Creative Leadership — SEU Forum 2018
The moment the Forum at SEU began the morning of March 15, 2018, everyone assembled knew they were in for an unforgettable event. “We want to help everyday people become extraordinary leaders,” said SEU Executive Vice President Dr. Chris Owen, who served as the host of the event. “Our three goals are to laugh, learn and connect.”
And for the two days that followed, more than 500 people did just that.
Variety was a key word when it came to the speakers. They came from all walks of life and varied in age, experience, and professional background. However, one theme was consistent. Using creative leadership and innovation to persevere in the face of obstacles was the hallmark of successfully achieving their goals.
- Businessman and speaker Mark Sanborn discussed how the future of business is the creation of emotion. He challenged us to think of ways to be both different and valuable.
- We learned how the ability to recognize an opportunity, and seizing those opportunities, is the core spirit of entrepreneurship from entrepreneur Bill Rancic.
- Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, showed us that with a lot of creative leadership, it’s possible to improve the lives of millions of people.
- Founders of theSkimm, Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin, discussed making news and knowledge easily accessible and being young female leaders of one of the most successful start-ups in millennial culture.
- We heard from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg about the power of our daily habits, and the difference between being productive and being merely busy.
- CEO of Delta Ed Bastian, who was interviewed by President of SEU Dr. Kent Ingle, discussed the importance of humility and truly caring for your employees. He showed that he is a true example of servant leadership.
- We learned the importance of keeping promises from Alex Sheen of the non-profit because I said I would.
- We Are Curio founders, Lakelanders Jason and Hillary DeMeo, gave us incredible insights into design thinking.
- Immigrant rights advocate Julissa Arce shared the incredible journey of her American Dream.
- Caitlin Crosby, founder of The Giving Keys, showed us how words really do have the power to improve people’s lives.
- Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends encouraged us with the thought that when you hit failure or turbulence, you need those times in order to achieve and enjoy your success.
- We were inspired by the words “what if we chose to be great instead of famous?” by SEU alumna and sports broadcaster Kristen Ledlow.
- We ended the day with the fun and informative presentation of the 5 Shark Points by the incomparable Daymond John of Shark Tank fame, who shared the details and principles that led to his rise to success. John also made sure to share the heart behind his drive, and how we can keep ourselves in check as we pursue our own dreams.
Beyond the impactful sessions delivered by each speaker, Forum participants enjoyed live music, humorous videos about common workday struggles, and thoughtfully planned snacks throughout the day.
On the lush grounds of SEU, the participants spent break times networking, enjoying relaxing outdoor living spaces, practicing their golf putting, learning about SEU’s graduate programs, and browsing book titles authored by the Forum speakers. Lunch was available through food trucks and on-campus dining locations. All-Access attendees and Investors also enjoyed an exclusive lounge area with additional food and seating.
Many of the speakers hosted book signings in the SEU bookstore, giving them a chance to personally interact with Forum attendees.
The Forum speakers weren’t the only people in the spotlight during the event.
SEU surprised everyone by awarding a free airline flight for two to Forum attendee Nick Foster, whose name was chosen based on his response to a writing prompt. Foster plans to use the tickets to visit his family up north.
Michelle Ledford, president of local branding agency MADE, was honored as the Forum Leader of the Year. Ledford was recognized for her leadership and her contributions to multiple community and business organizations.
The annual Scholarship Gala served as the finale of the 2018 Forum. Admission to this event was available to sponsors based on purchasing a table of seats, and some levels of sponsors also received Forum tickets as part of their sponsorship package.
“There are things you can only learn from experiences and not from Google,” quipped Jeff Foxworthy, to the room of distinguished guests at the Gala. Foxworthy entertained the group with his signature wit, but he also showed his Christian heart in the way he encouraged the group to find the purpose for which they were created.
“Once you find that purpose, that is the glory of God.”
Foxworthy’s presentation was followed by fan favorite Tim Tebow, who challenged the room with the statement, “Passion is not something someone can take from you when you get knocked down. It’s something that keeps you fighting regardless of the obstacles or adversity.” He encouraged everyone to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves, and discussed the importance of making sacrifices in order to improve the lives of others. “When we can come together for a bigger purpose, we can change other people’s lives.”
In all, the 2018 Forum at SEU was two days of transformation, information, and innovation. We can’t wait to see the impact that this event will have on our attendees and the community.
“You are a solution to something because of your giftedness and your unique value,” said Ingle. “When you are a good steward of this gift, you become the best version of yourself.”