Cory Hepola, an Emmy award-winning TV anchor and documentarian, shared his personal journey with Gopher Athletics student-athletes, coaches, and staff on Wednesday, September 20th. Cory discussed the positive impact that authentic storytelling has had on his life and how it allowed him to create a strong brand for himself. Through his success, Cory developed his innovative process of “Learn, Listen, Mission.”

As he shared some of his most impactful personal and professional challenges, Cory detailed the three-step process, which has served as the cornerstone of his journey. Employing the “Learn, Listen, Mission” process requires one to learn through internal reflection and build self-awareness, listen to what is calling them, and discover their mission or their “why.” He explained that adopting this process can help us discover peace with who we are, shape our purpose, and allow us space to intentionally serve others. Taking these steps can guide us to becoming better leaders so that we are prepared to respond to challenges in our everyday lives. 

The lessons that Cory presented are more relevant than ever today. As we exist in what he coined a “communication crisis,” understanding how we show up for ourselves and our teammates is crucial. We are navigating an increasingly virtual world, and it is important to find time to create valuable in-person interactions so that we can develop authentic connections. While Cory’s journey and success illustrate the power of his process and leadership philosophies, the timely application of it in our lives today could prove to be just as impactful. 

Cory’s journey has led him across the country and through many different roles, but the “Learn, Listen, Mission” process and a joy-driven “why” brought him back home to Minnesota. Here, he now helps communities tell their stories and share their gifts through his documentarian work. Cory highlighted the impact that seeking the state of joy, rather than the feeling of happiness, had in determining where he is today. By moving away from specific, restrictive goals to setting an open and explorative direction for his career, he was able to find his newest adventure allowing him to share his gifts and passionately serve others. 

We were so fortunate to have Cory Hepola join us for a Speaker Series event and share his incredible story and insights. Our next Speaker Series event will feature Dr. Theresa Glomb on Wednesday, October 18th from 10-11AM in the Polaris Classroom.


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