Building for tomorrow

At, the beginning of the year, the members of CEO had a vision of hosting Georgia States first hackathon. Through much planning and coordinating with other organizations like Panthers Hack and the , the vision was realized on October 24. The event was a success and Georgia State was able to see the vision of their students.

Here are three members of the CEO that have played a major role in bringing this event to life.They will be telling their opinion of how the event turned out and how the Hackathon has impacted Georgia State:

Providing the interview: Sean Taylor

People being interviewed:

Tosin Olagunju (left)

Buddy Ray (right)


Kirk McMillan: Leadership Vulnerability, Organizational Simplicity and Success (L.I.F.E)

Leadership Vulnerability, Organizational Simplicity and Success

By Kirk McMillan, Senior Consultant with Continuity Family Business Consulting

The only way to grow is to change. Yet, people tend to fear change. Overcoming fears and creating processes to lead change may be the most critical aspects for organizational survival and success. The speed at which an organization changes can mean the difference between gaining a new customer and going out of business.

The objective for leadership in the change process is to create an imaginative culture where change is embraced through a steady flow of ideas. Emile Chartier reminds us that, “Nothing is more dangerous than one idea when it is the only one you have.” Groupthink is an example of the danger of one idea in which leadership fails to create an environment where ideas are expressed. The Bay of Pigs, Pearl Harbor, and the Challenger crash are good reminders of the failure of organizations to embrace alternative ideas. Leadership vulnerability sets the stage for creating a safe environment. The capability of leaders to express their own fallibility breaks down the barriers to open communication. Leaders must make it explicitly known to everyone in the organization that anyone can say anything, anytime.

Only when leaders are leading with vulnerability, and open communication, is the organization ready to establish the processes that foster organizational change. Three processes for starting process are shared values, a simple and clear vision, and a focus on strengths.

Shared values establish the boundaries for decision making throughout the organization, from the CEO to the shop floor. When faced with a challenging situation, how will employees decide to act? Will they act in alignment with values or freeze-up? Leaders can enhance shared values by making shared values part of the daily conversation. Start each meeting by sharing the story of how someone made a difficult decision last week. Circulate videos of values in action. Establish rewards for value-based behavior. Through story sharing, employees will be more empowered to act in alignment with values when faced with a challenging situation.

A simple, clear vision states why do we do what we do. Is the purpose simple and clear? Do people remember it? Does it inspire imagination and creativity? Take Zappos’ lead. Zappos simply states, “Deliver WOW through service”.  Through simplicity, imaginations are inspired and energized. Beware: people and organizations will gravitate toward complexity, as Richard Branson reminds us. “Complexity is the enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple.” Keep in mind the words of Albert Einstein. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Simplicity is hard work but pays big dividends when done right.

Focus on strengths. Every person, as well as every organization has strengths and weaknesses. A strengths focused organization creates human capital that can’t be replicated by competitors. Acknowledge and be aware of weaknesses but focus on the strengths of people, processes, and products. A strength based focus leader will spend money on talent development. The weakness-based leader will focus on costing costs. When people are provided the resources to act in alignment with their strengths, organizational trust grows, and people are empowered to change.

Vulnerable leaders focused on simplicity will have the greatest opportunity to create organizations that embrace change. Organizations will adapt, grow and thrive amidst complexity built on simplicity of shared values, clear vision and a focus on strengths.

Kirk McMillan is a Senior Consultant with Continuity Family Business Consulting

with over 20 years leading family businesses to generational success. Kirk can be

reached at or (843) 819

Hack The School

Georgia State University is making history by having it first ever hackathon! The hackathon is titled Hack The School, where students are coming up with ideas that are going to solve the issues they face at the university. Are the shuttle buses taking to long that your always late to class? Does it seem like the shuttles are over crowded or there are not enough running? Why does sitting for financial aid assistance take so long? These are some issues that if you could address at the Hack The School. The event will take place on October 24-25 9am at the Aderhold Building. This is event will be 24 hours. Food and a place to sleep will be provided. All of these things are free if you sign up.


The problem areas for this hackathon are:

Hack the Classroom: A classroom hack would improve professors’ ability to teach or students’ ability to learn material (in or out of the classroom).

Hack the Web: A web hack would improve the online experience on campus for students and (or) faculty and staff.

Hack the Campus: A campus hack would improve some form of the on-campus experience, including but not limited to: transportation/navigation, communication and safety.

