Do you remember how you felt on Christmas Eve when you were a child? If you were like me you probably had butterflies in your stomach. You couldn’t sleep because of anticipation. Your dreams were full of images of what Christmas morning would be like.
Trust me, I still love Christmas and I get excited every Christmas Eve. However, the night that I now most experience the Christmas Eve “symptoms” is the night before Exchange.
Exchange is a leadership gathering that John Maxwell started 12 years ago. His vision was to create an experiential learning event for senior level leaders that love leadership as much as he does. What started with 49 leaders in Atlanta 12 years ago has grown to 125 leaders and we’ve visited such cities as Washington D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle and Boston.
I’ve had the privilege of attending all of the Exchange events and served as the director of Exchange for many years. Call me biased, but Exchange is hands down, my favorite event that I’ve ever been a part of. I’m often asked what makes Exchange unique:
• The people – People who attend Exchange have a passion for growth and leadership. They want to make a difference. Many of the folks that attend Exchange have been coming for years and make Exchange their personal annual leadership retreat. At Exchange our opening reception feels like homecoming, catching up with friends that you’ve made over the years through the annual gathering. Each year we introduce a new class of people in Exchange. This year the number is 30. Newcomers are quickly and warmly embraced by Exchange alumni.
• Access to John – Most of John’s engagements these days are keynotes where he speaks, signs some books and moves on to the next city. At Exchange however, he hangs with us. We’re together for 2.5 days and John participates in EVERY aspect of Exchange. The content that he teaches is what he’s currently learning and developing. For instance, he’ll teach on the content from a book that is a full year out from being published. He also makes it a priority to answer each and every question that you have.
• Unique Learning Experiences – While we spend a couple of hours each day learning leadership from John Maxwell in a hotel ballroom, we spend the majority of our time out where leadership really happens. We’ve visited such places and learned from such leader as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Roger Nierenberg), Chick-fil-A (Dan and Truett Cathy), US Capitol (Senators Bob Dole and Tom Coburn), New York Stock Exchange (Ron Blue), Philadelphia Eagles – Lincoln Financial Field (Dick Vermeil), Microsoft (Kevin Turner), Harvard (David Gergen) and Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park (Jim Rice).
This year we’ll be sailing in St. Thomas and learning leadership and teamwork principles with Americas Cup sailors, Dennis Connor and Peter Holmberg.
• World-Class Service – Please allow me to brag on our team for just a second. We have a team that LOVES to serve. Whatever you want, whatever you need, our team will provide. We’re committed to providing a level of service unlike any other event or gathering.
So, if you have a passion for growth and leadership, if you absorb drinking from a fire hose and experiential learning, if you love hanging with world- class leaders, then I invite you to be part of the class of 30 first-time Exchange attendees when we gather for our 12th annual event in St. Thomas on October 16th – 18th. To register or for more information please visit: http://www.exchangegathering.com/.
If you’ve attended Exchange, please post and tell us about your favorite Exchange memory. If you haven’t attended Exchange but you’ve participated in another experiential learning environment, tell us what you did and what you learned.