Realm Of Influence: Global Leadership Summit Visits Hillcrest

Juliet Funt, Whitespace at Work CEO, spoke of families, work and time management both in the office and at home during the Global Leadership Summit. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

Powerful leadership speakers in Chicago were only a screen away at Hillcrest Baptist Church during the second day of the Global Leadership Summit on Friday morning.

The conference was streamed live from the Willow Creek Community Church campus near Chicago, which hosts the event every year. This year, the featured speakers included Sheryl Sanberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, who was interviewed by the Rev. Bill Hybels, founder of Willow Creek Community Church, about resilience after losing her husband.

The conference focused on the influence that everyone has and how each person is a leader in their own life.

The Rev. Jeff Johnson, family pastor at Hillcrest Baptist, said the second day of the conference started off with high-energy and excitement.

“When I spoke with people as they came through the door this morning, they were energized and each of them had a different segment that spoke to them from the different speakers,” Johnson said.

He said Sanberg’s portion of the event on Thursday was insightful and moving, causing many people to tear up.

“They spoke primarily about grieving (because) she had lost her husband,” Johnson said, adding that she was left to figure out her life and her job while raising two children. “It was very powerful. He died of a sudden heart attack when they were vacationing in Mexico.”

He said it was a powerful experience, and the other speakers also gave the participants a lot to think about. The event is live streamed from Chicago, and will be later translated in to a variety of language and show throughout the world.

The Rev. Mark Hinman said the event offered attendees leadership development and insight on a variety of topics.

“The first speaker, Bill Hybels, the founder, part of his talk was on civility and that we’ve got to get to a place where we can have conversations,” Hinman said. “We should be leading those discussions on race, on justice and on family issues and lack of resources, the importance of work and taking care of our community. This is what Jesus cared about – he wanted us to have life, and have it to the full.”

Likewise, Hinman said it is important for individuals to stop “throwing rocks and stones and putting people in categories,” and start to have more discussions.

The speakers were varied and well-rounded, he said. The church was thankful to host such a leadership event featuring experts in their fields.

“It is such an investment in leadership, but it’s not just a bunch of ‘How to’s” and how to maximize your time – you can read books and get a lot of that practical stuff,” Hinman said. “There are good tips and tricks you get coming away, but it’s a lot bigger than that.”

The hope is to continue the event next year and grow it in the future.

For more information on the conference, visit