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Global conference offered locally to empower leaders

Antioch Christian Church served as the site of Marion's first-ever participation in the Global Leadership Summit.

What began as a way to equip and empower religious leaders has now transformed into the Global Leadership Summit.

More than 20 years since its creation, the annual conference is finally making its way to Marion, aiming to assist local leaders in all areas.

"This is the first time I've had the opportunity to attend this conference," said Nick Glew, president of Marion Economic Development Corporation.

Glew is not alone, as many of the nearly 200 attendees are first-time conference-goers.

In previous years, locals would need to travel to Cedar Falls, Dubuque or Des Moines for the Global Leadership Summit.

Now, the conference, which is telecast throughout the United States, is offering insights closer to home.

Key coordinator Christa Nelson said the summit couldn't have come sooner.

"We have such a wealth of talent in this area," said Nelson. "Creative people in this area. We have some of the best colleges surrounding us in this area. And yet, most of that talent is looking to go elsewhere, and so we have to find ways to keep them here."

Conference-goers received advice on attracting young employees, as well as how to overcome adversity.

Nelson said area residents have plenty of experience dealing with tough times, with two floods as proof.

She said she's hoping this summit can bring people together in the same way.

"One passion we had was our community, and I think if people can get behind one singular passion, I mean, world change is just this far away," said Nelson, gesturing a very short distance.

With the remnants of the 2008 flood and the more recent 2016 flooding in the rear view, Glew said the GLS can bring about a different flood.

"If these types of principles can flood their way through our community and we have businesses and individuals and nonprofits that are all seeking towards the same types of characteristics that are presented here today, it makes our community that much better," said Glew.

Marion is one of more than 600 summit sites in North America, along with more than 120 countries participating around the world.

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