Talk about leadership tedxcreightonu brings an array of speakers to the stage for a day of insight, calls to action sponsored by creighton university omaha.com youtube gas station karaoke

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“Just like TED Talks, we are an innovator,” said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, in opening the event. “The topics we’ll hear about today are diverse and further demonstrate how our campus community is engaging solutions and leading conversations to take us into the future.”

Meditating on topics ranging from homelessness to happiness, minimalism to generational angst, health care to sobriety, food justice to mental health, and the oft-ignored history of Omaha’s fraught race relations, the speakers brought forth what lessons they’ve learned, be it over the relatively brief period of a traditional undergraduate’s life or lifelong work in academia or community.

Speaking on intergenerational conflict and revolution, both Leah Georges, PhD, an assistant professor in Creighton’s Graduate School, and Cory Wilson, a student at Creighton School of Law, reflected on what people, unhitched from the expectations of their birthdate, can accomplish.

“Many of the generations we consider to be our greatest generations left incredibly rich legacies of rebellion,” he said. “They had the courage to rebel against the inherent wrongs of their time when the tyrannies became the status quo. What if we started right here and asked ourselves what the greatest wrong is today that’s become the status quo?”

“The stories of our past directly inform our present and future,” said Hayes, who revealed a new project, North Omaha Information Support Everyone (NOISE), that is putting journalism and community action in the hands of North Omahans and their neighbors.

“Many times we come into a community and offer programs and service, but they’re disconnected from the culture of that community,” he said. “The culture of our community matters. Charity can happen from a distance. Charity is well-intentioned desire to see change happen.

If it sounds impossible, other speakers talked about the mounting challenges of other movements facing other leaders, some who may have been perceived as unprepared for or overmatched by daunting realities but who nevertheless drew on reserves of strength.

Creighton history professor Heather Fryer, PhD, from the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke of the steady, quiet leadership of Patrick Okura, a Japanese American who, with the help of Boys Town founder the Rev. Edward J. Flanagan, helped bring about a quiet civil-rights revolution stemming from the unthinkable hardship Americans of Japanese descent faced during World War II.

“Leaders don’t always have to have followers and if they do, they don’t have to focus on them,” Fryer said. “What they need to lead is a consistent set of values they believe in. They show them, share them, and don’t care about the response. They invite people along.

That leadership is something borne out of millennia of human experience, as recognized by Todd Darnold, PhD, of the Heider College of Business, who spoke about how, in finding values in the simple and the connective, people stand to do worthwhile, good and important things in their lives and the lives of others.