“Selling Yourself”

Selling yourself was the subject of one of this morning’s speeches given to interested delegates. Van Deeb, a successful businessman gave the speech. Below is an article by Sean Lindgren of Bunker Hill.

“Selling Yourself”

On Wednesday morning Boys’ State split into four groups. One of the groups traveled to Love Library to listen to Van Deeb speak about his experience as a business leader. Mr. Deeb played football for UNO, and after college decided to start his own real estate business. He recently sold his business to his general manager, whom he says started out answering phone calls. Deeb said that that manager is an example of why you shouldn’t worry about where you start in a business. “Never underestimate the heart of a champion.”

Mr. Deeb said that it is important to find out who you are, to brand yourself. He says that to help identify yourself it is very important that you choose good friends to be around. “You are the average of the five people that you hang out with,” stated Mr. Deeb. He warns to watch out for people who will try and bring you down. He said that there are two things you should want to be known for: being significant in someone’s life and being a hard worker.

A main emphasis of Mr. Deeb’s speech was visualization. His definition of visualization is picturing yourself being where you want to be. “If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.” Mr. Deeb told a story about UNO football. He was not the best athlete, but one week he said he was going to intercept a pass and return it for a touchdown. Every night when washing his face he visualized the referee signaling the touchdown. At the game, he intercepted a pass and ran for a touchdown. Visualization works. He says that there is nothing that you can’t do.

A major flaw that Mr. Deeb sees in people is that they don’t ask for help enough. He is not talking about asking for money, but advice and small favors such as, “Can you tell your friend about my business?” He says that small things like that go a long way. He also says it is important that when you meet someone to find something important about them and make them feel important.

When asked a question about why he took the risk of starting his own business when he already had a good job he replied, “We only have one shot; if you have it in your heart and mind, then why not?” He says that if you want to avoid challenges, then don’t be a leader. He says that it is important to write your goals down, and that many small goals are better than one big goal.

Mr. Deeb also believes that faith is really important. His advice for high school kids is to get into leadership positions. Mr. Deeb also says that if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. He says that there is no reason to buy things just to impress other people.

Mr. Deeb’s speech was enjoyed greatly by those who had the privilege of listening to him. I believe that the advice he gave will help many people in the real world whether or not they choose a path of business.

Van Deeb addresses delegates

Diversity in Leadership Presentation

Earlier this afternoon, Frank LaMere, T.J. McDowell, Don Wesely, and Thomas Christie gave a presentation on diversity in leadership positions. Below is an article written by Gabe Ryland of Gettysburg.

“Diversity in Leaderhip”

The Boys’ State audience gathered once again in Kimball Recital Hall, this time for an assembly focused solely on being a leader. On Wednesday, June 9 four speakers shared advice and personal experiences.

Don Wesely, a former Nebraska state senator and Lincoln mayor, was the first to speak. He graduated from Northeast High School in Lincoln and the University of Nebraska, also in Lincoln. Wesely shared with his listeners some eye-opening experiences he had while a senator. He was once called a “viper head” by an opposing Nebraskan, and had a slightly hurtful letter conversation with the person. It exposed him to the world of diversity, and made him realize that you can’t always have everyone on your side. Wesely was also the third-youngest state senator ever in Nebraska, and said we should focus on high-priority topics such as immigration, religious intolerance, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The next speaker was Thomas Christie, a cross-cultural competence counselor for Lincoln Public Schools. Christie began by retelling his childhood—-explaining the segregation he saw all around him as a child in South Carolina. The worst part about segregation is that it is still around today.  Many people don’t believe that the past affects the future, but it most certainly does!  It impacts our way of life, our thinking and judgment, and everything about us. An important platform to represent as a leader, according to Christie, is to lead everyone, not just the majority. America is a rainbow, and we need to respect that! A representative democracy refers to freedom and representation of ALL. Can you be an efficient leader of a representative democracy if you don’t know all the people? The boys were told to be 21st century leaders with cross-cultural competence, which refers to the ability to interpret and evaluate behavior beyond one’s own culture. In simple terms, it refers to respect!  Culture is dynamic, and times change, so go with the flow. More than once, Christie said: “You can’t lead where you don’t go, and you can’t lead what you don’t know”.

