Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva wants us to ‘re’ ourselves. Renew. Rethink. Reimagine. And most importantly, reinvent. To Nadya, reinvention means taking the very best of what you have and finding a better way of using it.
This big idea is what drives her professional life, but it stems from very personal experiences.
“ I think my personal story is what makes my passions and efforts very grounded. I was born in the Soviet Union at the time when getting a pint of sour cream was a victory for the entire family and a product of many hours of store hunting and line standing. Then, in 1991 three individuals came together and signed a document dissolving the USSR and making the 15 republics, which comprised the Soviet Union, independent. And our world collapsed right in front of our eyes. My newly independent home was so unprepared to go solo that it took us more than two years to be able to develop and launch our own currency. The change from completely regimented and controlled administrative economy to free thinking open market economy was so difficult for many people that suicide rate in the country went up beyond belief. In my own immediate family, we lost four people to suicide. So, reinventing lives, companies and countries was not something that I am interested in as a side hobby. This is a life and death issue for me at the heart of everything I do.”
Nadya, who is a business owner, investor, educator and author, helps companies large and small reinvent themselves, as well as the world around them. She helps them find the best in what they already have, whether that’s a product, process, skill, competence, resource or business model, and use it to the fullest advantage. And she’s convinced it’s time for all of us to start perfecting this art.
“Reinvention is my passion, and what inspires me is to find new ways to renew, rethink, and reimagine every aspect of our lives,” she said.
Throughout her incredibly busy career, Nadya has worked with large companies like Coca-Cola, and small startup companies, to help them innovate and grow sustainably. But this isn’t her only passion.
“My great two loves are reinventing our economies so that they become more resilient, healthy and resource-intelligent, and reinventing ourselves so that we become an even better, more fulfilled and flourishing version of who we are,” she said.
And Nadya has two preferred methods when it comes to spreading these big, passionate ideas—face-to-face connections and writing. Nadya makes sure to designate time each year to keynote and panel speak. The appeal for her is that a large amount of people can exchange large amounts of ideas in a short period of time. Sound familiar? Maybe thoughts of TED Talks are ringing in your head right about now.
But Nadya also has a passion for writing, and has authored two books, (check them out here!), and contributed to five others.
Writing is a very private conversation with a reader one page at a time,” she said. “It was really remarkable to see the impact of the words.”
The concept of ‘embedded sustainability,’ which Nadya and her co-author Chris Laszlo coined, was virtually non-existent when they began writing their book in 2009. Google that same word today and you’ll get 55 million search results. Embedded sustainability has become a staple when discussing corporate sustainability efforts.
Nadya is bringing her passion for reinvention to TEDxNavesink on April 11 at Monmouth University. Her talk, “To Hold On, Let Go,” will focus on sustainability and will challenge the audience to think beyond the mainstream definitions of the word.
“Sustainability is about holding on, keeping up, and enduring whatever the harsh environment has to offer. And that is exactly what dooms our sustainability efforts to failure,” Nadya said. “In this talk, I will challenge the prevalent approach to sustainability and offer an alternative fueled by best science and best practice from all over the world. It turns out, the only way to hold on is to let go, and allow yourself to reinvent.”
The TEDxNavesink team has been a source of inspiration for Nadya, inviting her to rethink and redraw every comfort zone. She’s been equally inspired by the other TEDxNavesink speakers to push herself further than she ever thought possible.
“I’m challenged—in the most beautiful way—by the amazing TEDxNavesink speaker line up,” she said.
Nadya is a game changer and accelerator in her own right, dedicating her life to where she can make the most impact. She’s personally contributed to the development of thousands of executives from over 60 countries via small group executive education sessions, custom-made seminars, and long-term corporate reinvention projects.
“An even greater acceleration challenge in my life is working with youth,” Nadya said. “I am co-founder and current president of a youth think-DO-tank, Challenge: Future, which unites over 35,000 members from 242 countries and territories. Inspiring youth to take full responsibility for their future is one big game changing aspiration of my life.”
So TEDxNavesink 2015: Accelerators fits seamlessly with Nadya’s life goals, and she can’t wait to share ideas that she believes are truly worth spreading.
“I hope the audience will leave inspired to let go of something in their lives, as that, for me, is the only true way to hold on,” she said. “I hope they will get a burst of energy, however big or small, to sustain them in their own lives.”
Check out Nadya’s previous TEDx talk here.
TEDxNavesink tickets are going fast, so don’t miss your chance to let go to hold on. Click here for tickets!
Stephanie Eichmeyer is a content production and marketing specialist for the TEDxNavesink team. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in communication from Monmouth University. Stephanie has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in journalism and PR for many years.