The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR summits on innovative leadership

By Perla Gonzalez/reporter

Using personal and historical references, a guest speaker described the role of a leader as part of Trinity River’s ninth Leadership eXperience Summit Nov 19.

Businesswoman and author Theresa A. Dear presented Leading Beyond the Margin to about 50 TCC students and faculty.

“How can you lead beyond the margin unless you go to the margin?” she asked.

Dear’s mother and father died when she was 11 and 18, respectively. Placed into foster care, she said no one spoke about college. She would do domestic work with her great aunt who received only $35 a day.

But their employers talked to her about college every day. She thought this goal almost impossible to reach until one day after waking up at 4 a.m. to start her two-hour train ride to work, she saw several students.

When she realized they were coming from college, she said, “One day, I’m going to go to Loyola University in Chicago.”

Graduating valedictorian in a class of 216 students and only nine blacks, she was offered a full college scholarship but rejected it to pursue her dream of attending Loyola. There, she lived off scholarships the first two years and then worked the last two.

The successful minister and philanthropist credits her intellect to reading.

She quoted John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” saying it is a reminder that the margin has changed and it is better to lead others from the margin to help oneself succeed. 

She said issues such as bullying, suicide and racial discrimination are important.

“Fear is an intermittent companion,” she said. “It either propels us to action or causes us to stay still.”

Dear said that idea fits the current post-economic decline with so many recent college graduates unemployed.

“People have been marginalized in the past three years,” she said.

Previously, a person’s worth was measured by the quantity of material things they owned, Dear said. Today, leadership is a product of knowledge and innovation.

Dear offered four ideas to obtain this type of leadership: game change, globe it, groom giants and give back.

The first, game change, requires someone willing to change the architecture of innovation, change the current path to one that leads to success and not be afraid to challenge the status quo.

She related this type of person with Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, the Tea Party and Mark Zuckerberg. She said a person with these qualities would need the ability to walk into a room and demand diversity. She challenged the audience to change boundaries and parameters to erase margins.

The second concept, globe it, is based on continuous outsourcing to other countries. Dear said all citizens should create and advance but also appreciate other countries’ customs and traditions.

The third type is grooming giants. Dear referred to the young community as a group people unleash rather than lead.

“Real generosity lies in giving to the future,” she said about giving back, the last concept.

Dear said it takes only one person to break with indifference and one to go against the flow.

“Let it not be said that we watched more than we changed,” she said.

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