“Every year I look forward to the tradition of attending the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) hosted by the Willow Creek Association,” comments Dennis Smith. “This year was no different.” The two-day Summit was telecast live from the Chicagoland area on August 11-12, 2016 and broadcast to hundreds of satellite locations throughout North America and around the world. Several folks from DISHER attend the Summit each year to sharpen their leadership skills and make a positive difference in the lives of others.

The DISHER team has a 4-year-old tradition of starting each Summit day with breakfast together to reflect on what we learned the prior year and how we applied our learning. After breakfast we travel to our Summit satellite location where we connect with other local business leaders that we’ve had the pleasure to work with through the years. Attendees are there for one purpose: to become better leaders in order to serve our teams and customers better. As Bill Hybels, the Founder and Senior Pastor from Willow Creek Community Church, states, “Everybody wins when a leader gets better.”

The speakers at this year’s Summit were outstanding.

Bill Hybels gave an amazing entry challenge to start the Summit with a message on Vision Glasses through which we view: 1) passionate leadership, 2) shattered views of others, 3) glasses that need continuous adjusting and 4) reflective lenses that are your legacy.

Alan Mulally, President and CEO of The Ford Motor Company spoke on the day-to-day practicality of great team and organizational leadership. His priorities in any organization are: People First, Everyone is Included, Relentless Implementation, Clear Performance Goals, and One Plan.

Melinda Gates brought a fresh view on women in the workplace. Women do not need to choose between motherhood and a career. They can have both, in balance, and that balance may shift through the seasons of life. She also talked about the importance of giving back and that regardless of what you can give, it can make a significant difference in the lives of others especially those in impoverished countries.

Speakers such as Jossy Chacko, Travis Bradberry, Danielle Strickland, Patrick Lencioni and T.D. Jakes lead the audience from big-picture views of leadership through tactical day-to-day applications.

John Maxwell shared powerful and applicable wisdom with his “Rule of 5”.  The rules are: 1) Lead – We lead ourselves and our business to fulfill our purpose; 2) Grow – We grow ourselves and our business to achieve our potential; 3) Create – We create world-class leadership resources and experiences; 4) Excel – We chase excellence in all we do; 5) Serve – We serve our clients, colleagues, and community.

Every year there’s a combination of familiar and unfamiliar speakers to glean from. When the conference ends, participants always walk away encouraged, challenged, and blessed.

“Bob Soeters, one of our leaders at DISHER, invited me to attend my first Summit seven years ago,” reflects Dennis. “I didn’t realize the profound impact and catalyst for growth it would make in my life. Not only have I learned great leadership principles, but I have had several DISHER and customer leaders model these principles to me daily. Principles that carry beyond the workplace to my home, church, and those around me. I’ve begun to understand that leader is not a position or title, but rather it is an ability to serve others. This ability crosses departments, org charts, and industries.”


The Summit provides an exceptional opportunity to learn from industry experts that you may not typically tune into. If you have a passion for helping people and can creatively apply ideas from other industries, consider registering early for the GLS 2017. Maybe it will become a valued tradition for you as well.

Written By: Dennis Smith with Vicki Zylstra |
Dennis has over 10 years of experience as a product and manufacturing engineer in the furniture and automotive industry. His passion for lean product development has helped customers launch and support dozens of new products.

Vicki holds a degree in Sales and Marketing and has over 20 year experience in project management and client services that span a wide variety of industries – including furniture, automotive, consumer products and residential homebuilding. She enjoys her girls’ sporting events, family vacations, gardening and her morning coffee.