An Inspirational Story of Perseverance

Gail Davis, 27 June 2016

  I founded GDA Speakers because I believed in Nando Parrado and his story. I set myself and my business apart because I found someone who was new and different. I was able to passionately describe his story to potential clients and how it could profoundly impact audiences. Nando has been our most booked speaker for 17 years. I often hear, “Gail, we need another Nando.” Quite frankly, Nando is a tough act to follow.  His story is so unbelievable and so powerful – that, coupled with his humanity and humility always produces a crowd favorite.

  Then, I encountered Amanda Lindhout.

   In April, I was approached by an industry colleague about a new speaker. Over the last 17 years, I have been pitched many speakers and have developed a discerning eye for new speakers, yet the enthusiasm with which my colleague described the story of Amanda Lindhout was absolutely electric. A cup of coffee turned into an hour-long meeting, which led me to book a flight to Toronto to hear Amanda speak.

   I left for Toronto knowing very little. I had the basics. Amanda was kidnapped at age 27 while traveling as a journalist in Somalia. She was held for ransom for 460 days. She published a New York Times bestseller, A House in the Sky in 2013. I learned that evening that sometimes it’s better to walk into a situation with no expectations, having done minimal research. 

   I attended the Unique Lives & Experiences Lecture Series at Roy Thompson Hall, an event that has been held for 24 seasons and from the looks of the crowd, had a well-heeled and sophisticated audience. Amanda arrived onstage; poised, articulate and stunning. As she related her harrowing experience in captivity, laced with a beautiful message of hope, no one moved. You could hear a pin drop in the room, as the audience hung on her every word. When she concluded her story, the entire audience roared with thunderous applause. Amanda has a certain finesse in her storytelling, and her resilience is more than inspiring – it is life changing. Howard Szigeti, Producer for Unique Lives & Experiences said, “I’ve been booking keynote speakers for 25 years.  I’ve seen them all.  The good. The bad and the average. So when someone exceptional takes my stage – I know it quickly. Amanda was that exception.”

   I was beyond impressed. I knew I found my next Nando. I am proud to announce that GDA Speakers has entered into an exclusive partnership representing Amanda Lindhout for speaking engagements in the United States.

If you are looking for an inspirational story of perseverance, look no further.