MARSHALL - The significant rise in attendance at the locally-sponsored Chick-fil-A Leadercast the past few years appears to be a definite reflection of the quality experience people have had at the event.
Cal Brink, executive director of the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce, reported that 340 tickets have already been sold for the 2013 Chick-fil-A Leadercast, a one-day leadership event, which is broadcast live from Atlanta, Ga., to hundreds of locations around the world.
"Our goal is to get to 400 this year," Brink said. "It's just gotten bigger and bigger every year, which says something about the event. The people that went last year, those same people are coming back and bringing a friend or a co-worker. It's about development, that's what it comes down to."
Three years ago, Ralco Nutrition was instrumental in bringing the event to Marshall. Along with Doug Wing and Wade McKittrick, Glenn Bader, vice president of marketing at Ralco, spearheaded the effort, wanting to give others the same positive experience he'd had attending a leadercast event in Morris.
"The first year, Ralco brought it to Marshall as a company," said Brink. "It wasn't all Ralco employees, but a higher percentage was. There were about 80 people and it was held at a hotel."
Ralco approached the Chamber of Commerce and the Legacy Foundation the following year, asking if the organizations would help promote the event.
Registration begins at 7 a.m. The event is from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, at the Schwan Community Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets will be sold up until the day of the event. To register or learn more, go to marshall.webconnex.com/leadercast or call 507-532-4484.
"One of our visions and goals at the Chamber is community leadership development, to try to get the future leaders of the community started," Brink said. "You want them to get motivated and understand that they can better both personally and professionally. So this was one way we could do that."
Expecting higher attendance, the 2012 leadercast opportunity was at the MHS theater, and of the 250 tickets sold last year, about 240 people attended, Brink said.
"It's a big, big venue, so we're excited to get 400 or 500 people in there," he said. "It's a way for rural communities like us, that aren't in metropolitan areas, to actually be able to attend the simulcast. I believe the people here (in Marshall) will have a better experience than in Atlanta. Half of the people there will be watching it on a screen anyway."
Though Chick-fil-A is a faith-based restaurant chain with strong morals, it isn't a faith-based leadercast, Brink said. The dynamic lineup of presenters includes Sanya Richards-Ross, a 2012 London Olympic gold medalist in track and field; Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric; Mike Krzyzewski, head men's basketball coach at Duke University and for Team USA; and John Maxwell, best-selling author and leadership expert.
"A lot of people haven't even heard about Chick-fil-A," Brink said. "The restaurant chain is from down south. None of them are open on Sundays. They kind of started it, but it's grown to include nine or 10 speakers. It's about motivation. It's about personal accountability. It's about self-development."
Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage with presenters Henry Cloud, best-selling author and leadership consultant; Andy Stanley, best-selling leadership author and communicator; LCDR Rorke Denver, Navy SEAL and star of the 2012 movie "Act of Valor"; David Allen, best-selling author of "Getting Things Done" and productivity expert; and Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State from 2005-2009.
"Where else would you get to hear these kinds of speakers?" Brink said. "They're all famous. They've written books and are speakers. You go because of the big-name people, but you'll leave thinking that the other guy or gal were awesome."
The leadercast event is being hosted live by Michael Hyatt, who has worked in nearly every facet of book publishing, including as a publisher, literary agent, best-selling author and an extremely popular blogger.
"Michael was a card last year," Brink said. "He'd do some funny stuff in between speakers."
Thanks to local sponsors and a decision by a committee made up of Chamber and Legacy Foundation members, more than 50 free tickets were given to area high school students. College students were also offered tickets at a reduced price of $25.
"Other places sell all their tickets for 99 dollars, but our philosophy is to get people in the seats," Brink said. "The beauty of having the Chamber and the Legacy involved is that it isn't a money-making thing for us. We're just trying to provide the opportunity."
While the primary sponsors of the event are the Chamber and the Legacy Foundation, "Platinum" sponsors include The Schwan Food Company, Ralco Nutrition, Avera Marshall, Bremer Bank, US Bank, Lyon Contracting and Development, Marshall Radio and Grace Life Church. "Gold" sponsors include Western Printing, Hy-Vee and ACMC.