Air University hosts LEDx, unique leadership experience event

  • Published
  • By Maj. Frank Hartnett
  • Air Command and Staff College

Air Command and Staff College at Air University hosts a unique type of leadership event March 5-6, 2020, that perhaps many may have attended similar events at a venue outside the fence, but may have never experienced at a military educational institution.

The Leadership Education Development eXperience 3.0, or LEDx 3.0, brings together a diverse and lengthy list of military and civilian speakers, food trucks, live music, “TED Talk”-style presentations, small-group discussions and more.

The third annual event, this year’s LEDx theme is “Finding Purpose at the Intersection of Leadership, Strategy and Innovation.”

Scheduled keynote speakers are technologist and business executive Safi Bahcall, author of “Loonshots” and “Transform Industries”; U.S. Coast Guard retired Vice Adm. William Lee, corporate leadership development consultant; author Ori Brafman, founder and president of Starfish Leadership and co-founder of Fully Charged Institute; and retired Maj. Gen. Mark Dillon, president of Mark C. Dillon, LLC, where he consults on leadership, defense and strategic planning.

“Last year, I experienced LEDx as an ACSC student,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Rick Steen, an ACSC instructor. “This year, I am leading the team that is planning and executing this event. It’s my hope that the AU community and beyond get the same benefits I had last year by hearing differing ideas on what it means to be a leader.”

Seeing as the event and topics of discussion will benefit more than just those with ready access to LEDx venues on Maxwell, Steen said he’s invited ROTC cadets from across the country to attend, as well as private industry representatives and college students in the Montgomery, Alabama, area.

“This year’s speakers were chosen because, as the theme implies, they’ll be able to challenge attendees’ personal assumptions on leadership and build upon their unique perspectives on the topic as it relates to their respective organizations and themselves,” he said.

Leading the attendees through the two-day event are retired Air Force Reserve Col. Michelle ‘Mo’ Barrett, a motivational speaker and consultant on leadership issues, and Jason Womack, a best-selling author, executive coach and faculty member of the Air University Leadership Development Course for Squadron Command.

Both have a deep interest and knowledge in the subjects of leadership and are eagerly awaiting the event.

“I’m fired up to be part of this year’s LEDx and its intriguing theme,” said Barrett. “Everyone benefits when we make an intentional and deliberate inventory of the purpose behind our efforts. It’s easy to let life’s daily demands overwhelm us. I know LEDx will grant people the time to pause and reflect how they handle their many roles in life and as they consider what's next.”

Womack echoed Barrett’s thoughts on purpose, but also considered the value of living a deliberate life

“For 21 years, I have researched the best practices of both informal and formal leaders—people who believe in their mission and want the best for their team,” he said. “One common practice: leaders learn. They go to conferences like LEDx to hear new ideas, meet like-minded people and reflect on their own leadership development journey. I’m looking forward to connecting with new friends."

To attend LEDx 3.0 and for more information on the days’ schedules, list of speakers and registration, visit