Leadercast visits Calvin for fifth consecutive year

Photo+courtesy+calvin.edu

Photo courtesy calvin.edu

Last Friday in the CFAC auditorium, Calvin College hosted a live streaming of Leadercast, an annual event broadcast from Atlanta, Ga., that features speakers from around the world.

The all-day event attracted around 860 people from different businesses and organizations like Amway and Spectrum Health, as well as non-profits like Baruch Senior Ministries and Bethany Christian Services.

Leadercast is streamed around the world in 21 countries and hosted at different universities, organizations and churches. In total, around 125,000 people attended this year, a number that has been growing since the conference was first hosted in 2000.

This was Calvin College’s fifth time hosting a stream of the event, with attendance up nearly 200 from last year. The expansion of the event itself has been tremendous, but it is only partly responsible for Calvin College’s success as a host.

“Anyone can host the event, but Calvin is one of the top five host sites in the nation,” said Lori Feenstra, a stewardship coordinator at Calvin who helps bring the event to campus.

“Calvin has all the necessary resources for the event. We have great facilities and parking, we have campus safety so people feel secure, we provide participants with lunch and we have a low price.”

Many people are required by their jobs to attend a certain number of leadership conferences every year, some of which can cost upwards of $200 to $400. Leadercast at Calvin, though, is offered at an average price of $80.

Its low price is part of what makes Leadercast unique. Rather than existing purely for the business elite at an exclusively high cost, Leadercast engages people from all businesses and socio-economic backgrounds.

“People come to Calvin from Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Spring Lake,” said Stephanie Boer, the program coordinator for the Calvin Center for Innovation in Business. “[Leadercast] is a community event.”

The event was open to Calvin students for a subsidized price of $10. Even with the low price, only 15 students attended the event.

Leadercast was an all-day event, starting at 8 a.m., pausing with an hour and a half break for lunch and concluding at 4:30 p.m. Between speeches viewed in the auditorium, attendees went in groups to discussion rooms throughout the CFAC to internalize and digest the talks.

And if attendees really wanted to dig further into the speakers’ messages, they could find the speakers’ works for sale in the Calvin bookstore at a discount.

“The sales in the bookstore are another great reason to attend the event at Calvin,” said Boer. “You don’t find books for 20 percent off like this elsewhere.”

Leadercast identifies seven core behaviors – bravery, “beyond you,” vision, culture, simplicity, creativity and insight – and focuses on one each year.

This year’s theme, “The Brave Ones,” highlighted the need for bravery as a leader, featuring talks from Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafszai, President of Disney-Pixar Animation Studios Ed Catmull and many more.

The Leadercast theme for next year, “Architects of Tomorrow,” will focus on the importance of being visionary as a leader and will feature speakers Dr. Henry Cloud, Kat Cole and others yet to be announced. It will be streamed again at Calvin next spring.