Archive for October, 2011

Are you aging or ageless?

October 31, 2011

No need to grab your glasses…it’s really THE Carol Channing!    

With Carol Channing & Patricia Horgan, Huffington Center on Aging

We professional speakers get to live a charmed life with an occasional dose of glitz ‘n’ glam mixed with Eeeeks! I-have-to-do-what???

Last week I received a call from Patricia Horgan at the Huffington Center on Aging/Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. It was Wednesday morning 11 a.m. and one of the speakers for their 2011 Women’s Health Summit had just canceled.

The event was the next day. 

Patricia said I would be the last speaker of the morning and the lunchtime keynote was Carol Channing. Could I step in to save the day and possibly tweak my presentation to fit?

This was where No worries! & Eeeeks! meets with a heavy dose of I-don’t-have-time-to-customize panic. Thankfully the outcome was a standing ovation.  But here’s the thing: Carol Channing got a standing ovation before she even opened her mouth.

That’s a living legend.

Star of stage & screen for several decades Carol says she’s “91.2 years old and never felt better.”  Best known for her leading Broadway  roles in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes‘, ‘Hello Dolly‘ & film ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie‘ she’s won three Tony Awards, a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. As if that’s not enough she’s recorded ten gold albums, written her best selling memoirs ‘Just Lucky I Guess’ and has been inducted into the Smithsonian Institute in D.C. 

Can you spell a-m-a-z-i-n-g??? Carol Channing had us at hello. Her quick wit and fascinating life story was both entertaining and inspirational as she proudly told us of her 5,000+ performances of Hello Dolly and she never missed one – even when she was sick. She sang a little for us delighting everyone with her polished stage presence, endearing humor and enthusiastic energy. She is amazing!
Ms. Channing travels the country teaching, performing and gathering support for scholarships to place the arts in public schools through her and hubby’s Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts. In answer to the final question: “What’s the secret that keeps you youthful?” Ms. Channing replied: “Keep on dancing!”
What excites YOU? Do you have a passion for fixing things, playing music, collecting beer cans? Or are you one of those ‘Gonna’ people? (gonna do that soon)
Age is just a number when you exude energy & enthusiasm. How young are you?
Gotta go. Have to register for a Zumba class….

Guilty by Association

October 17, 2011
                                                                                                                                              ABWA speakers

Last Friday I was the lunchtime keynote speaker for one of the largest and oldest women’s associations in the country: The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA). The Katy chapter in Houston organized a one day conference with a great line up of speakers pictured here from left: Eleese Lester, Michelle Scism, chapter President Francie

Lockwood, Tina Gandy national ABWA President, guess who in blue? and Stephanie DeWagoneer.

Having spoken to numerous ABWA chapters over the years, it was a delightful surprise to be recognized by numerous attendees and in particular, Tina Gandy. Tina was in the audience ten years ago when I spoke at an ABWA symposium in Bryan, College Station. Tina and her twin sister Lina have a very successful marketing & graphics design company called TwinzCo. Ten years ago Tina was a self-described shy violet who ran from attention and was terrified of speaking in public.

Fast forward to now…

Tina Gandy just stepped into the role of National President of ABWA with thousands of members across the country. She gave an impassioned 40 minute presentation on how membership in this association has boosted her self confidence and contributed greatly to her success as a business woman through networking opportunities and educational programs. Powerful testimonial from a former wallflower!

As a professional speaker I am a member of the  National Speakers Association -Houston chapter (  It was the smartest thing I ever did when I began speaking in the 90’s as it cut at least five years off my learning curve through its educational and mentoring programs. The second smartest thing I ever did was to form a mastermind group of peers within NSA. We met once a month to brainstorm challenges, speech topics, marketing ideas and trends in the speaking industry. Priceless!

By associating with more experienced colleagues, my level of competence on the platform improved dramatically. They challenged me, they encouraged me, they held me accountable.  

Who are YOU aligning with for professional or personal development?

Be careful. Be picky. Remember: you’re guilty by association.

Meetings Matter

October 10, 2011
                                                               me                                                                                gahu
Ever since the AIG meetings scandal motivational speakers, event planners and the hospitality industry have had a tough time of it. Along with the scrutiny of money spent on face-to-face meetings came increased use of webinars, teleseminars and virtual conferences.

So what’s the problem?


As the kickoff convention speaker for the Georgia Association of Healthcare Underwriters recently (GAHU) I arrived the night before my keynote was scheduled. This group has been through the mill the past three years dealing with the Health Care Reform Bill (ya’ think?) and other major industry changes. If anyone needed uplifting it was definitely this group!

Having dinner with several attendees was priceless. During the course of conversation one of the convention sponsors happened to mention a new product they had available that perked much interest from agents at the table. Several fried shrimp later there was an atmosphere of renewed hope that seemed to permeate the whole group.

The next morning during my presentation it was a hoot to see my dinner companions’ faces as I quoted fun scoop ‘n’ stuff from the night before. Using interactive exercises, live piano music and a heavy dose of humor, the energy level raised the roof as GAHU members laughed & learned more about each other, gained ideas to boost their business, sang along to Piano Man and kicked it up in a chorus line that ended in a standing ovation!

Connection. Communication. Impact.

Face-to-face meetings are essential to maximize impact. Marcus Buckingham, one of the leading management gurus, says the biggest challenges for managers today is they don’t know their people. They don’t know what motivates and engages them because there are too many virtual employees and virtual meetings. Managers think they can lead through technology but it doesn’t work.

Meetings matter.

When are you meeting with your old client/new employee/difficult colleague?




All that Glitters is not Gold

October 2, 2011
Junior League Charlotte, NC

As the keynote speaker for 550 members of the Junior League in Charlotte, NC  recently the experience was  a real eye opener…

Surprise #1: Most of them were Gen Y between the ages of 23 – 27 years old.
Surprise #2: Seventy five percent of them were working mothers.
What happened to the image of the middle aged wealthy matron sitting at home with proverbial pearls on wondering where to volunteer that would most benefit her social status?
Times have changed and so has voluntarism. The delightful, dedicated, savvy membership of the Junior League Charlotte is  2,000 members strong and just celebrated their 85th anniversary with over 1 million hours of service. The impact on the community is both amazing and admirable.
The real pearl of this audience was the diversity of cultures and walks of life connected by a genuine passion to help others in a community they love. Current President Katie Zeok has successfully instigated new ways of fundraising in the chapter while working full time at Bank of America and juggling family life.  Time management is a challenge for these volunteers yet they are SO doing everything  right ‘coz they’re one of the biggest leagues in the country. Where there’s a will there’s a way. As I say in my speeches: “passion is the beginning of all success”.
How are you perceived by others? What image are you projecting?
Make sure it’s the real thing ‘coz people don’t buy fool’s gold.