I had the pleasure and honor of being part of the annual LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance (LSYAA) meeting in Austin, TX this past week. The meeting this year was extra special because I was part of the planning subcommittee. The days of sitting back and just attending were out the window. All hands were on deck for me this year which meant a couple cool things…
- I got to intimately connect with some amazing people involved with planning this important meeting and learn lots (Thanks Craig, Jen, Beth & Kelli!)
- I got to eat lots of amazing tex mex and bar-b-que in Austin with some amazing young adult advocates: doctors and researchers
- I got to present LSYAA awards to member organizations in a borrowed tuxedo top and bow tie, shorts, running shoes and LIVESTRONG cycling socks
- And most importantly, I had the humbling job of identifying and inviting some compelling speakers which had a profound impact on my future thoughts and actions
Before I get my fourth bullet and the reason for my blog, a quick background on the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance for those of you new to our work. This group is a coalition of organizations working as a program of LIVESTRONG to improve quality of life, quality of care and survival rates for adolescent and young adults facing cancer. UCF was a founding member of this organization and has been working for the past six years to implement the goals set forth by the Progress Review Group Report produced by LIVESTRONG and The National Cancer Institute.
Back to the fourth bullet and reason for this blog…
The speaker we had that really left a lasting impression on me was Michael Slaby from Edelman in Chicago. Slaby’s talk was entitled “The Power of Community”. I invited him to talk about “social media” and “new media” and how organizations could more effectively use these mediums and tools to build communities. He talked to his experiences working on President Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 and how the real secret sauce in building communities isn’t necessarily a “new” or “social media” phenomenon, but rather a more meaningful focus on who you are and what you value.
Slaby went on to propose several critical questions throughout his talk I’m currently asking our own organization and I encourage you to do the same. Once these questions are truthfully answered, you can email, facebook and twitter away to build stronger communities to support your organization, your campaign and/or your company.
- How do you be a community-based organization that is meaningful?
- Who are you?
- What are you?
- What are your Values, Mission, Strategy & Tactics?
- What does the community think your values are?
- Do your values drive your mission or vice versa?
- Does your organization/company participate with people? – it’s not about telling people what to do
- Are you honest – do you pass the genuine test? Do you care and can people see that?
- Do you have a drumbeat – a consistent message people internally get tired of hearing?
In addition to Slaby, there were many other really powerful speakers at the meeting. One I’ll highlight is the Keynote given by the UCF 2011 Ulman Family Founders Award recipient Ethan Zohn.
Ethan Zohn Keynote at LSYAA Annual Meeting
Ethan Zohn Blue Jeans Ball Invite Video
A special thanks to Mike, Ethan and all the other amazing individuals for making this conference special and helping further the young adult cancer fight!