There’s me and my high school buddy riding our horses, wrestlin’ us up some Buffalo fer dinner. Amazing we didn’t have cars in South Dakota in 1980.

When I was 18 years old, I participated in a domestic student exchange. Forty students from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, temporarily lived and went to school in Albany, Georgia. The first day of school I felt like a foreigner when a sweet Southern Belle asked me “So where y’all from?” When I said South Dakota, she said: “That’s cute, I bet y’all don’t have cars there do ya?” Then she deepened her blunder by wondering out loud what it would be like to have a Buffalo as a pet.  That was 1980.

Today, it’s totally obvious that I’m a white male living north of the Mason Dixon line.  I travel extensively, seldom experiencing naïveté when asked: “Where are you from?” But that’s not the norm for everyone.

Kurt Kwan is the speaker at the May Good Leadership Breakfast, this Friday, May 17

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Kurt Kwan — if you join me at the Good Leadership Breakfast this Friday, you’ll get to meet him!  Kurt is an Asian born leader living and working in the Twin Cities.  He’s a perfect speaker for the breakfast, because he knows how to channel his personal power into radiating goodness.

Kurt Kwan (right) is a powerful Twin Cities community leader, using theater to help advance fairness and opportunity for all.

Unlike most of the leaders we have featured, Kurt Kwan uses theater as a leadership canvas.  He has appeared on nearly every important stage in the Twin Cities and touched hundreds of corporate audiences across the country through Breaking Ice. He has a strong, solid command of his own personal leadership.  He is a community developer who really knows how to get powerful people (who don’t look like one another) leading together.

Personally, I’ve grown by watching him masterfully break down silliness, ignorance and naïveté. He is especially gifted at answering the “where are you from?” question. Attendees at last year’s Good Leadership Conference were moved to a standing ovation by the Leading Together performance, anchored by Kurt Kwan.  Watch a clip here. On Friday morning, we’ll get a sample of that magic and we’ll all get to work on our answers to the “where are you from?” question.

Good leaders today make a habit of discovering opportunity comes in many shapes, sizes, abilities and colors. And we surround ourselves with people who help us understand our own personal bias and harvest the richness of where we are from.

Please share with us: what naïveté have you encountered about where you are from?

Then please join us at the Good Leadership Breakfast this Friday.