Lessons in Leadership – Week 4 – Dr. Bob Blackburn

During his presentation, Dr. Blackburn discussed how individuals committed themselves to personal and professional endeavors, took risks, and found themselves arriving at unique and momentous times in Oklahoma. How can you as a leader prepare yourselves for the future, recognizing we cannot predict the future?


  • Emma Childers

    The first story that Dr. Blackburn discussed is that one that stuck with me the most. I think that’s because of the popularity of the discussion and how close it was to where I’ve grown up. It’s easy to become desensitized to a discussion such as racism because at our age, we’ve grown up hearing about the issue, however, this was part of the story that I have never heard before. Rosco took a stand at a time when his belief was most controversial, not just to speak against how separation and stigmas were holding African Americans back, but how it was holding us all back because we are stronger together than apart. Rosco had no idea of how his goal would pan out but he had hope and determination to improve our community. I’m going to take this idea not with a grain of salt, but with the whole salt shaker! We shouldn’t let the fear of the unknown determine our actions today! Sure, there are going to be setbacks along the way but ultimately, if we work together to achieve a common goal for the betterment of our community, where can you go wrong?

  • Sydney McDaniel

    I believe it is very important to be flexible. Many times I find myself having to adapt quickly to a change in plans, whether it’s something within my control or out of my control. If you are not prepared, many of these situations can prove frustrating. However, if we are open to the idea of sudden change–or more often, things not going how we meticulously planned them–then we might be surprised at how life just happens to give us opportunities we might not have thought possible otherwise. Since you cannot predict the future, you must first consider multiple possibilities, and then be prepared for an outcome that was entirely unexpected and be able to make the best of it.

  • Austin Borjas

    I think for myself as we take this step of faith in pursuing our education this is making us more knowledgable and practical in pursuing the future. I think as being a leader we should always looks towards our future. I think as we do life we must look for opportunities to grow and make in impact on our community. Of course it is scary that we do not know the future but it is also exciting. It is important that we surround our selves with people that support our selves or even create a team that is better in our weaknesses. I think that we can better prepare our selves in multiples way as we look toward out future.

  • Brianna Jennings

    The best way a leader can prepare for the future is by understanding the people around them, how those people contribute to the community around them, and what the people are needing in the time being. Always understanding your community will set you up for providing the community you serve with its most important needs. Even if an event occurs the you cannot predict, knowing your people by how they think and what they want. Another way to prepare for the future is to have a plan but not assume that the plan will follow through exactly as you have it. By planning, you set goals and place yourself on a good path to get things done, but if you stay free from assumption that the plan will follow through, you won’t become too panicked if things go wrong. Preparing is best done but understanding the future by letting it work as it will.

  • Saul Perez

    A leaders can prepare themselves for the unpredictable future is to see every curveball as something positive. Everything happens for a reason and not everything goes as planned. Life has many turns and curves that are unexpected but if a leader can expect the unexpected it prepares one for what’s to come. As Dr.Blackburn explained the stories of all the individuals and how their paths were all different but they all crossed paths due to the different obstacles they were faced with. As Leaders we have to see those obstacles as an opportunity to expand our horizons and have a positive outlook on every obstacles that we are faced with. A big part of being a leader is knowing how to deal with problems in a positive way, this influences then others around you to also see that obstacle in a positive way. If a leader can realize that we are all human and can’t control the future it will allow them to prepare for the what is to come in the unexpected future.

  • Kylee Snell

    Dr. Blackburn’s presentation gave a lot of insight into some important events that shaped Oklahoma into what it is today. As a leader, it is impossible to know what the future hold for you as an individual and for the people you are leading. The thought of this is scary, but at the same time it is a challenge. For me, acknowledging that I cannot predict the future is the first step in preparing for the future. Knowing that I am not in control of everything in my life scares me, but there are ways to prepare for the unpredictable. One thing that everyone can do as an individual is be the best version of yourself. Work hard in everything you do, show up when you’re supposed to, prioritize time to evaluate what you are doing and if it is effective, and invest in others. In my opinion, these are things all leaders should strive for and with these efforts, it is a lot easier to succeed in anything you are working towards. There will be times, as a leader, that you will fail, but you can still find good in those failures. One thing I must learn to accept as a leader is failure. I realize there will be times everything doesn’t go my way and I will fall short. I must be prepared to accept that and move on to whatever is next.

  • Destiny Perez

    Dr. Blackburn’s presentation inspired me by how he showed examples of visionary leaders. People who wanted to make a difference to better something larger than themselves; their community. I can begin taking positive steps in the direction of the future by being aware of the needs of others. Investing in myself and my passions will direct me to a path where I can use my strengths for the good of others. Taking risks will get me farther than being comfortable with my decisions. I must be willing to step forward bravely in order to be best fit for any outcome, having hope in knowing my actions are serving a good purpose.

  • Seth Harriet

    Dr. Blackburn gave a great presentation that filled us with examples of great leadership and economic prosperity from the history of Oklahoma. The three origins of people that came together to start the Oklahoma City Thunder was very fascinating. I really enjoyed this because it gave three different way that these men became successful. Not only were these three men successful they changed the state of Oklahoma and the citizens in Oklahoma. I think to prepare for the future there must be the factor of hard work. As a leader I think there must be one eye looking ahead or to the future. With this take the time to analyze and critically think about what you can do to with the future. A big thing that I see when looking at preparing yourself for the future is looking at the past. Have you ever heard, “history repeats itself”? I know I have and I think that there is a lot of truth to this. I think that learning leadership lessons from your elders and mentors can greatly impact how you prepare for the future as a leader. Overall, I know that no one can predict the future, but a good leader does his part in learning the future and changing it as well.

