UT launches program to help area students find personal ‘swagger’

February 19, 2013 | Events, UToday
By Amelia Acuna



The University of Toledo is partnering with a local motivational speaker to help inspire area high school students to find their passion for education and their personal “swagger.”

The Leadership with Swagger initiative will kick off Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 10:30 a.m. in the Memorial Field House East Lobby.

The effort includes a motivational program designed to help give students confidence and a chance to define their own swagger through a group project in which they will develop and present a marketing plan for the University during an event in April.

John Henry Livingston, a motivational speaker and trainer and founder of Whirlwind U, a personal branding institute, is launching the Leadership with Swagger campaign in partnership with Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs.

“What if back in 1992 when Wheaties had Michael Jordan as a brand spokesperson, Wheaties had him include along with ‘Better eat your Wheaties,’ ‘Better do your homework’? That slight addition could have had a major impact on a generation by placing emphasis on the importance of education without compromising Wheaties’ objective of using Mr. Jordan to bring more awareness to their brand,” Livingston said. “We are challenging these high school students to come up with a Wheaties-like brand for The University of Toledo and while doing so explore what swagger means to them and embrace it to be a future leader.”

Livingston is incorporating his marketing skills with the Lifeplan: A Journey of Choices, Decisions and Consequences Program, which is a highly interactive, discovery-based learning initiative developed by Root Learning of Sylvania for the Lifeplan Institute of California; it helps participants navigate the path of life, avoid its most common pitfalls, and become successful, thriving adults. The entire Lifeplan training program takes about nine weeks to complete.

“I often speak about how important it is to create your own professional brand, and this initiative builds on that by encouraging high school students to define what leadership with swagger means to them,” Burns said. “While doing that, the program also gives us insight into what appeals to high school students as they are considering what college or university to attend that will help with our UT branding efforts.”

In addition to Livingston and Burns, other speakers at the kickoff will be Bill Axe, athletic director at Central Catholic High School, and Trudie Neely, counselor at Rogers High School, who both have had students go through the Lifeplan program.