Many things caught my attention last week at Willow Creek's Global Leadership Summit, but nothing as strikingly as the women in attendance—both on stage and off. Speakers included former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn, business aficionado Carly Fiorina, and International Justice Mission's (IJM) Pranitha Timothy. Christine Caine, co-founder of the anti-trafficking A21 Campaign, also made an appearance to interview entrepreneur Marc Kielburger. Needless to say, as a girl with dreams of someday changing the world, I took it all in from the edge of my seat.

Last week's event was the highest-attended Summit in the conference's history. Over 72,000 church and business leaders united at 200 sites in North America last Thursday and Friday to tune in, as the conference was simulcast live from Willow's South Barrington, Illinois, campus. Individuals from Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, the UK, Ireland, Mexico, and Central America were present in house, including leaders from technical companies, consulting firms, churches, businesses, and more. Grammy-nominated "post-liturgical rock" group Gungor was even there to lead worship.

When Rice kicked off the bill of women speakers with a talk addressing the role of compassion in the church and the responsibility that comes with leadership, I jotted down notes like a scribe. "The opportunity to lead carries many responsibilities: The importance is not just having people follow me, but helping people see their own leadership opportunities and potential," noted Rice. "Our example is Christ Jesus, who called ordinary people to lead, to help in his ministry, and ultimately establish a church."

After hearing a first-person ...

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