Tuesday, September 26, 2017
By Phil Marks
Conferences – especially milestone events – require a tremendous amount of planning, coordination and execution occur before any conference attendees arrive. Fortunately for this year’s Creativity ExpertExchange as ICSC celebrates its 50th anniversary, Molly Holinger is the conference manager.
Molly is pleasant and enthusiastic, and her positive energy and generous laughter are contagious. Like many creativity experts, Molly’s path to the field of creativity was serendipitous. While studying French at the University of Illinois, Molly took a creativity class offered within the UIUC engineering department. The following year, Molly was the teaching assistant for the course, and the year after that, the professor asked her to ‘TA’ the course again. This time, she helped the professor and other teaching assistants write a book and develop coursework for the class. Soon after, Molly received her M.Sc. from Buffalo State, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. at U.Conn. Her decision for U. Conn. reflects the benefit of having multiple options. She enjoys her work with James Kaufman, who is available and takes seriously his advising responsibilities.
As an ‘Early Bird’ FourSight preference (clarifier/implementer), her preference for clarifying and ideation frees Molly to “jump in”. It also seems that Molly enjoys the process of discovery and resolution, and has learned to trust her problem solving skills. These skills have been evident even as an undergrad studying in Paris, where for the first time in her life Molly rented an apartment and set up a cell phone account and a bank account - in French, in Parisian culture! Always eager to learn and to grow, Molly shares that her conference manager role is forcing her to exercise her developer and implementer muscles. She is also practicing Prioritizing: reflecting awareness of her personal goals and limitations, and saying ‘no’ to things that are extraneous to those goals.
For an interesting conversation, ask Molly about her research and writing on the benefits of creativity and Positive Psychology for 20-somethings – particularly Millennials like herself. Millennials are generally considered to have lived a sheltered experience in their formative years, which raises questions not only about Millennials’ resilience, but also about how their creative approach and output might differ that of other generations. Would it be more exploratory and curious, but less persistent? Molly also has well-informed opinions about intergenerational judging, that is, the tendency for older generations to judge Millennials as requiring more attention and adaptation than previous generations…but worth the effort.
Molly explains her CEE conference manager role as a connector: connecting a big group of diverse people working on a variety of aspects of the conference. Her responsibility is to make sure, for example, that the graphic arts, food and sponsorship teams all come together to create a cohesive end product. She calls it a “privilege to have so many great people working together on it.”
Molly loves that CEE is not your typical conference. For example, on Saturday afternoon, there will be an unconference where people can pitch any topic they want. The pre-conference workshops will be a great opportunity for practitioners to learn new skills and tools. She is excited about the great group of keynote speakers, including Dr. Ron Beghetto, Dr. Yael Katz, & Dr. Mark Runco. The ICSC faculty will be sharing their recent work, so attendees will have plenty of opportunity to be current in the field of creativity, and there will also be plenty of opportunities for networking.
Molly is most excited about the people who will be there! “I'm really looking forward to seeing the ICSC faculty, people from my Master's program cohort, and other friends from the field who I don't get to see very often. It's going to be a great group!”
When asked what would make CEE a success for Molly, her answer reflected some great insight about the impact of the maturing field of creativity: so many organizations and people are doing so many great things, “how do we connect and create a community that shares the great things happening in the field?” If conference attendees leave with a sense of connection to the people and activities in the spectrum of creativity work, this conference will be a success.
Phil Marks is the Global Director of Product Engineering for Federal-Mogul’s Systems Protection business unit. He is recovering from 24 years of corporate indoctrination by becoming a change agent within Federal-Mogul. Phil holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from WPI, Worcester, MA, and recently became a certified professional coach. He is pursuing his M.Sc. in Creativity Studies at ICSC/SUNY Buffalo State.
