June 27, 2013, Vol. 11, Issue 13
June is Men’s Health Month, and so I’m going to digress a bit and take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our wonderful male speakers — which is totally in line with our byline, “Your Go-To Source for Speakers Women Love.” Both women and men enjoy Conor Cunneen’s Irish brogue and playful spirit. His positive “silver lining” attitude is a great fit for cancer survivor events (he is a two-time survivor), nurses’ appreciation, men’s health events and any group looking for a lift. If you go to his profile on my website, you can sample his talk and enjoy a bit of the brogue.
In my next issue I will continue my series about marketing to the various generations, this time featuring Generation X. If you missed the first installment about framing effective marketing messages for Millennials, you can catch up here.
“It’s Just a Flesh Wound”
Conor has a lot going for him – he’s personable, funny, and shares the gift of gab, which he’s transformed into an acronym, and talk titled, “The Gift of G.A.B.” That’s “G” for Goals, “A” for Attitude, and “B” for Behavior, the points that he makes through storytelling in his keynote. It’s hard for me to see him in his former life as a VP of Marketing, at Unilever. But that background has served him well.
“I might still be with that fine company if I had been prepared to accept other international assignments, but I said ‘no’ for family reasons. Hence, ‘Goodbye corporate world, hello consulting.’ Following numerous repeat requests to speak at conferences, he morphed into a professional speaker, who has now been acknowledged for his platform excellence by several prestigious speaking awards, as well as happy clients. Surviving his subsequent two bouts of cancer opened doors for him in the healthcare and wellness areas, and that is, of course, how we connected.
Cancer may not be funny, but Conor is. He has developed an inspirational, fun-packed keynote speech describing his cancer experience that proves that great comedy lurks beneath the surface of tragedy. It is probably only a man from County Cork, Ireland (and with the brogue to prove it!) who could develop a keynote titled “It’s Just a Flesh Wound,” about the experience of prostate cancer.
Conor was diagnosed with prostate cancer early in 2007. “There are a number of treatment options available ranging from radiation to prostatectomy, in other words the removal of the prostate,” he says in his light lyrical brogue.
He was told that his particular type of prostate cancer develops slowly, so he had time to consider his options. “I did a lot of research on the topic, spoke to a lot of people and ultimately opted for the prostatectomy. My information systems, i.e., my wife, advised me that I had to purchase new pajamas to wear in the hospital, so that is why I entered Northwestern Memorial Hospital with pajamas bearing the Monty Python legend ‘It’s Just a Flesh Wound.’ I’ve been blessed with a great attitude and I believe every cloud does have a silver lining. As a result, I created a keynote by the same title. It is perfect for all conferences and events where an uplifting feel-good message is appropriate, which is basically everywhere.”
This was Conor’s second bout with cancer. “I had thyroid cancer some years ago when living back in Ireland. They whipped that out as well. I tell my audiences when I keynote that having had a prostatectomy and a thyroidectomy, I now have a unique Irish condition called ‘there’s not much left-o-me.'”
This ebullient Irishman’s communication style has been likened to an “Irish Dilbert,” and “James Joyce meets Tom Peters.”
“I must admit,” he says, “that having an Irish brogue is an advantage as audiences in the U.S. like the Irish sense of humor and storytelling abilities.”
His keynotes combine business experienced garnered in Ireland, the United Kingdom and United States with a truly impish sense of humor. “As a keynote speaker and business humorist, I endeavor to provide substance with humor. I often develop purely humorous material, which I can then weave into a serious message. That is when it becomes a real win-win.”
Nurses are another audience that draw inspiration, enjoyment, and tools they can take back to their bedsides from Conor’s viewpoints. This spring I booked him for the Indianapolis Star’s Salute to Nurses – a big event put on to celebrate the nurses in the entire community. He served as keynote speaker and emcee.
“Conor brought a personal touch to the program by sharing his own life experiences with nurses followed by a wonderful and humor-filled message titled ‘What Do I Want My Attitude To Be?’ according to Charles A. Bates, Sales Manager for Star Media. “I would recommend Conor for any event that needs a dose of professionalism, class, inspiration, and plain fun. We look forward to working with him again.”
That’s the kind of comment that is music to my ears – and will be to any event organizer as well. It underscores why he is an award-winning speaker in more ways than one. One of Conor’s proudest moments was when he won the coveted Chicago Toastmasters Humorous Speaker of the Year award for a speech on customer service in San Quentin Prison. “That was a blast and a great career catalyst also. Since then I have spoken internationally in places as diverse as Helsinki, Madrid, London, Malaga and Glasgow.” And he’s happy to speak for any domestic location that I recommend. When planning your next cancer survivor, men’s health, nurses appreciation or other healthcare event, think of the Irishman and contact me at 503-699-5031. You won’t be disappointed. Meantime, check out his video clips here.
Summery Salad Flavor Find
I had an amazing experience earlier this spring when I attended a Gluten-Free Fair. First of all, the place was packed. I could not believe the crowds. There were samples galore — guaranteed to draw a crowd, I guess! Just about every booth had free samples — breads, crackers, cupcakes, pizzas, brownies, even beer. Obviously, tasting is the best way to showcase the goods whenever taste buds are concerned.
Mine were very happy and satisfied when I sipped a sample of Lucero’s strawberry flavored white balsamic vinegar. Yummy! I bought a bottle and it is so fresh and tasty on summery green salads that I don’t even use olive oil. Nor does it take very much. Now, I’m fortunate in that there’s a tasting room in a nearby mall, and I’ll be going there soon to replenish my supply and try some more flavors. I’ve also mixed it with carbonated water for a refreshing drink. You can also order from the website, or look around your community to see what flavors are blossoming in your neighborhood. You never know what you might find. Be adventurous, and enjoy the fruits of your curiosity.
As you bask in the warmth of summer, try a new flavor, and take care of yourself for your well being and those your love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they know how to connect with women and give them life-changing information served on a silver platter of joy, camaraderie, with a side of sauce (spicy, of course).
Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me endless joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.