I am a fighter! I have been fighting since I was a child. The fight within is the biggest fight of all. The inner spirit, the glow, the cliché “sweat, blood, and tears,” of life is what brings me here to this keyboard. All of us struggle with something once in a while in life. Each person no matter your socio-economics, your looks, and your upbringing will face something or several things that will shape who you are as a person. That is what the fight is, the things that keep us in the ring. The things that help the heartbeat and that keep the sweat on your brow. I for one welcome these things as if a badge of honor were bestowed on each one.
Price Range: Contact for rates
Gig Length: 10 - 60 minutes
What to Expect
Meeting the needs of my audiences is first and foremost in my presentations. I work to gear my presentations to fit the needs of those I speak. Speakers and presenters should leave an audience thinking. The audience should have been moved intrinsically more than anything.
As a presenter, I share personal stories of those in history who have helped to shape the world in which we live. I see myself as a teacher and coach more than a speaker.
Given an opportunity, I like to involve my audiences with interaction and participation. When giving longer teachings, I use improv, props, and audience involvement to engage. In giving shorter presentations I tell the stories of those in history who may not be as famous or as well known as Rosa Parks or Steve Jobs.
The main thing for me is to leave my audiences wanting more and to provoke them to action, action, and action.
FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION:
I wanted to tell you the story of what drives me. My high school counselor told me I was going to be a ditch digger.
It was September 1984 I sat in her office as she began to discuss my background with me.
Tony, I see you were in special needs classes from 1st grade to 8th grade.
I see that you tested out of special classes in 8th grade.
I see that you have moved a lot in the past few years.
I see that you receive free & reduced lunches.
I see that your yearly test scores are only marginal at best.
Tony, what type of high school diploma are you interested in earning?
I am not sure I didn’t realize they had types of diplomas.
We offer honors and regular diplomas. I will tell you based on your background that you need to work on getting a regular diploma and then joining trade school your junior year. I would hate to see someone with your background end up a ditch digger.
I signed up for a regular education diploma that day. Before I left her office though I let it be known that I had every intention of going to college.
You see for me failure was not an option.
I graduated Robertsdale high school in 1988. I graduated in the middle of my pack and I was offered a couple of athletic scholarships but decided to join the ARMY in August 1988; I did well in the Army. I was promoted to non-commissioned officer within 3 years I saw the Berlin Wall come down literally. I visited museums and traveled Europe. I served in Desert Storm where my vehicle hit an IED and exploded one side. Two of my friends died in a firefight. Another died from cancer years later from exposure to uranium-depleted rounds. Failure was not an option.
I left service in 1992 and began college. I was scared to death. I had that fear in the pit of my stomach that Ms. Williams may have been correct. I may not be college material. I was accepted into FSCC in June of 1992. I took Psychology 101, English 101, and an Algebra prep course.
Guess what I passed all three that summer with a 4.0. I took classes fall semester. Again, I passed. Each Semester I passed, each semester was a new challenge. In the spring of 1994, I graduated with an associates degree and I received a full ROTC scholarship to become and Army officer to the University of Mobile.
Although I injured my back while in ROTC and lost my scholarship, I still graduated with a teaching degree by spring of 1996. While attending the college I worked full time and maintained a 3.7 GPA.
I wanted to teach because of my experiences in life. I knew that I could get students to believe in themselves. I knew I could motivate them to do more than they thought possible. After 6 years of teaching I decided to work on my master’s degree, within 2 years I accomplished another goal I had set for myself.
Failure was not an option.
I have raised a daughter for the most part as a single parent
Many of the students I taught over the years have attended college and graduated. They have sought me out to thank me for being a positive person in their lives. For believing in them and truly making them feel that they could do anything.
I have had my share of setbacks in life. I have been divorced, laid off from work, and there may have been times I just wanted to quit. I never let my setbacks dictate who I was going to be,
Failure was never an option!
Today I keep a journal where I write my top 5 to 10 goals for each day. I do this to stay motivated and never let failure seep into my life.
Ms. Williams my 9th-grade counselor did not have faith in my abilities. In her negative comment, she inadvertently motivated me to do. To live and work to become more than anyone ever expected.
I am a work in progress and life is an education. I wake up each day excited about the adventure in front of me. I never look back and I am always reaching for the stars.
Dr. Suess once said:
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
Ms. Williams’s negative comment was my moment.
But guess what: Failure has never been an option.
Additional Booking Notes
I like to bring my own equipment.
The only thing needed usually would be a screen for video.
Lectern, table, screen for video, LCD