Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Past Few Weeks

Its always exciting to spend time with President Clinton, but this past weekend at the second annual CGI U was extra special. The energy of the thousands of students that attended was unreal, and they were just as inspiring to me as TOMS and the One for One business model is to them. Here's a link (and a time log- the entire piece is 90 minutes long) to the Opening Plenary, where I had the opportunity to speak in front of 1,300+ of the best students from around the world. Some photos below, too.

Watch the video

40:12 - Pres Clinton introduces me
55:25 - Pres Clinton asks me, "Why shoes? Why a business, not a charity?"
80:10 - Pres Clinton asks us, "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

For those of you who weren't able to make it to Austin this past weekend, I challenge you to match the passion and determination that the students who attended represent. TOMS has campus rep programs that empower students to further the One for One mission on their own campuses, or even here at our HQ in LA:

on stage at CGI U

CGI U Service Project at Rosewood Park + Recreation Center

The past few weeks have been amazing: Having the opportunity to speak in front of the most influential people in the business world at the TED conference and being inspired by their knowledge, and then speaking in front of the most passionate students in the world and being inspired by their energy, leaves me absolutely humbled.

on stage at the 2009 TED Conference

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CGI U 2009

Today I'm headed back to Texas. It won't be for a relaxing weekend at home with my parents, or to catch up with old friends. This weekend will be fast-paced and exciting: I'm speaking at CGI U in Austin. TOMS is a proud member of the Clinton Global Initiative and pledged to give 100,000 pairs of shoes to Haiti at this past fall's CGI conference in NYC. CGI U began in 2007 as a means for students, national youth organizations, and university officials to discuss solutions to pressing global issues. Friday I'll be on a panel with good friend President Bill Clinton, President of Dell Global Public, Paul Bell, Graduate Student in Biomedical Engineering, Mambidzeni Madzivire, and actress Natalie Portman discussing how students and campuses can take action in making a difference. The weekend then continues with amazing discussions and presentations about developing sustainable food systems, how to be innovative and resourceful in difficult economic times, working sessions on global health, energy and climate change, education, and more. The individuals who will be presenting are incredibly intelligent people who really care about guiding our youth, and I'm looking forward to being a part of this year's conference. After this weekend, its back to LA to the TOMS HQ.

President Clinton and I in 2008

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Glad to be Home

I just returned from one month in South America where I completed my 9th shoe drop and took some time off for much needed R and R. During my time off, I enjoyed the silence and beauty of the Patagonia region, visited Iguazu Falls and caught the biggest fish of my life on a 5 weight fly rod. It was relaxation at its best. However, all feelings of peace evaporated when I woke up in my Long Beach hotel room this morning. It is now 8:39 and I find myself writing and rehearsing my TED Talk that I will give this afternoon. Today is the beginning of the TED conference which I have been invited to attend. Not only are they letting me attend all the amazing events and talks this week, I have been given the opportunity to give a TED talk (3 minutes) before a crowd of the most intelligent and innovative people in the world, including people like Bill Gates, JJ Abrams, Jeff Bezos, Seth Godin, and the list goes on and on. I usually do not get nervous speaking in front of people, but today is a little different. Today I will have the honor and privilege of sharing the TOMS story with each of these people and to learn about what they are working on and thinking about, too. I still cannot believe that I was invited to attend this amazing conference, much less speak, and I look forward to sharing many of the amazing ideas and experiences I will have with each of you over the next week. Needless to say, I am glad to be home :)

me and 27 inch rainbow from Baker river

me and my girlfriend Maggie at Iguazu