Spotlight Presenter: Tamara McMillan
Written by Cedrick L. Boyd
As an award-winning educator, Tamara McMillan is the director of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) at SUNY Buffalo State. She also teaches a course in the nature and nurture of Creativity and Disruptive Change Leadership. She is qualified in Myers Briggs Type Indicator, FourSight and Strong Interest Inventory and presented a TEDx talk that can be viewed here https://youtu.be/HdZL61T-31Q. Tamara’s Spotlight Presentation for the CEEConference is titled: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of MEE.
Cedrick: Why did you chose to be involved with the CEE Conference?
Tamara: Actually, I was invited to the CEE Conference. I received an email from one of the individuals responsible for the CEE talks. She stated she heard great things about me and would love to meet with me and talk about the conference. We had an opportunity to exchange information and ideas. After that I accepted the invitation.
Cedrick: How did that make you feel, getting the invite?
Tamara: I’m always humble, anytime we are able to operate out of our brilliance, do what the universe has called us to do. I think it's a beautiful thing. I speak for a living and I think this is what I was created to do. So anytime I get an opportunity to operate in that space I cherish it.
Cedrick: How do you incorporate creativity throughout your work?
Tamara: Creativity is infused in my life. That is part of my talk. I'll talk about the ways and how I use creativity and how it has allowed me to ascend to another level, not only in my personal life, but also in my career. When I'm not teaching at the ICSC, I teach in two other departments. I infuse creativity into content with freshmen. I pour into my daughter’s creativity, to allow her to use her knowledge to solve her own problems.
Cedrick: What are your expectations for the CEE conference?
Tamara: You know I don't think I have any expectations, I believe in allowing things to happen organically and naturally. Too often expectations can hinder progress. And so, I manage my expectations of other people because not everyone operates the way I do. My only expectation is that I will be there and enjoy myself.
Cedrick: Where do you see creativity in the next decade?
Tamara: I’m hoping that it will be infused in education especially in elementary education. I believe we do education wrong especially in the primary grades. Education is watered down, we are taught to converge, come to a conclusion and get on with things. We do not play enough. I’m hoping we can get back to playfulness. So, everybody can show us their authentic self unapologetically. People can be genuine, learn and have a seat at a table. Everybody should be afforded a seat at the table.
Cedrick: What is your greatest challenge that you had to overcome with creativity?
Tamara: I would say that I was my greatest challenge. Getting out of my own way and seeing creativity for what it really is. Everybody is creative but everybody is not creative in the same way 24/7. It was just me allowing my creative self to be and emerge.
Cedrick: What is the greatest challenge you had to overcome with using creative problem solving?
Tamara: Learning ways in which I can monetize my craft. Once I was able to pay attention to what was going on around me, understand how to master the language, and how to infuse that in my conversation with my clients.
It was an absolute pleasure speaking with Tamara McMillan, based off of our conversation and interview I strongly feel that sitting in on her session at the CEE Conference will be quite beneficial for everyone attending. She has a very pleasant personality with excitement and zeal for creativity.
Cedrick Boyd is a 17-year Army Veteran, who served honorably with a tour in Iraq. He Completed Basic Training at Ft. Benning, GA and Advance Individual Training in Columbia, SC where he studied internal combustion engines. He has successfully completed Primary Leadership Course 2002, Basic Leadership Course 2005 and the Advance Leadership Course 2008. He completed his undergraduate studies in Business and Religion at Liberty University in 2012, and is now currently pursuing a Masters in Creative Studies at SUNY Buffalo State.
Cedrick’s Awards includes; Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Component Achievement Medal, Army Commendation medal. He volunteers in his local community and is currently serving as a Student Senator for SUNY Buffalo State.