  • Emme Douglas

    I can honestly only prepare myself for my unpredictable future by having faith in God. I can work as hard as I want, plan things out, set goals, and even put all my time and effort into something, but I never will know what will come out of it. Understanding that and knowing that God has a plan for my life will allow me to do these things with less fear of my future. As a leader, it will allow me to encourage and reassure others that no matter what life throws at you, it will all work out. I personally don’t see any other way for me to prepare for my unexpected future other than that. I would go crazy if I didn’t have faith when things didn’t go my way and I put all my effort into it.

  • Dominic Graziano

    It was a pleasure listening to Dr. Bob Blackburn speak about Oklahoma’s history, and the leadership of certain individuals. A reoccurring theme that was present in Blackburn’s speech was that big change can happen from the actions of only a couple people. Each story he had, from discrimination all the way to the OKC Thunder, consisted of individuals standing up for what they believe, and taking risks. Those stories started with a few people that wanted change and did something about it. It’s inspiring to hear those stories, and it motivates me to go out and accomplish what I want to accomplish regardless of how difficult it could be.

  • Pierson Van den Dyssel

    During his presentation, Dr. Blackburn discussed how individuals committed themselves to personal and professional endeavors, took risks, and found themselves arriving at unique and momentous times in Oklahoma. For me leadership is best defined as the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals, with this in mind as a leader I would do my best so that my peers and I could have the brightest futures possible by planning out every key detail, and making sure everyone feels important in the world. I feel as though these are the best two qualities out of many to have as a leader due to the fact that being organized will help you get to your goal quicker, and feeling important will keep you motivated.

  • Sheridan Luis

    Dr. Blackburn’s presentation was rich with historical facts. I thought it was interesting to learn about the history of the city and how we grew as a community. As a leader to prepare myself for the future is too give back to my community in any way I can. Giving back is not only good for those you serve but, also giving back can present opportunities to you and the others who surround you. My main take away from Dr. Blackburn’s presentation was if you do anything in life give back to those around you and help them rise up too.

  • Charity Lassiter

    Preparing for the future is never easy. As a leader I can help those around me to strive for the same goal. I know that I cannot predict the future, but I can at least steer it in the right direction by striving to push for what I think is right, That may be being inclusive to everyone around me or fighting for climte change. As long as I always keep to what I think is right I can only hope that my actions will have a positive impact in the future.

  • Madison Baugh

    When Dr. Blackburn spoke to our class on Tuesday, he shared several stories of leaders who impacted the history of Oklahoma. To be an effective leader, one must be able to have an idea of what the future should look like. To be able to work towards a better future, a leader must understand the past. Understanding why something worked or did not work in the past can help a leader prepare for the future. This is the concept of one of my strengths from the Strengthsfinder test. The Context strength is for those who understand the present by researching its history. Much like Dr. Blackburn explained, many pivotal moments in Oklahoma history only took place because certain leaders, within the community, took risks to create a better future for their people.

  • Maggie Turner

    Setting yourself up for your future successes is very important. Understanding the past can help educate us to make better decisions for the future. During Dr. Blackburn’s presentation, he noted that the stage of history is always turning. This is very true. I also believe that our own personal stage’s are constantly in motion. Each decision we make can affect our life down the road more than we know. We as leaders must be able to take on new challenges that face us every day. If we are always prepared and having an open positive attitude we will be set up for success no matter where our stage turns to.

  • Lily Smith

    The future is constantly changing and most things about it are out of my control. However, because of this, I as a leader must set unchanging morals and practices that do not change in order to prepare for the future. I can set standards for myself that I will continue to do regardless of the changes the future holds. For example, I have a goal to love others regardless of where I am, how I am feeling, or who the other person is. Clearly, I fail at this from time to time, but this is a standard I have for myself that can continue to make a difference no matter what the future holds.

  • Kameron Kimball

    As me being a leader, I feel the best way to prepare myself for the future is honestly me being the best version of myself. Because the way I look at it, is if I am living my best life, I will be prepared for anything that comes at me. Another thing is preparation, not necessarily psychically, but mentally. If you are good mentally you can take on almost anything. Lastly, which could arguably be the most important is the people which you surround yourself with. I can personally surround myself with smart, successful people to prepare myself for the future. Thank you for coming to speak, I liked your messages!

