More than 300 people will gather at Augustana on May 9 to watch live telecasts of influential leaders speaking.

The sold-out Leadercast event is intended to provide leadership training for local business people, as well as help them network, according to coordinator of conferences and scheduling Jackie Schmidtman.

This year’s speakers include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former first lady Laura Bush, E! News co-host Giuliana Rancic and director Randall Wallace. Each event will stream from Atlanta to a number of Leadercast events across the country and lasts about 20 minutes.

According to Schmidtman, the 355 tickets quickly sold out to the public, but Augustana reserved 20 VIP passes for students. Professors in the business department selected students who they felt could benefit from attending, Schmidtman said.

One of these students, sophomore Sara Byre, says she recognizes the role leadership will play in her business future.

“Effective leadership is important because it’s able to communicate the vision and motivate others to work hard to achieve that vision,” Byre said.

Junior Luke Jessen agrees, adding that the number of local business people present at the event also has the potential to be advantageous.

“Business is so broad that being able to diversify my knowledge and experiences will hopefully help me to launch my career,” Jessen said.

In addition to the 20 students, eight faculty and staff members also obtained passes. Schmidtman said Sandi Vietor, director of the career center, will attend to make internship connections for students.

“There’s a real professional advantage to having 350 business leaders on campus,” Schmidtman said.

LEADing Sioux Falls, the local chapter of Leadercast, began hosting the annual events on a small scale several years ago, Schmidtman said. Local business people delivered seminars that were held in churches.

USF hosted Leadercast last year; however, because of Augustana’s former partnership with a similar program called the Business Conference and its sponsorship of Leadercast, it was moved here.

The change in venue was also partly due to an increase in numbers. Schmidtman said 80 more tickets were available this year than last year.

“USF’s loss was certainly our gain because I think it’s really a great thing we can pass on to our students,” Schmidtman said.

As one of few students who will get to attend the event, Jessen said he is grateful for the opportunity to gain knowledge from successful leaders, both local and global.

“I’m very thankful that Augustana can host events like this and give students experiences that they couldn’t always get at another institution,” Jessen said.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. on Friday, May 9 in the Kresge Recital Hall. President Rob Oliver will give the opening address, and the telecasts begin at 8 a.m.