an organization at Movement.org.

We had to start thinking about the restrictions we had and think differently.

For example, Craig’s talk in 2019 about thinking inside the box was so valuable. At the time, our organization was not in the best place which is so common in the nonprofit world. I’ll say it like this, if Covid-19 happened in 2019, I don’t know if our organization would have weathered the storm like we are doing right now. We had to shift. We had to start thinking about the restrictions we had and think differently. Craig’s talk was crucial to our organization’s ability to see restrictions as an opportunity to be creative. What he said challenged us to reposition ourselves to not only keep our doors open but to finish 2019 strong enough to carry us in to 2020—not knowing what would lie ahead. And this is just our story—multiply that by a gazillion. There are a whole bunch of people who’ve experienced this kind of impact too.

When you apply what you learn you can see the impact.

The 2020 Global Leadership Summit was the best Summit ever. Even in the context of watching it online—it was amazing. The content is practical. The content is inspirational. And as leaders, we need to go to places to be inspired. We need to maintain hope and inspiration. Then there’s the stretch. When I leave the Summit, I’m always thinking about where I can stretch. My stretch this year was around curiosity and innovation.

The 2020 Global Leadership Summit was the best Summit ever. Even in the context of watching it online—it was amazing.

Self-awareness is key in emotional health and leadership. I know I’m not the most creative person or innovative person. I tend to rely on what is tried and true. In 2020, we’ve had to innovate. You can’t avoid innovation in a year like this. I’m stretching and learning new things. I’m Zooming like I’ve never Zoomed before. Why did it take Covid-19 to be innovative and creative? That was an indictment on me. Why didn’t I think about this before? I was reminded again of Craig’s talk in 2019 about thinking inside the box.

I want to see leaders be the best they can be. If I couldn’t do that, I would wonder why I’m here. My calling is to help people be better, specifically leaders because of the impact a leader can have on those around them—their family, their community, their workplace and their church. The ripple effect is the thing that keeps me going. I go to bed and wake up thinking about how my leadership is impacting other people and how your leadership is impacting other people.

The part of my job I love the most is convincing people they’re worth the investment.

I want to see leaders be the best they can be. If I couldn’t do that, I would wonder why I’m here.

Every single person is worth investing in themselves. If we saw everybody like that, I feel like life would be so much easier. I’ve seen the results of that in NYC. I look over the landscape of the city and I think about the nearly 500 leaders who’ve been through our program. Just asking them how many people they serve on an annual basis—these leaders cumulatively have served almost 6M people. And that’s great but think about it—before Covid-19, 20M people were coming through NYC, so we still have work to do. We have more leaders to impact.

There are so many stories, but there are a couple of leaders who stand out who’ve been through our program at LEAD.NYC (the NYC facing arm of Movement.org).

    • I think of Justin Mattera who developed the organization Pray, March, Act. He wanted the church to respond to what is happening in the country regarding injustice. He is rallying the church in NYC… and recently 40 churches came together and peacefully marched with police in the Bronx. He has a grander vision story, and I’m so honored to be a part of that story.
    • I think of Andrew Oliver and his organization Do For One, which is a ministry for the disabled, pairing people together to be a friend to those in need.
    • I think of the church planters—one planter struggled with fundraising. In one session at Advance Leadership Intensive we talked about fund development. Using what he learned in one session, he went from raising 20% of his budget to 80% of his budget. That creates sustainability in the difficult work of church planting in NYC!

As I look at NYC, I see the places where leaders who were burned out and ready to quit but came through the leadership program. We poured into them and gave them a fresh vision to keep going. What would have happened if we ceased to exist? Where would those leaders be now?

The Global Leadership Summit is also part of these stories.

The Summit is one of the best leadership conferences I’ve ever attended, and I’ve attended many.

What always draws me in is the faculty—they are the best of the best with the best content. There is such a wide variety of thought leaders, practitioners and best-in-class leaders.

If you’re tired or you think you’re not making an impact as a leader, or you’re wondering why you’re doing this, you need to be inspired and encouraged. You need a fresh vision of what could be. If you go to the Summit, that’s what you’re going to get. This year that happened to me. I became a leader who is sharper and more curious.

Even in the middle of Covid-19 in the middle of NYC, I got a fresh vision.

After spending two days hearing from world-class leaders, I was full. So full that I began to cry. All that was poured into me began to overflow in my heart. As I closed my eyes, I began to see a vision of how much I could grow in one year as a leader if I applied the smallest measure of all I learned. I cried tears of joy and tears of hope. I saw a leader that would be so much better for the people I lead and for the organizations I lead in, and my tears turned into a smile. I emerged with a fresh vision for my leadership.

Even in the middle of Covid-19 in the middle of NYC, I got a fresh vision. And leaders need a fresh vision often. If you need a fresh vision, and you know you do, the Summit is your answer—and now you can watch it at the Summit Replay!

When it comes down to it, we were born for this season.

It isn’t by accident that you are alive and leading at this moment.

It isn’t by accident that you are alive and leading at this moment. Maybe you’ve felt like these times are overwhelming. Personally, I’ve wondered if I have the chops to lead through these challenges… But my encouragement came when I realized that we as leaders are born for a time and a purpose. We have to do the hard work to be the best leader we can be. We have what it takes to lead through this challenge. We have what it takes to strengthen ourselves to get better too. Don’t be afraid. Lean in. Do what leaders do—go lead. That’s who we are.

Will I see you at The Global Leadership Summit?

About the Author
Annette Cutino headshot

Annette Cutino

Director of Advance

LEAD.NYC

Since 2012, Annette Cutino has served as the director of Advance at LEAD.NYC where she oversees leadership development initiatives for ministry and non-profit leaders in New York City. She is also an Associate Pastor at Harvest Fields Community Church in the Bronx, with Lead Pastor, Mitchell Torres, where they have a mission of Revealing God, Reaching people and Restoring lives. Prior to going into non-profit work, Annette led data center operations at NYU for 23 years. With a heart for leadership development, the fingerprints of her work can be witnessed in the lives she’s impacted across New York City. Since 2012, she has also been an advocate for The Global Leadership Summit playing a key role in volunteering to promote the event to her community.

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