Student Entertainment: A student entertainment hack would improve the student experience in a way that students find enjoyable.

This is an exciting time for Georgia State because this will be the first of many hackathons that will occur at the university.

If you have not registered for the GSU Hack The School yet, you still have time to be apart of history. You can register at here:

Only the first 50 people are able to be apart of this first hackathon.

Hope to see some of you innovators there!

The 3 Rules of Business (Part 3)

Thank you watching our 3 Rules of Business video series. Hopefully, you have enjoyed these videos and see what works for getting the attention of your particular audience and what does not work. These qualities are just some of the many things that the future entrepreneur community can obtain just by staying up to date with the Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization.

If you missed the three points, here they are again:

The 3 Rules Of Business

1 Get the Attention

2. Sell

3.. Close the Deal

John Kennebrew: Do’s and Dont’s for recruiting and keeping good people (L.I.F.E)

Do’s and Dont’s for recruiting and keeping good people
By John Kennebrew, Founder and Executive Director of Showcase Group

As the founder of a nonprofit organization focused on the prevention of youth detained in GA youth detention centers, having quality volunteers and facilitators is essential to the success of our work.

Whatever you are recruiting for, it’s important to draw people in with a genuine interest for your cause.  I receive a frequent request from individuals needing to meet volunteer requirements.  Depending on the level of involvement, this type of volunteer may not be a match for your cause.  Don’t put people on your team just because you think you need people.  Add the right people to your team and see your vision through.

The first volunteer I recruited to my organization outside of my personal network is still with Showcase Group after three years.  He was looking for volunteer opportunities to work with youth.  We have a unique niche of working with youth currently detained in detention centers.  This really stood out for him.  What makes your cause or initiative unique to the volunteers you seek?

Because his volunteer experience has been fulfilling, he is committed to the mission of our organization and shows up, which is important to the youth we serve who so often have people walk out of their lives.

In all things give thanks.  Make certain to show appreciation for those who support your work and be grateful for the individual value they add.  I’m often amazed at the level of commitment others give to empowering the over 2,000 youth detained in GA youth detention centers through the work of Showcase Group.  It is my belief that everyone wants to be a part of something and contribute to society in some way.  I’m fortunate to be able to provide an opportunity.

Keep positive and motivated people around you. This is one of the most important factors for recruiting and keeping good people. The attitude and mindset the individuals in your network will make or break your mission and will spread like wildfire for good or bad.  

No one achieves greatness without being of service.  Service is the essence of greatness.  All great men and women became great because they gave some talent or ability in the service of others.  And no matter how small our talent, we too can contribute in some way to others – we too can become great.

HACK A WHOO?! (What is a Hack-A-Thon)

A Hack-A-Thon is an event for students or inventors to come together and create materials that can solve some common problems of today. The word hack means to gain access to data in a system. This is where most people start to develop an idea for the name. The A-thon part is the end part of marathon or triathlon, meaning that event will take place for a quite long duration of time. Put two and two together, then you have a hack-a-thon.  So to clarify, the hack-a-thon is an event where some of today’s brightest students are put into teams where they have a duration of time, ranging from 24 to 48 hours to come up with an idea.


Now every hack-a-thon does not have to be focused on creating a new technological invention that will change the world. There are other ways to have a hack-a-thons. Some people organize ones that help create social good. Others use them to create solutions in the work place. More and more creative events are being created. There are no limits!

Within these time frames, the students are provided with food and a place to sleep. The people that organize these events want to make sure that the participants are well taken care of. When you think about it, it is like a well-organized sleepover. And the best part about this event, it is one hundred percent FREE! I know the idea of hackathon is starting to sound more attractive.


Lastly, at the end of the event, participants pitch their ideas and judges choose winners. One of the things to understand about your idea is just because it makes sense you, it may not be understood by others. The judges are likely to dissect the idea to get the ins and outs of it. The top three teams will end up winning prizes such as a trophies, new gadgets, and/or money to support their idea.


Hopefully, this has provided you some idea of how a hackathon works and inspires you to hack!

part of one. It is events like these bring out the future innovators of world.

The 3 Rules of Business (Part 2)

As you business begins to grow, you understand what it takes to get people interested in your ideas. Nobody wants to buy something that seems common to them. What you sell has to be unique and make the person buying feel like that got their hands on something that worth spending money on. If you can figure out what makes your business stands out from the others, you can go so far.

Here is the second part to The Rules of Business: