Colorado Christian University’s 11th annual Values-Aligned Leadership Summit
sought to connect almost 300 students with 450 local business executives at the Hyatt Regency in the Denver Tech Center. Exploring “The Moral Case for Free Enterprise,” the annual event promotes discussion of ethical business practices while providing networking opportunities for students – giving them unparalleled access to successful businesspersons as they share a table and converse over relevant issues.
Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated talk show host, offered the keynote speech. He stressed the need for American values to triumph. “The American trinity of values is on our money,” he declared, “Liberty, ‘In God We Trust,’ and e pluribus unum.” Asserting that we must remain true to such values, Prager reminded the audience, “Only the American DNA is for small government. America is an aberration in the world.”
“The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen,” he quipped, to the applause of the almost 750 in attendance.
The event also showcased Dr. Jay Richards, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. Richards told of how no other system of economics has benefitted the world as much as a free system: “Famines don’t occur in free market countries,” he said. “No system has lifted the poor, widow, and orphan – traditional Christian values – like free enterprise has.” Along the way, he refuted various myths common to capitalist critiques, asserting that entrepreneurs are creating jobs and wealth for others by their actions; they are not simply “greedy.”
The day also illustrated CCU’s connection with the Denver business community. Professor Ron Rex described how Employment Management Services has connected with over 120 local businesses, bringing top students to the workforce – with a 97% success rate.
“The event was wonderful,” said Karen Ann Young, a longtime attendee. “It gets better every year. This year was like an I.V. infusion of hope for our future and our world.”
The day’s theme was also carried by speakers such as President Bill Armstrong, Dean of CCU’s School of Business and Leadership Dr. Gary Ewen, Executive in Residence at CCU Kevin Miller, and Dr. Jill Vecchio, who explored the implications of the Affordable Care Act.
The morality of free enterprise was the common topic throughout – and how to make businesses agents for good by focusing on people as much as on profit. Bill Fowler, who spoke on behalf of the Daniels Fund, which provides scholarships and grants to support students and non-profit organizations, cut to the heart of the conference’s educational goals by citing Bill Daniels, founder of the fund: “The eighth wonder of the world is the free enterprise system,” he said. “The ninth is that so few people know how to use it.”
The 11th VALS was sponsored by platinum sponsors Leprino Foods; Worldviews, Calling & Culture; McDonald Automotive; and YoungLife. Silver sponsors included Crestcom, General Air; diamond sponsors were GE Johnson; and executive sponsors were BKD, Cedrus, Colorado Business Bank, Dignity Memorial, First National Bank of Santa Fe, Kardia, Karen Ann Young, 710 KNUS News/Talk, Northwestern Mutual, Orchard White, Phifer Johnson, and Redstone Bank. Summit sponsors included Core Values, K-LOVE, and Nault Financial Group.