Gregg Garrett: “Are you brave enough to connect”

Gregg Garrett, CEO and president of CGS Advisors, LLC and Oakland alumnus, will present his talk titled “Are you Brave Enough to Connect?” on Oct. 23 at TEDx Oakland University.

“CGS is a boutique advisory firm that works with corporate leaders on their most strategic transformations,” Garrett said.

CGS Advisors, LLC works with technology driven businesses in applying growth strategies. Garrett broke the company’s functions into three areas: transformation management, enterprise innovation and connected world programs. 

He spoke about his time at Oakland, where he received a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering. He said he met lifelong friends on Oakland’s campus, including his wife. 

“It was the kind of place that encouraged you to make your own path,” he said.

When he returns to Oakland on Oct. 23, Garrett will expand upon his concept of “corporate bravery,” which encourages corporate leaders to be innovative in their adaptation to the new “connected” world. 

“‘Are you Brave Enough to Connect?’ will explore how the world is in the midst of a massive technological enabled disruption,” Garrett said. “It will challenge the audience to question if they are prepared for this shift and what they may need to consider as they lead into this new world.”

Garrett said he’s excited to personally interact with the Oakland community and conference attendees and glean inspiration from the other speakers.


Take Root

Take Root is a professional dance company at Oakland set to present at the TEDx Oakland University conference.  The group was formed by Ali Woerner and Thayer Jonutz in 2013, combining their respective dance companies.

“We formed the company knowing we wanted to connect with as many different groups of people as possible within the community,” Woerner said. “We form roots within each community.”

The group gained non-profit status in 2014 and holds monthly events such as “Dance for Parkinson’s Disease” classes, as well as an annual show at OU.  Beyond that, the company teaches master classes at all levels and does outreach with those who suffered spinal cord and brain injuries.

This past summer, the group traveled to Berlin, Germany and Seoul, South Korea to perform. 

The company is comprised of five dancers, including Jonutz and Woerner.  They work closely with Kerro Knox, associate professor of theatre, as their lighting designer; Christa Koerner, who handles costume design; and Jeremy Barnett, visiting assistant professor of theatre scenic design, who is their scenic designer. 

The group’s presentation on Oct. 23 will begin with Jonutz and Woerner introducing the group and their connections in the community.  Then, a trio will perform a piece called “Unorganized Elbows”.

“Take Root’s kinesthetic connections to one another and their audience creates thoughtful and visceral works of art,” according to the TEDx Oakland University website.

“We hope the audience gets a glimpse into what we do as a company and how we use dance as a tool for all kinds of communities to connect with one another,” Woerner said.