DAN HOWELL: ‘Take My Kidney…Please’
Being in the position to give life to another is pretty powerful. The question is, if you could – would you? Would you become a living kidney donor. There are some people who would not think twice, and one of those is Dan Howell, who became the 18th living kidney donor at University of Minnesota in 2018. But even Dan, the altruistic, eternal optimist who has Captain Underpants as his personal role model, had a moment of self-doubt despite being raised to believe “if you are ever in a position and privileged enough to help someone, regardless of what sacrifices you need to make, you need to do it. Because that is why you are here”.
MEG BUSING: ‘Yes You Can’
Meg takes us on a roller coaster journey that started on a fateful afternoon as a 14 year old pulled from a car wreck. When everything changed in an instant. More damaged on the inside, she quickly discovered that while some scars heal, the effects of traumatic brain injury don’t go away. “Loss changes you forever, right? From my experience of loosing part of who I am I know how we react is a choice. And my choice is not to let my disability define me” Turing tragedy into triumph, every barrier that is thrown up provides a new pathway, every “you cant” is turned into a “I can” leading to founding a non-profit for kids and young adults with epilepsy, to come together to see all they CAN do at the Midwest YouCaN Foundation.
DR. JEFF SNELL: Catastrophe is in the Eye of the Beholder
In this talk, Dr Jeff Snell asks us to walk in another’s’ shoes and imagine, if you will, an accident has left you with your neck broken, your spinal cord damaged, unable to move your body. What would you do? While technology can provide amazing support, it is you and your resilience that is the critical factor. Posttraumatic growth, or the ability to “bounce back”, and adapt to change in a positive manner is pivotal to how you decide to react and take control of your life from that point on. To choose whether change is to be feared and avoided, or embraced and accepted? Jeff explores the neuroscience but also shares some very simple exercises that are relevant to all of us facing challenges and wanting to build resilience – starting with five minutes at the end of the day.
BOBBY BRUMFIELD: Human Connection is the Foundation of Security Strategy
It takes many cups of tea and conversations to build trust and community, and that community is critical to our security regardless of country or context. This is something Bobby Brumfield first learnt as a US Marine in Afghanistan before moving to law enforcement, and finally organizational security; It starts with the individual. Bobby tackles a critical area of security and community, and challenges all of us to not only rethink how we view security, but acknowledge and step up to the role each of us have to play, as individual community security building blocks.
LACEY STUDNICKA: Meet One: The Power of Welcoming Refugees
Lacey has been welcoming refugees for seventeen years, and in her talk she points out that you don’t choose to flee your country, your home, and undertake highly perilous journeys unless you are forced to do so. However, some people do have a choice, and that is us, and our choice is how we welcome our new neighbors. Lacey really challenges all of us to reframe how they see individuals from other communities, and to take the first step; go and talk to and meet a refugee, and be transformed.
MIAH SOMMER: How Nonprofits Can Miss the Individual
40% of young adults aging out of foster care are unemployed – so in an era of low unemployment, why is that and what can be done to change it? Self-confessed rebel with a cause, Miah Sommer has an answer. However, to get there, he challenges us to rethink our mental model of non-profits – particularly the ‘size’ and ‘quantity’ dimensions. When we only focus on measuring success and effectiveness using a ‘bigger is better’ metrics, then we run the risk thinking the smaller nonprofit is ineffective. In a funny and thought-provoking talk, Miah seeks to disprove the mainstream perception, providing a different, and equally successful equation for non-profits. That of small and focused. Especially when serving people, and especially when many of them are vulnerable and at risk and often fall off the radar. As a social entrepreneur, moreover a juvenile delinquent entrepreneur, Miah feels he has more in common with those he serves that those who donate funding. He founded The Bike Union Mentoring Project to provide workforce development and social skills for young adults impacted by the foster care system. He and the team have found that by focusing on a few individuals at a time, they can provide greater longer lasting impact. It takes a long time to build trust, skills and confidence, and that is critical in enabling those in the project to take control of their lives and destinies. Miah feels like Jean Vanier, that instead of changing the world, there is a place for those who seek to provide a little light… and a lot of little lights make just as big an impact.
