May 29, 2008, Vol. 6 Issue 8
I’m on the mend. It’s been six weeks since I got my new knee – an upgrade we’re calling it. I like that term better than replacement. The experience, from the surgery and hospital stay, to my early graduation from the walker to cane to walking, has been far better than I anticipated (though not without its surprises – and, of course, pain).
Thank you very much to everyone who sent their well wishes, healing prayers, encouragement and empathy. It seems like everyone I mention knee replacement to is either experiencing some knee pain themselves or knows someone who has had the surgery. During my hospital stay, I gained firsthand appreciation for nurses, so though it’s past Nurses Appreciation Week for this year, I extend my personal gratitude and appreciation for their knowledge and care. I have new appreciation for the magic of the “Call Button!” Now if I could only figure out how to get one of those at home . . .
So, let’s get back to speaker business. I’ve made literal use of my laptop during this time of recuperation, so that I could prop my leg up while working. Bookings have been fairly strong for fall. I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to go out, stand up and speak!
Today I’m happy to give you a “field report,” – from a happy client in Connecticut and their cancer education event, as well as a belated brief on hearing Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.
Fight Cancer with Your Fork
“Our patients are really hungry for hands-on information,” said Marcia Anderson. Marcia, who is Cancer Resource Specialist at the George Bray Cancer Center in New Britain, Connecticut, told me, “Cancer makes them feel so out of control. They want to know how they can help themselves.” That’s exactly what they got from guest speaker Kim Dalzell, PhD, RD, NMD, and author of Challenge Cancer and Win! at their annual education event.
Kim’s book, subtitled, “Step-by-step nutrition action plans for your specific cancer,” indicates the kind of depth Kim brings to her programs. “I loved the way her metaphors brought her program to life,” Marcia said.
For example, Kim says, “Cancer is cells gone wild. It’s cells acting crazy, partying way too hard. It’s time to stop the party. There are two ways to do it. First, call out the law enforcements in traditional cancer treatment – chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Secondly, to control and stop the party, and not even hold it in the first place, you can stop the party through dietary intervention. Traditional treatment is like a tsunami,” she continued. “Nutrition is the palm tree you hold onto during the storm.”
The evening event called “Fight Cancer With Your Fork,” on May 1st, attracted over 200 patients, family members and health professionals. “It was a wonderful event and we couldn’t be more thrilled that Kim shared her time and talents with us,” Marcia said. “She is so sharp with her information and clinical nutritional understanding. And she is such a lovely lady – charming, accommodating, not easily flustered, and so genuine.
“We had wonderful feedback at the event and on the evaluation cards,” Marcia continued. “Kim mesmerized the audience with her content and humorous style. We had a Q & A after her talk and she answered every question with great authority and conviction. Cancer survivors and patients who were seeking a way to empower themselves during and after treatment got the answers to the things that are weighing on their minds, like, ‘How can I really help myself? What can I personally do to achieve the best results?’ I thought she was just brilliant!”
Kim was just as thrilled. “There’s nothing I like better,” she said, “than sharing with an engaged audience. We had so much fun, it was just amazing.”
And you know all the stuff we hear on the news about kids and obesity? Well, Marcia was willing to take the extra effort to extend the talents of her guest speaker to the school system. Kim, like many of our speakers, will do an additional program on the same day as her main event for a nominal additional fee. Kim’s 35-minute program for the kids was called, “Foods that Make You Fit, Fast and Fierce!” and they gathered 350 3rd and 4th graders from three schools for it.
Marcia would be the first to tell you that all pre-planning aside, there were lots of changes as the school program evolved and everyone had to keep adapting. One was that the program was moved from an auditorium to the cafeteria, which entailed kids sitting knee to knee on the floor, light from windows and A/V challenges that outdistanced their pre-planning and A/V rehearsal. Nonetheless, Marcia said that Kim had the kids totally engaged. “Kim definitely knew how to present at their level and engage them,” Marcia said. “When she said she had ‘a secret’ to tell them, they were all ears! I thought for so many kids seated on the floor that they were very well behaved.”