Monday, September 25, 2017
Spotlight Interview with Kathryn Haydon
By Jocelyn Tejeda
Ever wonder how creativity can reform education? If so, just ask Kathryn Haydon, co-author of “Creativity for Everybody” and “Discovering and Developing Talents in Spanish-Speaking Students”. A change agent by calling and educator at heart, Kathryn has always had a passion for harnessing creative giftedness in children. Like many of us, she accidentally stumbled upon this work. A banker by day and writer by night, Kathryn wrote dozens of articles and helped her mentor do research who runs the Center for Gifted in Chicago. Through this process she discovered a passion for Paul E. Torrence’s work and continues to be inspired by his commitment to challenge how we identify and value education, intelligence, and giftedness.
During her creative journey Kathryn opened up a creative space, Ignite Creative Learning Studio, where children and teens could explore and apply their creativity in diverse ways. She was hungry to learn more and realized she wanted to create a larger impact for educators, parents, and children so she pursued her Master of Science in Creative Studies at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State. Kathryn has transformed lives, schools, and children all across the United States. Although our education system in the U.S. is flawed and often one that is linear and stifles creativity, she has reframed how schools/parents value creativity. As Founder of Sparkitivity she trains educators and parents to use disorders and bad behaviors as indicators of highly creative strengths. She believes that creative ability is a child’s superpower and can change the world if it is cultivated. Instead of forcing a child (square peg) to conform to what has been normalized (a round hole) by society, she teaches parents, educators, and children how to dare to be different, discover who they are, and be their best selves working within their own capabilities. This removes all barriers related to misdiagnosis, language, socioeconomic class and even testing performance for measuring intelligence.
Now, on to some amazing things too look out for. On Sunday, October 15th Kathryn will be giving a 10 minute talk at the CEE Conference titled “Making school better with just one question” and from what she tell me it can be a game changer if we pay close attention and do what we do best, Be Creative! For all my Educators, Parents, Creatives, and “Once Upon a time seen as a Terrible Student” audience members, this talk is for you! If you’ve read any of her books or materials you will quickly learn that one of HER many superpowers is to dissect information in a way that’s novel, useful, and above all, simple and applicable. She truly has a gift for taking creativity and helping you infuse it into your daily life. The tools she will share is something we all learned as creative professionals and can have an amazing impact in our learning spaces. Without giving away too much, this is a simple strategy and can be applied to every level of education.
We all need a Kathryn Haydon in our school districts and classrooms (and in our lives) to lead the movement of recognizing and celebrating giftedness and giving every person a fighting chance. Thankfully, she has begun to work with adults and helping them recognize their own creative intelligence and gifts. She is working on a new book titled “If Schools Sucked for You, Own Your Creative Genius” which sounds witty, eye opening, and in some ways provides confirmation of how awesome you are. Read more about what she does and her amazing work as a speaker, mentor, and change agent here: http://sparkitivity.com
Jocelyn Tejeda is passionate about inspiring and empowering women, social change agents, and entrepreneurs through creativity and leadership. She has designed and delivered dozens of trainings, workshops, and initiatives on creative problem solving, diversity, leadership development, women's empowerment, and student success.
A true believer that knowledge is power she is invested in guiding people through their journey while helping them advance personally and professionally. Her experiences as a first generation Latina student propelled her to become an advocate for social justice, a mentor, and a global learner and educator. As a coach, trainer and facilitator, she works with educators, and businesses to create environments that inspire passion, innovation, and transformation. Jocelyn is committed to helping others bring their vision life and become leaders of their lives and the world.
Jocelyn is currently an Educational Opportunity (EOP) Counselor and Adjunct Lecturer at SUNY Buffalo State and a graduate student in the Creativity and Change Leadership program at the International Center for Studies in Creativity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University at Buffalo in Geography with a focus on International Business and World Trade and a Master of Science from Buffalo State College in Higher Education Administration. In addition she is trained in Creative Problem Solving and is a certified FourSight presenter. Jocelyn is an active member of Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and an alumnus of the NCRW/AMEX Fellows Program with American Express and the South Africa Initiative Program at Rutgers University.
CEE Topic: The importance of keeping creativity alive in the classroom to ensure students feel free to explore and expand their own creativity on a personal level.
