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During Grit Summit 2017, we had 13 presenters share their grit stories.  Below are recordings of some of the featured stories from the summit.  

Finding my Purpose - One woman's journey by Priscilla Martin

This presentation will cover one woman's journey from high school to present day, spanning a time of almost 20 years. From nearly dropping out of high school to graduating early and then moving on to earn multiple degrees all while facing many of life's obstacles. She dealt with her own illness, her husband's multiple military deployments, being a mom, mental illness, the fracturing of her family, and the tragic loss of her husband. Through all these trials she found her faith and a deeper, much richer purpose for her life.

Changing the Narrative of Hispanic/Latinx Student Success Through Grit

Even though more Hispanics are getting a post-secondary education than ever before, Hispanics still lag other groups in obtaining a four-year degree. As of 2014, among Hispanics ages 25 to 29, just 15% of Hispanics have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This presentation will provide attendees a better understanding of the current status of Hispanic/Latinx student success in Higher Education and how Grit can be used to change the student success narrative.

Let’s Talk About Failure by Mario Castillo

If you look at my resume, my titles, my accomplishments and the like, you will not see my failures, only my successes.  I think as leaders it is important that we talk about the times we didn’t get the job, we didn’t get the grade, and the many times we did not succeed because that’s where we have the most to share and learn from one another.  Come talk to me about the motivations, devices, and outlooks that took me from being the first person in my family to go to College to being the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of the largest institution of higher education in Texas at 34 years old.

Gritting Through a Crisis by Ginger Fray

This presentation highlights Ginger Fray’s personal Grit journey in overcoming a depilating autoimmune illness.  Ginger will outline the four components of Grit and how each played a vital role in her recovery.  Additionally, she will provide attendees with practical techniques so that they can find the courage to overcome their own inevitable personal and professional challenges.  Attendees will walk away with applicable strategies that will help them shift from a “can’t” to a “can” mindset.

Grit - Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals by Scott R. Furtwengler, Ph.D.

I was in a job that I loved, had a child on the way, and purchased new home. Suddenly, my position was eliminated. I was faced with the most challenging obstacle of my life. At the time, I was reading “Learned Optimism” by Martin Seligman, with whom Angela Duckworth developed the concept of Grit, defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” I also learned of the Resonance Performance Model (RPM), a strategy for navigating life’s obstacles developed by Douglas Newburg. By incorporating Grit and the RPM, I was able to persevere in higher education, earning a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and taking on new, challenging roles. My presentation will address how to utilize the concept of Grit and the Resonance Performance Model so that participants can clarify their goals and become more engaged in their professional and personal pursuits.

Here is a list of other Grit Summit 2017 presentation titles and descriptions.

If It Wasnae for Yer Wellies: Lessons Learned on the North Sea

Margaret Jelinek Lewis
This session describes the challenges of living and working overseas. I moved my children from “I’ve never lived anywhere but Texas” to an attitude of embracing new cultures, languages and travel experiences. I will share how I used our experiences and psychological research to develop principles for embracing change while maintaining continuity Through personal anecdotes and links to research, this presentation will suggest ways to build resilience in families and move from “can’t” to “can.”

Thrive, not Survive:  How my personal story of Grit has affected my teaching practices and influenced my students' development of GRIT

Sharon Stefan
My presentation will focus on three interrelated experiences.  First, I will discuss my own attitude from going to can’t to can as a first generation Latina obtaining my bachelors degree in mathematics.  I was discouraged early on to not pursue this degree for several reasons.  Secondly, I will discuss how my journey has affected my teaching practices and philosophy as a math professor at Lone Star College.  Finally, I will share how one of my former student’s experiences of their own development of GRIT.  He began to formulate an attitude from can’t to can in my classroom and how he has used this attitude into other aspects of his academic life, and ultimately as he was applying for engineering jobs after graduation.

Internationalizing The Power of a Grit Mindset
David E. Birch
This session focuses on the characteristics of successful community college students competing at the National Model United Nations Conference.  GRIT attributes define successful students as they compete against international upper class and graduate students from universities and 4 year colleges.
River cuts through rock: Teaching perseverance in Higher Education

Melissa McCartney, Ed.D, Leslie Mosley, & Marlene Blake
What does it take to persevere in higher education? How can faculty promote grit in the classroom?  How can administrators prepare for the challenges that cause students to quit? How can we design curriculum to help students develop growth mindsets about challenging subjects like math and writing? How do we balance high expectations while providing support for students? This interactive session examines the characteristics of gritty students and provides strategies for educators to help students overcome setbacks and achieve their academic goals.

CAN'T Street or CAN WAY

Michael Robinson
Take a journey that will lead youth to a fork in the road of life.  Can't Street, a street that many travel, can lead to a crippling mindset that prevents them from overcoming many of life's obstacles. CAN WAY, however, is a pathway of empowerment that strengthens the mind, infuses confidence, and propels youth into a fearless spirit.

True Confessions:  Living and Working with Imposter Syndrome
Janie Filoteo
Even after earning a PhD and being a professor for over ten years, I have a secret to confess.  My secret is that I feel like I don’t quite belong and that any moment I’ll be told that someone, somewhere made a mistake and I’ll have to give it all back.  There is a term for this affliction:  imposter syndrome.  This session will introduce participants to impostor phenomenon, what it is like to live and work with this, and ways to combat it whether one is a co-worker, supervisor, or working with students who may also share in this condition. 
How to Run A Marathon
Amy Cook
After struggling with my weight my entire life, I was finally able to lose 90 lbs, becoming fitter than I ever had been, and to start running. Once I was able to run, I dreamed of completing a marathon. This presentation is the story of how Grit, for me, meant getting a lot of help from people and situations, many of them unlikely motivators, to enable me to achieve that dream.  Please join me as I share my story, and dare to dream your own Grit story along with me.