At IDEAcademy on Wednesday, active professionals, corporate practitioners and industry leaders had two goals in common: innovation and leadership.

These were the resounding notes across all 15 speakers’ talks, including a keynote from Randi Zuckerberg, founder of Zuckerberg Media and former marketing executive of Facebook.

IDEAcademy was the brainchild of a partnership between Eastman and the ETSU College of Business and Technology to create a TED-inspired event for the Tri-Cities. The free, multi-day conference featured talks from thought leaders in the world of innovation and leadership across three separate events in each of the Tri-Cities.

The highlight of IDEAcademy was Zuckerberg’s keynote, sharing her personal journey from “working for free” for her brother Mark Zuckerberg’s startup company, to that very startup changing the world that we live in.

“Social media has changed the world,” said Zuckerberg. “And when I took the risk to help my brother on his idea a decade ago, no one knew that was coming. We just had to take the risk.”

Zuckerberg shared advice on how to become successful through a lens of the conference’s themes—leadership and innovation.

“The difference between those who are successful and those who are not is how many times you try,” she said. “The person who isn’t leading might have only tried one time and given up, or tried fourteen times and given up. But the one who succeeds and the one who innovates tried the fifteenth time and something finally worked.”

The event was hosted by David Golden, senior vice president at Eastman, Dr. Brian Noland, ETSU president and Dr. Dennis Depew, dean of the College of Business and Technology.

“We as individuals have the opportunity to impact the lives of those around us every day, but when we seek to collaborate to drive change, that’s when real innovation starts to happen,” said Golden.

IDEAcademy was part of an ongoing leadership development series endowed by Eastman to provide ‘free, world-class leadership training.’

“To create an opportunity for thought leaders, professionals, students, community members and educators to come together for two-days to discover how innovation and leading change could create a positive impact on our communities is at the heart of Eastman’s corporate responsibility focus,” Goldman said.

Several of the program’s speakers were ETSU-affiliated, including Jennifer Adler, assistant director of the Roan Scholars Program, Stephen Marshall, chair of Media and Communication, Randy Wykoff, dean of the College of Public Health and Morgan Munsey, a student working towards a vision of deteriorating the stereotypes that challenge women in technology.

“Amazing things happen when you free people from the fear of failure,” Zuckerberg said, as she emphasized the importance of creating a culture that fosters innovation. “All you need is one idea to change your life.”