Lessons from the GEARup2LEAD Fall Conference

On Friday, October 2nd, GEARup2LEAD hosted our first fall conference at The Whiting in Flint, MI.  We saw over 1200 people attend with an audience that included students and staff from elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and universities, business owners and staff, organizations such as The Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and many other community members.  The audience came to The Whiting in Flint to be inspired and educated on how to be heroic leaders within the community.   

There were many take aways from the day's events and we have taken the heroic messages from our 13 speakers to create a

How to be a Heroic Leader List

Use this list for yourself, with your class, co-workers, or team.  Watch the talks and create your own list and share it with us on Twitter (@GEARup2LEAD) or on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GEARup2LEAD

Thank you to our sponsors and partners and for the community to make October 2nd a day to remember!


How to be a Heroic Leader

(Click on the speaker’s name and watch their heroic talk)

Chris McDougall: Author of Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes

Just as the Greek’s prepared to take on the Nazi’s in WWII, we can prepare to take on challenges ourselves and not wait for others to save us. "Heroic leaders Know their strengths and skills and have compassion."  “Be useful”  There are two types of people, those that “...know what to do and those that don't have a clue...choose to be a person that knows what to do.”

Dr. Bobby Mukkamala: Local Doctor, activist, and philanthropist

Heroic leaders look at the ground they are standing on and not to the fields in front or behind.  The grass is greener when you choose to fertilize where you are standing.  heroic leaders“Pay attention to the opportunities in front of them...and...find what motivates them.”

Emily Sutton: Meteorologist and Storm Chaser

Heroic leaders "understand the power of observation and the power of spreading information."  By being observant and using the information we gather to help others, we find our storm to chase and go where no one else will dare to go to make a positive difference. “Knowledge is power.” heroic leaders Ask themselves, “...how can I help others?”  and Go out to “...find and chase their storm.”

Dr. Russell Jones: Psychologist and Professor at Virginia Tech University

“What doesn't kill you can make you weaker.”  heroic leaders are "aware of the adversity in their (and others) life and use it as fuel to become stronger."  heroic leaders must be intentional or this adversity could make them weaker. helping others through their challenges and making sure they themselves are not weak because of negative interactions, teach them to use those events as fuel to become stronger.  Heroic leaders take time to “find the triggers” that affect people in a negative way and “support their journey to overcome fear and anxiety.”

Angela Swantek: Heroic Oncology Nurse

Heroic leaders “Speak up...when they See something wrong...they do something about it!”  Heroic leaders use empathy over sympathy. Heroic leaders speak up when they know people are being wronged and are in danger.  They “choose the path and do something about the wrong.”  heroic leaders understand “You have the power to make a change.”

Aaron Donaghy: Heroic Teacher, Founder of The GOeffect

Heroic leaders are intentional in finding what is wrong with the status quo and take action to make it better.  Whether you are in education, own a business, or are a community member, to be a heroic leader means “not being insane...doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result. (Albert Einstein)”  Heroic leaders learn from their mentees as much as the student learns from them.

Denise Keipert: Local Business Owner, Activists

Heroic leaders understand the impact that  “volunteering within their community has on others and on themselves”.  Research shows that by volunteering and helping others, humans can “live longer, reduce depression, and reduce heart disease.”  Heroic leaders volunteer and better yet, encourage others to do the same. Heroic leaders “...take care of each other.”

Travis Thomas: Founder of Live Yes And...

Heroic leaders are courageous, find their passion and commit.  “Leap and the net will appear.”  “When you have a sense of purpose and know who you are...there is nothing you cannot do.”  Heroic leaders sometimes just “figure it out.” and realize the importance of not wondering “what can I get, but rather what can I give.”

David Simancek, Local Heroic Educator

Heroic leaders know that there is “no one coming to save you”, in times of trouble, heroic leaders must “save yourself.”  Heroic leaders do not allow the negative to overweigh the positive.  Heroic leaders understand the Power of 100 and empower others to join the positive movement.  heroic leaders “Step off the curb to save (themselves and others).”

Dr. Mary Tyszkiewicz: Owner of The Heroic Improvisation Company

Heroic leaders can “accomplish anything by collaborating and caring.”  Failure is learning.  Heroic leaders take “fear and turn it into action.”  “If you work with others and have the desire to help, you can be a hero.”  

Heroic leaders follow 5 steps:

  1. Be alert

  2. Ready-what can be helpful?

  3. Connect- build a team

  4. Focus

  5. Move Solution

Heroic leaders practice these skills and are mindful of when they are needed.  Heroic leaders “ACT TOGETHER.”

Kellen Brandon: Founder and CEO of Brandon Publishing

“Heroic leaders fight for being themselves.”  Everyone is straight outta somewhere...heroic leaders are proud of their hometown and “do not allow stereotypes or labelling to keep them from achieving their goals.”  “Natural talent and purpose are key ingredients in being heroic.  Heroic leaders have the mindset that, "Out of 7 billion people on the planet, none of them are like you.”  “To be heroic is to find freedom and remove yourself from labels...heroes do not hide themselves”

Eric Patrick Thomas: Hip Hop artist, Owner of EZ Awareness by Design

Heroic leaders get to know the people around them in order to work together when times are tough.  When challenges appear, heroic leaders sometimes“have to do things you do not want to do.” Heroic leaders fight through the adversity and in the end will always #inspire others.  “A true leader will share the stage.”

Charlie Batch: NFL Quarterback, Founder of Best of the Batch

Heroic leaders go by three principles:

  • Be Ready

  • Be Resident

  • Be a Pro

Heroic leaders “get M.A.D. (Making a Difference).”  

Most of all, heroic leaders, know that the first step before anything else is “showing up.”

The GEARup2LEAD Fall Conference served as a springboard for many heroic actions taking place in school communities, places of business, community organizations, and at home within families.  What did you take away from the day?  What are you doing to develop a Growth Mindset, engage Empathy, take Action and accept responsibility?

Share your ideas and actions on our Facebook page, Twitter page, or go to our website and contact us to come help your team start developing a heroic culture today!

Thank you to all of our heroic leaders that talked on the main stage, led breakout sessions, or helped with the day.  Flint, Genesee County, and beyond is a great place because of all of you!

Pre-Register for the 2016 Fall Conference (Date TBA)


Adam HartleyComment