Creative Mornings is a breakfast lecture series designed by and for the creative community. It started in NYC in 2008 around the simple concept of breakfast and a short talk one Friday morning a month. The organization has since grown to over 100 cities and chapters all over the world. Each month, all of the 100+ chapters around the world are provided a theme. 

[HAS HEART] Co-Founder and Creative Director, Tyler Way, was asked by Creative Mornings Grand Rapids to be the featured guest speaker for their June speaker series. His theme: Survival.

For millions of Veterans, survival was more than just a “theme” but rather a life or death lifestyle, literally, that they had to adopt while deployed.

On the contrary, for creatives, survival has a much different connotation with much, much less severe consequences.

As an organization that connects both worlds, this is probably the biggest difference between the two. One side might have lived “killed or be killed,” while the other side may have had their project “killed” by a client or their employer.

Same words, very different levels of danger.

Nonetheless, just because a civilian hasn’t experienced that heightened threat doesn’t mean they are unable to relate with someone who has.

Through our work in the HERO[series], we’ve often seen this first-hand.

For a creative, it can be a humbling reminder to keep things in perspective of what truly matters in life. For those who may be so deeply focused into their careers and self-ambitions, it’s a reminder that though our passions may be significant, they are not our end-all, be-all.

Understanding that some, but not all, Veterans may have been in traumatic circumstances can build greater empathy and support for Veterans in their transition back into a “normalized” civilian life — which we’ve also learned first-hand, isn’t an easy thing to do.

By being able to better understand the other side is the first step in building and strengthening a bond, person-to-person, and community-to-community.

Photos by: Leigh Ann Cobb

In his talk, Tyler shared about his beginning steps as a young creative in college, and what survival was for him in making a living with trying to pursue his passions.

In turn, that pursuit ultimately led him to meet Michael Hyacinthe, which then led to the two establishing [HAS HEART] and the HERO[series].

The final segment of the talk announced the 50 States: Veterans + Artists United tour for the first time to the public.

The moral of his story was that the pursuit of utilizing one’s talents, resources, and network to help others.

Watch Tyler’s talk and then go search for a Creative Mornings chapter in the city nearest you.