As president for one of the nation's largest family-owned quick-service restaurant chains, Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based company founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy.


Dan's nearly life-long career at Chick-fil-A began at age 9 as he sang songs for customers and did radio commercials for the chain's original "Dwarf House" restaurant in Hapeville, Ga. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgia Southern University, Dan returned to Chick-fil-A where he served as director of operations - opening more than 50 new Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the country. As Chick-fil-A continued to grow, so did Dan's responsibilities with the company. His steady rise through the ranks to become president is a testament to his dedication to the Chick-fil-A brand and its long-held principles and traditions.


In his "spare" time, Dan has completed the owner/management course at Harvard Business School, earned his pilot's license and has run in and completed the Los Angeles and Boston marathons.


On Nov. 20, Dan will speak at The Center for FaithWalk Leadership’s “Lead Like Jesus” celebration coming to The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. This inaugural leadership event will be simulcast across the nation to select markets and will feature well-known business and Christian leaders. It will be hosted by Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, and Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life .


Dan spoke with by phone last week and shared his thoughts on the conference, on servant leadership and on what it means to lead like Jesus. How did you get involved with Lead Like Jesus?


Dan Cathy: I was invited as a guest by Dr. Ken Blanchard, who is the author of the One-Minute Manager. We’ve been involved in a number of different projects over the past several years. He co-authored a book with my dad, Truett Cathy, called The Generosity Factor. As a result of our conversations and a common interest that we have in the whole subject of leadership models – and being lifelong learners ourselves – we are partnering up on this particular venture and excited about it. Do you know what you are going to talk about yet?


Dan Cathy: The whole theme of the conference has to do with exploring the leadership model of Jesus as a timely, relevant leadership model that has application in today’s world and in today’s marketplace. I’ll be touching on the role of the servant leader that Jesus depicted at the Last Supper as He put a towel around His waist and knelt down to wash the feet of His disciples.