May 18, 2022

Author, leadership expert John Maxwell speaks to College of the Ozarks staff, faculty as part of employee development opportunity

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks hosted New York Times best-selling author and leadership expert John Maxwell for an employee development event on Tuesday, May 10. Maxwell visited the Ozarks this week as part of a regional initiative called Transformation Ozarks, which begins with an identification of community values.

Through the College’s annual Poverty Summit and similar events, Dr. Sue Head, vice president for cultural affairs and dean of character education, has helped organize initiatives in the local community to serve neighbors in need.

“When we learned leadership expert John Maxwell was going to be in town May 10, we asked him to speak to our employees, who just crossed the finish line of another academic year. His message was encouraging and inspiring, a great way to recharge our batteries,” Head said.

“When the possibility to host John Maxwell came to our attention, we immediately shifted our employee development day to coincide with his visit to campus,” said Dr. Justin Carswell, vice president for Christian ministries and dean of the chapel. “His values-based leadership model works hand-in-hand with the model we teach in our Christ-centered leadership development programs at College of the Ozarks. We thought it would be a unique opportunity to hear his vision for leadership and that he would encourage and reinforce our faculty and staff in their work and vocational calling.”

Many of those in attendance at the C of O event have followed Maxwell and his work for years, including Janice Williams, director of the Armstrong McDonald School of Nursing at the College.

“It was wonderful to have Dr. Maxwell on our campus,” Williams said. “He encouraged us to continue to be transformed and grow as a leader. My husband and I have read most of his books and have learned from him for more than 25 years, and the senior nursing leadership class reads two of his books. His philosophy says “Leadership” is spelled I-N-F-L-U-E-N-C-E, one life touching and influencing another.”

On Tuesday afternoon, May 10, Williams attended an afternoon session at the Hilton in Branson with other leaders of non-profit organizations in the area, and afterward, she participated in a facilitator training session provided by Maxwell Leadership Team coaches to prepare to lead “Transformation Tables” as part of Transformation Ozarks.

“What I learned from his talk at College of the Ozarks included the three questions followers ask their leaders, ‘Do you value and care about me? Can you help me? Can I trust you?’”

College of the Ozarks Dean of Development Natalie Rasnick was encouraged by the visit from Maxwell: “John Maxwell’s visit to Hard Work U. was refreshing. His depth of knowledge on leadership encouraged me and gave me a chance to reflect on my own leadership. He shared six pictures with us, which centered around the concept that transformational leadership starts with us and requires partnerships and collaboration with others.”

To learn more about Transformation Ozarks and the leadership principles discussed by Maxwell, community members may participate in a nine-week, one-hour-per-week small group called Transformation Tables. Eight participants are led through a simple session by a trained facilitator.

“The outcome of the nine-week process is increased desire to live out those values by taking action,” Head said. “Hundreds of people in the community have already participated in Transformation Tables, including some of the C of O team, and more are about to launch. A group can consist of coworkers, friends, church groups, organizations, or a participant can be assigned to a group of people who want to experience a Transformation Table.”

For more information on Transformation Tables, visit