I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Conquer Atlanta conference this week. It was held at the Georgia International Convention Center. The main focus for the conference was for the sole purpose of merging marketplace and ministry. The host Robert Watkins and Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes kicked off the event on Thursday night to essentially frame the focus for what to expect from the full day sessions on Friday.
As the visionary for this conference, Robert Watkins’ aim was centered on building people who have a passion to take all of their God given gifts, talents and character that they possess and use them to do business with Kingdom excellence. His desire to create a national movement of believers that will not just change their own future, but to enrich the lives of others is commendable; especially at a time when even now Atlanta is facing an unemployment rate over 8%. That rate is even greater among minorities. Establishing people strategically, so that people are not only business minded, but also Kingdom minded will be critical as this nation moves into the new year.
Mr. Watkins heart and passion to see men and women operating fully as kings and priests in the marketplace is evident through the many leaders he has brought together to share their personal expertise and experiences. Each speaker is uniquely established to share the wealth of knowledge that they each were charged to share. Many may be familiar with international pastors and business leaders like Bishop Jakes and Dr. Dale Bonner, yet the hidden treasures in other speakers like Pastor Johnny Enlow and Dr. Teresa Hairston could not be overlooked.
I wish I could say with all honesty that the conference exceeded, or at the very least met my expectations. I suppose that given much of what was promised from it fell short of that. To me, that’s disappointing, especially in of the reputations of some of the people I know who were involved in the process of bringing it to fruition. I do give some slack, also knowing that this was a first time event for the host. That being said, the following are some areas for consideration.
- The Networking Segment: There was a scheduled time for networking established to be done following the on-site registration time. While there was ample time allotted, there seemed to be little if any actual networking being done. Since there was supposed to be a time where VIP‘s were supposed to have advanced entrance in for this and tables were set up for VIP attendees, it created a barrier to the process that would allow people to mix and mingle. The fact that there seemed to be no push to do so from anyone on the conference staff didn’t help either. Despite the live saxophonist entertaining the crowd, parading between the tables during this time, few seemed to be interested in doing anything other than anticipate when the first session would commence. What perhaps might have made it nicer and more conducive for people to engage one another might have been a separate room, like the room which had been used following the end of the first evening’s sessions. This after hours event was another prime moment where both VIP’s and general attendees had the opportunity to network. However, congestion surrounding the refreshment tables and the tables in general did not lend to evoking a desire to meet and exchange. Had there been no tables, people might have been more inclined to engage each other.
- The Speaker Engagement: I think the biggest opportunity lost for guests was a period to engage the speakers. While it’s always great to hear from the experts in their field, it the hope of actually having a question and answer period that most find invaluable. The fact that both days were plagued by late starts made adherence to the scheduled agenda null and void. While I will readily admit that I missed the panel discussion for men, as my wife also missed the women’s Power in High Heels session, it appeared that certain arrangements that had been set up to make things flow differently.
All in all, I would have to say that this event was both enjoyable and informative. There is no doubt in my mind that now is the optimal time for conquering Atlanta for The Kingdom of Heaven and for the sake of winning the culture. I am absolutely positive about what the future holds for myself and all who gained even a modicum of the wealth of wisdom that was shared. I look forward to what future Conquer Atlanta events will bring in the way of connectivity and success stories from those who attended and we’re empowered by what was offered.
QUESTION: If you attended Conquer Atlanta, what were your key takeaways? How are you preparing to conquer Atlanta?