Bravely sharing failure: 6 storytellers bare all at Failure-Lab

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, May 30, 2013 — Six storytellers representing a variety of industries and backgrounds took to the stage last Thursday night and poured their hearts out to a sold-out crowd during the first-ever Failure-Lab

The brainchild of a group of West Michigan professionals looking to create a safe space to talk about mistakes, Failure-Lab was sponsored by The Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University. The 90-minute event was devoted to encouraging intelligent risk-taking and eliminating the fear of failure. 

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The most notable presenter, Brian Vander Ark, wrote 1997’s Number 1 single “The Freshmen” as lead singer of The Verve Pipe. Years removed from the same commercial success, Vander Ark opened up to the crowd and shared stories and lessons only few could. 

“These brave souls are sharing their worst so that we, the audience, can find our best – you have to give them credit,” said Jordan O’Neil, director of community relations for Cornerstone University. “People are stopping our team members in public and sharing deeply personal failure stories, we’ve received letters, emails, and tweets doing the same - some from as far away as Romania, Indonesia, Anchorage, and beyond.”

“Failure-Lab hopes to cultivate a community that can share their struggles, challenge their perspectives and move forward confidently from mistakes,” O’Neil said. “I’m incredibly proud of our team, storytellers and entertainers for how our inaugural event unfolded. But even more proud of our community for supporting and embracing this performance and carrying the discussion forward. Detroit, see you soon!”


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Jeff Barrett is the CEO of Status Creative, a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Influencer, 2012 PRNewswire Award Winner for “Best Use of Video In Social Media” and record holder for Most Strikeouts in Tee-Ball. 


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Jeff Barrett

Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and business leader. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has previously written for Mashable and The Detroit Free Press. 



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