Speaking to the Shark Tank (high school students)

July 25, 2015 By Tom

There’s an awesome event here in Indy called Creative Mornings, it’s part of an international monthly meetup type series and my friend Brittany played a pivotal role in launching it here last November. Yesterday, my very favorite person, Denver Hutt, was the speaker. She rocked it, truly–if you have 20 minutes and want to be amazed, here’s the speech.

Her speech talks about a lot of things, what collaboration is and isn’t. How people across multiple industries often mistake collaboration with selfish intentions, and how to really define what it means to work together as individuals and as whole companies. She even got to work two of her favorite brands (my words, not hers), Nine13 and United State of Indiana, into the question and answer session.

Timing wise, her talk on collaboration fit in well to an email I got last night. As part of our ongoing relationship with Shortridge High School and being an in-building partner of theirs, we’ve been given a platform to really highlight and be an example of what collaboration and community should be. We’ve been given this amazing opportunity and it’s important to highlight to both the staff and students what being part of the community truly looks like.

So, last night at 10PM, I got an email from the assistant principal of the school asking me to speak as part of their Friday speaker series, Friday Connect. The concept is pretty straight forward (from the email I got):

Shortridge High School, an IB World School serving IPS students grade 9-12, has developed a speaking series titled Friday Connect.  As an IB school, we provide our students opportunities to wrestle with real-world topics by interacting with community members who have a unique story or perspective to share. 

Friday Connect occurs every Friday for 28 minutes, from 10:32 to 11:00.  We think you have a great message or expertise to share with our community. As an in-building partner, our students would benefit from learning about Nine13, the path you took to get here, and your passion for cycling and education.

  • First, I love this idea and the concept and hope to be able to attend many of these Friday Connect speakers over the next year.
  • Second, I can handle press interviews with live shots, boardroom pitches asking for huge checks, breaking the ice for the first time with someone that I want to have as a corporate partner someday, and a million other situations that stress most people out…..but the thought of speaking in front of 450 high school students makes me slightly nervous and a little queasy. I think that’s a fair reaction, right?
  • Third, I’m genuinely excited to put something together for this. It’s been such a twisted path to get to where I’m at today and this will force me to sit down and put pen to paper and create a slide deck to craft a speech that I hope to use not just with these students, but as a staple of my professional speaking as I continue to strive to grow that.
  • Fourth, I’ve said since I first walked into the auditorium at Shortridge that I want to give a speech someday on that stage. It’s beautiful and breathtaking—looks like I’m going to get my shot (if that’s where this is) sooner than I expected.

My swim this morning was a good starting point to give me some time to think and shape what I want the flow of the speech to be. I’ll start crafting the foundation of it this week after I meet with the administrators to get specific details.

I’ll also try my best to make sure it gets recorded and published. Hoping I can call in some favors from a few of my video friends to hang out and shoot some footage.

Got any suggestions for what I should make sure is included? Let me know!