• Admiral William McRaven to Headline 2020 Voices of Vision

  • Retired four-star admiral, U.S. Navy veteran, former University of Texas System chancellor and author Admiral William H. McRaven will bring his expertise and insights to the metro when he headlines The Chamber’s 11th annual Voices of Vision on Thursday, November 19, from noon to 1:30 at the Delta by Marriott.

    McRaven’s empowering commencement speech, titled ‘Make Your Bed’ at the University of Texas in 2014 went viral in 2017, and he has been one of the most requested military speakers on the speaking circuit ever since. McRaven will draw on his experiences in the Navy and share impactful lessons and insights on authority amidst turmoil and instability, the force of teamwork and personal initiative, resilience in the face of opposition, and the unconditional importance of never giving up. He will challenge and encourage attendees to accept responsibility, be creative within the rules, take control of their circumstances, and maintain focus during times of conflict. Attendees will be inspired to apply McRaven’s diligence, courage and risk management strategies to their own lives and put in place the tools that will help them succeed.

    During his time in the military, McRaven commanded special operations forces at every level, eventually taking charge of the U.S. Special Operations Command. His career included combat during Desert Storm and both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He commanded the troops that captured Saddam Hussein and rescued Captain Phillips. McRaven is also credited with developing the plan and leading the Osama bin Laden mission in 2011.

    As the Chancellor of the UT System, he led one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems of higher education. As the chief executive officer of the UT System, McRaven oversaw 14 institutions that educated 220,000 students, and employed 20,000 faculty and more than 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, and staff.

    McRaven is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and other U.S. leaders on defense issues. He currently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the National Football Foundation, and the Board of Directors of CoconoPhilips.

    McRaven has been recognized for his leadership numerous times. In 2011, he was the first runner-up for TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year.” In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named McRaven one of the nation’s “Top 10 Foreign Policy Experts.” In 2014, Politico magazine named McRaven one of the “Politico 50,” citing his leadership as instrumental in cutting though Washington bureaucracy. In 2015, he received the Intrepid Freedom Award for his distinguished service in defending the values of democracy. In 2016, McRaven was named the recipient of the Ambassador Richard M. Helms Award by the CIA Officers’ Memorial Foundation and in 2018, he received the Judge William H. Webster Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime of service to the nation.

    McRaven is the author of three books, including SPEC OPS: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare and Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe the World, based on his 2014 UT Commencement Speech that received worldwide attention. His third book, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, released in May 2019, is a remarkable memoir full of inspiring and action-packed stories from McRaven’s life in the special operations world.

    McRaven graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1977 with a degree in Journalism, and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1991. He met his wife, Georgeann, while they were students at UT Austin, and they have three grown children. McRaven is now a leadership consultant and stays active with his writing, speaking, and board commitments.

    Voices of Vision is an annual event designed to bring nationally recognized thought leaders to the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo area. This year’s presenting sponsor is Nodak Insurance Company.

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