14:42 PM

Olive Leading Charge for TEDxOmaha

TEDxOmaha is celebrating its 10-year anniversary while its parent organization TED celebrates its 30th year and the person leading the charge for “ideas worth spreading” is a Bellevue University adjunct professor.

Strawberry Olive, a former full-time professor at Bellevue University and a current adjunct for the College of Business, is the Executive Producer for TEDxOmaha. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to helping thinkers and doers spread their message. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. Local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x equates to an independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are independently organized.

Olive assumed a leadership role with TEDxOmaha in 2017, taking on a larger role in an organization she has been involved with since she came to Omaha six years ago.

“I reached back out to everybody who was involved and just asked them what was their experience and if they wanted to be involved moving forward. I needed to have a core leadership team,” Olive said. “Last year was our first event as a sort of newly established team. Two things we’re doing a bit different this year is that we started a TEDx women event. It will be a journey with multiple small events to build traction around it. Secondly, we are reaching out to educators, afterschool programs and youth organizations to build awareness, engagement and interest in starting up TEDEd Clubs throughout the community, as part of TEDxOmahaYouth 2020.”

Currently, Olive is hard at work putting together the next TEDxOmaha annual mainstage event. TEDxOmaha will be held this fall, (date TBS). at the Harper Center on the Creighton University campus. The theme will be “Reframe.” Olive encouraged those interested in presenting to visit www.TEDxOmaha.com.

“I think the important thing for people to remember is everyone has a story. Everyone has an idea worth spreading,” she said. “This year we’re looking at those paradigm shifts, turning convention on its head, looking through a different lens.”

Olive said the TEDxOmaha team will sort and categorize the submissions and begin calling candidates in for auditions.

“Last year we had 240 applicants. We’ll take it down to about 24,” Olive said. “Then we’ll ask those people to come forward and audition. The audition is really low key. Its three minutes to get us excited about your idea.” The team will then select about nine presenters for 2019 TEDxOmaha.

“We’re always looking at the program. How can we have some variety in the program in terms of ideas —  humor, serious, technology, education — all kinds of different ideas,” Olive said. “We’ll assign the presenters a speaker coach because a TEDx talk is unlike anything anyone has ever done. It’s not a keynote. It’s not a presentation. It’s not a PowerPoint. It’s not a motivational speech. It’s a conversation with the audience. It’s a totally different type of communication.”

Past TEDx speakers include folks like Tim Guthrie, a Creighton University professor, Lydia Kang, an internal medicine physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Bobby Brumfield, Co-Founder and Governance Committee Chair for the Men Against Domestic Violence Action Coalition. Bellevue University’s Dr. John Kyndt spoke in 2013, and Bellevue University alum Sharon Robino-West presented in 2017.

“That’s what TEDx is all about. It’s about innovative ideas, creativity, ideas worth spreading. What’s new? What’s different? What are those paradigm shifts?” Olive said.

Those same kinds of shifts are currently being explored in the Master of Science in Organizational Performance (MSOP) in which Olive teaches.

“I love the program. I come from a process improvement background, as well as an innovation and creativity background, so for me, the question to ask within industry is ‘how do you do better?’ ” said Olive, who joined Bellevue University in 2014. “Too often organizations just look at the financial numbers and performance appraisals. If you’re going to develop your people, you’ve got to look at coaching and mentoring, you have to get away from the kind of feedback and performance appraisals that are simply a tick box. You need to build human/intellectual capital stimulating creativity and innovation, growth mindset and change”

Working with John Patterson, Program Director of the MSOP program, and the College of Business in general, has been a highlight for Olive.

John is just amazing to work with. If I have a question, he’s always there, immediately gets back,” Olive said. “The College of Business is as well. I pop in every so often just to steal the candy from the candy jar. They’re super. Dean (Rebecca) Murdock is always super helpful.”