Guest Author: Samantha Whitehorne, Associations Now
At ASAE’s 2018 Great Ideas Conference, Sunday’s Main Stage Speakers, Fredi Lajvardi and Kelly McDonald, challenged attendees to embrace diversity of thought to better serve their organizations, members, and missions—and to ultimately fuel innovation.
What can association professionals learn from a STEM educator who led a team of disadvantaged high schoolers to win a university-level underwater robotics competition, where they defeated leading schools like top-ranked MIT?
Plenty, said Fredi Lajvardi, who shared the story of his team’s success as one of Sunday’s Main Stage Speakers at ASAE’s 2018 Great Ideas Conference at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
“If life doesn’t give you a dream, build one,” he said. “That’s what we did.”
For example, when he started teaching these students, he realized how willing they were to give up and to remain mediocre. So Lajvardi decided he needed an extracurricular activity to engage them. What began as an electric car team morphed into a robotics team years later.
This new team was successful, according to Lajvardi, because any student with any interest—be it programming, computer drafting, or marketing—was welcome to join. He urged attendees to do the same in their associations.