T.J. McDowell spoke next, and was in very close proximity to Christie’s views.  McDowell strongly believes in cross-cultural action.  One’s own prejudice and stereotypical thoughts create huge barriers for communication and social involvement.  Everyone has the tendency to pre-judge a person when they see them, and we should all learn to assess in our own minds the prejudice that lives there.  McDowell shared a painful piece of his past in which he met his maternal grandmother.  He had gone twenty-six years living in the same city (Lincoln) as his maternal grandparents, but had never met them.  His chance came when his unacquainted grandfather passed away.  He was nervous to meet his grandmother, and sadly so; when she walked past him for the first time, she ignored him completely.  McDowell said the pain didn’t so much come from never meeting her—-he had gone the greater part of his life never knowing her.  The hurt came from being denied his humanity, in the way his grandmother treated him as if he didn’t even exist.  McDowell shared his story with the audience in hopes of moving them into trying their best to never deny a person their humanity.

The last, but certainly not least, speaker of the afternoon was Frank LaMere.  His first words were ones of wisdom, in which he directed the young men to carry a notable name of themselves into their future.  He suggested they try to learn at least one new thing every day, to take the time they need, and to map out a strategy for what is to come.  The Winnebago native shared a heart-wrenching experience he had that changed his life; one in which he judged a woman on a short temper, to later find out that she had to struggle every day of her life.  LaMere knows now, and told his audience never to judge—get to know someone’s story first and learn how to get along with one another!  He knows that many have a sense of entitlement, and this is a good thing if they believe the entitlement is to respect, but many abuse this.  Stand for yourself and know that you deserve respect, and show it to others, but don’t allow others any entitlement that isn’t theirs.

The four speakers were well enjoyed, and they shared incredible stories and advice that will shape the futures of all their audience members.

"Diversity in Leadership"

Nebraska Education Presentation

Earlier this afternoon, Dr. Christensen and Dr. Swisher, who both have held prestigious positions in education in the state of Nebraska. Kyle Cerny of Belleau Wood wrote an article describing the content of the session.

“Nebraska Education”

Some schools in Nebraska need to work on problems such as mobility, disability, and poverty, which are leading to fewer kids staying in school and attending college. The top 80% of schools are doing 80% of the work the correct way, but the average dropout rate has increased. According to the charts at the seminar, 1 out of 3 people in a Nebraska school will be treated as below the poverty line and 1 in every 8 students will have moved (mobility) some time in their life from school to school. Average ACT scores have steadily declined in Nebraska schools as well. This is a problem a lot of people will agree needs to be attacked.

Also, Nebraska has a large variety of educational opportunities within the state. Some schools, such as the small ones, fail to take advantage of these opportunities and have really old textbooks, old chairs, old desks, teachers not fully understanding their subjects, and misinformed teachers in general. But, still these issues need to be handled.

Dr. Christensen addresses delegates of Cornhusker Boys' State

Omaha Police Gang Unit Gives Presentation

The Omaha Police Gang Unit gave a presentation to delegates earlier today. The following article was written by Seth Wilson of Bunker Hill.

“Omaha Gang Unit”

Today we split up into four groups and attended four different presentations. I attended the Omaha gang unit presentation. In the Omaha gang unit, they deal with gangs and gang-related crimes in Omaha. The gang unit has three different teams. The first team is the gang suppression unit. The suppression unit deals with handling crimes in local neighborhoods and handles tagging. They conduct takedowns and home searches. They also handle other illegal things in the city and metro. The gang unit also has a illegal firearm unit. The firearm unit deals with getting unregistered firearms off the streets. The head of the gang unit said that it’s not the gun that’s illegal it’s the person in position of the weapon. The final gang unit program is the gang intellect unit. In that unit, they learn the locations and whereabouts of all felony criminals and well known gangs.

Lt. Kerry Neumann about to give his presentation