A Brilliant Day: Highlights from NLC’s 2019 Leadership Conference

Team NLC News

“Brilliance is living from the inside out and leading with purpose.”

These were the words brilliance expert Simon T. Bailey shared during his keynote address at our 2019 Leadership Conference. He told us that when we’re in alignment with our calling, our work isn’t a job — it’s an opportunity. He asked: What problem were you created to solve?

2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference

As we continue to soak in the education, conversation and inspiration from this incredible day, there’s one thing we know for sure: our Tampa Bay area nonprofits are truly brilliant — created to uplift our community and solve its greatest challenges.

2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference

In reflecting on what brilliance means for our nonprofit community in Tampa Bay, it isn’t about big wins or bold moves (although those certainly are amazing and brilliant). It’s about the small moments every day in which we’re creating positive change. It’s taking a second to say thank you or to send a donor a hand-written note. It’s going out of your way to help a constituent, colleague or corporate partner. It’s investing in a personal relationship by understanding what’s important to them. It’s asking questions, showing kindness and being relentlessly passionate about making our community a better place.

We witnessed brilliance at the 2019 Leadership Conference in each and every attendee and the organizations they represent. And speaking of brilliance, these six brilliant moments stood out to us from our time together with you.

6 Brilliant Moments from NLC’s 2019 Leadership Conference

1. Playing Simon Says

Remember the age-old game Simon Says? One player is dubbed “Simon” and instructs the other players to do something (like wave their hands in the air or turn in a circle), but only when they hear “Simon says” first. Those who follow directions without that prompt are eliminated from the game until a single winner remains.

At our 2019 Leadership Conference, we had a real-life Simon as our keynote speaker, but we plan to follow his instructions whether we hear “Simon says” or not for many days to come (his advice was that powerful.)

2019 NLC Leadership Conference

Simon T. Bailey reminded us that culture, commitment and connections spark our greatest growth. Here are a few of the insights he shared:

  • Brilliance is about bringing out the best in ourselves and others. It happens in environments where people are celebrated, not just tolerated.
  • Leaders must prioritize and build an organizational culture where everyone matters — hug people with your words.
  • Leadership is not about motivating people to do more; it’s about inviting people on a journey alongside you to discover the leader within themselves. It’s about making people feel valued, seen and appreciated.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’re a public success, if you’re a private failure. To lead with purpose, you must start at home with the people you love most. When you’re better at home, you’re better for your business.
  • Change is your friend, not your foe. It’s a brilliant opportunity to grow.
  • See and treat your customers/constituents as guests. Provide them such a phenomenal experience, they can’t forget it. Keep them loyal through acts of kindness.
2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference

We’ll share more from Simon’s talk here on the blog soon, but if you’re itching to learn more now, check out his book “Be the Spark.” A big thanks to Simon for giving free copies of his book to our attendees and signing them (with selfies brilliantly included).

2. Learning from Experts Who Lead by Example

We believe leadership development is about more than just learning; it’s about cultivating a culture of and commitment to excellence. This year’s Leadership Conference connected attendees to a phenomenal line-up of experts who lead by example — making each of us and our community better.

2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference

3. Authentic Engagement

Building strong relationships is key to nonprofit success. We believe the best relationships are built by spending time together, by learning together and by sharing common experiences. We saw that in action at the 2019 Leadership Conference — hallway conversations to exchange ideas, vulnerabilities shared during small-group discussions, advice and encouragement swapped over lunch. Beyond the education we all took away from the conference, it was the organic conversation and collaboration that will stick with us — and perhaps strengthen us — most.

2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference
2019 NLC Leadership Conference

4. Electric Energy

The amount of positive energy buzzing through the breakout rooms and hallways during this year’s Leadership Conference would keep the lights on at NLC for an entire year if we could bottle it up and use it to pay our electricity bill. But don’t just take it from us …


5. Generosity at Work

We were humbled and in awe of the generosity and selflessness of everyone who helped make this year’s NLC Leadership Conference possible. From Bank of America volunteers who stuffed swag bags and set up the ballroom to Florida Blue that provided lunch and our friends at Children’s Board of Hillsborough County who continue to invest in supporting our entire nonprofit community, we will never be able to say thank you enough to our generous sponsors and volunteers.

2019 NLC Leadership Conference

Please be sure to thank our sponsors on social media (give them a follow too!) and when you see them in person. This conference wouldn’t be possible without their support.

2019 NLC Leadership Conference

6. Chocolate Cake Too Big {and Too Good} Not to Mention

And no conference would be complete without a sweet ending. While living healthy is definitely something we prioritize at NLC (yes, we served grilled chicken salad for lunch), everything in moderation, right? Our attendees worked up a sweat after a morning of breakout sessions and networking, so a giant piece of chocolate cake was necessary (of course) to send our leaders off with the energy they need to return to their organizations ready to lead brilliantly. You can thank our friends at My Benefit Partners for their kindness (and the extra calories).

At NLC, we consider it a deep privilege and pleasure to champion nonprofit leaders and organizations as you change and save lives across the region we all call home. Thank you to everyone who attended, sponsored, volunteered, shared content and took an interest in our 2019 Leadership Conference. We look forward to seeing you soon at one of our upcoming trainings or eventshttps://nlctb.org/training/.

2019 NLC Leadership Conference

Spend Another Day with Our 2019 Conference Speakers

If you missed this year’s conference — or you’re simply jonesing for more — join us for one of our upcoming classes facilitated by the experts who led our conference breakout sessions.  

Changing Habits to Improve Your Productivity with Margarita Sarmiento (June 4)

Optimize Your Optimism with Dr. John Loblack (June 25)

Perfect Your Pitch with Tammy Charles (July 9)

The Gift of Being Present with Rick Bennett (July 31)

Stop, Collaborate & Listen with Mandy Cloninger, Thomas Mantz, Jeff Darrey, Brian Butler and more (August 29)

Strengthen Your Core Values with Ellen Nastir (September 5)

Build Career Bridges with Gordon Gillette, Wendy Johnson, Jessica Muroff and Brian Butler (October 11)

SEE ALL UPCOMING CLASSES

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