TEDxSMU - What a day!

Gail Davis, 05 December 2011

A Saturday during the holidays spent at an all-day speaker event? It was hands down the best decision of many holidays in recent years. Which is why I spent Saturday feeding my mind at TEDxSMU with the newest member of our team, Sarah Leverett.

I did have one important hint. Besides the fact that it was a TED event, I knew that anything Jim and Carole Young are involved in is sure to be a winner. This did not disappoint.

So I headed downtown to the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. I’d never been. Honestly, it was my first time on the ground to really understand the Dallas Arts District. I think it is a good thing that I moved from the suburbs. I am surprised daily at the amazing offerings of Dallas. So much has changed in the 20 years I spend in suburbia!

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The End of the Up Experience Didn’t Leave Me Down

Gail Davis, 10 November 2011

Up ExperienceOkay, hokey title. But you get it. The Up Experience lived up to its name.

If this is all new to you, click here and here and here to get caught up on this event and the amazing speakers I was able to see. Almost 20 speakers in one day!

Dr. Brene Brown kicked off the last session with an Alumni update. This is interesting concept. Each year they bring back someone who has spoken at a previous UP and have them give an alumni update. Brene has a wonderful calm, soothing pace…

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Up, Up, Up. The Up Experience Part 3

Gail Davis, 08 November 2011

Up Experience(If this is the first time you’re reading The UP Experience, click here and here. I promise you won’t regret getting caught up.)

For the first time, I was able to hear “Chef Jeff” (Jeff Henderson) speak. What an impressive human being. He earned the first standing ovation of the day.

I have always believed that at our core we love the comeback stories. And when you’re sitting the audience actually seeing and hearing a comeback, it’s even better. Chef Jeff turned his life around when he learned to cook in prison. He has published cookbooks and been on national television. His message is simple…. Take control of your life, whether it is your personal life or your work life.

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Round 2 of the Up Experience

Gail Davis, 04 November 2011

Up ExperienceAs I explained in my last blog, I had the opportunity to attend the Up Experience in Houston last week. It was a fantastic day full – and I mean very full – of speakers, but it felt like a perfectly performed symphony. I left uplifted and informed and inspired.

The day was broken into segments, four speakers per segment. Each speaker got 20 minutes. Here’s my take on segment 2. (Click here if you want to read about Segment 1.)

The second “Houston Up Close speaker”, Laura Spanjian, kicked off segment two. Laura is the Sustainability Director for the City of Houston. Her passion and commitment to transform Houston into the electric car hub and a true green city were inspiring.

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The Up Experience, Truly Uplifting

Gail Davis, 02 November 2011

Up ExperienceThe Up Experience is aptly named. Organizers Ernie and Sheryl Rapp painstakingly create a real experience for each attendee.

Held in suburban Houston, the one-day event could feel like a “fire hose” kind of day. We’ve all been to one day events where you leave exhausted. Not the case with the Up Experience. The pace is perfect – partly due to the string quartet interspersed throughout the day – but mostly due to the format and speaker combination.

Great effort is put into selecting the perfect combination of speakers. The day is broken into four segments. In each segment, four speakers are each given 20 minutes. At the end of the segment, there is a 30-minute break. Attendees can use the break to refresh, check in with the office, or meet with the speaker for a deeper dive. Each speaker is in a smaller gathering area answering questions.

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An Audience with the Dalai Lama

Gail Davis, 10 May 2011

Several members of my team and I attended the 10th Hart Global Leaders Forum yesterday at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) McFarlin Auditorium. We were there to watch his Holiness, the Dalai Lama, receive the SMU Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree. It was an experience to remember.

First, the process of getting to our seats. Due to security concerns we were notified we had to be in our seats 30 minutes early as the doors would be locked and no cell phones or purses would be allowed. Do you know how weird it is to go anywhere without your cell phone these days? It turns out President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura Bush, were also in the audience.

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