How did you get started as a Motivational Speaker?
I was ten years young in a show ring filled with pigs (literally!) and the swine judge gave me a microphone to share with the 200 parents about my 4-H project. In high school, I lead a rock star team that organized school wide rally’s and had my “big break” as the role of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. At Saint Mary’s College, I was elected the Student Body President and wrote my senior thesis exploring the field of motivational speaking after attending the Leon Panetta Institute Leadership Speakers Series. The next 26 months, I was a PepsiCo sales representative where I grew market share by 134% and sold over 900,000 cases of product a year ($3.9 million). June 2014, I was searching for more fulfilling work that would make a difference in lives and so I found a mentor. That mentor was Phil Boyte (Owner, Learning for Living) and a couple of months later I began training to present for his school culture program Breaking Down the Walls.
Between August 2014 and August 2017 a lot happened. I performed in Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, took Stand Up Comedy courses and performed Stand Up (how do they do it!?), received certifications from Dale Carnegie Training in High Impact Presentations and Effective Public Speaking, partnered with Performance Consulting International and co-facilitated career readiness skills training at Auburn University (AL.), auctioneered for a charity and helped fundraise over $67,000 for a non-profit, and was the First Day of School assembly speaker at Whitney High School where I played a small part in setting the tone for the year around #BetterTogether. In 2017, I officially founded Freddie Speaks where I work with youth ages 5-22 around being and living leadership. Leadership that is intentional, inclusive, and positively influential. I speak at school assemblies and facilitate youth leadership programs.
We were at a red light. My mom and I were on our way to get Mint Oreo Blizzards from Dairy Queen after school. She would count out, “1, 2, 3…” And the game was who could say “I love you” the fastest on the number 3. I would say, “Let’s play again and I’ll count to 3.” The little boy in me would count so fast I would be saying “I love you” by the time she heard the number 2. Then she would say, “how much do I love you?” I would stretch out my little arms as far as I could and say, “This much!” Then, I would say, “And, I love you this much mommy,” as I stretched my arms out another inch as if I instantly had been granted the wish of having Michael Phelps wing span!!
We were at another red light. This time I was a few years older. A drunk driver sped through our car without brakes and for the next 17 years my mom lived in chronic pain with 8 herniated disks. She developed pulmonary embolisms and other health complications. Eventually, colon and Pseudomyxoma peritonei (abdomen) cancers. Stress, medical bills, and frustration led to calls from creditors. Eventually, cars were repossessed, the house I was born in foreclosed, and we went homeless for a few months.
Red lights happen. The cool thing is that red lights eventually turn green. My mom passed away in 2017 but she lived in the green lane. Faith, hope and love filled her soul. I grew up kneeling by her bedside sharing with her all my achievements. Her pride and love fueled me. Today, my mom gets to see everything I do. When I close my eyes, I see her smile and that motivates me to help others be servant leaders.