As a 19 year old freshmen in college I had performed in front of well over 30,000 people, had a web design business I started at 13, and was the youngest board members of a local nonprofit. While I was a strong Christian, I had a major problem. Pride. I kept my faith and work separate and listened to society more than God. As a result, I found myself more interested in goals than people or pleasing the Lord.
It wasn’t until Dan Cathy, the President of Chick-fil-A, spoke at my college that I realized the need to make a change. In a packed room of 500 people Mr. Cathy pulled out his bible, and shared a simple devotional with us. I was blown away by his humility and genuine love for people. Midway through his speech he did something else that took me by surprise. He asked me to come to the front of the room as he pulled out an Olympic grade baton and shared a quote from John Maxwell stating, “there is no success without a successor.” He talked about the importance of handing the baton to the next generation. To illustrate the point, he asked me to lightly jog while he placed the baton in my hand.
This inspirational experience lead me on an incredible journey. Three years later I found myself meeting with a leadership team of an organization called Integrity Resource Center. I was privileged to help create a program called Next Generation Leadership that helps hand the baton to rising Christian leaders by providing mentoring, leadership, resources, and networking opportunities to impact, lead, and transform the marketplace for Christ.
Mr. Cathy, I would like to say thank you publicly for your investment in myself and so many others! I have been blessed and inspired by your commitment to empowering future leaders and continuing the legacy your father began with Winshape Homes. As I look at the Discovery Institute, Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, and all the other organizations supported through the CFA Foundation, I know your parents are proud as they both smile now looking down from heaven. Thank you for your prayers, encouraging text messages, and being a great example by living out your calling as a marketplace leader passionately pursuing the Lord.