Leadership Matters Institute (LMI) honors participants at October 18 networking banquet

… TED-Talk celebrity, David Rendall inspires participants and guests to remember that “What makes us weird also makes us wonderful … and what makes us weak also makes us strong!” …

He calls it the “freak factor”””that thing or things that define us as unique, those things that cause us problems in “normal situations,” that cause us to doubt perhaps our truest gifts.


David Rendall talking, walking, and working for himself–to help others!

The purveyor of the Freak Factor, David Rendall, sees himself as his own best, six-foot-six (“six-foot-nine in heels”) living exemplar of FF. To paraphrase from his talk, his elementary and middle school experiences as a nightmare for some of the adults in his life: he couldn’t keep quiet, he couldn’t sit still, and he couldn’t follow instructions.

And today? He makes a very comfortable living pacing a public stage for hire, with a rat-ta-tat, non-stop delivery, working for himself.

“What makes us weird makes us wonderful. What makes us weak also makes us strong.”

That is if you’re willing to use your uniqueness to your advantage.


From the left: Banquet M.C. Matthew McKeown; LMI participants Vanessa Sawyer-Wilson; Cara Jankowski McKeown, and Victoria Frazier.

Borrowing from Peter Drucker, Rendall notes “Strong people always have strong weaknesses too. Where there are peaks there are valleys.” Rendall notes the trick is to “amplify” your weaknesses into a strength.

Another great observation from the Drucker canon he often shares is, “Organizations exist to make people’s strengths effective and weaknesses irrelevant.”

The October 18 recognition dinner and “performance lecture by David Rendall marked the beginning of the second stage of the three-stage Leadership Matters Institute (LMI). LMI is a project of Smart Start’s Teaching and Learning Services program.


Institute participants in a deep dive discussion on the “Four Factors of Effective Leadership” with David Rendall.


Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts

LMI’s principal organizer, Cara Jankowski McKeown, and her planning team involving fellow Smart Start staff and board members, Vanessa Sawyer Wilson and Theressa Stephens, have modeled the institute off of the Early Childhood Director’s Leadership Institute conducted at UNC – Greensboro from October 2013 through April 2015. The institute provides directors from across Forsyth County a distinctive opportunity for professional and personal growth, fine-tuning leadership technique, tailoring methods of motivation in the workplace, and exploring new pathways to create a holistically positive environment for children, families, and employees.

For more information about LMI, contact Cara McKeown at 336.714.4351 or CaraM@SmartStart-FC.org.

“Every ending is a new beginning!” David Rendall.institute-ii-agenda-and-housekeeping

Here’s a link to one of David’s recent TED Talks: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=david+Rendall+%2b+TED&view=detail&mid=44A4EB695372424EC45C44A4EB695372424EC45C&FORM=VIRE

Leadership Matters Institute Facilitators:

  • Cara McKeown, Teaching and Learning Specialist, SSFC
  • Vanessa Sawyer-Wilson, Teaching and Learning Services Coordinator, SSFC

Leadership Matters Coaches:

  • Theressa Stephens (pronounced “Theresa”), Owner and Director, Church Childcare
  • Karen Young, Developmental Day Director of the Special Children’s School
  • Shawn Martin, Operations Manager, Centers for Exceptional Children

Leadership Matters Cohort Participants:

  • Carol Grubbs, Assistant Director, Church Childcare
  • Ann Wherry Dunn, Owner and Director, Waughtown Kids-R-Us
  • Paula Cancro, Director, Our Lady of Mercy Preschool
  • Victoria Frazier, Owner and Director, Victoria’s Academy
  • Saleena Frazier, Director, Oak Summit Learning Center
  • Sabrina Hinton, Director, North Point and TLC Learning Academies
  • Amanda Donaldson, Owner and Director, A Better World Learning Center
  • June Miller, Owner and Director, Maxx Kinder Kollege
  • Carrie Zeigler, Director, The Potter’s House for Children