Interview conducted by Shalisa Crews
Q: At what point did you realize creativity studies was what you wanted to study?
A: I have been waiting my entire life to study this topic! Ten to fifteen years ago I did not know it even existed. I was interested in studying creativity from a neuroscience perspective and went to a brain conference to learn more about it, and fell in love with what the speakers presented to us.
Q: What inspired you to keep going?
A: I have always used art as a form to express myself, and just simply cope with everyday life and challenges. Creativity really saved my life, and I want to pass it along to as many kids as I possibly can.
Q: How do you follow the structured education system while keeping creativity alive with your students at the same time?
A: Communication, and being honest with them about who I am. I share my strengths and vulnerabilities so they recognize that we continue to grow ourselves in our adult years. I believe creativity is all about having confidence so building an atmosphere of trust is really important. I model the vulnerability we experience through the process. I keep creativity relevant by allowing students to feel free to express themselves without feeling judged.
Q: What characteristics do you have about yourself that you feel brings out the confidence in your students?
A: I want to know about each one of them. I show them I am curious about what matters to them without judging them. I want my inner passion to rub off on them, and I want them to know that they are an important part of my space in my life.
Q: Typically, artists are considered creative individuals. In what other ways do you show your students creativity revolves around so much more? In other words, how do keep their creativity alive in other ways?
A: I reassure them that first and foremost, we are all creative people. You can turn it off and on whenever you are ready. I also hare that not all art is creative. Creativity is about expanding your thoughts, exploring, inventing new things and new possibilities. By doing this, we discover areas we can develop, and grow within ourselves.
Q: What motivated you to teach and work with students?
A: I was always interested in becoming an art therapist. What I do now still allows me to offer students the chance to express themselves, which brings out self-awareness. I allow my students to look at their products and search for hints at what is going on in their thoughts, which also allows self-reflection and understanding.
Q: How did you approach taking charge of your own life while facing and dealing with obstacles and challenges? How did you overcome it?
A: Never allowing myself to get comfortable. The process of life itself goes back and forth just like creativity. There will always be good days and bad days, parts we look forward to and parts that are difficult. I emphasize not pushing too hard to make things happen. Let things figure themselves out without mentally fighting yourself. Remember nothing is meant to be easy. Just go into your space, because it is a nice place to be. The world is greedy for the almighty dollar and greediness to me is so unethical. We must keep self-awareness alive so we can celebrate, and inspire each other about the things that matter.
Q: What do you feel we can do as a society to ensure creativity is never lost or fades away?
A: This is a call to action in so many ways. We all can make our mark, and make a difference in the lives of others. For instance, We should just love, accept, and appreciate each other’s individuality and allow each of us to explore our uniqueness through our creativity.
Q: What are a few ways to network in the creativity studies field?
A: ICSC awareness and engaging in social media: engage, respond, attend, and connect with others. We have an amazing community, join and put yourself and your voice out there! I have connected with people online whom I have yet to meet in person but have been able to set up great projects and develop great ideas.
Q: What ignites your motivation to stay involved and interested in Creativity?
A: I value my own creativity, and the creativity of others. Creativity can heal, it can solve problems, it is a celebration of all that is best about us. I feel that using it holds the answer to our problems in both small and big ways.
Q: If there were a few things you could say to current Creative Studies students to encourage us as we move along in the program what would you say?
A: Get out there! It is okay to be nervous and afraid, because fear is good. You are not going to grow until you change scenarios and confront yourself with new things. Get your senses to experience new stimuli. Let things happen. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. Never doubt or spoil your own magic!
Shalisa Crews is currently enrolled in the Creative Studies program at Buffalo State College. She has dedicated herself to the youth in the inner-city school districts in a few different states for the last fifteen years. She has a passion for helping students grow and reach their greatest potential. In her leisure time, she writes poetry, and loves to travel!