Last week’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum

Last week, I had the great pleasure to attend the 3rd annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum here in Columbus, GA.  It isn’t often there is a collection of high-profile speakers and authors that come into the local area.  When I found out about it the Friday before the Monday-Tuesday event, I jumped on it.

The speakers were:  Dr. & Congressman Newt Gingrich, General Russel Honore, Daniel Pink, Thomas Friedman, John Maxwell, and GA Chief Justice Leah Sears.

I have to say each person made an impact on me in their own special way.  On Day One, I was impressed by how knowledgeable Newt Gingrich was in his presentation.  He went past political arguments to present his case on improving the health care system.

General Russel Honore of Hurricane Katrina fame gave a funny, entertaining but also very serious speech on preparedness.  I felt that more government officials should have heard his speech.  He gave me a perspective of public service that was inspiring.

On Day Two, GA Chief Justice Leah Sears gave a short speech on familes and education.  Her speech was much shorter than anticipated which led to an extended break.

Daniel Pink of “A Whole New Mind” was dynamic and brought a youthful energy into the presentations.  I loved his book which continues to resonate and impact me as I do business.

John Maxwell who has written many titles on Leadership (of which I have several in my bookshelf) gave his view of the 5-levels of leadership.  Those 5-levels made me reflect where I stood in my leadership abilities.

Finally, Thomas Friedman of “The World is Flat” and “The Lexus & Olive Tree” fame presented material from his new book “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”.  His talk was sweepingly huge and had global proportions.  He talked about “global weirding”, a flat world, that is growing in population exponentially.  I enjoyed his thoughtful and low-key approach.

The event was a success with around 800 people in attendance.  They provided two hot lunches and a hot breakfast as part of the event.  The part I did not like was that neither day were full days.  They were only partial days.  However, the 2-day event was only $299 which was a bargain for me especially since I did not have to travel as I normally do.

As the Leadership Forum ended, an announcement was made that Colin Powell would head next year’s line-up.  Colin Powell is an amazing role model, a tremendous thinker, and diplomat.  I will definitely be there for next year’s event.