Impact Leadership Summit invests in today’s youth, future leaders

Rev. Jacky Connell hosts a summit to teach youth leadership.

JC Impact Ministries leadership coach and pastor Jacky Connell remembers when he was young and working as a janitor at a financial company, something happened that changed his life.

“The CEO walked by me while I was mopping the floor. He stopped, turned around and looked me and said, ‘I believe in you son.’ I’ll never forget that. Now I want to do the same for the young people of today. I want them to know that I believe in them. That statement made a huge impact on me. Someone believed in me, and I want young people today to know that I believe in them,” Connell said.

Last Friday night at Barber Motorsports, Connell was able to relay his message to over 50 high school seniors and college young adults during the Impact Leadership Summit. He works off of the word, IMPACT.

“I is for Integrity, you must have that to be a leader. M is for Mirroring, and how we need to follow good examples. P is for Promptness, which is very important for leaders. C is for compensation, and how you can pay yourself in other ways than money. And T is for Transformation. As a leader, you are in the business of transforming lives,” Connell said.

Connell’s purpose in the endeavor is to instill positive leadership principles in the young people of today. He admits it is can be challenging to find impactful leaders at a young age. 

“They have too many distractions,” Connell said. “A lot of people talk about leadership. We invest in future leaders, and in the lives of these young people.”

Connell assembled a panel of local leaders for the last session in his conference made up of Alabama Power, Chick-fil-A, and other companies.

Impact Leadership Summit attendees included Jacob Enoch, a sophomore at Jacksonville State University studying criminal justice. He also works at Chick-fil-A in Leeds.

“I’m here to learn how to be a better leader,” Enoch said. “My boss poured his knowledge and experience into me, and I want to learn how I can impact others.”

Scott Robinson, owner of Leeds Chick-fil-A  where Enoch works, brought him and others to the Impact Leadership Summit because he believes in his young people.

“We at Chick-fil-A like to pour into our young people. This is what we say: We’re into the people business, but happen to sell chicken on the side,” Robinson said. “My boss invested in me and it made a huge difference. Now I want to pay it back. We really are all about people, that makes us different than other food places.”

Another attendee was Max Miller who studies at Jefferson State Community College campus in Pell City, “I’m here to grow as a person and to help the people I work with.”

Connell compares the leaders of today to those of the past, and he finds a huge difference in the impact they had on their people. “A generation ago, leaders had years to prepare for their responsibilities as leaders. No one headed up an organization until they had decades of experience in their field. Today, we see leaders running multibillion-dollar organizations as young as mid 20s. We need to prepare our young people for their role in society.”

The summit consisted of six sessions, developed for emerging leaders in all industries and fields of discipline such as science, technology, medicine, finance, or the construction industry. Focus was on essential skills for running companies effectively and efficiently.

“Now when I see someone mopping the floor, I stop, look them in the eye, and tell them that I believe in them. That man will never know the impact his statement made on me. I’m just paying it forward,” Connell said.

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