When I worked for the Diocese of Phoenix one of my capstone assignments was to design, plan, and lead a 2-day parish leadership conference for pastors and their teams. So we went all out: hospitality, prayer, and tons of inspirational content. Why? Because parishes are worth it.
Problem: The former “Parish Stewardship Conference” needed a bold refresh, and it needed to be centered on excitement and empowerment for the mission in the parish. Instead of making this solely an educational event (as it had been in the past) we needed to rethink the way we engaged parish leaders – and we needed to develop a yearly program that could sustain them as they returned to their Churches.
Solution: I pitched and designed the Ascent Parish Leadership Conference, a one-day intensive event held at two locations (back to back) in the Diocese. We packed four speakers (on topics like communication, leadership, stewardship, and engagement) into a day of great food, worship, prizes, and incredible fellowship… with nearly 500 leaders attending our event. Every detail was intentional: from the branding and stage lighting to the volume of the music. My goal was to truly surprise parish leaders by creating an awesome day created to honor and inspire.
I created: branding (name, logo, style), graphic design, video, event production
Lesson: If you roll out the hospitality, think like a parish leader, and truly affirm the hard work that goes on in parishes everything changes. Our event was transformative in the Diocese, and both clergy and leaders alike commented on the overall experience and quality of the talks as something they never expected the Diocese to make organically. I also learned that creating and directing an event at this size requires patience and an army of awesome volunteers. Oh, and good food really makes a difference.
Sample Project Creative
Every great conference keynote leads with a “hype” video before the speakers take to the stage. I created this video to get the energy up after a breakout before the main speakers took the stage. It was a hit!
Thanks are in order: To the Office of Mission Advancement team that trusted me to completely change the trajectory of our former conference, for our incredible sponsors who made it a reality (especially LPI and OSV), and to our Director, Cande, for his trust in my vision. And most importantly, to all of the pastors who brought their teams – and to all of the parish staff members who took a day out of the office to join us!