  • Ainsley Bain

    Dr. Bob Blackburn had many interesting stories about Oklahoma History and how vital it is for leadership. One of the biggest things he talked about was that things are always changing, which means we must be educated and adaptable for anything that comes our way. A couple things that he used to back up that point were race and economic development. With each of those he told several stories, with race he talked about Clara Luper, Roscoe Dungee, Thurgood Marshall, and how each of those people, and many more, had huge impacts on how race is looked at in Oklahoma and the United States. With economic development, Dr. Blackburn told stories about many important people that had impacts on Oklahoma’s economy. One of the people he talked about, Bill Cameron, was one of the people that is kind of personal to me (if he was talking about the same Bill Cameron). My mom works for American Fidelity, which is the company that Cameron started. She has been able to grow and flourish in the environment that American Fidelity strives to preserve. Dr. Bob Blackburn also spoke about the importance that The Thunder, and other sports teams have had on Oklahoma and Oklahoma City specifically. We as the next generation of leaders, have so many possibilities. We must remember to just go for it if we see something that we want to do or that needs to be done. We must be activists and “be the change.” I think it’s awesome to hear how much our wonderful state has changed in the last hundred years, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next hundred.

  • Remy Young

    It could be the Enneagram 1 in me or it is just the way I am, but I enjoy having a reason behind everything I do. The reason doesn’t have to always be incredibly deep or thought out. It could just be that it might make someone’s day better, or maybe that it is just the right thing to do. But I truly believe that behind everything we do, there should be the purpose of becoming a better version of ourselves so that in the future we can be the best version of ourselves. In bad situations, we should recognize that we are learning skills like endurance and overcoming obstacles that can us help us and others in the future. In great times, we should embrace the good, share it with others, be thankful to those who have helped us get there, and note how we got to the good, so in the future, we can help others and ourselves find it again. And on the days where we are not better versions of ourselves, we must accept it, apologize where it is needed, and move forward.
    I cannot ensure that the future will hold a direct leadership position for me, but I know I can be the best version of myself possible. To become that, I must now live every day with the purpose of becoming better. And I believe this purpose will bring leadership into the best version of me, if that is how it is meant to be.

  • Mason Lance

    I think as a leader you are always looking towards the future. Not only for yourself, but for you peers as well. No one can predict the future so you have to be ready for whatever comes your way. As a leader we face many obstacles and challenges, but that is why we are leaders because we can handle those obstacles. Every situation has a solution and I think that you have to be prepared for anything in life because life can throw things at you that will either make you or break you.

  • Yiel Lee (HwiYeol)

    In this lecture, I actually had a hard time understanding because Dr. Blackburn has talked about leadership in American history. I did not understand all of the lecture, to be honest. But, I know he highlighted that we should study and understand our past. It allows people to understand our present. And we can get many lessons from the past. It also can provide us with insight into the cultures of origin as well as.

  • Cassidy Riley

    This is a topic I’m really passionate in, and I liked how Dr. Blackburn kept coming back to the idea of the “changing stage of history.” Nothing ever stays the same.
    I’ve realized in my life that the only way to be ready for the unpredictable is to utilize whatever resources are in front of me to better myself. It’s never a good idea to wait to arrive at an anticipated destination to start preparing. Life is unpredictable. Everyday choices plow the path. For me, I need to absorb the information before me as it relates to my career and ambitions. I need to face my fear of risk-taking and be confident in my decisions. I need to say yes to opportunities that get me out of my comfort zone and make me grow. This is how I can prepare myself for an unpredictable future, because I want to be there leading the charge as the future unfolds.

  • Mide Cassaday

    Not knowing future events is a great part of life. You are taught many lessons and given so many opportunities throughout life, and like the famous Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. So, that being true, I plan to be the best I can be in life. That doesn’t mean I’ll go out into the world and just “wing it”, but it means that I will be okay if things don’t go to plan. I believe that if I try my best in everything I do and always strive to make a difference, then good things will come my way. Being a leader and paving a path for better things is my goal.

  • Shelby Denney

    Bob Blackburn was an amazing speaker with such a rich personal background in Oklahoma’s history, and true passion for teaching great leadership through this vital method. As future leaders ourselves we can all better prepare ourselves for the future by understanding the past and current stage of history we are living in. I think the best way I can prepare myself as a leader is to understand and continue to explore all of the options as to make the best decision for my future. By understanding the past, we can see times when opportunities were emerging or declining. Great leaders understood and placed their intentions in opportunities that were the best for either them or those around them. By keeping connections and discussions with others broad and intentional we can prepare to explore and define new opportunities as they become available. In short, learning from past leaders and keeping the future open to possibilities can help to better prepare leaders for the future.

  • Zachary Nemecek

    I believe as a leader you should always have a pursuit of knowledge. If you have the intent to lead in the future then the best way to be prepared is to know the next step after something happens. The more educated you are on multiple situations and more accepting to learn from others that know the better set up you are for success. People tend to get complacent with the information they already know or the way they think already instead of being open minded. To always have the desire to be smarter or wiser than you were the day before can only benefit you with starting good habits and creating a growth mindset within yourself.

  • Mikaela Trenary

    Dr. Blackburn brought up two points before breaking down his lecture into three stories. These two points gave me hope as I am striving to contribute to the future: “the stage of history is always changing” & “what can you do to serve your community NOW with what YOU have?”. Our generation is set on the stage of history; Are we going to unite to further our society -while also remembering our past- or are we going to absentmindedly walk through life, taking our freedoms for granted? Dr. Blackburn’s lecture over culture, economy and history brought forth an encouragement to never forget what efforts brought us our freedoms today and to press forward in hope, despite the fact that we do not know what the future holds. I believe living in “shared memory” contributes to this and believing that – even at our age – we can start establishing this mindset in our generation.

