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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Teams with Sen. Mark R. Warner to Showcase Leadership in Hampton Roads

By Sarah Huddle

The second annual 2018 Hampton Roads Leadership Summit showed the future of Hampton Roads is on solid footing for economic success and social vibrancy.

The setting, the historic American Theatre in Hampton, provided a fitting metaphor for the goals of the summit. The theater survived two fires and decades of neglect and decay before its revival as a premier arts destination for the region.

Old Dominion University's Center for Regional Excellence, located in the Strome College of Business, coordinated the event. It represented a collaboration of Old Dominion, the Office of U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner and six non-profit leadership programs in Hampton Roads: CIVIC Leadership Institute, LEAD Hampton Roads, LEAD Peninsula, LEAD Historic Triangle, VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads and Reinvent Hampton Roads. Summit co-hosts include Cox Communications, the Port of Virginia, Newport News Shipbuilding, TowneBank and the City of Hampton.

Recent graduates of the four regional leadership development programs heard from area business and government leaders, who spoke about the importance of civic engagement and regional cooperation to strengthen their communities and the region as a whole.

ODU President John R. Broderick welcomed the graduates and partners. He underscored ODU's commitment to regional collaboration to create a more vibrant and successful region. He highlighted leadership in such areas as sea level rise, entrepreneurship and economic development.

Broderick also noted that ODU students bring a spectrum of perspectives to the educational experience, which helps prepare them to succeed in the real world. He encouraged the aspiring leaders not just to surround themselves with people who are just like them, but also to seek out those who bring different perspectives, which reflect the communities they serve.

Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck provided a history of The American Theatre, its struggles and its revival and celebrated the successes achieved through regional cooperation, such as initiatives to improve transportation.

Warner addressed the audience via video, noting that entrepreneurship provides a significant opportunity in the region. He urged recent graduates to inspire others to sign up for the leadership courses.

J.D. Meyers II, senior vice president, region manager, Cox Communications Virginia, introduced keynote speaker Jon Acuff, a New York Times best-selling author of six books, including "Finish: Give yourself the gift of done" and founder of website www.acuff.me.

Acuff led the audience through a humorous and motivational presentation of how to not only initiate a goal, but follow it through to completion.

His main points:

  • Get the size of the goal right. Make it achievable.
  • Choose what to bomb. To succeed, you have to let some things go.
  • You have to make it fun to get it done. Work can be difficult, but you should inject some fun to make it achievable.
  • Eliminate the secret rules. Don't set false barriers to sabotage the achievement of your goals.

The summit concluded with a panel discussion about the importance of civic engagement and how to get involved. Panelists were: Sarah McCoy, general counsel, Virginia Port Authority; Dawna Ellis, chief financial officer, Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate, and Molly Ward, treasurer, City of Hampton.

About the Hampton Roads Leadership Summit

The Summit seeks to:

* Encourage and promote continuing community engagement and service by leadership graduates and young professionals.

* Foster collaboration among the leadership development programs by convening new and past graduates across Hampton Roads on topics of mutual interest.

* Recruit future leadership program participants.

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