Learning to lead from a CIU board member

October 08, 2018

By Joseph Knight

CIU senior and Business major

I would hazard a guess that the average American college student does not know the name of a single board member of the university that they attend.

But I have the privilege of not being the average American college student. I attend Columbia International University. Members of the CIU Board of Trustees are not ghosts who haunt fancy conference rooms during mysterious semi-annual meetings. They are real people that I have the privilege of meeting, knowing and learning from during my time at CIU.

This was evident recently when I walked into my Principles of Leadership and Management class to discover that the speaker for the day was Dr. Hans Finzel, a CIU alum and longtime board member.

Dr. Finzel is a wonderful example of a successful CIU graduate. He was a missionary in Austria for 10 years with his wife Donna, has published a plethora of successful leadership bestsellers, travels the globe for speaking engagements, and is well-known for promoting a profound servant-leadership model applicable to ministries, organizations and businesses alike.

But it was not Dr. Finzel’s thoughts on leadership that I found to be most important. The entire class period was dense with leadership wisdom and advice, accentuated with biblical principles from the life of Jesus and the Apostle Paul. Dr. Finzel expounded on his theory of “Shepherd Leadership,” someone who cares more about the good of the team than his or her own personal enrichment and who understands that they are not the most important member of the team. His definition of leadership is very to the point: Leadership = Influence.

But I am a senior, and though many of his thoughts were excellent and provided a valuable reminder (do I really have the humility that it takes to lead well?), what struck me most was Dr. Finzel’s life. He has decades of experience in business, ministry, living overseas, writing, speaking, and mentoring; all of which someday I hope to be a part of. Yet, Dr. Finzel chooses to be the type of board member who happily gives an hour out of a packed two-day board meeting schedule to talk to a group of young college students about how to influence the world around them.

He’s the type of leader who cares about those who are sitting in the very same classrooms that he inhabited during his studies at CIU. Maybe Dr. Finzel has found success not in his education, in his connections, or even in those leather board member seats in a formal conference room, but because he seeks to live a life that makes a difference.

Difference made, Dr. Finzel.       

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