Breakfast with Fred Brings Leadership Wisdom

WILMORE, Ky. — From early morning to late afternoon, 17 leaders from eight states and various industries interacted with students at Asbury University on Wednesday through the Breakfast with Fred Leadership Institute. And in each scenario — whether a classroom presentation or conversation over a meal — one leadership message came through loud and clear.

“God has to be on the throne of your life, and you’ve got to be at the foot of the cross,” said Joe Dion, a financial services and insurance leader.

Col. Rich Goldsmith shared breakfast with Asbury's ROTC students.
Col. Rich Goldsmith shared breakfast with Asbury's ROTC students.

Leading through spiritual integrity was a hallmark of the career and ministry of Fred Smith, Sr., a businessman and consultant who served on boards for business, Christian organizations and governmental task forces before he passed away in 2007. The Breakfast with Fred Leadership Institute brings influential speakers, authors, policy makers and industry leaders together to honor Smith’s legacy through mentoring young leaders.

The Breakfast with Fred visit coincided with the Fall 2012 Faith and Culture Series, a bi-annual event at Asbury in which different topics are examined through the lens of Christian faith. Hosting the leaders on campus was an opportunity to see this semester’s focus, “Faith and Leading with Integrity,” worked out in real-world scenarios.

“The Breakfast with Fred Leadership Institute provided a tremendous opportunity for our students to learn from a wonderful team of leaders from a wide array of backgrounds,” said Paul Stephens, associate dean for student leadership development. “We are incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with the BWFLI team.”

While many of the speakers who came to campus have traveled the world for decades, Asbury’s student body impressed them as a unique group of talented, engaged leaders-in-training.

Ron Cunningham shared conversation and lunch with Asbury's Emerging Leaders participants.
Ron Cunningham shared conversation and lunch with Asbury's Emerging Leaders participants.

“It’s been beyond what we could have asked for,” said Brenda Smith, president of the Breakfast with Fred Leadership Institute. “The spirit of Asbury has changed our lives, too. We see future leaders here and know there’s much to be excited about. The men and women of Asbury are going to be leading in such a strong way.”

Lessons on Leadership

Below are excerpts from some of the leadership sessions between students and Breakfast with Fred speakers:

Ron Cunningham, emergency management coordinator of the Los Angeles Housing Department, to freshmen and sophomores in Asbury’s Emerging Leaders program:

“There is no one who has achieved anything of significance who has not had to overcome some kind of adversity... I challenge you to expand your paradigm of leadership. Leadership is influence to do what’s right. You don’t have to be in the top position to lead — you can influence those above you, too, and that’s leading.” 

John Begley, president emeritus and chancellor of Lindsey Wilson College, to the student body during Chapel:

“Challenges can be and often are deceiving. What’s happening and what we perceive to be happening are not necessarily the same. One of the ways we cope is to acknowledge God in the good and the bad, and know that your path will be directed. Don’t ever forget that God loves you. His love for you is unconditional. You are never alone if you let God direct your life.”

Larry Morbitt, “Phantom of the Opera” and CCM performer, to a class on acting for film and stage:

“Art helps us to see where we are as human beings, individually and collectively, in the time we’re in… There’s got to be a huge fire burning inside. The auditorium has to sense an incredible energy, kept under control. If you’re going to do this business, you can’t just phone it in.”

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