Alumnus helps others find fun at work

Posted on May 24, 2013 in Alumni News and News

Joel Zeff, j’90, finds fun in every workplace environment. He is a dynamic public speaker who inspires his audiences to search for fun and passion in their everyday work.

“I use improv to talk about teamwork, innovation, communication and leadership.   All the choices you encounter in improv games are the same choices to make a successful organization.”

Zeff, who was profiled in issue No. 3, 2008, of Kansas Alumni magazine, returned to campus Thursday to engage the KU Endowment staff with his unique perspective on finding success through improvisation. Turns out his sense of fun dates back to his days at KU, when he helped create a long-standing Kansas basketball tradition.

Inspired by a picture in a friend’s high school yearbook, Zeff decided to try something new at Allen Field House.

“There was a picture of kids holding up newspapers at a game.   I asked what it was and he said, ‘We used to hold up newspapers when they announced the opposing team.’ I said, ‘We should do that!’

“It was the 1986-’87 season, and we brought a big stack of Kansans and handed them out.   We had a big group of people at the game, and that’s where we started holding up the newspapers for the opposing team and then ripping them up.   And then we did it from then on.

“That’s the story I tell my children, and will tell my grandchildren.”

–Dan Storey

Joel Zeff |

Photo by Dan Storey

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