Sewell Leadership event returns to in-person

For 20 years now, the Sewell Family of Companies has tried to help and inspire business owners, professionals, students and other individuals with the annual Sewell Leadership Event.

This year, the event returns to an in-person setting for the first time since 2019 when it takes place from 9 a.m.-4:15 p.m. March 29 at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center. The doors will open at 8 a.m.

During the last two years, the leadership conference was in a virtual setting only due to the pandemic.

“We’re obviously super excited to be able to gather with people from around West Texas,” Team Sewell Marketing Director Andrew Marshall said. “We’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years. We offered virtual leadership series in 2020 and it went super well for us but it’s not the same as being able to meet in person and shake people’s hands and see them smile so we’re happy to gather in-person.”

The Sewell Leadership Event brings together over 1,800 business people, mangers, school teachers and individuals from the Permian Basin as they look to better themselves as leaders in their professions and at home. The all-day event includes six different sessions as well as two Q and A sessions with a lunch break inbetween.

This year’s guest speakers include former football player and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow as well as bestselling author and pastor John Maxwell and Andy Stanley who is also a communicator, author and pastor.

“I met Tim Tebow a few years ago so we obviously have connections from my introduction with him and John Maxwell and I’ve just really respected the way he’s handled his life and his business and that he has made his success about how he can serve and help other people,” Sewell Family of Companies President Collin Sewell said. “When I look at where the world is today, I think he’s a great example of how he can take his beliefs and his mindset and his platform and use it to serve other people. It’s an exciting opportunity to allow our community and the Permian Basin to hear him speak and hear his message.”

Maxwell has been a guest speaker at the leadership conference in the past including the event’s inaugural year.

“For us, John Maxwell is a very clear and easy speaker for us to pick every year,” Marshall said. “For people who don’t know, he was the only speaker at the beginning when we started the event. He spoke all day long and over the years, we’ve evolved and incorporated more speakers that complement what he does. … John always offers something new and exciting for the audience.”

Marshall said the goal is to always find speakers that can come in and speak to people in West Texas in a way that inspires but also offers concrete takeaways.

“By that I mean that it’s important that some speakers are really good about coming in and they’re super motivational but you leave and you wonder what you’re supposed to do with that info,” Marshall said. “And some people give you concrete things but it’s not very entertaining so our priority has been to find speakers that can captivate an audience and be very entertaining but then offer concrete things that you can leave and implement in your personal or professional lives and be a better leader. For some people, that’s being a better leader in the workplace, for some it means they’re a leader in their own home with their family.”

The first Sewell Leadership Conference was held at Temple Baptist Church where about 200 people took part. It then grew so much that Team Sewell had to move the event to Crossroads Fellowship where it wasn’t long before it outgrew that church. After that, the conference was moved to its current spot at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center. “We want to be able to offer it in a centralized location for as many West Texans as possible,” Marshall said.

This year’s event, which has already sold out, is expected to have around 1,827 attendees. “We sell out quicker and quicker every year,” Marshall said. “I think there’s an element that it’s becoming more popular. It’s been quite a blessing that the conversation on our end is ‘what does it look like to continue to hold a relevant event in 2023? Do we need to have a multi-day event? Do we need to have a live stream option like how do we offer this to all the people that are waiting on tickets?’”

Sewell says the event got started as a way to give back to the community and to provide a conference that normally would take place further away from the Permian Basin. “I understand that a community is strongest when it has strong leadership,” Sewell said. “It’s not just leadership at the city and county level, it’s leadership in the community and leadership in the business community and most importantly, it’s leadership within the home. Because we’re somewhat remote, it’s difficult for people to get to conferences that are normally held in the metroplex or somewhere else across the nation and in our effort to be great supporters in our community, we want to bring that kind of material and wisdom to our backyard.”

If you go

  • What: Sewell Leadership Event.
  • When: 9 a.m.-4:15 p.m. March 29.
  • Where: Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.