  • Callie Hambrick

    It is common knowledge that we cannot predict the future, but I think we often forget that we are not promised the future either. We are not promised a day, week, month, or year from now. That being said, we can use it as motivation to take chances; if we want to succeed, we have to know that it does take risk and failure. One huge step in trying to prepare for what is to come is to just learn from past mistakes, risks, and failures. While Dr Blackburn spoke, it was clear that the people he told us about were smart enough to use the resources and wisdom from their own prior experiences as well as the experiences of others. Having knowledge of the past does not mean we will not stumble and fall, but it does mean we will have a greater chance of future success.

  • Hannah Morrison

    Dr. Blackburn’s presentation was a great representation of just how committed one has to be in order to make an impact. With each success being backed up by numerous trial and error situations, it proved to me that being a leader is not going to be an easy commitment. Though each leader has a different journey, one of the determining factors of a leader is if they are resilient enough to follow through with their actions. All of us will be faced with decisions we have to make. Whether they seem small in the moment, or overwhelming, Dr. Blackburn’s speech proved that each decision adds up to what the future will hold. Given that we cannot see what the future looks like, being bold in our decisions and being leaders in each moment we are given is the best way to prepare ourselves for the world we are in and the future we are in charge of creating.

  • Savannah Hughbanks

    Being a leader can mean a lot of different things. To me, a leader is not necessarily just the person that is in charge of the group, but is the person willing to go out of their way to help and include everyone around them. They are the selfless person who puts others before themselves. Since I cannot predict the future, I believe the only way for me to prepare myself for the future as a leader is to be that selfless person and to put myself out there to help give back. To trust in God and his process and to push through tough situations. At the end of the day, if I do that, I know my future will be positively influenced. Dr. Blackburn spoke of how Oklahoman’s went against the status quo to achieve what they believed in. That gave me insight to the limitless possibilities that I could accomplish.

  • Mahfuzul Karim

    During Dr. Blackburn presentation he mentioned about the risk takers and the history makers of Oklahoma. As a leader I always try do few thing to myself of which one is adaptation and decision making. None knows the future and keeping that in mind we should always prepare ourselves for the most unexpected outcome and the most unwanted situation by that we can also be a little bit ready about that. Though we always hope for the best thing to happen but we also should prepare ourselves for the worst and we must face the face situation whatever comes.

  • Caylee Ralls

    Every story Dr. Blackburn told us came back to a common goal. Each person saw a need or a problem and found a solution for it. The thing I believe we as leaders need to be most prepared for is change. The world we live in is ever changing. Just 20 years ago society was drastically different than the society we live in today. Adaptability is one of the most important qualities to have. I feel as though many people try to stick to age old traditions and “the way its always been” mentality. Rather, we need people who will not be afraid to step up and make changes. Oklahoma would have been left behind the rest of society if we hadn’t had the amazing leaders Dr. Blackburn talked about. They were leaders willing to take risks. They saw a need and found a solution. With that being said, I believe the best way to prepare for the future is to find the opportunities that have yet to be discovered. We need to take those opportunities and mold our future into what we want it to be. I am very thankful Dr. Blackburn came and spoke to our class Tuesday morning. What he taught us wasn’t a typical leadership success story. It was stories of leaders who never gave up and always found a way to push forward even when things didn’t work out as planned. It was very refreshing to hear such a different aspect of leadership and I hope to hear more stories like this in the future!

  • Maria Carbajal Alvarado

    I think that as a leader, the best way to prepare for the future is to embrace everything that happens in the moment. For example, a big issue right now is climate change and how our leaders are handling it. It’s an issue that has gained a lot of attention from younger people because we are the ones that will inherit the world. Leaders of our age should embrace this activism age to ensure we have a future to lead. This doesn’t just apply to activism and social issues though. Embracing what goes on in our own lives, even if it’s hard, will shape us to be better leaders. Even when life gets hard and it would be better to just follow someone else, perseverance can help us become the best leaders we can be for the future.

  • Walker Holland

    Dr. Blackburn spoke lots about the MAPS project in Oklahoma City and the foresight that so many people had to accomplish such an amazing thing. I think it’s important to understand that when looking forward as a leader you can have expectations and goals that you want to accomplish much like the ones who made the MAPS project happen, but you have to realize it may not go exactly as planned. When they built the sports arena, they had no clue how a team would get instituted within its walls. However, they were all flexible and were okay with sacrificing some money and time to make it happen. That alone has made Oklahoma City a spot on the map. So when a leader or group of leaders are looking ahead, they should keep their eyes on the prize, but be okay with changing the path to get there.

  • Mackenzie Sullins

    Dr. Blackburn mentioned several people who not only had a drive to succeed, but had dedication, and I find that to be the key to their preparation. We can never predict the future or the outcome of our actions, but we can stay dedicated to what we believe to be right and stand strong in our values, and that, I believe, is what makes the outcome always so positive. When hard work is put in, good work will come out, and that is exactly what was shown in the examples that Dr. Blackburn provided. Life does not present us with a magic crystal ball sitting in front of our face to peer into and see out outcome, but it does give us choices, and how we react to them (no matter how bad those choices might be) can determine how bright our future will become. We will never fully know what’s ahead, but we will always know what we, as individuals, can do about it.

