Big Things Start Small

Small actions from unexpected people can have a huge impact. A routine meeting with her high school counselor, an unexpected phone call from her small-town photographer, and a former professor’s open office door led Danielle into college athletics, traveling the world, leadership consulting, and the mayor of Houston’s executive staff, all in her twenties. Those small, perhaps-forgotten minutes make a real difference, even if it is not immediately visible. Every individual has the power to affect great change all around them, if they will only show up. Danielle Bartz is the Director of Boards and Commissions for Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston. She started with him in the 84th Texas legislative session and then worked on his campaign. Her degrees in government, Spanish and her Master’s of Public Affairs Degree from the LBJ School are all from the University of Texas, where she was an award-winning athlete and then a rowing coach.

She lived a year in the Dominican Republic as an Ambassadorial Scholar of goodwill, and she volunteers in the summer teaching teenage girls government and citizenship at Texas Bluebonnet Girls State. In her free time, she founded Engage Leadership Consulting with colleagues from UT to help organizations maximize their underutilized human capital. She truly believes that individual people all make the difference. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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