Alltech’s Symposium kicked off yesterday with more than 2,300 people from 72 countries around the world descending on the Lexington Convention Centre. The opening talks started with a fantastic animation explaining the massive changes in society that have occurred over the last seven years the paradigm shift from an era of one way broadcast media, to an era of constant connectivity, in which customer feedback reshapes products and entire industries – The Era of You.
Dr Lyons included a personal message to all the current and future leaders in the crowd. He challenged them to find their passion and to use that to lead and to inspire others. He explained that a leader needs to make an emotional connection with people and understand them in order to be a success.
“A leader recognizes that you must take your best people and put them where the opportunities are. That’s the skill of a leader.”
On what those opportunities are, Dr. Lyons described a wide range of areas, traditionally seen as problems, explaining that a leader has to be curious because opportunities are everywhere. He encouraged leaving aside yesterday’s ideas.
Farming the sea to produce 60% of our protein for the future was one opportunity highlighted. The current system is not sustainable. Fish need to eat algae. The shortage of fish oil, containing DHA, is limiting the growth of the industry. Feed fish algae and they will produce fish oil, high in DHA, all in a sustainable manner. Dr. Lyons reminisced about the algae plant in Winchester, Kentucky and how, for 30 years, it was on his mind until he finally bought it and made his dream a reality. Now his dream is to see plants throughout the world.
Another dream that Alltech shares with many Lexingtonians, is to bring the Town Branch river back from obscurity, to the surface where its greatness can be rediscovered. Dr. Lyons let the audience in on an interesting historical coincidence. In 1503 Robert Dunne was the third name on the list of founders of the Coopers Guild in Dublin, Ireland. Robert Dunne was also the name of Dr. Lyons’ uncle, the last cooper in Ireland and a man dedicated to his craft. Taking those barrels, traditionally made by his ancestors and reusing them to produce Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale has become Dr. Lyons’ way of honouring the passion and dedication of these craftsmen. The future for this dream is an all new brewery on the Town Branch river.
A common theme throughout all of the opening presentations, was creating growth and discovering greatness. Growing business, growing leaders, allowing people to live up to their potential and creating the space for them to grow and flourish - a very positive message that can be applied immediately to ensure the success of the industry for the next seven years. He ended with a phase that has become somewhat of a personal motto for Dr. Lyons:
“Don’t get it right, get it going.”