CUTE meets Obama at the ATD conference.

ATD conference

CUTE meets Obama at the ATD conference.

Just a while back Sarah and Anneleen went to the ATD conference in San Diego. For those of you who have never heard of the ATD conference, well, it’s the largest talent development conference in the world. One of the key note speakers this year was Barack Obama. But was he really THAT inspirational? Did he make the trip worth from Belgium to the United States? Let’s find out!

ATD Conference 2018

Anneleen’s story 

Being in the same room as Barack Obama. I’m telling you, you can’t keep your cool 😉 There is just something about him. The perfect pacing of his stories, the jokes about Michelle, and the wisdom that sparks from every sentence. He doesn’t ramble or preach his ideas, he makes you “live them”, feel his lessons “in the moment”. In the end there were so many great takeaways from his talk, but I want to highlight just one of them. It’s an easy and hard one at the same time:

“Be kind and useful, and you will have a good life.” – quote Barack Obama

Be Kind.

Once you start to work, you get to “toughen” up, and expect others to do the same. It’s often called: “being professional’. But don’t mistake professionalism with just being rude. Kindness is such an under-appreciated value, but one to live by every day.

This part of his talk reminded me of an interview Gretchen Rubin once did with Liz Dolan. She mentioned that her work-mantra is the definition of ‘”stability” (from professor P. M. Forni at Hopkins University): Strong. Calm. Kind.

If she nails just two out of three on a normal work day, it’s a succes! But three is a great goal.

  • Strong: Don’t be affraid to represent your point of view.
  • Calm: Don’t let the stress take over, or let nasty comments get under your skin.
  • Kind: Show empathy and a genuinely caring attitude.


Be Useful.

“Most things in life that are worth doing, are hard.” – quote Barack Obama

Obama talked about how it’s best not to strive to become a director, or a CEO of a famous company. Elon Musk is passionate about his work, and as a “by product”, he became rich 😉  So what is something that moves you? What is something you want to master? Focus on being useful in your job, not striving for that title! You will make a difference in the long run, and that’s the only thing that matters.

In order to let the world thrive, we cannot lose these two precious values in our work. They will get you through the hard times, and the good times. Be useful. Be kind. Thx Obama for the reminder!

And to finish of today we would like to share with our Flemish readers a little interview Sarah gave walking out of the ATD conference 2018!



Good luck with those habits!

Anneleen – content manager at CUTESolutions


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