Hundreds Encouraged To Cultivate Their Leadership Skills At ‘Ignite’


TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Hundreds of people spent their day hearing from best selling authors, motivational speakers and business leaders. It was part of a new, one day conference meant to encourage and equip leaders in the corporate world, and throughout the community.

“Inky” Johnson knows a thing or two about setbacks and adversity. His dream of playing pro football was shattered more than ten years ago, when a routine tackle at the University of Tennessee ended with an injury paralyzing his right arm.

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He was one of seven speakers at the first “Ignite” Leadership Conference.

“That’s what Ignite is, full day of leadership focus , male, female, young and old , kind of getting everybody to look at leadership and perspective,” said David Rumbarger, president of the Community Development Foundation, which organized the conference.

David Stillman is known as the “Generation Guru.” He also spoke and encouraged people to embrace the unique qualities in each generation and work together across generational lines.

“Millenials are an awesome generation, they were raised to be incredible collaborators, Facebook , is a generation that launched Facebook, generation team oriented and civic minded. Then along came Generation Z, which isn’t as collaborative, way more competitive, because of the recent recession,” Stillman said.

He said those who embrace the differences will be better leaders. Whether they were business executives, government workers or educators, participants said the conference was challenging and inspiring.

“When you combine all of the Baby Boomers, Gen X , Gen Z and Millenials, if you put all generations together you can have a great combination in the workplace,” said Contanna Purnell, Human Resources Manager for the City of Tupelo .

“I’ve learned positive energy is better than negative energy , and generations are so different, you have to read David’s book to figure out what to do, but after I read it I feel like I might be able to understand my children better,

Whether it’s developing leaders in the home, community or business world, organizers of “Ignite” feel there’s nuggets of wisdom for everyone.

Plans are already underway for an “Ignite ” conference next year.  That conference is organized by the Community Development Foundation.