Community Leader of the Week: Greg Tehven

Whenever I go to conferences (I’ve attended 20+ in the last 3 years), I can almost always expect to meet at least one person that I’ll stay in close touch with for a while. In 2013 at Big Omaha, Greg Tehven was that person. Shane Reiser, a mutual friend, made the introduction, and since that spring, Greg and I have crossed paths several times (at conferences and elsewhere) which has harnessed our relationship.

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For the short time I’ve known Greg (just under a year), I continue to learn more and more about him. Today, as we introduce him as our community leader of the week, I’ll share what he’s done in his local community, and how he’s continued to empower the creatives and entrepreneurs of Fargo.

  • Brought the first Startup Weekend to Fargo, and has organized two of the three Startup Weekends held in Fargo.
  • He assisted in launching 1 Million Cups in Fargo this past January. They’re approaching their 8th event.
  • Co-founded Emerging Prairie
  • In the process of bringing the first co-working space to Fargo
  • Also in the works of opening a “Startup House” in Fargo’s Cathedral District

Accomplishments aside, the primary reason Greg is our Community Leader of the week is because of his ability to lead by example mentality, and empowering others to become leaders as well. Since the first Startup Weekend held in Fargo, several other community focused initiatives have sprouted, all having different leaders.

We love what the Fargo community is doing, and feel privileged to be able to tag along for the ride. Onwards, friends!








Taking Community Offline: Peoria, Illinois

A few weeks ago, I was in Berlin facilitating a Startup Weekend during Global Startup Battle. It was a big weekend for me. My first time in Europe and first time facilitating internationally. Most of the events I Facilitate take place in the region I manage, the Midwest – USA. This trip was going to be an unforgettable experience.

While thousands of miles away, I found out through the waves of the internet, nearby where I grew up was destroyed by a series of F4 tornadoes. The next few hours of that sleepless night I viewed devastating photos and videos. A co-worker of mine was actually in the area facilitating an event in Peoria, IL. Uninjured from the weather, he said it was really bad in the surrounding towns, what was left of them.

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Jake, one of the Peoria Organizers, reached out to me asking for any help we could provide, explicitly messaging their area took a major blow. I felt helpless to a place that’s so near and dear to my heart. Then the power of community took effect, with an altruistic effort led by non-locals who wanted to help.

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Soon, I received a message from my friend Amanda runs a social impact startup in Chicago. She knew I was from Central IL, so she wanted to make sure everything was ok with my family. She sent me an email the next day explaining she rallied a group of co-workers and friends to make the trip down to the Washington, IL, area (about 10 miles east of Peoria) to help in any capacity.  Shortly after that, Giveforward’s Co-Founder reached out to me stating they wanted to help crowd fund for families who lost their homes from the tornadoes.

This openness and selfless act of people to help others was incredible to witness. While in this moment, I realized how effective community really can be, personal and professional. This gets down to the brass tacks that people just want to help others.

I introduced the local organizers to the two groups who inquired to assist. Two days later, a group of Chicago startup folks piled into a car at 4:30am, and hit the road. Heading south for a few hours toward Washington, returning very late that night.

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The next day, I received a very positive and gratifying email from the enthusiastic organizer, relentlessly thanking me for helping out. I was elated. I can’t fully explain the way his email made me feel. I was at a loss of words. A helpful bunch who were willing to drop everything and dedicate their day to assist others didn’t rebuild a town in one day. But what meant the world to me, was recognizing the need to help others, and committing such a selfless act.

Tornado photo group

I’m so glad that Jake actually did ask and state “they needed anything they could get”, just as much as Amanda stepping forward and saying “I’m coming and I’m bringing people with me.” It really defines community if you think about it. Identifying the need to help others before even being requested to do so. Give, give, give.

While this may seem like a trivial task, I can’t even fathom the effect this had on the city of Washington. At the end of the day, the game of life is way bigger than any sort of startup game. I’m overcome with joy and happiness and the positive outlook on things. A devastated town, left with nothing will only pick itself up to flourish from here.

Community matters. Building a product, an audience, a startup, or a new city – it can’t be done without a community.