Thursday, October 18, 2012

Update: Of Dreams & Deeds

An update from Ayokunle Falomo, including a link to his spoken word video:

I would love to again share with you things that has happened after our last correspondence which led to me being featured on the LeaderShape blog. That is still an experience which I'm grateful for. Two days ago, I turned 22. I decided to commemorate it in a way that is very special and monumental to me. Before LeaderShape, I was almost a closeted poet, and mostly refrained from sharing my work with others (fear of rejection, of failure, of not being good enough, the list is endless) However, that changed! Poetry is something I am deeply passionate about, and LeaderShape helped me to accept the title of a poet as who I am. I am glad that I was able to even share my poetry at LeaderShape during one of the activities. For my 22nd birthday, I was able to, with the help of a videographer friend, make a video presentation for one of my poems and I thought I should share with you. 

One of the primary influences for the poem is Benjamin Zander's book The Art of Possibility which I almost can't shut up about. It has changed my life in a very radical way. The section which was a major influence for the poem is the "telling the we story" section. 

This is just one of the many dreams I have of course. And for the next year before my next birthday, I documented other things I would love to achieve which I wrote about on the blog here.

Again, thanks for taking the time to read this. I can't help but inform you just how influential LeaderShape has been for me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Legacy Movement

My name is Aaron Gray and I am an alumnus of Leadershape from Summer 2000. I still remember the vivid day in Champaign, IL when I embarked on a mission for a week to identify what my true passion is in life and chart out a plan to execute it. At the time, I wrote that I wanted to take all of the knowledge that I would obtain over time and teach people in low-income communities so they could lift themselves out of poverty. I have broadened out my vision over time and I am ready to go for it.

I am willing to swing for home runs and develop game changing models. Often times, that entails going after huge billion dollar opportunities, but what I am attempting to accomplish, is much more important than money. I am trying to save communities. 

I started The Legacy Movement to change the conversation about success and entrepreneurship in under-served communities. Our global economy is in crisis, and people are starving for knowledge, tools, resources, and people to help them improve their economic situations. The Legacy Movement addresses this problem by providing all of the above via our technology platform and access to an ecosystem of individuals and organizations who have similar goals. A good way to draw an analogy for our technology platform is that we plan to be the LinkedIn for doing deals. Anyone interested in buying a company, selling a company, or starting a new venture, (for-profit, non-profit, or social enterprise), this will be the premier destination for you.

Additionally, we have a focus on under-served communities: women, military veterans, and minorities. Our platform will be open to EVERYONE, but we want to focus on increasing entrepreneurship and business ownership in communities that are sometimes not direct beneficiaries of mass amounts of wealth being created in the U.S.

This point is extremely important, as we know that our nation’s public schools are in crisis, where minorities are only graduating 50% of the time from high school. Our military veterans come home and are offered subprime loans. Women, even with the tremendous strides they have made in terms of college graduation and upward mobility in the workforce, continue to hit glass ceilings and struggle to raise capital for their businesses. The Legacy Movement is attempting to improve on all of these problems by offering high quality education materials and a phenomenal network of people that will help create billions of dollars of wealth in the U.S.

There are THOUSANDS of business and social problems that need to be solved and emerging entrepreneurs are eager to create profitable businesses models around solving those problems. Innovators are innovating on innovation and it is truly exciting. The opportunities are ENDLESS. The cost to start a business is now cheaper than ever, and funding has become more accessible to the average person. However, one has to know where to look. Additionally, being part of an ecosystem of like-minded peers and those with experience who have had success and failure as entrepreneurs offers extreme value, and our platform will offer that. We plan to offer not just access to capital, but also access to education and people who can help one achieve his/her goals.

I have had an amazing 10-year career in finance and technology, having worked for some of premier companies in world, including the Florida State Board of Administration, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Greycroft Partners. The Legacy Movement will be announcing several outstanding partnerships with top-notch academic institutions this Fall so stay tuned. For more information, please visit

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 7: Register to Vote

A just, caring, and thriving world where all lead with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible.

This is the LeaderShape vision. During The LeaderShape Institute participants take time to think about what the world would be like if they could have it anyway they’d like. To live in a state of possibility.

It’s an election year here in the US. Ask yourself, "If you could have this country any way you’d like, how would that be?" Spend the next few weeks leading up to the election learning which candidates’ values, platforms, and history support your vision of our country. In November, vote for them.

PS: In order to vote, you must register! You can do so here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

charity: water

Last week we received an email from Susquehanna University's Program Coordinator, Brent Papson, sharing this really awesome vision update from LeaderShaper Brian Maehl. What a great example of putting one's passion into action.

My LeaderShape vision was to create college programming and organizations to help bring clean drinking water to people in developing nations. I started a club to benefit the charity: water organization on Susquehanna's campus last year before LeaderShape, and took the lessons I learned from LeaderShape to dream bigger and make the club even better on campus. Our biggest event last semester was the charity: ball, which took an event that the charity: water organization hosts in NYC every year and dialed it down to fit a college campus. That event alone raised $6,048 and can be seen at . The profits from the event will give 302 people clean drinking water in a developing nation.

This event caught charity: water's eye in a big way. In fact, they followed up with us and created a blog post on our campus club and the charity: ball. The blog post can be seen here: This event also caught the attention of the founder and CEO of charity: water, Scott Harrison. As a result, I went into the New York City charity: water headquarters this summer and met with Scott to discuss university programming for charity: water, and had the opportunity to speak in front of the entire charity: water staff. They also made a video about fundraising tips, and asked me to be in it! The video and information is seen at

This summer, after our meeting, the organization asked me to become a charity: water Citizen. This means that they will connect me to other fundraising campaigners around the country in order to help them get the most out of their campaign. Due to my age level, they are going to be connecting me with other university clubs across the country, which is an absolute dream come true. 

Next year, fellow 2012 Susquehanna University LeaderShaper Matt George and I will be taking a step back from the club and instead start to look at other universities. We want the Susquehanna club to be sustainable and, as a result, we will have other members take leadership positions. This leaves Matt and I to be consultants from afar. Matt and I will take this opportunity to do tours of other colleges and universities around the state, giving assemblies on how to set up a charity: water club on a college campus and how to effectively fundraise. 

Brian Maehl
Susquehanna University