Who: Brian Yeoman
Company: The University of Texas, Houston, Health Science Center
Has Held Title For: 5 1/2 years
Previous Title: Assistant vice president for support services
Degree: BA and MA in public administration, University of South Dakota
Being a raging inexorable Thunder-Lizard Evangelist for Change doesn't require eating insects. But it does require vision. The health center where Brian Yeoman works has 4,500 students and 4,000 faculty and staffers. In 1993, he found himself managing 200 people in a department where, he says, "a classic hierarchy had developed." Yeoman borrowed the idea of a "thunder-lizard" from Guy Kawasaki's book "Selling the Dream" (HarperBusiness, 1991). He's been raging ever since.
Why a 'thunder-lizard'?
Being a thunder-lizard is about fighting the silly notion that passion doesn't belong in the workplace. We need to harness passion.
What are you evangelizing?
Respect and dignity. Americans cherish democracy — we go to war for it. Yet in a tough workplace meeting, you'll always hear someone say, "This is not a democracy."
Do you feel a connection with your reptilian brothers and sisters?
Yes. I now have a lizard Beanie Baby that my kids bought for my birthday.
A version of this article appeared in the January 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.