Who is Hugh?
Hugh Weber is a researcher, network theorist, storyteller, community organizer, design advocate, and small town kid.
With clients and partners ranging from Fortune 10 to mom-and-pop bait & tackle shops, Hugh uses a variety of emergent research techniques and innovative community building skills as CEO and curator of the Institute of Possibility to reveal the rich stories, vibrant cultures, thriving networks, and infinite possibility that often lays hidden in the communities, organizations and people that we love most.
Hugh founded OTA, a for-purpose organization focused on sparking transformation through creative connections and collisions in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. OTA has convened 11 large-scale events, hosted over 150 national thought leaders, commissioned 35 micro-documentaries, and invested approximately $2 million in the creatives who call the region home. Hugh's work was featured in a full-length feature in 2017 called "The Potluck Society: An OTA Journey."
Hugh is creator of The Potluck Society, a public radio podcast that celebrates ordinary people who are building extraordinary communities. He also recently co-created Leading Good, a learning platform and podcast that exists to inspire and equip leaders of nonprofits, social enterprises, and social impact brands.
Hugh was recently designated by Ford Motor Company as a “heavy hitter” in social media storytelling and honored as their “social activism” challenge winner in 2009. He has partnered with Microsoft, Nintendo, Carnival Cruise Lines, Nokia, and Ford and has been quoted and referenced by the Washington Post, Inc. Magazine, Glamour Magazine, New Zealand National Radio, Chicago Tribune, Pregnancy Magazine, the Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wisconsin Public Radio and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
Hugh speaks 2-3 times per month in communities all over the world about how ordinary people can build extraordinary communities. In 2018, he is launching a residency program for deeper dives into the communities he partners with.
The Potluck Strategy
The Potluck Strategy - which shares its title with Hugh's 2017 TEDx talk - builds on Hugh's experience leading OTA, an organization that raised nearly $2 million for rural creatives and was featured in a full-length feature documentary called, "The Potluck Society: An OTA Journey." This talk focuses on four steps that anyone can take to build thriving communities: observation, invitation, conversation & celebration. This talk is accessible to business, nonprofits, community leadership and students. It can also be expanded into a three-day residency for largest impact.
the ART & Science of Connection
Human beings have a fundamental need to belong, to be social as part of community and to commit to something bigger than themselves. Social isolation is seen as a state of human deprivation contributing to many forms of disease, depression, addiction, shortened life expectancy and lessened professional options. This talk focuses on the science behind social isolation and networks effects while also addressing the art of connecting through conversation and celebration.
be the change(maker)
This workshop-style session walks individuals through the power of story, network and design for change in a hands-on way. The sessions is appropriate for all-ages and career stages, but is particularly well received by individuals in transition - new community leaders, college freshman and emerging executives.