Last week at Xerocon San Diego, we welcomed inspiring guest keynote speakers to the stage who delivered unique messages about being bold, innovative, and dreaming big. We’ve compiled some of the highlights of our favorite moments from their keynotes.
Adapting to innovation
Shawn Kanungo has been recognized nationally and globally for his work in the innovation space after 12 years of working at Deloitte. On Day 1, the disruptive strategist shared how adopting an exponential mindset produces a different way of thinking about life, business, and society.
Shawn believes that embracing this open mindset can help us adapt to innovation and new technologies evolving around us. And, when companies dive into experimentation, it builds a culture of innovation that can transform your company.
Technology is changing the irrelevant to relevant, changing things from nothing to something. That’s why we need a different mindset. — Shawn Kanungo
He also introduced the audience to the idea of the “exponential accountant,” or someone who’s focused on capabilities, automation, experimentation and using ecosystems around us. Shawn explained how advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have received much hype over the last few years, but AI is going to be one of the greatest things to happen to accountants. While these technologies bring about changes, it will allow accountants to double down on the things that matter, including customers, clients, and employees.
Shawn explains, “This entire human talent spectrum has really changed everything. I believe what it has done the most is empower individuals more than ever before. Today, the individual is the most powerful entity in the world because now we have everything at our fingertips. What Xero has done is actually give you the foundation and the platform to innovate on top of it. That is the beauty of Xero.”
Creating a space where people have no fear
In 2014, Maysoon had the number one TED Talk, “I got 99 problems… palsy is just one” and was named 1 of 100 Women of 2015 by the BBC. Maysoon’s keynote on Day 2 at Xerocon flawlessly mixed personal stories with profound advice and comedy.
Maysoon talked about how her parents taught her to dream big and always said to her, “you can do it, yes, you can-can,” which means to try. It doesn’t mean you won’t fail, but the idea is that you try. This is a saying that guided her throughout her career.
We should do everything in our power to give anyone with a disability access to education, opportunities and a career. — Maysoon Zayid
In one powerful anecdote, Maysoon shares how she moved back to New Jersey after college to pursue her soap opera dreams. As soon as she walked into auditions, she was immediately rejected and wasn’t even given a chance.
“We have no idea how many people with invisible disabilities grace our screens. Invisible disabilities like depression, chronic pain, mental health issues. The stigma against these things is so strong that even the most famous person fears revealing their disabled status,” Maysoon said. “Create a space where the people around you have no fear and where they don’t have to hide something that they have no control over.”
In another example, Maysoon talks about online trolls and bullying, urging people to not let others on the Internet define you. “Only you get to define you,” Maysoon said. “Pick who you want to be and be that person. If you have no one to cheer for you, cheer for yourself.”
See more highlights from Xerocon San Diego 2019 here.