Don't Just Book a Speaker, Create a Revolution

Gail Davis, 09 March 2011

Has the Give Back tour has come to an end? Or has it?

I went to my monthly EO meeting last night. People were telling me I looked great, asking if I had lost weight. My good friend, Sam Lam, the plastic surgeon, lingered and said, “You look really good.” That is always a great feeling!

The truth? My weight is up and I have not had time for any plastic surgery.

It hit me what they were seeing was me radiating after giving back. Sure it was exhausting, but I was on a high from what I knew had been an incredible week.

When Andre arrived in town, I thought he was going to give nine speeches. He did so much more!

I want to give you a run down of what Andre did during this week. However, before I do, let me plant a seed for all you event planners and organizers out there. “Social Responsibility” is a big deal today.

Some say the younger generation will determine where they work based on the company’s commitment to social responsibility. More and more events are becoming experiential. So when you read this run down, I encourage you to think about how your group could create similar impact by giving back.

Okay, here is the recap.

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Kids of the Suburbs Take Note

Gail Davis, 07 March 2011

Andre Norman takes his message to the suburbs!

Up until now, I have heard Andre speak to the disenfranchised - audiences everyone knows need encouragement. Then he came to the affluent Dallas suburb of Colleyville, Texas.

Proving he can read audiences and adjust his message, Andre made some interesting observations when he came to Colleyville. Lots of suburban kids have dads missing-in-action as well. Oh, they live in the house, but they are gone on business. Or when they are at home, they often have a smart phone stuck to their ear. He also mused that young kids living in 4,000+ square foot homes must feel incredible pressure to grow up one day and do as well if not better.

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Visiting Their Cells Emotional. Energy.

Gail Davis, 05 March 2011

Let me begin by saying thank you to everyone who came to the WOSC event on Thursday night. It was another amazing stop on the “Give Back Tour.”

It’s been a busy few days. Physically, intellectually, emotionally. When the alarm clock went off on Friday morning, I was not sure I could handle another visit.

So for a moment I considered skipping out on the last stop in Oklahoma.

The stop was the Granite State Reformatory.

Then I was thought about how much Andre was giving back. I mean, if he could get up and go again, I could do it. I got ready.

This was serious stuff. A real prison. A real wall. Images of every prison movie you have ever seen came flashing into my mind. I was very nervous.

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Sex, Mentors and Thank You ... An unexpected sort of day.

Gail Davis, 03 March 2011

When Andre first approached me about working together, I told him I would need a reference. He put me in contact with a Catholic Bishop in Boston. I remember the conversation well. He told me Andre had a gift to know his audience and how to present the message in a way they would understand.

More than 300 kids filled the Hollis High School Auditorium today. The students may have expected an inspirational story of how a prisoner gained his freedom, but instead, they got some advice they can all put to use.

At Andre’s request, the boys were on one half of the auditorium and the girls on the other.

First up on the agenda: self respect and why waiting to have sex has lots of pluses. I started to squirm. Maybe it is because my mom and dad were next to me.

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Powerful. The only word for today.

Gail Davis, 02 March 2011

Powerful is the only word I can think of to adequately describe our first stop on the “Give Back Tour.”

The Southwest Oklahoma Detention Center is located in the middle of nowhere. I am from southwest Oklahoma, so I can say that.

You are driving along and all of the sudden you turn right on a dirt road and there it is … a building behind a large fence with big coils of barbed wire. No cell phones or cameras are allowed inside. We were to leave purses in the car. We were physically patted down and then received a quick briefing from the center director.

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The Give Back Tour Begins

Gail Davis, 01 March 2011

Tomorrow I begin my “Give Back Tour” with Andre Norman.

Excited would be an understatement. The opportunity to make a difference in so many lives throughout my home state of Oklahoma and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex will probably keep me awake tonight.

You may be wondering what a “Give Back Tour” is … well, I just made up the name.

It all started this past December when Andre spoke at a fundraising event. Not only did he speak at the event, he also offered a future presentation for the auction.

As the bidding was getting underway, he challenged the bidders to work together to increase the overall contribution to the charity. He said that if we pulled together the bids, he would work for one week.

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