YLS Speakers Revealed!

The Much Anticipated Moment…

While we have kept you waiting, we are now ready to reveal some of our speakers that will help you get #Plugged In! We are excited to have two great community leaders; John Herman and Ben Crawford, from Epipheo, speak at the 12th Annual YLS!

Epipheo is a digital storytelling firm headquartered in Cincinnati. Epipheo created a new industry in 2009 by producing animated explanatory web videos for startups and large brands like Google, Facebook and Amazon.  They help their clients discover the true human value in what they do and use storytelling as the primary means to communicate that value.  Their equation is simple. Epiphany + Video = Epipheo. John and Ben understand the importance of being “Plugged In” to the right sources and believe in sharing words that can change lives. By creating videos in a fun and relatable way, Epipheo allows people to utilize powerful ideas and products. We think they put it best, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Everyone has ideas and Epipheo helps those ideas come to life. Check out how they make this happen!

John was born and raised in the Greater Cincinnati area and received his business degree from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Delhi.  When John’s not working at Epipheo’s secret lair in downtown Cincy, he can be found driving around on his old, red tractor at his homestead in Burlington, KY and spending quality time with his wife, Renee, and four young children.

Ben is an author, entrepreneur, owner, adventurer, father, and husband. In his pursuit for freedom he loves challenging the status quo and does not stop short in pursuing how the deepest truths impact our everyday lives. He has been featured on the front page of CNN, the NY Times, NPR’s “This American Life”, and been the subject of a full length documentary.

Together, they use their epipheos to share impactful messages that can make a difference in people’s lives. By sharing valuable sources of information with their communities, they give us all an opportunity to “Plug In.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, where we will reveal another speaker later on this week!

Adam Berman
Events Intern

Colleges Get Tech-nical

All Aboard the Technology Train!

YLS students, if you’re getting ready to go to college next year, or even within the next 5 years, here is something you will want to know. With technology advancing at a rapid pace, the modern college student is learning in an entirely different way than their parents, or even their brothers and sisters did. It is essential that you keep up with the technological trends that many universities and college students are heading toward. Students are ditching the backpacks full of pens, heavy textbooks, and multiple notebooks and are literally “gearing-up”, with the latest from products from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and tech giants alike.

It is not uncommon to see the majority of students in a college classroom taking notes on their iPads or using e-readers as a substitute for their textbooks.  Everyone knows that college students are obsessed with the latest trends in technology, especially when it comes to the newest smart phone. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly common that as they indulge in communication with their handheld devices, they are downloading apps that can actually be geared toward their studies and school activities. Technology that enhances your ability to learn is what being “Plugged In” is all about!

College students are currently paving the way as the tech savvy and gadget using leaders of tomorrow. Tech leaders in Silicon Valley are designing and releasing products based on their largest consumer, college students.  As parents may reminisce about times that they used a typewriter to complete a 20-page English paper or had to go to the school library to comb through an array of textbooks to study for an exam, those realities are just not the same for students who prepare to enter 4-year or even some 2-year colleges and universities today.

As some may argue there is too high of a dependency for college students to rely on their favorite technology devices, something has to be working if the trend is not slowing down. Presta released an interesting infographic recently that gives us a clear idea of just how much of an impact technology has had on the average college student currently attending school. While a few of the statistics may be somewhat surprising, we should all be aware that we’ve been heading in this direction for quite some time. Does any of this surprise you? What are you most “Plugged In” to? Laptops, Tablets, Smartphones?


Adam Berman
Events Intern

Plugged Into the Right Sources

Using technology in a positive way

I-phones. Laptops. I-pads. Email. Social media. Living in the 21st century, our world revolves around technology. It seems like we can’t go an hour without checking our cell phones or logging on to some type of social media site, like Facebook or Twitter. As teenagers and young adults, we are plugged into society through these sources and rely on constant communication to stay up to date with our friends, family, and favorite celebrity. The Anthony Muñoz Foundation used this idea when we decided that the theme for our 2013 Youth Leadership Seminar was to be Plugged In. At the seminar, we will explore how leaders are using technology to empower others and give back to their communities. Check out Adam’s post from last week to learn more about this event happening on October 9th.

What does the title of this post mean then when I say “Plugged Into the Right Sources?” The need for people to constantly be moving and on the go with their SmartPhones and checking their Facebook (and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest) every chance they get, helps to emphasize that as a culture, we need to slow down. We need to learn to appreciate life as it comes at us and the relationships that can exist in person, and not just those in cyberspace. We don’t need to unplug from all forms of technology and communication, but must use this technology and future technology to do good in the world and help empower others to be leaders, even if they live across the globe. Technology gives us the power to positively influence and inspire others, but only if we use it in that way.


Instead of replying to emails or Facebook messages right as they are sent directly to our phones, we must decide when we want to respond to someone and not be constantly relying on these new devices for trivial matters. By taking the opportunity to have the final say and by not being addicted to technology and constantly in communication with other people, we will gain a better appreciation for our own life and the responsibilities that we have to others. We will learn more about our own abilities and how we can make a difference in the world.

world of techAt YLS, we’ll be encouraging students not to unplug directly, but rather to get plugged in to their school, community, and city. Technology can be used in many positive ways to help leaders in our community achieve their dreams. If we take the time to teach and explain technology to the incoming generations, it will inevitably show that technology can be used to help people. For example, organizations like The Birthday Project work to create a better world by spreading the message of kindness through their use of technology.

Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and continue to check back for weekly blog updates!

Becky Griesmer
Impact Intern

Check out the blog where the pictures came from!