  • Mason Rasmussen

    Dr. Blackburn told a few stories that highlighted many leaders that took risks that ended up benefiting them in many ways. Being prepared for the future is very important, yet sometimes difficult because the future is unpredictable. One way I feel that leaders can prepare themselves for the future is by learning to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. I think by learning this skill it will allow you to be able to take risks that you might have been too scared to take before. Not all opportunities are going to be easy, so being able to evaluate a risk and becoming comfortable working hard will benefit you. Preparing for the future is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. The more prepared you are, the more successful you will be as a leader.

  • Joshua Chao

    Dr. Bob Blackburn told stories of how leaders overcame struggles to become great leaders. They made historical impacts for Oklahoma by being prepared for everything life threw their way. I believe the first step in preparing for future struggles is preparing yourself for obstacles and interferences that you do not expect. Preparing yourself for such challenges will build resilience and flexibility which are important qualities of a leader. Unforeseeable challenges are inevitable and we have to either prepare for them or let them take over our life. You have to be strong in tough times because people are depending on you to be resilient.

  • Jerome Brown

    Setting ourselves up for the future is something we will be doing forever. With every decision we make, we are setting ourselves up for the future. We can set up our future by what we vote for, who we communicate with, and how we promote ourselves in and out of each day. If we promote ourselves poorly then we aren’t setting up our future really nicely. This is why first impressions matter so much in the world. Everyday we could potentially meet our next employer or someone who could do business with us in the future. As a leader it is always important that you prepare for the worst and pray for the best. So although we can’t actually predict the future we can always make sure we are ready for it.

  • Maison Smith

    The key to preparation is to arm yourself with knowledge to deal with problems you may face. For me, it will be important to work on my communication skills. I will never be able to know what people are going to say to me, but I can prepare myself on how to listen to them thoroughly, distinguish their point, and articulate an appropriate response. I really appreciated Dr. Blackburn’s speech, and his stage of history theme. It reminded me that all you can do in life is push yourself to be the best you can be and see the best in everything. No one knows they’re making history until they’ve already taken the risks and pushed forward. We as young leaders have to identify the values we stand behind and take risks that align with them.

  • In my eyes, the best way to prepare yourself for the future is developing the ability to adjust to changes. From looking into the past we can see that the unexpected happens and the world is changing at a rapid rate. To prepare ourselves for these rapid changes as leaders, we must be able to do it in a timely manner. This way we can help others adapt as well. Change is a hard thing, for many people it brings anxiety. As a leader if you can be confident no matter what changes the future brings, you can help ease the stress and anxiety of the people around you. This will create an atmosphere of growth, and the attitude to keep pushing forward no matter what changes come your way.

  • Kinsey Harper

    As Dr. Blackburn spoke to our class on Tuesday, he shared with us the history of our state and the type of community leaders we had. It was fascinating hearing stories about very important changes and leaders in Oklahoma.
    As a leader you have to be able to adapt to change. You have to be positive when things change and plans fall through. If you are positive, then you can come up with a new idea or way to deal with the situation in a more calm way. You must be patient as well. When things change, you should be patient in trying to figure out what to do next. If you are positive and patient as a leader, then you will be prepared for anything coming your way!

  • Tyler Garcia

    Dr. Blackburn talked about multiple leaders, activists, and difference makers, but what stuck to me the most is when he said “You make a lot of decisions, big and small, but the most important one is how you decide to give back to the community.” This hit me hard because often I find my self getting caught up trying to decide on so many things I want to do, rather than what I need to do. Wether it’s in voting, community service, or my future career, I will now make sure to always keep the big picture in mind. He also discussed how all of our decisions our little footprints leading towards the one big decision we’ll get the opportunity to make, and that keeps me hopeful for our future. Along with this, he also pressed how a lot of decisions come from other who are in the same position as yourself. If it wasn’t for all the community leaders making the same great decision, the OKC Thunder, formally Seattle Sonics, would have never came to our great state.

  • Sarah Huhman

    Dr. Blackburn gave us insight to three great leaders who had no idea what the future held for them or Oklahoma. He told us their story through the history of Oklahoma. In each instance, the person did not know what was in store for the future, but they knew they wanted to see a change, rather it was big or small. That is so important for us as leaders to have today. We must understand that we cannot predict the future and must stay optimistic for what it holds, but we must also have mindset with goals for the future. For me personally as a leader, I know what I would like to accomplish in the future and how I want to change it, but I know I have no control over it. My goal is to create change, and start a ripple effect with my change, that might have a small impact now but down the line it creates a bigger impact on the future.

  • Ashton Joyner

    It is very common for something to not go the way we had planned or imagined in our heads. From a job that is not what our twelve year old self dreamed of, to that night’s dinner, world wars, divorces between spouses, where we are going to live when we get older–it is not unusual for our dreams and ideas that we have in to not turn out the way we envision them. One quality of a leader that is important to have in a constantly changing world is to remain flexible and adaptable. When an obstacle or circumstance stands in your way, as the leader of the ship, it is detrimental that you have the capability of changing the course and completing the journey. Another essential quality to have is to embrace change. As a believer of Christ, I place my faith in knowing that when something doesn’t go my way that that can only mean something better is coming. I stand firm on the belief that His ways are higher than mine. A way to prepare yourself for the future as a leader is to not just constantly be awaiting that future, but to also be present in your current now and go out and make your dreams a reality. Life is happening every day and each one of those days present opportunities to not only impact your tomorrow, but to impact your forever as well. Do not become so fixated on what your life will be like in the next ten years or else you might just miss the opportunities of today that will help get you there.

