I was in a bookstore last week searching for a gift for a friend’s birthday when I wandered through the leadership and self help section. I walked past title after title touting leadership advice- all from great leaders who have certainly proven their expertise in the field. Looking at all of the authors and titles, I found myself conceptualizing leadership as a future state of being, as if I should be preparing myself for a time in my life, maybe 10 years down the road, when I would truly be considered a leader.
Then, I remembered the words of Drew Dudley- one of my favorite TED speakers:
“As long as we make leadership something bigger than us, we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it every day from ourselves and each other.”
In 2011 Dudley gave a talk called Everyday Leadership at TEDx Toronto, and his simple point has always stuck with me. We should expect great acts of leadership from ourselves every day. If we continually operate under the assumption that leadership is a future tense description, we can lull ourselves into being less than extraordinary.
Take a few moment (6 minutes to be exact) and watch the whole talk below. How can you practice and acknowledge everyday leadership this week?
If you’ve been in Atlanta the last several days, you’ll “feel the heat” that’s been radiating through our streets as the temperature has risen to almost 100 degrees. This heat affects people in different ways. For some, it’s an opportunity to find a body of water or pool as we enter summer. For others, we crank up the air conditioning in our offices and homes. In buildings that use natural light, this requires a lot of energy and cost. As we think about the environment, we have questions about how to ethically and responsibly cool our buildings.
In this talk from TEDxUSC, Doris Kim Sung, a “biology student turned architect” explains how by engineering thermo-bimetal that functions like human skin, we can create structures that provide shade and self-ventilate, essentially creating a metal that “breathes.” Sung shares about the creative ways architects are thinking about modern buildings to more efficiently and effectively serve us.
For National Poetry Month, we celebrate TEDxPeachtree 2012 speaker Ayoka Chenzira who will receive the Legacy of Leadership Award from Spelman College at the National Women of Color Conference this year. This conference recognizes dynamic women who are visionaries leading in the field of technology.
Chenzira is an educator and international award-winning video artist. She is one of the first African Americans to teach film production in higher education. A pioneer in Black independent cinema, Chenzira is one of the first African-American women to write, produce and direct a 35mm feature film, “Alma’s Rainbow,” one of Billboard Magazine’s top 40 home video rentals. She is also noted as the first African-American woman animator.
Chenzira has worked and lectured extensively on film throughout the United States, South America, and Europe; traversing the African continent collecting oral narratives from women, as well as training and mentoring emerging filmmakers. She is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including a Sony Innovator Award for her early work with converging film, video and computer animation.
In 2002, she was honored with the Trailblazer Award from Atlanta’s Black Women’s Film Preservation Society. Chenzira became the first African-American professor to receive a Distinguished Educator Award from technology giant and innovator Apple for her work with storytelling and digital technology in 2003.
A Question of Trust: The Impact Across Generations in Atlanta Salon was a great launch of our candid discussion of how local and regional issues around (dis)trust shapes infrastructure, lifestyle, interactions and productivity across Atlanta from the perspective of Millennial, Gen X and Boomer generations. The development of trust is one of the most important elements of the establishment of groups and communities — it can be the difference between social cohesion and social solidarity. Trust can influence people’s attitudes and behaviors, and the effects of these attitudes and behaviors can have lasting impacts.
Our goal for this salon was to develop real solutions to real challenges around the question of trust within our communities. We shared Rachel Botman’s TED talk: “The Currency of the New Economy is Trust” to spur our diverse and intergenerational audience into deep thought. Attendees came up with issues of trust as it relates to public officials, law enforcement, equality in neighborhood growth and the education system. Because of unique generational experiences, the audience was able to leverage its broad life experience in a very open and candid environment, which was well received by all. The group broke into small pods which will focus on the key issues and their thoughts on the solution over the coming months. The TEDxPeachtree Salon Squad will vote on the pod that makes the most progress on implementing their solution and they will be invited to present at the annual TEDxPeachtree event in November.