Today I want to give you some insight on an exclusive experience that only 29 students at Lipscomb University get to be a part of each year.
The Presidential Ambassador Council is a leadership-training program for a group of specially selected students, created to foster growth in leadership, university relations and experiential learning through a variety of exclusive events and experiences.
However, in order to be a member of this council, a student must first be nominated by a faculty or staff member at Lipscomb.
As a part of the selection process, each nominated student is required to attend a formal dinner, and write two essay papers; one about our experience at Lipscomb and another about reasons why we want to be a part of Presidential Ambassador Council.
This one-of-a-kind leadership development opportunity was first assembled at Lipscomb University in 2014, and today, I’m blessed to be a part of it for my second consecutive year.
Why is this program so unique?
First of all, we are given an opportunity to sit under Dr. L. Randolph Lowry, the president of Lipscomb University, and his wife, Mrs. Lowry, as they oversee the council, and teach us how to be true servant-leaders. Lipscomb’s Jeff Fincher and Amy Goode are also invested in the council.
This past week, the Presidential Ambassador Council had the privilege of spending a Wednesday evening with an elite group of local business leaders that expressed the importance of having vision as it relates to business.
The first individual we met with was Steve Turner, a developer and investor, explained how his interest in urban revitalization led to him partnering in the development of The Gulch, a $600 million, 30-acre mixed-use development adjacent to the Union Station railway complex in downtown Nashville.
During our time together, Turner taught us that vision as it pertains to leadership, just by itself, is not enough.
“Vision in never the ‘aha’ moment,” Turner explained. “Instead, it includes hard work and dedication that is crucial to get you where you need to go.”
Turner also emphasized the value of people that you surround yourself with by saying, “they are the ones that will help you develop the best vision possible.”
One person Turner surrounded himself with on his journey was Seab Tuck.
You know Lipscomb’s Allen Arena? Well, that is one of the buildings that Seab Tuck created, along with the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Frist Center of Visual Arts and many other buildings in Nashville and on Lipscomb’s campus.
Tuck explained how he always stresses the importance of shared vision.
“Any big thing that happens as it relates to vision has to do with collaboration—a shared vision that involves a lot of people,” said Tuck.
After touring Mr. Turner’s lovely home with a beautiful view of the Nashville River, our second stop of the evening was the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of the Nashville Symphony.
During our visit, we met with Alan Valentine, Nashville Symphony’s President and CEO since 1998. Valentine shared the importance of iconography through Schermerhorn Symphony Center that pays tribute to Middle Tennessee and to our community.
“The best chance of success comes from this being a shared vision,” he said. “The key to collaborative process is compromise.”
Our final stop of the evening was Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.
As we arrived, Kyle Young, director and CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, welcomed us.
Young directs and oversees all operations and activities of the organization, and is an alumnus of Leadership Music and Leadership Nashville.
During dinner, I had the privilege to sit with Kyle Young, and was truly amazed by his dedication to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He personally oversees the operations – including management and staffing – of the museum, library, research, publication and teaching programs of the organization as well as programming. It is his vision for this organization that helps him lead it well.
The unique thing about the Presidential Ambassador Council is that through these opportunities, we learn how to incorporate these tips into our everyday lives and ultimately to enhance our professional skills.
We are given the opportunity to learn from some of the most influential individuals of the 21st century and are able to engage in valuable conversations that are preparing us to be the best possible servant-leaders we can be.
I credit this opportunity to Lipscomb University and God’s provision over my life. I am learning that it is so important to always stay humble, and believe that He will provide.
For more information about this program and its current ambassadors, please visit: www.lipscomb.edu/studentlife/presidential-ambassadors-about.