Mastering Followership Before Leadership

by Nikki Gentry in Staff Spotlight on 01/14/2015

Brad McDonald’s journey with Impact 360 started in 2007, when he moved on campus to participate in the second program year of the Gap Year. After hearing about Impact 360 at summer camp, he made the long cross-country journey from Arizona to Georgia for the nine-month program.

Brad says, “God used my time as an Impact 360 Gap Year student to awaken me to a greater view of who He is and what He’s doing in the world. It expanded my vision for the purpose of my life and how I can be a Christian in every moment of every day no matter where I am or what I am doing.”

After finishing Gap Year in May of 2008, he went on to enroll in the undergraduate program at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Brad was the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship awarded to one Impact 360 alumnus per year. After his first year at Southeastern, Brad served on the first Propel My Life team in the summer of 2009.

In 2012, Brad became the first Impact 360 Gap Year alumnus to join staff in a full-time role. He currently serves as the Program Coordinator of Creative Strategies for Impact 360 Institute. In this role, Brad primarily focuses on managing the Propel and Immersion experiences and coordinating Impact 360 Institute’s Speaker Series initiative. Each summer, Impact 360 hires alumni to carry out summer programming.

“What I enjoy most about my work is equipping our summer staff members. I know that once these staff members are equipped, they will influence hundreds of students across the Southeast every summer. That’s extremely fulfilling for me to play a role in.”

Immersion is a new two-week transformational summer experience for Christian middle and high school students, launched last summer on Impact 360’s campus. Immersion students spend time with top Christian student speakers who come on campus and participate in highly intentional off-campus excursions. More information about the experience and applications to be an Immersion camper for Summer 2015 can be found at http://impact360institute.org/immersion.

Brad says, “I’m passionate about helping people live out their faith, and I know that through Propel and Immersion, students are equipped to better understand what they believe, why they believe it, and how to engage people who don’t see the world the way they do.”

In December, Brad married fellow Impact 360 alumni Bekah Hagan McDonald (’09), also from Arizona. Bekah currently serves at Impact 360 as a Learning Community Coordinator on campus.

One thing that you quickly pick up on about Brad is that he has an insatiable desire to learn. He is constantly listening to podcasts or books on audio as well as studying and learning about the people he spends time with. To share some of what he has experienced and learned, he created an initiative called Followership Collective. Followership Collective is a learning community focused on equipping young, entry-level employees with a fundamental understanding of followership so they excel in their careers. It cultivates values of learning, community and accountability, creativity, and achieving results.

“Followership Collective is about what it means to be a follower, a leader, and ultimately an influencer. What I’ve learned over and over again in my short journey is that influence is a dynamic, complicated sort of thing. It always involves both followers and leaders. So, through Followership Collective I’m exploring specifically the ‘follower’ side of influence since that’s the side that is most often neglected.”

When asked about his biggest takeaway from all of his time at Impact 360, Brad points back to his time with Propel in 2009. The lessons he took away from that experience continue to influence his passions and pursuits today.

“My first summer as a Propel Team Leader holds a special place in my heart. It was a really amazing time of learning about God, myself, and other people. I learned that to be a successful leader you must first be a successful follower. Who and what you follow always determines how you lead others.”

To read the blog and learn more about Followership Collective, visit http://followershipcollective.com. Brad was also recently interviewed on
the Gospel Driven Entrepreneur podcast. Listen here: http://gospeldrivenentrepreneur.tumblr.com/post/104319235445/21-brad-mcdonald-forming-habits-embracing

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