It is always a challenge to organize a public event. Any time you bring a large group of people together, there are many details to consider. You not only have to find an appealing place, a good topic and excellent presenters, but also measure the climate of the times. Certainly, this is the most challenging part of it. How can you ensure that participants leave your event not only with professional satisfaction, but also with readiness to act in order to make their community a better place?

The organizers of the McCain Institute’s Global Leadership Symposium: Embracing Disruption absolutely understand the secret to success. This was the first time the Institute convened Next Generation Leaders from all four cohorts. Next Generation Leaders Program participants came together to share their experiences and thoughts on character-driven leadership, as many had returned to their home environment and begun to implement their Leadership Action Plans.

Next Generation Leaders have the shared experience and understanding that character-driven leadership is essential for the success of their home countries and their Leadership Action Plans. They have taken responsibility for improving their home environment by implementing their Leadership Action Plan. Attendees were able to gain insight from Dr. Karambu Ringera, a 2015 Next Generation Leader from Kenya, who started a leadership program geared towards empowering women and youth; how Giorgi Akhmeteli, a 2013 Next Generation Leader from Georgia, helped his fellow citizens with disabilities have increased accessibility; or how Urmo Kübar, a 2014 Next Generation Leader from Estonia, promotes civil society, activism and philanthropy in a country where these activities have only a very brief tradition. I was also thrilled to see that speakers at the Symposium were my colleagues and friends from the 2015 Cohort of Next Generation Leaders. They are already on the forefront of change and promoting character-driven leadership in their home countries.

I am confident that it was the speakers, conversation and inspiring messages that made the Global Leadership Symposium such a success. These young character-driven leaders made the Symposium an action-oriented day, and one that continued to inspire another generation of leaders to promote the change they wish to see in their communities and their countries.