As a young man, Krish Dhanam looked up to, and later trained under, the legendary motivator Zig Ziglar. But who influenced well-known leadership experts like Ziglar, John Maxwell and Bill Glass?
They were all looking up to the late business executive Fred Smith, Dhanam said Friday at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
|Krish Dhanam of the Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute team speaks in the DeSantis Family Chapel at Palm Beach Atlantic University on Friday.|
Dhanam, was one of more than a dozen speakers with the Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute who were part of a “leadership blitz” at PBA on Thursday and Friday. His chapel address, which was open to the public, was part of a day filled with classroom and group sessions, as well as a community breakfast.
Named for Fred Smith, Sr., a business executive and Christian layman known as “mentor to a generation of leaders” who died in 2007, Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute brings leading men and women who travel at their own expense from across America to college campuses to share life experiences, wisdom and leadership principles with students.
A native of India, Dhanam has traveled around the world speaking to people about Christ. He is the co-founder of a training company, The American Dream from an Indian Heart. Dhanam also has published several books and is a global adjunct with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
He said that in his studies of American history, he noted that most successful people had faith. “They were not afraid” to proclaim it, he said.
Dhanam said that everyone can be used by God in some way. “God is not looking for your ability. He’s looking for your availability,” he said.
A few of those sharing their experiences during the two days were PBA students. At a kickoff dinner on Thursday evening, three students talked about the value of mentoring.
Chris Lopez, a student in PBA’s master of divinity program, talked about a study abroad experience in Edinburgh, Scotland, that he considered to be “transformative.” He talked about being mentored by School of Ministry Dean Dr. Randy Richards and the ministry faculty, whom he felt close to though they were far away.
Lopez talked about the synergy between the heart and mind. He said that whenever he hears about PBA students contemplating the study abroad experience at Edinburgh, he wants to talk to them, mentor them and encourage them about that experience.
|Retired educator and leadership consultant Carolyn Stonehocker speaks to education students at Palm Beach Atlantic University on Friday as part of the Breakfast With Fred event.|
Kelsey Taber, a junior majoring in biology, spoke of how she was deciding whether to apply to be a resident assistant last year, and how her mentor, Registrar Audrey Scofield, encouraged her. Taber “wanted to do something for the women on campus.”
Her vision led to the creation of “How to Get the Final Rose,” a women’s program that recently drew 75 female students. “I saw that girls were craving this,” she said.
Sara Kratz, a senior majoring in cross-cultural studies, talked about how Susan Grenz, secretary to the dean of the School of Ministry, has been a mentor to her. Kratz also spoke of how she would like to start an internship program for students to live in the inner city.
“Mentorship is meant to be shared and to overflow to others,” Kratz said.
In his introductory remarks, PBA President William M. B. Fleming Jr. shared two quotes from Fred Smith: “A true leader loves excellence,” and “The desire to lead should be based on the genuine desire to serve.”
Among the event’s speakers was Brenda Smith, daughter of Fred Smith and president and CEO of the Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute.
During Friday morning’s community breakfast, Brenda Smith moderated a question-and-answer session with Keith Stonehocker, who served at Christianity Today International for 38 years before retiring in April 2013 as chief strategy officer, and Ron Cunningham, retired principal inspector/emergency management coordinator for the Los Angeles Housing Department.
She asked Stonehocker and Cunningham to talk about the person who first told them, “I believe in you.”
Stonehocker said that individual was his former boss who hired him at Christianity Today, Harold Myra. “Harold believed in me, a 25-year-old kid,” he recalled.
For Cunningham, that person was his uncle Ernie, who passed away last August. Near the end of his uncle’s life, Cunningham put his life on hold to be there for him. “Fred talked about the privilege of serving the Lord,” Cunningham said. “That’s how it was for me.”
He said his uncle gave him his first construction job. “He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”