  • Brianna Taylor

    I believe that, as a leader, you have to prepare yourself for the future by growing as much as you can. To truly prepare for something as slippery as the future, one must seize every opportunity as he or she can. This will enable the person to have different experiences and skill sets in a wide range of areas. The future is not set in stone, it takes you on paths that you never saw yourself on a few years prior. By growing as a person and getting out of your comfort zone, you can be more prepared and adept for any situation where life throws you its infamous curveballs. No one knows where the future will take them, but by embracing each opportunity that life presents you, you can be more prepared for the challenges later on.

  • Audrey Allard

    I enjoyed Dr. Bob Blackburn and his message of how important our decisions are. He talked about how we will all at some point in time get to stand on the stage of history and choose how to improve or worsen things. I was very interested in all his knowledge of the history of our state, and I believe that it is important to be reminded of where our state came from. It is also good to know the history about amazing things that have improved our state. We can give credit to the people that turned Oklahoma into what it is today. It inspired me to really take charge of the rest of our history that there is to be made in this state.

  • Rebekah Clemmons

    Dr. Blackburn gave a great presentation about the history of some of Oklahoma’s great leaders and the decisions that they made that impact us today. He highlighted a few key points: community is big – we’re all in this together, giving back is important, be risk takers and make big decisions because the people around us and before us did and they have shaped our world today. I believe that the biggest way a person can impact the world around them is making a difference in their community, because change happens on a small scale and can grow to be more effective. If you settle down into a good community and continuously give back and serve it, you will change the world, and that’s something we all want to do. Fear can be our biggest obstacle from getting involved and making big decisions, but you never know how something will turn out until you try it. Even if you fail and make a bad decision, you can always learn from each and every experience. If you succeed and make good big decisions, you will affect other people down the line, people you might never meet, in a really great way.

  • Joey Boschert

    After reflecting on Dr. Blackburn’s presentation, I admired his point on the importance of serving the community as a citizen, his analogy of ‘stepping on the stage of history,’ and his usage of Oklahoma’s history as an example of progress and making the right decisions even if they aren’t the most popular. I personally believe that his point on making a decision that is moral and appeals to the common good when faced with a situation regardless of how it is approached by others is the best representation of how I can prepare myself for the future as a leader. Dr. Blackburn pointed out in his speech that every little decision we have made up to today has determined our path, and oftentimes it can be the difference of one decision that can determine the quality of our lives. Given that we cannot predict the future, I think all situations, decisions, and problems can be best approached with a specialized mindset; one in which morals are set, the community/majority is prioritized, and good intentions are present. It seems to me that this is the best way to ensure a positive future, especially from the perspective of a leader. This mindset will likely differ by leader based on their strengths, values, and morals, but ultimately should guide us as individuals in the right direction, given the decision was made with the best of intentions, and the good of the community in mind.

  • Grace Duvall

    For me, I think that preparing yourself in order to become a great leader is an important thing. It’s a tool that is required in life whether its something you want to use or not. Ways I can prepare myself for the future is by practicing kindness to others and volunteering for organizations I’m passionate about at a young age. This will impact the way I see the world and work with people. My leaderships skills will only increase when I practice them. I can only hope that doing these things will be a positive influence on my life as a leader in the future.

  • Alexis Howry

    As a leader, I feel the best way to prepare for our futures is to make a habit of doing as Dr. Bob Blackburn first stated in his presentation: “To answer your questions about life, you must ask how you can best serve your community”. You can see this attribute played out by people like Roscoe Dungee when he assisted Ada Lois in becoming the first African American to enroll at a predominately white university. He saw a need in the community surrounding and went out of his way to positively affect the lives around him. When you make a conscious habit of caring for others it best prepares you to efficiently lead and care for others.

  • Kaylee Sloan

    During his presentation, Dr. Blackburn talked about past leaders from Oklahoma and how they got to be so successful. He talks about how it’s important to be successful and how it sets us up for a better life. Making good and responsible decisions lead to a more successful life. He talks about how each decision makes a difference and leads to new opportunities. I really enjoyed listening to his perspective on leadership.

  • Dr. Blackburn shared many stories about people who have impacted Oklahoma’s history for the better. I know that most of us would love to be apart of significant stories like what Dr. Blackburn shared many years from now. If I want to be prepared for my future endeavors, I have to be willing to use my strengths now so that I can be ready later on. That means being empathetic and positive in every situation so that in the future, I can be prepared for the good times and the bad. I know that I cannot predict the future, but I can work on my strengths now so I can be prepared for anything that I face down the road, just like the people in Dr. Blackburn’s presentation.

  • brinlee lenochan

    I loved listening to Dr. Bob Blackburn. Mostly because it was full historical facts and taught me about the community I grew up in, Oklahoma City. Each story Dr.Blackburn told from defeating segregation to the start of the heart of OKC, the thunder and the growing down town, each started with one person and their courage to stand up for what they believe in. As a leader I feel like it is very important to never back down from what you feel is right, even if it’s just you in your corner. You never know how much your single voice can have impact . When preparing for your future I believe its important to believe in yourself and always stand up for what you think is right.

