Building a Lasting Legacy: Leading the Next Generation

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post by one of MarketingMel’s six advisors, Dave McAuley. Dave, who’s been both an entrepreneur and pastor, is the founder of the Summit Leadership Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 with a heart for connecting, caring and consulting.


“Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.”  ~ Rev. Billy Graham


Building a legacy begins with keeping the next generation in mind.  Many leaders are shortsighted in setting goals.  Their expectations for having a lasting impact are very limited.  However, visionary leaders can see their influence extending well into the future.

Team MarketingMel: Mary Ellen Miller welcomes new ETSU intern Alex Quillin. Mentoring the next generation is a tenet of MarketingMel's PR firm.

Mary Ellen Miller welcomes new ETSU intern Alex Quillin. Mentoring the next generation is a tenet of MarketingMel’s PR firm.


Leaders who train themselves to think “next generation”, gain influence well beyond their lifetime.  They build a legacy with lasting impact. I saw this lived out in my Grandfather who was a true servant leader in his investment in the lives of others.  His legacy lives on today through the children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of those he influenced during his lifetime.


We can learn a lot from the history of the Jewish people who had the mindset of generational leadership instilled in them through the repeating of the Shema which is central to their faith:


“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”


Some generations fulfilled the commitment to effectively pass this on to the next generation and some did not, but there was always a “remnant” in each generation who would pass this on to their children.  They knew this truth was timeless and they were building a legacy by pouring themselves into the next generation.


Do you lead with the next generation in mind?  What would acting on that perspective look like in your organization and with your team? As a leader, you can extend your influence by pouring yourself into this generation in such a way that prepares them to influence the next generation through what they learned from you.  Generational influence is essential in building a lasting legacy.  What beliefs, values and principles would you like to see passed on as part of your legacy in the next generation?


Are you being intentional about building a lasting legacy through those you lead today?  Simply invest in the lives of others.  You don’t have to fill them, just take time to pour a little into them each day and building your legacy will begin to take shape.




Dave McAuley is the Founder, President and CEO of Summit Leadership Foundation as well as a Founding Member and an Independent Certified Coach, Speaker and Trainer of the John Maxwell Team. Summit Leadership Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit Christian ministry located in Johnson City, TN.  Summit serves as a relational hub for “Connecting, Consulting, Coaching and Caring” for leaders.



  • Sue Painter says:

    I believe strongly in building and leaving a legacy that is positive for future generations and in mentoring those less experienced, no matter their age. I find that some businesses are very short sighted and focused on near term results rather than creating a foundation for a lasting business with well-trained employees. I agree with your points.

  • Jessica says:

    I created an entire program around teaching people how to obtain mentors and how to make the most of the mentor relationship

    • Dave McAuley says:

      Thank Jessica! I think it’s important to always have a mentor(s): there’s always someone who is just a little further down the road who can help guide you. I appreciate your emphasis on “how to make the most of a mentoring relationship”. Both parties have to be intentional.

  • Mitch Tublin says:

    Working with a great coach or a mentor are valuable beyond words.

  • Dave McAuley says:

    I appreciate your comment Mitch. Every great athlete has a coach. I think the same is true of every great leader.

    • maryellen says:

      I’m going to jump in to say that Dave has been one of my mentors and I so appreciate his insights and coaching. Thanks for all of your great comments, Jessica, Sue and Mitch!

  • The more I learn and work on growing my business the more I realize that leadership is definitely a skill that is vital to success. And I’ve only now begun to work on a legacy plan. There’s so much to learn.

  • Dave McAuley says:

    Mira, I love that phrase “there’s so much to learn”. That is the attitude of a true leader. Leaders are learners. Keep that mindset until you are at least 101 years old and you will become a great leader.

    Feel free to contact me if I can ever help you with your leadership journey. I’m learning right along with you. God bless. ~ Dave

    • maryellen says:

      Thanks Dave and Mira. I agree that there is so much to learn in life and in leadership. I think it’s terrific Mira is working on a legacy plan.

  • I’ve always been big on mentoring and am also just starting to work on a legacy plan. This is so useful: “Generational influence is essential in building a lasting legacy”

    • Dave McAuley says:

      Thanks Trudy! I’d love to see your legacy plan when you get it done. That could be a huge help to others who want to do the same. Part of your legacy could be helping others build theirs. God bless. ~ Dave

  • My main mission in life is to positively impact others’ lives and leave the world in better shape. Your legacy can be something as simple as modeling how to eat well for your children or as elaborate as creating an organization that teaches students at the school level. We all have the power to create a lasting legacy when we are committed and intentional in our actions.

  • Dave McAuley says:

    Tiffany, I love your comment…and my favorite leadership word is “intentional”. Thanks!

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