LAS VEGAS — Erik Wahl, a former corporate executive, who leftthe corporate world to reconnect with creativity and art, explainedand demonstrated Tuesday to attendees at the American Credit UnionMortgage Association's annual conference how they can usecreativity to spark innovation and improved performance.

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Wahl started his presentation by asking the audience at theEncore in Las Vegas if they can draw. When no one raised theirhands, he said that was the usual response from most of hisaudiences. The difference was stark compared to when he would askthe same question at schools where nearly 100% of hands would goup, he said.

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Those children have not yet learned to doubt their owncreativity and desire to do things that are new and different, Wahlsaid, recounting how he had loved to draw as a child but waschastised in class for painting an apple pumpkin orange.

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“I didn't pick up a paint brush again until I was over 30 yearsold,” he said.

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During his ACUMA session, he gave a high-energy presentationthat used art, music videos and audience participation to drivehome the idea that tapping into creativity when confrontingbusiness challenges and being willing to take risks and try newthings not only make men and women better executives, it also helpsthem become better people.

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Over the course of his presentation, Wahl painted three works ofart: a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a picture of an American eagleand a portrait of Apple Computer founder and former CEO SteveJobs.

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The portrait of Lincoln went to an attendee from Chicago whoaccepted the invitation to become involved with its creation.

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ACUMA is holding a silent auction for the American eaglepicture, the association said. Attendees will bid on the paintingthrough a conference app with bids starting at $1,000. ACUMA saidit will donate the proceeds to a fund administered by the NationalRealtors Association to support real estate professionals living innatural disaster zones.

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“We have a long history of working to expand Realtor awareness of creditunion mortgage programs and we saw this as a unique opportunity tohelp further that message,” ACUMA President Bob Dorsa said.

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