  • Gavin White

    This question has been around for many years. How to prepare for something that you can’t predict. One of the most efficient ways for me to make for the future is to sharpen my current skills. One of the most essential skills that I want to maintain is flexibility in the way that I can change my plan on the fly. I find one of the most crucial parts of leadership is to make rash decisions under pressure with no heads up. If I, as a leader, can make good discussions under pressure, I can continue to lead where most people can’t.

  • Serah Salau

    Growing up in the maasai community where people do not value education and especially education to girls is not encouraging. A community that still practice barbaric practices such as early forced marriages to very young girls. I have always wanted to put this to an end but it seemed impossible because my opinion cannot be heard by the elders of the community. But after Dr. Blackburn shared to us stories about legends who committed themselves to endeavor and taking risks in order to stand firm, I got motivated to go back to my community with a degree and not only to tell them but also to show them that both boys and girls are the same. As a leader I know that the future is not predictable but at least we can make plans and proper decisions and stick to them. Lastly action speaks louder than words; it is a time to quit talking but acting.

  • Emma Lammers

    Dr. BLackburn’s presentation was very inspirational as he spoke about history and leadership. The most eye-opening part of the speech was listening to him speak about the different times everyone will step up to the life’s podium of leadership. Knowing that I will, one day, be able to make a change really speaks to me. The history stories only backed my feeling up. Being a leader is already hard enough, but being able to prepare yourself for the unexpected can be even harder. Gaining knowledge on what has happened in the past can definitely help one “prepare” for the future. By knowing the past we understand the possibilities of what could happen, what could change, what could stay the same.

  • I believe an important factor of being a leader, when it comes to thinking about the future, is understanding that not everything happens the way you expect it to happen. There are many trials and tribulations amongst us, and those tests are what makes a person grow into the best versions of themselves. Without failing a couple times, there is no way to tell that you have succeeded. You should never let your past ruin your future, but you should understand that your past dictates the path you take in the future. If you find yourself in a situation in which you believe you have failed, you have to try again until you succeed.

  • Lynh Hoang

    Although we do not know what our future will be, we can always try to prepare ourselves. Dr. Bob Blackburn talked about many things from slavery to OKC thunder, but in the end, I think we all learned that there is a reason for everything. One way we can prepare for the future is to see every situation or obstacle as an opportunity to grow and learn. Being encouraging and determined towards your goal will prepare your mindset. In the end, we can only stay positive and find the light in things. When you see every failure as a lesson, you learn the true meaning of succeeding. We have to see the reason behind and everything and find the light in order to prepare for our future as much as possible.

  • Heather Maker

    During Dr. Blackburn’s presentation I learned many key facts about Oklahoma’s history and how each of those historical aspects has shaped the way our society is today. While he was telling these stories I was envisioning dominos in my head; one domino being knocked down right after another until an end goal is reached. After reflecting on this visionary I decided to turn that into a leadership philosophy. No matter how many dominos I try to set up, they will continue to follow one right after another. Just like no matter how many times I try to make a decision or alter the future, my life path will lead to me my end game. With this leadership knowledge I hope to allow myself to live in the now and not worry so much about the future that I have little control over.

  • Alexxa Lewis

    As humans, we never know what the future holds and sometimes for us, it’s scary or uneasy to not have control of our futures. It is often easy to overlook challenges and not be prepared for your future, when there are some things to better yourself for success. In my opinion, I believe I can strive to be the best version of myself and be true to who I am although I may not know the outcome always. Deciding between right and wrong can also shape the way we go about things or situations later on in life. As leaders, I feel as if sometimes we always want the best of the best or strive for perfection, when in reality, there is no such thing; if we follow through with our decisions, it can better prepare us for our future selves and help us succeed in what we need to be.

  • Jonghyeon Park

    I believe in God. This is how I prepare for my future. I prepared for my future through depending on God and I also do now. I can plan or think, but I’m not sure it will be done perfectly. So I pray to God every day. I ask Him to make the right move toward the future and every day I do my best I can in my real life. I think a best way to prepare my future is depending on God.

  • Riley Bishop

    I highly enjoyed Dr. Blackburn’s speech. However, it wasn’t for the same reasons I have enjoyed our previous speeches. Past speeches we have been given gave distinctive leadership lessons that were very inspirational. Dr. Blackburn speech gave a lot of insight into many of the important leaders of our state and their stories. These stories really changed my perspective on what it means to be an Oklahoman, and a good citizen. These stories inspired me too be a better citizen and to make the great state of Oklahoma a better place.

  • Tyler Boykin

    The best way to prepare for the future is to not lay dormant. I mean by this is that you should never be complacent with where you are in life, always strive for something better. Another way to prepare for the future is to always be a hard worker. Hard working individuals have stood the test of time. Hard workers always prevail even if it’s not in their lifetime. Even though no one can predict the future entirely, leaders should always be prepared for what life is going to give them.

