2016 Pat Tillman Leadership Summit

Last month, working alongside the Pat Tillman Foundation, we had the great pleasure of launching and attending the Pat Tillman Leadership Summit at Roosevelt University and Venue SIX10 in Chicago.

Historically, Launchpad has worked in tandem with PTF to develop all of the branding, communications and materials for their annual three-day leadership event. The program is designed to foster collaboration and learning amongst all the Tillman Scholars through an assembly of inspirational keynote speakers, engaging panels, peer workshops, community service projects, and the Tillman Honors showcase. More than 100 Tillman Scholars attend the summit to network with each other, and to identify opportunities for collaboration and impact.

This year proved to be our best year yet, with the introduction of the very first Make Your Mark Talks. This portion of the event was designed to showcase the foundation's impact through a series of talks given by four of the Tillman Scholars. The talks were passionately and intelligently delivered, and wonderfully received by 400+ audience members. Above all else, they put a human face on the meaning of the foundation’s mission: "Writing the story of a better future." The Make Your Mark Talks have carried on well beyond the event.  They continue, every day, to inspire the large network of scholars, sponsors and supporters through the many pathways of social media and email. These talks will soon be available to view online at PatTillmanFoundation.org. 

Tillman Honors celebrates Pat’s legacy by recognizing and awarding outstanding leaders for their remarkable civic contributions, extraordinary fortitude and purposeful spirit of service. This year, the Make Your Mark Award recognized Tillman Scholar Kimberly Jung for all these qualities, and more.  Kimberly is CEO and Co–Founder of Rumi Spice, a for–profit start-up of saffron farming in Afghanistan that has recently created 300 jobs for Afghan women, while at the same time effectively combating the opium trade, which historically has been a major source of Taliban funding. Her product is now used by many of the world's finest chefs, including Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert and Daniel Boloud, and Rumi Spice itself was recently featured in the New York Times. This year’s Champion Award was given to the much celebrated and award-winning Jon Krakauer, author of Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, in recognition of his remarkable service, contributions and support for the foundation. 

Other highlights from the three-day leadership event include a fireside chat between Krakauer and MOH Honoree Sal Giunta; a Tillman Scholar panel, moderated by New York Times best-selling author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, where they recounted their experiences serving in, and with, teams of female soldiers that have become such important resources during critical missions in Iraq and Afghanistan; a heartfelt discussion amongst several accomplished novelists and poets, along with PTF President and Co-Founder Marie Tillman, about why they choose to share their stories in their writing; and a conversation about the value of veterans as civic leaders, amongst four Tillman Scholars who have become leaders within their communities in the areas of education, government, medicine and the arts. 

The success and inspiration of the Pat Tillman Leadership Summit fills us all with enormous gratitude and pride for the opportunity to support the Tillman Scholars as they create a better future for all of us.