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UT launches program to help area students find their personal “swagger”

The University of Toledo is partnering with a local motivational speaker to help inspire area high school students to find their passion for education and their personal “swagger.”

The Leadership with Swagger initiative will be kicked off at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the Memorial Field House east lobby. The effort includes a motivational program designed to help give students confidence and a chance to define their own swagger through a group project in which students will develop and present a marketing plan for the University during an event in April.

John Henry Livingston, a motivational speaker and trainer and founder of Whirlwind U, a personal branding institute, is launching the Leadership with Swagger campaign in partnership with Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs at The University of Toledo.

“What if back in 1992 when Wheaties had Michael Jordan as a brand spokesperson, Wheaties had him include along with, ‘Better eat your Wheaties,’ ‘Better do your Homework?’ That slight addition could have had a major impact on a generation by placing emphasis on the importance ofeducation, without compromising Wheaties objective of using Mr. Jordan to bring more awareness to their brand,” Livingston said. “We are challenging these high school students to come up with a Wheaties-like brand for The University ofToledo and while doing so explore what swagger means to them and embrace it to be a future leader.”

Livingston is incorporating his marketing skills with the Lifeplan: A Journey of Choices, Decisions, and Consequences program, which is a highly interactive, discovery-based learning program developed by Root Learning of Sylvania for The Lifeplan Institute of California that helps participants navigate the path of life, avoid its most common pitfalls and become successful, thriving adults. The entire Lifeplan Training program takes about nine weeks to complete.

“I often speak about how important it is to create your own professional brand and this initiative builds on that by encouraging high school students to define what leadership with swagger means to them,” Burns said. “While doing that, the program also gives us insight into what appeals to high school students as they are considering what college or university to attend that will help with our UT branding efforts.”

Speakers will include:

  • Larry Burns, VP of External Affairs, The University of Toledo
  • John Henry Livingston, Principal, JoHen3LB and Lifeplan Toledo
  • Bill Axe, Athletic Director at Central Catholic, who has had students go through the Lifeplan program
  • Trudie Neely, Counselor at Rogers High School, who also has had students go through the Lifeplan program

For more information or questions about the event, please contact Amelia Acuna at 419.530.5874 or

Media Coverage
The Blade (Feb. 19, 2013)
The Independent Collegian (Feb. 20, 2013)
The Blade (Feb. 21, 2013)

is UT's Director of University Communications. Contact her at 419.530.2410 or
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