The Summit is Source of Hope Through Succession Process for Leader Facing Terminal Illness
Chastidy Ronan, executive director at Alpha Pregnancy Center in San Francisco, credits the Summit for encouraging her to push through hard times when she contemplated giving up. As she now faces terminal cancer, it has also prepared her to put structures in place that support her team, achieve goals and help people identify their passions. Through her succession process, the Summit has been a source of hope through her final stages of leadership.
The Global Leadership Summit has been life changing for me. Each year I have attended has offered some aspect of hope or renewal that felt like the Proverbs 25:11 word spoken at the right time, like apples of gold in a silver basket.
Growing my employees
The first year I attended the Summit, I was hosting an information booth for my ministry, and the host church offered me a ticket to attend the sessions as well. At the time, I had just hired a new employee who was a perfect fit for what our ministry needed. I was almost selfish with wanting to keep her in our ministry forever. At that first Summit, the combined impact of the sessions taught me to uphold her, help her grow and let the Lord determine where He’d use her gifts and at what time.
It was hard to pry my mental grip off such a great employee, but as I’ve invested in training her and helping her reach her own goals, it’s offered more to our ministry than would’ve been possible if I had kept working with her in a selfish way. This mindset has become the rule in our organization for how we train employees and volunteers. I’m certain it has been one of the sustaining factors for many of our long-term employees and volunteers.
Preparing for succession in a difficult season
In 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer. I went on medical leave immediately and had to miss the Summit that year because of my treatment schedule. Thankfully, one of the speakers had spoken the year before about creating a succession plan. So I began working with my team to have people in place in case I ever had to take an unexpected leave. Two women in my organization became my right and left hands and I was teaching them everything I did, how I did it, and why. When I had to go on medical leave, it was an emotional challenge for all of us, but my team was prepared.
My final stages of leadership
Just before my medical leave began, the Lord was speaking to my heart that I might be in my final stages of leading that ministry. I couldn’t understand why as I love the organization, its mission, vision and our team. We were growing exponentially, but I kept an open heart to the possibility I might be stepping away from the role God had given me for the past ten years. As my medical leave became longer and longer, and my doctors do not anticipate I’ll be cured, I began to consider an official resignation from my ministry.
Then, at the Summit in 2017, one of the speakers talked about his upcoming resignation. His grace in doing so helped strengthen my belief that God will work out His good purpose through our ministry even if someone else is holding the reins.
I began working with my team again, encouraging them to lead in ways that are authentic to who they are, rather than feeling like they need to imitate me. Again, it was hard for me to let go, but just last week, my board and I agreed everyone was prepared for my official resignation.
I’m hopeful that God will still use my story to lead people closer to Him in new ways. I’m confident my organization will continue to thrive in a way that honors the Lord and is authentic to the new leadership team.
Why you should attend the Summit
I have always left the Summit feeling renewed and strengthened. Each year there are presentations that take my ability to lead to a greater level. My marriage, parenting and organization are all better because I went to the Summit.
My employees are stronger and my understanding of how to lead them is refined. I would not have the confidence or consistency that I have without the Summit. This event is the best conference I’ve chosen to attend. I never regret the investment.
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