The Importance of Moments
“What’s Going On", Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" is one of the most iconic songs of the Motown era of the 1970's. Recorded in May of 1971, Gaye was one of the most popular and versatile artists on the Motown label in the 1960's, with hits like "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "Hitchhike", "Ain't That Peculiar", and "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)." Not only was he a great vocalist, Gaye was also a prolific drummer and keyboard player, which was unusual for singers of the day.
Things should have been flying high for him, but Gaye was troubled by all that was going on in our nation. It started in the mid-'60's with the Watts riots of 1965; he was quoted as saying, "How am I supposed to continue to sing love songs with the world exploding around me?" He was deeply affected by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and did not perform on stage from 1969 thru 1971.
People in the industry, including his boss and brother-in-law, Berry Gordy, wondered what was going on with Marvin. Where was he? It turns out that Gaye was hanging out with the members of the Detroit Lions football team, pondering life and even considering a run at professional sports.
The truth was that Gaye was getting more and more political, rethinking everything that was happening in our nation and the world. Several African-American artists were taking their message down the path of anger and resentment. Curtis Mayfield and others were moving in that direction, but Marvin chose to take it one step further.
In 1971, the Motown writers had written a song they wanted Marvin to sing. However, Gaye chose to rewrite the song to reflect the way he was feeling. He became inspired and took over every aspect of producing the track. He had to get it right, because he was on fire. On purpose. He had a mission: to tell a powerful story through this song, and to influence it personally in as many ways as possible.
Unlike every other producer of his era, Gaye sat in the middle of the Motown rhythm section musicians, giving them direction and inspiration. He invited his Detroit Lions friends into the studio to record the feeling of an African-American party atmosphere for the song, including Hall of Fame players Mel Farr and Lem Barney. (You can hear Barney's voice saying, "Solid; right on!" in the song's introduction, just before the music starts.)
He wanted a specific sound from the saxophone, and so he asked the sax player, Eli Fontaine, to warm up in the corner. Unbeknownst to him, Gaye was rolling tape during his warm-up session. What he heard during Eli's warm-up was so soulful and genuine, he told the sax man -- to his surprise -- to pack up his gear; he had already recorded everything he needed for the track. It was exactly the sound Gaye wanted, and those who were present to listen to the finished product saw him cry tears of joy.
Are you telling YOUR powerful story in a unique way?
There’s never been a more important time for us to influence the world than right now. We don’t have to get angry, righteous or sad, but if you are, put it to good use. As professional speakers, our job is to bring truth to light in a powerful, impactful way, and your unique message, delivered with love and understanding, is part of what’s needed in the world today.
Learn all you can from your peers, your leadership, your outside training resources, and your own self-study. But as you do, remember to develop your own "sound" that's unique to you -- a blend of the best of all your influences, combined with your own special touch. The world doesn't need any more "talking heads". What we need is more Marvin Gayes.
Our Chapter stands with and for each and every one of you during this time.
The First-Ever NSA Virtual Auction - A HUGE Success
Thank You to everyone that took part in our week-long Virtual Auction! Auction Committee members Carl Seidman, Darice Grabowski and Lee Tkachuk, along with Allie Pleiter and the entire NSA-IL Marketing Committee, worked long and hard to deliver and promote over 40 outstanding items for bidding between May 20th and 27th. Through the generosity of many NSA-IL speaking experts and their donations, a gross amount of over $5,000 was raised. Carl and his committee will have more to say about the results during our next (virtual) event on June 12th. We are truly grateful to all our volunteers, donors, and bidders!
INFLUENCE 2020 Goes Virtual
It was the only way to go. The NSA INFLUENCE 2020 Committee was challenged to create an alternative to a live meeting that brings overwhelming value and support to its members, and they delivered in a BIG way.
INFLUENCE 2020 will be all virtual, all archived and accessible, and contain over 40 incredible sessions on what you need to succeed NOW. The emphasis is on actionable, proven techniques that your colleagues are using right now to become more impactful, relevant, and successful in today’s speaking climate. And they’re doing it all for just $497.
I was skeptical at first, but after seeing the first several sessions, I’m an enthusiastic supporter of this 4-month, 40+ session event for every single NSA-IL member. I urge you to consider the impact of the right direction at this critical time, and to make an investment in yourself by signing up for this all-virtual, all-accessible program for your career.
Our Next (Virtual) Event – FREE to All Chapter Members
NSA-IL ANNUAL CELEBRATION AND CHAPTER AWARDS
Fri., June 12th, 2020 – 9:00 am to 11:30 am
FREE to all current Members Online on Zoom
Please join us for a very special morning of celebration and learning! Our Chapter has much to celebrate, and we’re looking forward to recognizing our Chapter’s accomplishments over the past 12 remarkable months. Come discover what’s ahead for NSA National and our own Chapter, learn what (4) of our own CSP’s are doing to move their careers forward as speakers, and formally recognize those who have made a significant difference in the lives of others within our local Chapter in 2019-20.
