Apr 16, 2009, Vol. 7 Issue 5
We’re getting lots of calls for October women’s events, specifically Breast Cancer Awareness events, so I thought today I’d introduce you to Sherry Waldrip, an 18-year survivor and dynamic speaker. Sherry is passionate about proclaiming the power of friendship, humor and hope. She loves to stir her audiences to an understanding that when cancer steals the song in their hearts, friendship and laughter will sing it back to them.
Also, a few words about the state of the business. It’s definitely not business as usual; yet in the end I believe things on the whole will come out for the better. These are the things I’m noticing. It is a world of polarity. On the one hand, hospitals in general are cutting back their community outreach programs, yet on the other hand I have clients who are confidently moving ahead with their women’s expos and events. Some are using their own medical personnel (for some this has always been the practice) rather than bringing in outside speakers, and there are more requests for looking at local options. I love it when someone from Rhode Island calls me in Portland, Oregon, and I can recommend a speaker for her right in her own backyard.
There’s also some resistance to paying the big celebrity fees. This year I worked with a foundation that has normally brought in a name celebrity for its wellness luncheon. We just weren’t finding anyone within their budget (although it was substantial) about whom they could get excited. So I suggested we look at some speakers in fee ranges that were half the budget — speakers who may not be household name celebrities but are authors and professional speakers. They took these ideas to the potential sponsors who got excited and signed on. In the end, they’re getting a great speaker and program at half the budget they’ve traditionally spent.
Other things I’m noticing are that clients are taking longer to make decisions and booking with shorter lead times. They’re also looking for added value in extras. Some speakers are being negotiable on fees, others may not be willing to lower their fees but are willing to do extras – a program for the staff, or a breakout session at a conference, or a follow-up teleseminar for participants after the program. Please note that the fee ranges on our website are ranges. That means the speaker’s fee falls within that range, not that the speaker’s fee ranges from – to. If this is confusing or not helpful to you, please let me know and we’ll change it. I’m also noticing more speakers willing to do an all-inclusive fee that includes a lump sum for travel and that helps clients budget for the program.
Well, I guess that was more than a few words but I thought it was important to share with you. I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts and observations? Let’s keep sharing, connecting and co-creating.
Sherry Waldrip —
The Power of Friendship
Have you ever felt like just staying home in your sweats, hair pulled back in a rubber band, with the blinds closed? That’s how Sherry Waldrip was feeling when her mastectomy was less that a week away. Though mired in dread and despair, she was grateful that she had found the Free TRAM Flap, an ingenious reconstruction that would not only leave her whole after the mastectomy, but also console her with the very thing she had joked about since giving birth…a “tummy tuck.”
A group of three friends had arranged to take her out to lunch. She called the instigator of this lunch plan and tried to make her excuses; her friend wouldn’t hear of it and Sherry knew it was futile to argue.
As she entered the restaurant, she was overwhelmed with sadness, and then as they drew nearer to their table, she was astounded to discover a dozen of her friends smiling and applauding her arrival. She stood there stunned as they pinned a corsage on her jacket and welcomed her to, “The God is Faithful Luncheon, in Honor of Sherry Lynn.” They handed her a notebook in which they had each taken a page and written her a message of love and encouragement. Next was the presentation of a “hospital ensemble,” that started with an ugly hot pink nightgown.
“Don’t panic, we know hot pink clashes with your hair…we have a solution!” the presenter said. She pulled out a bouffant, long and trashy, platinum blonde wig, and proceeded to wrap a feather boa around Sherry’s neck; finally, she presented her with a pair of stylish cow slippers, complete with their tongues hanging on the floor. An impressive ensemble!
As Sherry and her friends laughed and cried together, the servers at the restaurant, as well as other diners, joined in by laughing and admiring her outfit. A group of businessmen stopped by the table as they left the restaurant. One of them put his hand on Sherry’s shoulder and said he had been watching the party and couldn’t decide if her friends really liked her or really hated her! He smiled, winked, patted her shoulder and said, “Nice outfit!” Sherry says that she thinks those in the restaurant, witnessing this luncheon, probably thought it was her birthday and would have been surprised to know that she had cancer, and that’s why her friends were loving her, lifting her spirits and showing their support.
Wonderful food, laughter, love and encouragement were the perfect therapy on that day that started out so dismal. The memory of it still touches her as she relays it to her audiences. “What an incredible way to show support and give joy to someone whose joy tank was seriously below empty…they filled it to overflowing,” she says. She knows her friends would have loved to change her circumstances. Knowing they couldn’t, they simply decided to take her hand and walk through the valley of cancer with her, gently lifting her heart in the process.
When her husband, Jerry, came home from work that day, she greeted him wearing the entire ensemble. He commented, as he had many times before, that life with her is never boring; he too, was touched and very grateful for the gift of love and encouragement given on that snowy afternoon.
Sherry is passionate about proclaiming the power of friendship, humor and hope to her audiences by sharing this story, as well as others, reminding the audience that we all have the ability and the privilege to lift someone up, share their burden and plant a bit of joy into a heavy heart. In an “intimate girlfriend-to-girlfriend fashion” she shares how her friends did that for her and incorporates fun, imaginative ideas she’s learned from others while traveling and speaking. She also motivates her audience to take an active role in their own health care and to encourage those they love to do the same. She is touched deeply when she hears that an audience member has taken her story and given joy and honor to someone in their life with an encouragement luncheon.
You can watch Sherry relay this luncheon story on our website. To check her availability for your event, fill out our inquiry form on the website or call us at 503-699-5031 to check availability. And if you’re in the Spokane, Washington area, look for her at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this weekend. She’s speaking there.
21st Century Cancer ALERT
Have you heard of the 21st Century Cancer ALERT (Access to Lifesaving, Early Detection, Research and Treatment) Act (S.717)? This landmark cancer bill was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate and, if passed, will strengthen cancer research, emphasize early detection, and improve cancer care for underserved populations. Forty percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. 1.4 million new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. Cancer claimed more than 565,000 American lives in 2008 – that’s 1,500 people a day! Given these staggering numbers, we must renew our national commitment to ending suffering and death from cancer. That’s why it’s so important we seize this opportunity to turn our government’s attention back to fighting this terrible disease.
I signed the Komen Advocacy Alliance petition urging my senators to support this important bill. Will you join me?
JOY of Spring Veggies —
In the spring, it’s a wonder don’t turn green. As soon as we start getting fresh asparagus in the stores at $1.98 a lb. and under, I’m buying 3 bunches at a time. Good thing my husband loves it as much as I do — he likes to make omelets with asparagus, mushrooms, green onions and cheese. We just saute the veggies lightly so the asparagus is still crunchy. Another favorite is Asparagus Soup. The recipe I use was originally for broccoli soup and I make that, too. What I like about this is it’s a tasty, creamy soup, without the heavy calories of typical cream soups. Chicken stock is the base with just ½ cup of milk and I usually use skim, soy, or almond milk, depending on what I have in the frig. For vegetarians, I’m sure you could substitute vegetable broth. If you’d like the recipe, just write SOUP in the subject line, and I’ll email it to you.
Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being, and those you love.
PLEASE NOTE: The information shared in this e-news is designed to help you make informed decisions about speakers and the programs they offer. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you suspect you have a medical problem, seek competent medical help.