Photos: Nicole Joseph
by Nicole Joseph, For The Chicago Defender
“It’s Bigger Than You!”
The theme of Pastor John F. Hannan’s annual pastor and leadership conference, “The One Conference,” resonated deeply with attendees from various parts of the world.
This global conference aimed to inspire, ignite and empower individuals, particularly entrepreneurs, marketplace leaders, and those in faith-based roles, with new strategies to propel their professional journeys to greater heights.
Given we’re in 2023, this year’s creative aspiration embodied Michael Jordan’s iconic jersey number, “23,” which added a layer of symbolism to the conference’s “It’s Bigger Than You” theme.
Jordan’s legacy as an athlete is marked by his unparalleled work ethic, resilience and determination. The parallel between Jordan’s endurance and the concept of perseverance leading to success is a powerful reminder that consistent effort and overcoming challenges are key components of achieving greatness.
The central message of the theme emphasized the idea that growth is a collective endeavor rather than a singular pursuit. Attendees embraced the concept as they positioned themselves to go on an inspiring journey led by the speakers.
The timing of the conference during National Black Business Month added to its significance. This occasion provided a platform for Black leaders to take advantage of the momentum and solidarity felt by many Black leaders during NBBM, paving the way to make it easier to share their business ventures and explore potential collaborations.
Notable takeaways from the speakers included the understanding that the journey’s beginning might not be as important as the journey’s end – since “It’s not how one starts, but how they finish,” said Pastor John F. Hannah.
So, regardless of where one is on the journey, no one can get far unless continuous steps are taken, even with obstacles in the way. Other takeaways included:
- Legacy and Sacrifice: Leaving a lasting legacy is intrinsically tied to sacrifice. Leaders must be prepared to make sacrifices along the way to create a meaningful impact and leave a legacy behind.
- Embracing Change: It’s essential to recognize that stepping into a new chapter often requires letting go of the old ways and habits. Embracing change involves releasing the comfort of the familiar to fully embrace the opportunities that lie ahead — even when others do not understand the move.
- Taking the initiative: It’s crucial to make a firm commitment and take proactive steps toward realizing personal, professional and even spiritual goals. Waiting for the perfect moment can lead to missed opportunities. So, taking initiative and pursuing your aspirations is better than waiting for a miracle without taking notable actions.
- Embracing Challenges: Effective leaders often encounter challenges that might not immediately make sense to others. However, it’s essential to approach these challenges with an open mind and a willingness to find innovative solutions. Embracing challenges, even unconventional, can lead to new perspectives and growth opportunities.
- Securing a Circle: The idea that one can achieve success alone is hyperbolic — though some level of success can be obtained, there’s a glass ceiling prohibiting the true apex of one’s trajectory. The goal is to be surrounded by like-minded people to explore, elevate and achieve collective success.
- Value of Marketing: Marketing is a critical aspect of any business strategy. While some may look for free methods of marketing or branding, they miss the opportunity to maximize the investment in their business. Allocating resources to a strategic marketing communications plan is essential for building brand awareness and driving growth.
The One Conference Speakers
Speakers included Charles Johson, President of SodexoMagic and Owner of Ideal Concepts Group, a consulting firm that focuses on strategy, government relations and supplier diversity; Mark Varughese, Author and Pastor from Malaysia who holds 85 church services each Sunday via multiple global locations; Dr. Pam Ross, Author and Development Coach who helps leaders take a different approach to success to achieve their goals, Dr. Jerome T. Glenn, Executive Pastor at New Life Covenant Southeast; Author and Entrepreneur Pastor Brian Bullock; Pastor Elaine Flake, Civil Rights Activist and Senior Pastor of The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in New York City; Brady Sticker, Pastor, Social Media Maven and Author; Keion Henderson, Pastor, Author and Influencer; Pastor John F. Hannah, Sr. Pastor of New Life Covenant SE and The One Conference, Author, and Speaker; and Pastor Keion Henderson.
Investing in personal and professional development is a crucial priority for leaders, whether one is a leader in the church, community or marketplace.
The knowledge imparted to attendees provided the fuel for a major return on their investment. Continually striving to improve oneself allows leaders to navigate challenges better, inspire their teams and achieve their goals.
“The One Conference” provided a platform for leaders to come together virtually and in person to learn, collaborate and be inspired by the idea that their efforts transcend individual ambitions. The event highlighted the significance of God at the center of everything a leader does! The power of unity, perseverance, sacrifice and God-centeredness is essential to any level of leadership.