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5 Things We Learned... Owen Foster



It's cliché to label Owen Foster a southern gentleman, but it would be incorrect not to describe him as charming and warm like the best kind of southern gentleman. His manner is that of no-nonsense, but there's also a playful wit in waiting for those who pay attention. Owen is the director and co-founder of SHiFT and Aether Global Learning, translating his passion for education and design into immersive learning programs. He and his team help people of all skill-sets grow in order to fit into the future of business, technology, and design. A talented designer in his own right, Owen has a diverse background in architecture, landscape, environmental and industrial design.

As the industrial design group department chair and professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Owen facilitated many cross-disciplinary, collaborative studio projects with Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola and GE. He also guided international study abroad programs in Ireland, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. In 2015, he received the Industrial Designers Society of America's Education Award. He was also named one of the "30 Most Admired Educators for 2015” by DesignIntelligence.

Here are 5 Things We Learned about Owen.

What made you...you?

Being raised on a farm crafted the foundation that I live by today. Life lessons, the ability to fail on my own, and being able to dream were at the core of everything I learned. As I grew older I was able to add travel that expanded my perceptions and cultural understanding. I owe who I am today to the giants that allowed me to stand on their shoulders to become a better me.

When are you happiest?

The times that I am teaching and mentoring. Being able to give all that I have to making others greater than I’ll ever be. I find a deeper self worth in seeing someone find something within my ramblings that allows them to reach new heights within their own lives.

Option 2: sitting on a rock next to water with a fire burning all the while immersed in nature.

Would you rather have a muse or be a muse?

Both. One cannot exist without the other. A person must be inspired just as much as inspiring to others. For me it’s an insatiable thirst that I cannot quench. As I stated before, I want to exhaust all that I have giving back to others. The day I have nothing else to give or find no inspiration around me is the day I wish to die. 

Who do you admire?

My list could go on forever if I tried to list everyone. So let me explain this by listing characteristics that I admire in people.

Curiosity: allowing yourself to continuously learn. Children are a perfect example. They have no clue about the rules of the world.

Strong work ethics: People that are not scared to roll up their sleeves and get dirty to accomplish goals. Not those who are waiting on a handout.

Inspiring: Those who want to make people better than they were the day before. Allow others to find confidence in themselves.

Self-motivated thinker: Willingness to try things for themselves and fail. The only thing you can claim as 100% yours are your failures. This is the only way to push yourself beyond your own limits.

Humble leaders: People that lead by example not by giving orders. Leaders that are willing to do everything that they ask of others.

What is important?

 Not concentrating on making the world a better place for people, but making better people for the world.

Follow Owen and his team's work on instagram @aetherlearning


Images from left to right: Owen Foster; Owen and students; Cover of Manual de Coaching; Roman Colosseum; The Sun Voyager viking ship; material