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Published December 5, 2018

The Stories that Show Reason to Sacrifice for Better Leadership in Europe

We all know stories are important. But when was the last time you sat and just listened? Really listened? Setting your worldview, experiences and preferences aside and stepped into someone else’s mind’s eye?

Why do they sacrifice so much for an event that is created in Chicagoland then repackaged and shared all over the world?

I had the privilege to travel overseas for a training that brought our European partners together to learn about The Global Leadership Summit’s values, goals and how to execute the Summit in their region. Included in that group of leaders were local tech coordinators, country producers, event managers and marketers.

During the training, I was continually amazed by how much work and effort goes into pulling together a GLS. These leaders come with passion and are committed to excellence, ready and eager to learn. They put aside personal vacations, family time and work. Our partners make great sacrifices to see that the Summit is created in such a way that the experience leaves a mark on each attendee’s spirit.

I became really curious. Why? Why do they sacrifice so much for an event that is created in Chicagoland then repackaged and shared all over the world?

I began to ask questions and really listen to why they make such sacrifices for the Summit.

For an eager, extroverted millennial like me, the listening part can be difficult. But I’m so glad I did. I can’t share their full stories, names, or countries, but here are some conversations that helped me understand why they make such sacrifices.

Standing in line for three hours for bread.

Their experiences of scarcity, bombs, war and a colorless world have shaped who they are today.

One leader told me stories from his of being “the family runner.” As the youngest kid in the family, he would make runs to get necessities and often stood in line for nearly 3 hours for bread, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc.  Sometimes he’d finally make it to the front of the line only to be re-directed to another line. It wasn’t uncommon for him to make it to the counter only to be told they were out of whatever he needed. When he saw a line begin to form nearby, he’d quickly step into it, not knowing what he’d receive at the end. “If they were giving something out, who cares what it was? I just wanted to be sure I didn’t miss it. Everyone felt that way.”

School closes because of war.

“A really great thing,” some of them told me, “was celebrating when school closed. It was fun to hang out with friends. But unfortunately,” they said, “it closed because of the war. That wasn’t fun.” The way they said this in a matter-of-fact tone saddened something inside me.

Bomb sirens go off while playing with friends.

One remembered being in the streets playing football with friends when they heard bomb sirens. They grumbled because they had to run inside while planes streamed overhead. “Again?” they would grumble. They just wanted to play football.

Colors are expressions not to take for granted.

I admired one woman who was always dressed fashionably and I asked her about her style.  She told me she loves colorful clothes because as a kid she wore gray every day. Growing up, she was surrounded by a sea of gray that covered everything—streets, buildings, clothing. Now, she expresses herself with colors and patterns and she doesn’t take that for granted.

Leadership matters. Stories matter. And when those two things intersect, God can do amazing things.

These are their stories. Their experiences of scarcity, bombs, war and a colorless world have shaped who they are today.

So why do they sacrifice their time for the Summit?

Because they know what bad leadership looks like. They’ve lived it, experienced it and they believe that change requires God-inspired leadership. They are grateful for the strides their countries have made toward better leadership. But more importantly, they know the fight must continue. There is great work to be done and these leaders won’t tire until their children and their children’s children are ensured a different childhood than the ones they experienced.

Leadership matters. Stories matter. And when those two things intersect, God can do amazing things. We are honored to support these leaders as they seek change for their communities. Let’s keep doing all we can to ensure they can continue creating a brighter tomorrow.

About the Author
Ashlyn Ochoa

Ashlyn Ochoa

Producer

The Global Leadership Network

Ashlyn Ochoa is on staff and plays a critical role in the success of The Global Leadership Summit. She splits her time as a producer with both the programming team and the international team.

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