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New Innovator Series Launched with Thought Leader Rebecca Ryan

Rebecca Ryan addressed a diverse group of 140 Shoals business leaders, young entrepreneurs and innovators on February 16, 2016, at George’s 217 in Sheffield as part of our newly created UNA Speaker Series with Rebecca RyanInnovator Series. The event was presented by the UNA College of Business and the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library.

Ryan is the author of ReGENERATION: A Manifesto for America’s Future Leaders (2013) and Live First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next Generation (2007), founder of Next Generation Consulting, Resident Futurist at the Alliance for Innovation and a Senior Fellow at CEOs for Cities. She’s one of the country’s most innovative thought leaders and a dynamic speaker. “Her message fits well with what we’re doing with Strategic Doing, Shoals Big Idea, Idea Audition, 3 Minute Pitch contest and The Generator, UNA's student incubator” says College of Business Executive in Residence Janyce Fadden. “She was very encouraging about these programs.”

“When I think about communities who have gone through a magnificent heyday and then things start to feel a little quieter, in some ways what communities have, is just their perseverance.  They’re not going anywhere and the Shoals is a place that hasn’t quit." Ryan said in a subsequent interview after her visit to the Shoals.  Since your community launched the Strategic Doing initiative and Shoals Shift initiative, I think the approach is exactly right for where you are, very grassroots, from the bootstraps up, let’s not wait for somebody to do this for us but let’s figure out what we can do on our own. Not only is this a good strategy because it’s far more ennobling for a community than writing for a huge grant from the Department of Labor and crossing your fingers, but also in a community of your size, you’re small enough that people can know each other and that is a huge asset.”

Ryan’s engaging talk was inspiring and encouraging. You can watch a video of her talk here. Also, please contact Janyce Fadden in the College of Business to stay up to date on future events in the Innovator Series.

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