Gabe Lyons, founder of Q ideas, works to change the image of Christianity outside of Christian circles.
“He asks the question: what’s our brand so that we can be more effective to live out gospel and reach people,” said Clayton Anderson, a Soderquist Fellow.
Lyons speaks in chapel today concluding Soderquist Leadership Week.
The week began on Tuesday with a chapel speech by Don Soderquist, a retired executive vice president for Wal-Mart.
Soderquist Leadership Week, started in 1999, is an annual event sponsored by Soderquist Business Center in which the Center brings two outside speakers to share their experiences as leaders and challenge the student body on their conceptions of leadership.
“It started through the Center, and Don Soderquist, founding executive, had some exciting connections with well respective leaders around the world: church, business, and political leaders,” Clayton Anderson said. “They thought ‘Let’s get these people to chapel.’”
As the Soderquist Business Center approaches its 15th year of existence, it felt right for Don Soderquist to speak in chapel said Wendy Togami, senior director of the Soderquist Business Center and daughter of Soderquist.
“It’s great to see where we’ve come in 15 years,” Togami said.
In the past, Tom’s shoes founder, Blake Mycoskie, the inventor of the Frappuccino, Don Valencia, the founder of Ann’s Pretzels, Anne F. Beiler, Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and an astronaut have come to speak for leadership week.
Last year the Center invited Jon Acuff and Bob Goff to come.
“One of my favorites was Susan Barrett, the former CEO of Mercy Hospital,” Togami said. “After an accident, she became a patient in her own hospital.”
Togami said that Barrett, by staying in her own hospital, learned how her decisions as an executive affected the patients.
This year the theme of leadership week is asking the question: What is your hill?
As people live a life in leadership, people face tensions day to day. Your hill is your principal issue in leadership said Anderson.
In choosing a chapel speaker, Togami said that they choose people whose faith impacted their leadership, who are recognized or made an impact in their profession and who would bring something relevant and different to say about leadership.
Meghan Lane, another Soderquist Fellow, said that Lyons and Soderquist are both diverse.
“They have two different perspectives, but both have the same message,” said Lane. “Don Soderquist is a legend with a long career. He is founded in value, culture and faith. Gabe Lyons is young, trendy and passionate about what he does. He is focused on what our generation thinks of Christians.”
Togami hopes that students would wrestle with the ideas presented by both Soderquist and Lyons. She describes a leader as having a heart of service along with the courage to step up in a leadership role.
“Great leaders move us, ignite our passion and inspire the best in us,” Soderquist said in chapel referencing a quote from the book “Primal Leadership.” “True leadership is about people.”