Last month I attended a simulcast of the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), an endeavor of the Willow Creek Association located in Chicago that is broadcast to venues throughout the nation. This two-day conference, held annually for more than 20 years, features renowned speakers and leaders from businesses, non-profits, and churches who encourage attendees to become better leaders. This year’s faculty included Melinda Gates, Dr. Travis Bradberry, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Bill Hybels, and Patrick Lencioni. As I’ve listened to the stories and talks by the various presenters this year and during previous years and pondered applications, I've come to recognize that writers are leaders.
Have you ever considered that? The journalist on the air or the page, the blogger online, the poet and essayist in a literary magazine, the nature article writer, the book author, songwriter, screenplay composer… they all contribute ideas, share tales, and make people think. Writers engage, educate, and inform; writers spark controversy, investigate rumors, research, report, entertain, encourage.
I, too, can be a leader with the works I do produce. For example, I write inspirational pet stories for children, in which I weave character traits and life lessons, such as courage, perseverance, friendship, and self-confidence. When I visit schools and libraries and share my words with youngsters, my hope is to inspire them for the times in life in which they may face negative things like divorce or bullying… as well as to create an engaging, fun story for them to read.
I also see myself becoming more of a leader in regard to pet and creation care. Animals and nature are my passions; I desire to see people more greatly appreciate the beauty around us and the pets which share our lives and need our help. I recently had a short story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of America, in which I reflect upon the gems which are America’s national parks. One of my works in progress is called Jasmine’s Journey: The Story of a Rescue Dog, which will teach children what pet rescue organizations do. I envision these projects growing me as a writer-leader.
The major theme of the GLS is “Lead where you are.” During a session at a previous Summit, the speaker talked about “sowing seeds.” I enjoy sowing my word-seeds in order to encourage, inspire, and entertain people, both adults and children. Writers are leaders, and it’s an exciting journey!
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Gayle M. Irwin is the author of several inspirational dog books for children and adults, including a chapter book called Sage's Big Adventure and a memoir titled Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned from My Blind Dog, both about her dog's blindness and the lessons she learned along that journey. She is also a contributing writer to several editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul and is one of the featured writers in Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heart, released in July by Sundown Press. She speaks in schools, at libraries, and for civic and faith-based organizations. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.