SPEAKING PROS SPEAK OUT ON THE ROAD AHEAD
With all that’s happened in our world, the speaking industry is ripe for re-invention, rethinking, and realigning to what’s needed today. You’ll hear from 4 of our Illinois chapter’s veteran Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP’s) on how they’re each navigating their own forward progress in 2020 and beyond:
Steve Beck, CSP is a past President of NSA-IL, an expert trainer, keynote speaker, and President of Beck Seminars. Steve has provided training solutions in customer service, motivational leadership, sales, goal setting and work-life balance for over 20 years and is the author of How to Have a Great Day Every Day! And Leave Your Funk at the Door.
John Blumberg, CSP is a past NSA-IL President and a 25-year veteran speaker specializing in building value with core values. John speaks to corporate audiences and organizations on alignment, engagement and authentic service, and is the author of several books, including Good to the Core and ROI: Return On Integrity.
Rick Davis, CSP is an expert sales trainer and consultant in the lumber and building materials industry, and the owner of Building Leaders, Inc., a company that has trained tens of thousands of sales professionals in the building trades. He is a contributing editor to LBM Journal, and his 20+ year career accomplishments include two books, The Sales Secret and Sales Economics.
Laurie Guest, CSP is a 30-year veteran in customer service training, staff development, communication and teamwork. Her energizing keynotes and training programs are enjoyed by thousands of people each year at corporate events, association meetings and business retreats, and she is the author of several books, including The 10¢ Decision: How Small Change Pays off Big.
Just as in our live events, Zoom networking will be open at 8:30 am, with our program starting at 9:00 am. Please mark your calendars to be there for this engaging annual event!
(NOTE: Our original plan for this “live” event was to have Cavett Award winner Gary Rifkin speaking on platform skills, but the mutual decision was made to have Gary back at our Chapter at a future date and time to receive the full value of his presentation.)
Presenting the Nominees: Your 2020-21 NSA-IL Board of Directors
I’m thrilled and honored to introduce the (3) individuals who have graciously said YES to making a difference in our Chapter and chosen to accept the nomination to our NSA-IL Board of Directors. Each of them will be up for a 2-year term, as (3) current Board members will be rotating off the Board after their amazing service to our Chapter.
Our 3 spectacular Board members who will be rotating off the Board are:
Lynne Franklin, our NSA-IL President in 2018-19 and current Volunteer Committee Chair
Carl Seidman, current Finance Committee Chair
Haydn Shaw, current Program Committee Chair.
Words cannot express how grateful we are for the work these three individuals have done on your behalf. Please be sure to let them know how much you’ve appreciated their Board service, and what a difference they’ve made.
Our 3 NEW nominees for NSA-IL Board of Directors for your consideration are:
Shanita Akintonde , MBA, M. Ed, DTM is an accomplished professional speaker and a member of NSA National for the past 15 years. She is an Associate Professor of Communications at Columbia College Chicago, and her signature talksinclude “Selling the Sizzle: How to Become Notable and Quotable”TM and “Women Who R.O.A.R.R. (Reject Oppression and Reclaim Respect)”TM.
Rob Biesenbach is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant in the sales and marketing space. He works with multiple organizations to improve their persuasion and corporate communication skills and is a multi-year NSA National member. His signature presentation is “Treat Every Communication Like a Performance”, and he is the author of several books including Unleash the Power of Storytelling.
Kevin O’Connor, CSP is a 20+ year NSA National member and a former NSA-IL Board member who has graciously accepted the offer to serve another term. Kevin is a keynote speaker on leadership, management and teamwork, and a personal leadership coach to C-level executives who must now lead their peers. He is the author of multiple books, and holds three Masters degrees (Education, Counseling Psychology and Pastoral Studies).
You will be receiving a ballot to officially elect our Board members, so please be looking for that from Christy in the coming days.
You will also have a new incoming President! I’m thrilled to have Allie Pleiter step in as your new NSA-IL President in 2020-21, as she will be officially taking the reins as of July 1st. You couldn’t be in more capable hands; you will get to know Allie much more in the coming months, and I look forward to working alongside her as your Immediate Past President.
A Sincere Thank You
I’ve been privileged to serve as your President over these past 12 months, and at the risk of leaving anyone out, I want to thank all of you at once for your unending support and hard work.
Those who have been in this chair would tell you that it isn’t the President who does most of the heavy lifting, but those around you that lifts everyone up. It has been absolutely true. We’ve been through perhaps some of the most tumultuous days that anyone in NSA has endured, but it is because of all of you working together that we’re as strong a Chapter as we are today.
Lenora Billings-Harris, past NSA President and an astonishing leader, uses the ancient African word “Ubuntu” to describe leadership. The word translates roughly to this: I Am Because You Are. It is this sense of connectedness that I feel toward all of you.
I have been truly blessed to have led this Board and this group of amazing professionals. Your Board and your Executive Director, Christy Moore, make our Chapter what it is from a leadership perspective every day. I look forward to where we’re going, and to navigate it as professionals in a world that needs us.
As Marvin Gaye said, bring some loving to YOUR corner of the world every day, and I look forward to seeing you at one of our many events soon.
Pro sports teams hire Bill to help them fill their stands with fans… and he can improve YOUR sales, too! Bill brings his unique experience of training the ticket sales departments of professional sports sales teams to companies of all sizes and industries. His dynamic presentations on peak performance in sales are based on the successful practices of pro sports teams throughout North America, including the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. Bring their secrets to success to your next sales meeting or conference!