After flunking out of college, joining the military and moving across the country several times, UNR professor Bret Simmons says he has learned to face challenges head on and believes it is vital to success.

As a public speaker and professor at the business school at the University of Nevada, Reno, Simmons talks a lot about the importance of change. He tells his students;  "…we must embrace change if we want to continually renew ourselves."

Simmons also walks the walk; in business and life, he is continually challenging himself to try new things. "Yeah, I started running marathons when I was 43, so I started late in the game."

From an image of his hometown of Tulsa, to pics of him crossing the finish line... the marathon memories, framed on the bookshelf of his office, are proof that it's never too late to make a change, something he learned decades ago. "I flunked out of college when I was the age of most of the kids I teach. But, I kept at it, came back as an adult, got my Ph.D."

About six years ago Simmons heard about TED - a group dedicated to spreading ideas through unique talks. Motivated, Simmons began producing TEDx University of Nevada talks.

"To communicate to the world that great ideas originate here in the city of Reno and on the campus of the University of Nevada."

The TEDx talks have been a huge hit. Not only does the event fill theaters every year, over the past five years, the 102 talks have been viewed 25 million times on YouTube.

Staying true to his belief about the importance of change, Bret makes sure he and his TEDx production team challenge themselves to bring unique speakers to Reno, even if it pushes them out of their comfort zone "…and think about inviting speakers to our event who you wouldn't necessarily want to sit down and have lunch with. That's a good sign to me."

So, if you're willing to get uncomfortable or want to hear new ideas - the TEDx talks are coming up soon - this January 27th at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

For more information or to buy tickets, click here: