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Second Annual Program Highlights Value Of Leadership

March 12, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Being a leader means more than being a chief executive officer who wears a suit and tie to work, according to Kristy Vienne, assistant vice president for Student Services and director of SHSU’s OneCard Services.

“A leader is not necessarily someone who is defined at work but is someone who has principles, moral character and knows how to impact change in their community,” she said. “You might not consider yourself a leader, but you make choices every day that impact someone else’s life.

“Most people don’t see themselves in that role, so a program of this caliber helps individuals to see that a leader is not someone who walks on water or is a typical CEO,” she said. “We are all leaders and we all make choices that impact those around us. Whether we want to be or not, we need to learn to be the best leader that we can, that servant leader kind of role.”

Sam Houston State University has accepted the challenge to help leaders be the best they can, joining with more than 600 other universities and corporations that will bring together an anticipated 125,000 people from across the country for the second annual Huntsville-Walker County Leadercast on May 4.

The national Chick-fil-A-sponsored simulcast will be from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

The leadercast will include 10 presentations by nationally recognized lecturers, who will be speaking live from Atlanta on a variety of topics. The lectures will be broadcast to audiences across the country.

Among this year’s speakers are Soledad O’Brien, CNN anchor and special correspondent; Tim Tebow, NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner; Marcus Buckingham, strength strategies and best-selling author; Angela Ahrendts, chief executive officer for Burberry; Roland Fryer, professor of economics at Harvard University and CEO of the Education Innovation Laboratory; and Urban Meyer, ESPN analyst and former head coach for the University of Florida.

Registration will begin at 7 a.m. on the day of the event, followed by a live emcee at 7:45 a.m. and presentations that will begin at 8 a.m. Lunch will also be served during the event.

The theme for this year’s leadercast is “choices,” encouraging audiences to “Make a choice. Make an impact.”

“I feel like every person gets something different out of the event,” said Vienne, who chairs the leadercast committee. “There is such a variety of speakers that I feel everyone can walk away with a message that impacts them and a message that helps them to make a difference; this event has something for everyone.

“I think that most people who attend something like this go in with a willingness to learn and a willingness to want to become an effective leader. As long as people go with that kind of open mind into it, each person will leave with something that’s beneficial to them in some aspect of their life.”

The event, which is open to the members of the Huntsville and Walker County communities, has gained a lot of momentum, solely through word-of-mouth.

“We really wanted to have a program that would be beneficial to our whole community and would be something that our leaders and emerging leaders could learn from; something that would bring us together as a community,” Vienne said. “This is one of the only large-scale programs we do as a whole community. This is not just about the leadership program but a program that helps our community come together with a common goal in mind, helps understanding what it means to build leaders, and presents a networking opportunity for all the various parties at one event.”

Corporate sponsors and other local entities have allowed SHSU to host the event for $50-55 per ticket. The simulcast can cost as much as $200 per ticket in other areas. Nearly all of SHSU’s 850 available tickets have been sold out, including a planned overflow capacity.

Employees who attend the leadercast can earn professional development, or continuing education, credit.

“I feel like it’s a really good opportunity to hear first-class leaders, and we’re doing it at a fraction of the cost of sending people to other leadership seminars around the country,” Vienne said. “It’s something that’s meaningful, it’s beneficial and based on the economy, it’s definitely at a price value that people can afford, and it’s worth the investment in terms of their professional career and the networking potential.”

The Chick-fil-A Leadercast was begun as “a different kind of leadership conference” in 2000 by John C. Maxwell. GiANT Impact celebrated its 10th anniversary as what is now known as Chick-fil-A Leadercast in 2010, during which more than 85,000 leaders participated in 17 countries around the world.

Tickets are limited. Those interested in individual tickets should visit the online registration at http://www.shsu.edu/~slo_stdss/leadercast/tickets.html, and those interested in sponsorship should contact Vienne at 936.294.2277.



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