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Everyday Leadership

Everyday Leadership

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?

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The Ripple Effect of Violence

The Ripple Effect of Violence

Gary Haugen has seen poverty- from investigating the Rwandan genocide to working with widows in Zambia, he has seen and heard countless stories of poverty and compassion.

In the past 35 years, the number of people in the world living in extreme poverty has decreased from 50% to 15%. But what seems to be an extreme amount of success has not had the effect that we might hope.

According to Haugen, the way to create a massive ripple effect that will eventually shatter the cause of global poverty can happen by addressing one thing: violence.

Watch Gary’s talk below and see how we can move from creating anti-poverty programs to actually ending poverty worldwide.


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Where Are They Now? Kerry Ressler Is a Fear Chaser.

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Kerry Ressler graced the TEDxPeachtree stage in 2012. You may remember his illuminating talk on the neuroscience of emotions, particularly fear, and the possibilities of transcending into new possibilities.

Where is Kerry now? According to a recent article by the Emory Medicine Magazine, Kerry continues on the front lines of fear-disorder research. In his work at Grady Hospital, he is surveying the problem of inner city intergenerational violence. This endeavor, called the Grady Trauma Project, will bring new light to resiliency found in trauma survivors and potentially the means to serve those who have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

We know almost 1/3 of people will at some point in their life have an anxiety disorder which includes PTSD. Kerry’s work may illuminate why some people naturally seem to cope with disaster, while others are overwhelmed with fear. Genes on the neurobiological level could have everything to do with resiliency and could then be passed on generationally. That would mean that fear is inheritable, and that may shed a new light on how we approach it. Kerry is passionate about helping cure and illuminate hope for those suffering now, so that their children won’t have to.

At TEDxPeachtree, we are grateful to have featured speakers like Kerry that continue to illuminate the possibilities for a better world. Watch his 2012 talk below to learn more about his work and stay tuned for more updates on past speakers throughout the summer.

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 Nia Baker has lived in Atlanta almost ten years, the longest she’s lived anywhere, and has worked in the nonprofit sector for the last five years, focusing on effective systems and creative communication. Nia enjoys Atlanta street art, french press coffee, and a really good adjective.

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Rethink Changing the World and Illuminate Generosity


I have spent many work days and late nights dreaming of how I might leave my mark on the world — maybe ending disease, creating a profound work of art, or starting the next great social movement. Whatever it is, my daydreams are always grandiose and complex. Jeff Shinabarger of Plywood People has different daydreams about changing the world, though, and I want to take a page from his book (literally, check it out here).

In Jeff’s TEDxPeachtree talk in 2013, he described what he sees as a practical way to change the world — give out of your excess.

He turns the idea of generosity on its head, and follows the same spirit as fellow TED veteran Chris Abani:

“The world is never saved in grand messianic gestures but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft almost invisible acts of compassion.”

So go illuminate the world in your own quiet, profound way today — but first, learn from Jeff about how it can look below:

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Molly Heacock is the Community Relations Director at CARE for AIDS, an Atlanta based non-profit that works with men and women affected by HIV/AIDS in Kenya. She lives in Ormewood Park with her husband and dog, and cannot get enough of TEDxPeachtree.

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