OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas delivered the keynote during the University’s Bison Connections event in Oklahoma City Sept. 30. The luncheon took place in the Great Hall on the Hobby Lobby corporate office campus.
Bison Connections is a free event that connects OBU administrators, staff and faculty with alumni, friends of the University and members of the business community. The event includes a free meal for those in attendance, updates about things happening on Bison Hill and a keynote speaker to motivate and inspire those in attendance. The events are held on a regular basis in Oklahoma City and the first Bison Connections in Tulsa was held in early September.
Thomas themed his keynote “Reflections on Leadership in a Time of Pandemic.” He offered five lessons he personally learned leading the University through the pandemic over the past 18 months.
First, he encouraged the audience to be themselves. He noted that one of the things that has helped him most with this is to intentionally reconnect with the most important relationships in his life, those being his relationship with God, others, self and the created world.
Second, he shared that he learned the importance of how critical faith is to fueling the mission, noting that what we love drives us more than what we think drives us.
“What do you or your organization loves?” he said. “How does your love drive your purpose and mission? See, I’ve discovered that you can’t just talk a good game, you’ve got to live it out.”
The third lesson he shared is that service is good, but adding value is better.
“Great customer service is a qualifier,” he said. “If you don’t have it, it’s a disqualifier. But…the deeper more penetrating question for any organization, higher education included, is this question…are we adding value to people’s lives? Are we doing something to add value?”
The fourth lesson learned was that being offended is my problem, not your problem. He explained that we cannot control others, but we can control ourselves.
He then shared the fifth lesson learned, to keep your eyes up. He explained that vision keeps us moving in the right direction and that vision is critical to the forward movement of any organization.
Numerous sponsors made this edition of Bison Connections possible, including the host Hobby Lobby along with sponsors First Onsite Property Restoration, Insurica, Kimray, Quail Creek Bank and Scott Rice.