“Inspiration was to create something that could change the world and bring people together who usually don’t come together.” – Allen Obi, CEO and Founder of We Need to Talk.
We Need to Talk was thought to be a onetime event for those who wanted to vent about the events of today’s society. Allen Obi, then President of NAACP, wanted to find something that was going to give those who wanted to be heard, a platform to speak on.
Innovations of TED Talk, a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, in forms of short talks lasting 18 minutes or less on average. Obi used TED Talk as a guide but wanted to be able to use something that was less of an academic perspective. He wanted to do something that was more for the young and open the doors on topics that were more in depth with their interests.
With every organization at Lander University, there has to be a professor that’s willing to co-sign on the idea. Obi went to John Moore, Professor of Philosophy, after taking a class earlier. Professor Moore offered a book to Obi that he thought would be a guide; On Dialogue by David Bone.
“Suppose we were able to share ideas freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture?” – David Bohm, On Dialogue.
Obi agreed that in order for him to be able to lead the team, sessions and organization as a whole was to be able to listen to others and cut off his personal opinion. Stated with conviction, Obi stated that pushing your beliefs onto others isn’t the way of the organization.
Behind every great leader is a team with the drive for similar success. When deciding on the team that would be the face of WNTT, Obi stated that he wanted diversity. “Different ethnicities, religious backgrounds, majors, etc.” Obi explained, even stating that he wanted people that were willing to grow with the organization.
Obi, himself, wasn’t one to stand on stage and just talk to people. The CEO felt he had to step out of his comfort zone and wanted people that were going to do the same. He wanted a group of individuals that were going to step from out the shadows and grow with the organization.
One thing that the founder stated was that he wanted people to know was that using the name, We Need to Talk, he wanted to give it a different meaning that what the term is used for. When thinking of needing to talk, Obi stated that he wanted people to understand the urgency of what the social issues were and by “we”, he meant the term of the different people, rather than one race.
A final thing that was brought to attention was the logo of the organization. The Rubin vase was used in the logo as a way of being able to look at two different perspectives without either being wrong. Obi felt like that would be the perfect “face” for WNTT.