This post is mostly just a “thank you” along with a little look behind-the-scenes…
Last week, I submitted a proposal for a conference called SXSWEco. More on the conference itself, later, if I can convince you to read as far. :) I posted the proposal on my social media accounts, and encouraged friends and family to vote. Through the Panel Picker process, in order to actually make it as a speaker to SXSWEco, I have to not only have some support on social media (30% of overall feedback is social media), 30% of input will come from the staff and how much they see my proposal fitting into the overall SXSWEco program, as well as 40% of input coming from the Advisory Board of tried and true professionals. Quite the process, eh?
So first, thank you! If you’re reading this, that probably means that you read my “thank you for voting” post on Facebook earlier this week. :)
Now, for the look behind the scenes…
A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail about submitting a proposal for a little conference in Austin, Texas called SXSWEco. Hands down, one of the highlights of my 2015 was speaking at SXSWedu and, as a result, being able to attend SXSW. Meeting Dewey Winburne’s, one of South By’s co-founders, family and friends, being a part of that community, and learning so much about that amazing city, throughtaking nearly 2 weeks to gain so much on behalf of its character was a ridiculously INSPIRING way to kick of the spring. Growing Everyday Philanthropy, re-engaging with Actively Caring, and growing all of HESONWHEELS has continued to be some of my larger goals for the coming months and the rest of this year.
So, when I began to learn about SXSWEco, I’ll be honest: I was insatiably eager to take advantage of this opportunity to head back to Austin and learn even more about this great city, and experience another positive way that the SXSW family of festivals is positively impacting not only the community there but the world.
Through my lens, SXSWEco is focused on creating a space where business leaders and innovators can collaborate to advance solutions that drive economic and environmental change. My big focus, particularly with the session I proposed, is all about social change. The “Everyday Philanthropy” and “HESONWHEELS” ideas would be used as sort of a loose case study when it comes to highlighting a brand that sells nothing – but has the potential to do so much.
As I mentioned in the proposal, as a full-time employee that does something completely different, through several simple tactics I maintain this brand as a representation of community service, self-leadership, anti-bullying, diversity and inclusion, acceptance, and simply: tolerance in light of difference, etc.. Those “simple tactics” are what will be the focus of this session that I’ve been working on (hopefully not jinxing myself; I’d love to present this other places too, along with some research I’ve been working on this month). Those tactics, both empirical and practical, will be shared with whomever decides to attend…so that they can use those brand-building-blocks, so to speak, in their own start ups, companies, adventures…wherever!
When I visited Austin 2 months ago for the “main” South by Southwest events, I took a lot of time to dive into the Austin community in two ways that really matter a lot to me: through education and through start ups. I spent quite a bit of time with local, Hokie, and other start ups who were all based out of the Capital Factory. Through my adventures of meeting 1 new person everyday, I stumbled upon an absolutely fascinating opportunity to go out to Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School and work with their fourth graders on the importance of being socially engaged, not-bullying, and accepting the differences in the people around them, especially their fellow classmates.
When I left Austin, it wasn’t the late nights, the 1-too-many Lonestar Beers, or the sessions that I went to that really made an impact. It was the students I met volunteering during their Spring Break from the University of Texas (Austin), just trying to soak up some of the experience from the great minds around them. It was the time that I took to venture far outside of downtown to connect with those amazing, amazing kids.
I want more of that. I want to get back to Austin. I hope this works out.
And thank you to you for your part in helping that happen. Wish me luck!