How often, when we encounter a problem, have we caught our ‘ego’ coming in hard and fast driving our reactions and actions? It becomes exhausting, because we continually place ourselves as the center of the action creating ‘drama’ as victims of micromanaging boss, demanding colleagues, and more. In this thought provoking and pragmatic talk, Cy Wakeman, challenges us all to ‘ditch the drama’, take our ‘ego’ out of the picture and reframe what is ‘actually’ happening. When we do that, we refocus our energy and talent. Not only do we find more creative solutions to our world and the challenges we face, but in doing so live happier and more productive lives. Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, global thought-leader, and New York Times best-selling author recognized for her reality-based approach to leadership and life. Recognized for her reality-based approach to leadership and life. Deemed “the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace,” her Reality-Based Leadership Philosophy has helped thousands of organizations like Facebook, Google, Pfizer, and National Institutes of Health learn to harness energy wasted in drama and reinvest that effort into achieving profound results and true employee engagement.
TIM GUTHRIE: An Artist’s Journey Through Love and Loss
In this beautiful, poignant, vulnerable and at times funny talk, Artist Tim Guthrie shares a personal journey of the great love and loss of his wife Beth Broderick. Having stepped away completely from the world of art during his wife’s illness, Tim finds himself reluctantly and accidently re-engaging in art as he travels the globe revisiting places Beth had loved, eventually creating an award-winning documentary called “Missing Piece” – but which he calls a ‘Love Letter’. He felt that moving back into art was an unbearable trade off and betrayal. An Artists Journey Through Love and Loss, explores the grieving and healing process that is unique to each one of us. Wherever you are on that journey Tim will be there to listen to what you have to say and offer you the same meta that Beth gave to others, asking you to share the words also: “May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be safe. May you know my gratitude and love”
MATT WALKER: From What to Where
This was an original composition from musician Matt Walker, in the program at TEDxOmaha 2018 this beautiful piece followed Tim Guthrie’s talk, and the mindfulness meditation core of this music is best appreciated when following Tim’s talk.
In this original composition, musician Matt Walker utilizes an array of guitar effect pedals to weave together both haunting and harmonious layers in an ever-growing soundscape. His inspiration originated from the event theme, ‘Time to Engage’, but also became a vehicle to charter his own, very personal journey back into the sonic world of electric guitar. Exploring methodical and organic repetition in sound marked a ‘re-engagement’ with his passion and creative fascination. An innovative exhibit designer by day, Matt is also one-half of synthpop duo Vital Organs and a composer with the performance ensemble aetherplough.
MICHELLE BANDUR: My Big Fat Nose
Time to listen to the next talk from TEDxOmaha 2018 Time to Engage, and we are engaging with Michelle Bandur as she shares her story of being bullied My Big Fat Nose. Who does not like to get money in the post – but if that $1 is accompanied by a spiteful message; “use it to fix your big fat nose”, what do you do? When that happened to investigative TV journalist and six times Ironman Michelle Bandur, it was a gut punch that took her back to her childhood. She cried a little, then turned around, raised more money and co-founded a junior-tri club. Bringing young girls together from across the community, to learn how to swim, bike, and run, building their own resilience and self-efficacy to face bullies and more. From Michelle, the team, and the all the girls in the tri-club – a message back to that bully “Thank you”
This year, we chose the theme Time to Engage. Through the voices, ideas and experiences of ten inspiring speakers and performers from our community, we will explore together what engagement, disengagement and re-engagement means in the world in which we live, work and play.
During our lives we engage with people, groups, ideas, causes, and then we disengage, sometimes through reasons beyond our control. Are we just flotsam to drift without meaning, or are we driven by a sense of purpose? Are we active or passive in our actions and relationships? How and why do individuals and groups become engaged or disengaged and what causes re-engagement whether at work, in our communities, at a local, national or global level.
Sometimes the decisions are made for us, sometimes it is a deliberate action. What are the sparks that drive us and what are the cycles that move us to action? Does passion or curiosity drive the researchers, writers, artists, engineers, and scientists within and amongst us, and what engages our imagination and curiosity to discover new ideas and break boundaries.
We invite you to watch the videos of a group of extraordinary people who have experienced what Time to Engage means and how it has impacted their lives and the lives of others.