  • Erynn Coppedge

    I believe that part of being a great leader is continuing to lead through the unknown and the difficult obstacles that appear. One can never know what is really to come, but preparing for the future includes realizing that there will be difficult times no matter who you are. It is important to keep going in those times, and not let the obstacles tear you down. The greatest leaders have learned from hard times, not given up when they came. I also think that making smart decisions and learning from the past will help prepare for the future. It is also important to have a team, and stand up for what you think is right. A lot of the stories Dr. Blackburn told were about people standing up for their beliefs, especially when he talked about the racial injustice that people have experienced. Some of the greatest changes in our country have occurred because someone was brave enough to point out our flaws and what we have done wrong. We cannot predict everything that will come in the future, but we do decide what we do about it, and a great leader keeps leading despite the struggle.

  • Preparation for the future is a difficult and essential task. In order to be equipped as a leader for the future, you must learn to lead in the present. The future is completely unpredictable, so your circumstances will try you in ways you wouldn’t expect. Pushing yourself to find solutions in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations is the only way to be prepared for difficult situations. It is evident from the characters Dr. Blackburn used as examples that no one ever truly accomplished anything great as a leader without pushing themselves to uncomfortable situations. Practicing navigation in uncharted seas is the only way to successfully sail the ocean of the future.

  • Ashlynn Meyer

    I think the best way for any leader to prepare for the future is making decisions with the pure intentions of the betterment of the community. Dr. Blackburn talked about how leaders can make the decision to serve themselves. or the decision to serve their community through the stories he told. He told a collective story of multiple people who made decisions that created change in Oklahoma City. These men, E.K. Gaylord, Clay Bennet, Ron Norrick, David Stearn, and others, did not know what the future held for Oklahoma City, but went against what was easiest (especially since it was around an economic deflation) to pour into the potential of our city. The best way to be prepared is to be adaptable to what is thrown at you, and put the community before what comes easily to you.

  • Abby Wright

    I believe that we are never promised tomorrow. this being said I think that the best thing to do as a leader is make the most out of your today. If you live in the moment and fully take advantage of every opportunity, I believe you will be filled with success. I believe there isn’t one perfect way to prepare for the future but I do believe that treating other around you and your environment well will help to set up the future as best as you can. Each person has the same amount of minutes in a day so why not utilize all that you can of your day.

  • Tyler Owens

    The things that I plan to do to ready myself for the future include going to law school and educating myself as much as possible on the law and how it can be changed. I also plan to educate myself on how the law has evolved over the years and what has been needed to change it for the better. I am a firm believer in social equality and that it will always be a constant uphill battle, so I plan to keep working towards the idea of total equality and involving myself in the legal process as much as necessary to make that happen. We never know what the future holds for us, so the only way to be fully prepared is to be knowledgeable about the issues and the law backing it, and have a voice that can be heard when you must speak up for that change.

  • Mykal Sanchez

    Never knowing what the future holds is something that the average person looks at as a disadvantage, but in many ways it can be beneficial to our growth as a person and the decisions that we make that are detrimental to a successful future. The fact that we have to prepare ourselves for unknown circumstances constantly teaches us the ability to be flexible and adaptable to numerous and stressful situations. Always keeping yourself one step ahead and always contemplating potential outcomes is a great way to prepare yourself to future situations and can give you further knowledge, preparation, and insight into rigorous situations. Dr. Blackburn brought up very important examples and insights into recognizing innovation before everyone else does and how we can use this as an advantage to our success in the future and for generations that will come after us. Not knowing what the future holds can be turned from a disadvantage into an opportunity for great success.

  • Dawson Rose

    Dr.Blackburn had some interesting stories with in his presentation that brought past together with present. I believe in order to best prepare yourself for the future is to stay current on all events going on around you. Things are always changing and progressing in today’s society, especially with technology. We can look up questions in an instant with our cell phones, with this power comes responsibility. We must use the power of technology for good, and make the world for the next generation better.

  • The leader will face to situation that he have to make a decision. I believe that make a right decision is also important quality for leader. To make a right decision when I am leader in future, I will study the history of my country. I will remember our country’s mistakes and do not make wrong decision like the past again. Besides, I will find the people who have same mind with me, study hard, and honesty in front of God with praying.

  • Myawna Moore

    I think the best way to prepare myself as a leader is to educate myself. I feel the more you know the more prepared you are. Continuing to learn all i can learn will expose me to information i didn’t know. This exposure will help me stay ahead throughout the future.

  • Carson Clay

    After listening to Dr. Blackburn, a few things really made a impact on me. When I go through my everyday life I make a lot of decisions. But sometimes I don’t thin before some that I make. So when Blackburn said ” you make a lot of decisions, big and small, but the most important one is how you decide to give back to the community.” it really stuck out and I soaked it up. All different things like what kind of attitude I will have, how I’ll act around people, if I want to be successful that day, etc. Also I like how he said ” the people you are with frequently can be the best connections through life.” I like this because people like LOT or PLC are a great group of people that for the most part have the same goals. With that being said, they can hold me accountable, but also pick me up when Im down.

  • Lauren Berry

    Dr. Blackburn spoke of many leaders during his presentation. His anecdotes on the leaders of Oklahoma provided insight on how to prepare, rather than predict, for the future. The future is incomprehensible – what we believe we understand now is opt to change within the next day, month, or year. There is no way to know precisely what will happen. However, preparing for it is entirely possible. Preparation is essential in adaptive leadership. I realized if a leader can adapt to a situation and think ahead, then they are effective. For myself, I understood that predicting is a skill that I must develop. And much like the past leaders of Oklahoma, is necessary for growth.