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TEDxOmaha: Interview with Lamarr Womble

Lamarr Womble is the founder of Passion for Leadership
TEDxOmaha: Interview with Lamarr Womble
Published on October 10, 2010

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This is the second in our series of interviews with 2010 TEDxOmaha speakers. The first was with Nancy Kirk of the Tri-Faith Initiative. Today’s Q&A is with Lamarr Womble - founder of Passion for Leadership and admissions counselor at UNO.

TED’s mission, "ideas worth spreading," is pretty lofty. As a speaker, does this intimidate you? How do you know your idea is worth spreading?

As a speaker I think the history of TED itself is intimidating! The level of intelligence and credentials of past speakers clearly can intimidate! Ultimately, everyone getting on the stage on October 16th has overcome the intimidation factor or else they would not be where they are today. At some point you just have to stop being scared and when it comes to your passion and how bad you want it you just do it and worry about the rest later!

The tag-line "ideas worth spreading" is not as intimidating because we have a very special opportunity to talk to not only our in-house audience but since we are streaming live on the web we have an opportunity to talk to the world. Even if no one in the audience feels what I say is an idea worth spreading I am confident that one person in this world will take something away from what I say. That alone gives me confidence that PASSION is an idea worth spreading to that person especially if they need it at that moment in time.

Who in Omaha is not appearing at TED but still has "ideas worth spreading"? Who would you like to listen to?

My good friend Jessica Gall who currently works for the Anti-Defamation League in Omaha would be a fabulous addition to the TEDx card. The ADL specializes in protecting the civil rights and liberities of Jewish people but also everyone else in the world! A large part of what they do is anti-bias and anti-bullying training and curriculum for students and educators. Bullying has become such a huge issue and I think more light needs to be shed on this issue! There are resources out there and the ADL is a great one! Jessica would be very good because she is extremely passionate about the issue!

One of the things Omaha struggles with is talent retention: keeping the best and brightest working here. Do you think this perception is reality? If so, what can we do about it?

Lamarr Womble, founder of Passion for LeadershipLamarr Womble, founder of Passion for LeadershipI will have to disagree with that perception. I have grown up in Nebraska and a I have found out a couple things about Nebraskans on the way:

  1. If you are living here, it is because you love it! If you were forced here you will grow to love it! 
  2. Being raised in a military family I know people who have come and gone but so many of those people come back to Nebraska because of the people and the way of life! 

I believe that we do not lose our talented professionals once they become professionals after college. We lose them before college. Once they are gone they are very likely to stay away and not come back.  We have start keeping the best and brightest in state and going to college in Nebraska and I think that will help retain great professionals!  Scholarship programs at UNO such as the Susan T. Buffett Scholarship and the Goodrich Scholarships are prime examples of how we can work to keep our best and brightest in the state by helping them go to school for free!

What do you do? How likely is it for someone to turn their passion into a profession? How necessary?

I am admissions counselor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and I am also pursuing a full-time motivational speaking career. I talk to students and professionals about passion so this is an interesting question to me. I believe it is very likely for individuals to turn their passion into a profession.  It all depends on your outlook. If you turning your passion into a career only equals dollar signs, that may be an issue. If your passion genuinely makes you happy and adds value to your life then we can start to figure out where we can equal dollar signs later.

I do not believe that it is necessary that you turn your passion into your career but if you have a passion and you can make it a part of your life everyday, you should do that! One of the best things about having a passion is that it does not have to pay you monetarily, it’s job is to pay you emotionally!

jordyAn writer since 2008, Jordy freely admits he's waiting for his golden parachute "anxiously." He microblogs @jordyclements + macroblogs