ONE SPARK

Educator Strives to Live a Life of Awesomeness

Leslie Jensen-Inman seeks to create a new learning environment to benefit students and industry

Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman addresses the crowd during One Spark Speaker Series at the Terry Theater.
Kara Pound
Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman addresses the crowd during One Spark Speaker Series at the Terry Theater.
Kara Pound
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Leslie Jensen-Inman began her One Spark Speaker Series talk reminiscing about the day she quit her job as a university-level professor. “I decided to declare my intention,” she said addressing the Thursday afternoon crowd. “I was headed for change. I was going from good to great.”

A self-professed “Jack of all trades,” Jensen-Inman is a designer, speaker, author and educator. She is co-founder of Center Centre, where she works to improve the state of design education, as well as creative director and co-author of “InterACT with Web Standards: A holistic approach to web design.”

Jensen-Inman’s talk, titled “Jack of All Trades, a Master of Unicorns,” focused on how to create your own personal “Map for Awesomeness.” This is done, according to Jensen-Inman, by embracing your passion, defining your purpose, fostering your promise and engaging your pursuit.

After quitting her teaching post – just shy of receiving tenure – Jensen-Inman teamed up with friend Jared Spool, an expert on subjects like usability and software design. Together, the duo is currently working to create a new learning environment that examines the professional workplace versus a university setting.

“What we’ve learned is that companies are looking for generalists. They’re looking for Jack of all trades,” Jensen-Inman admitted. “We are creating a learning environment that meets the needs of both students and industry.”

When Jensen-Inman was a four-year-old, she told the crowd, she would dress-up in Wonder Woman Underoos and traipse around the neighborhood. “I always wanted to go to superhero school until I learned the harsh reality that it didn’t exist,” she remembered.

Although superhero school only exists in the movies, Jensen-Inman has set out to “live a life filled with awesomeness.” “We only need to be the very best version of ourselves,” she explained. “No matter how awesome our life appears to other people, we still have obstacles in our path.”

Based on Jensen-Inman’s Map4 Awesomeness, creating awesome things in your life takes passion, purpose, promise and pursuit. “I’ve always loved this quote,” she said before reciting dialogue by Washington Irving. “Great minds have purpose, others have wishes.”

Jensen-Inman finished up her talk by offering some inspirational tidbits for the audience.

“Take time to dream – dream about who you want to be. You’re not anyone else. You’re just you.”

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