“The take-away and goal, I believe, and Marcia agreed, was to help kids understand ONE thing they could do to eat better,” Kim said. “I have a third and fifth grader at home so I have a first-hand sense for these kids. The icing on the cake for me at this event, was when one little girl came up to me and asked me, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ I told her that I learned about nutrition in school and asked her if she was interested in learning more. She said, ‘Yes, I like to learn about this.’ It was very touching. I had another boy come up to me and say, ‘I think I can eat a little better. I know I should stay away from orange soda — I’m going to drink more water now.’ Hooray!”
Marcia Anderson and Kim Dalzell exerted extra effort to make this kids program happen. Meeting planners often tell me that if their efforts make the difference for one person, it’s worth the effort. Oh, and did I mention that all the kids got healthy snack samples to take home, courtesy of Kim and her connections. I’m sure many families benefited from what those kids took home from the program that day, in more ways than one.
Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love
It’s one of those New York Times Best-seller phenomena – who hasn’t heard of the book, Eat, Pray, Love One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, by Elizabeth Gilbert – even my husband, because while this may be a chick book, like a chick flick, it’s spent more than a year at No. 1 on the NY Times best-seller list. According to BookScan, it was the third most popular book of 2007, trailing only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows and The Secret. My ears always perk up when my friend (and speaker) Holly Stiel tells me about a book, and long before Elizabeth was on Oprah many months ago, thanks to Holly, I had devoured the book. C’mon, what a fantasy – eat your way through Italy, pray your way through India and fall in love in Bali? Could this be real – could this person be real? So, when I heard Elizabeth was coming to Portland, I bought tickets!
It was just a few days before my surgery, when my husband and I went to the program at the main downtown Portland auditorium at an Arts & Lectures special event. I’m always curious to see if an author will be a good speaker; being a good writer and speaker don’t always align. In this case, I wasn’t surprised that Elizabeth was as glib, winsome and wittily observant in her speaking as in her writing. As if she was talking girlfriend to girlfriend, she held the almost sellout audience (that included just a few men besides my husband) in her hand from start to finish.
With intelligence, wit and a good sense of comic timing, she mainly talked about creativity, writing and her books (four published books), and in the case of Eat, Pray, Love, the power and importance of taking your own transformational journey. She was quick to point out, however, that self-discovery does not require plane tickets nor does she encourage anyone to follow in her footsteps. And while a disciplined meditation practice is one thing to maintain in an ashram, she acknowledged that it was just as difficult for her to work into her American life, as it may be for you and me.
Personally, I was moved during the Q & A with her comments about non-motherhood — her choice not be a mother, but to be a great Aunt and that role in her life. “Some women I know,” she said, “can’t pass a children’s store or a day care center without oozing milk from their breasts and feeling a quiver in their wombs. I have that feeling when I pass a used book store. One of my friends told me how hard it was day to day to raise her children, and, she said, ‘I wanted them. Not really wanting them, you wouldn’t have a chance.’ So I chose not to have children, and my family line, as some genealogists say, ‘daughtered out.’”
She is a lectern speaker, but looked like a non-notes speaker to me – totally at ease addressing this huge auditorium of a few thousand of her adoring fans. For wellness groups, her topics focus on women’s reproductive rights and freedom, the environment – being in harmony with the planet, literacy, and life changes. If you’re looking for a keynote speaker who is an accomplished writer and has amazing personal stories to share with women, please give us a call! We can give you firsthand expertise.
I’m well into physical therapy for my knee and as many people warned me, this is the tough part – pain is gain to get that knee bending and straightening. An exercise bike now graces our family room. The first time I got those wheels to turn brought me to tears – no, make that sobs. It didn’t take me long to figure out I needed something to get me through it and I was sitting next to the stereo, so I reached over and put on Jana Stanfield’s award-winning song, “If I Were Brave,” from her Brave Faith album. At almost five minutes, it’s the perfect amount of time for a warm-up and the lyrics, “What would I do today if I were brave,” have always inspired me.
By the way, Jana Stanfield has been overseas this year, but she’s back and we’re booking programs for fall and spring, so give us call to bring her encouraging words and songs to your event. A prospective client recently asked me for the WOW factor, and – who else? – Jana came to mind immediately.
Until next time, take care of yourself for your good health 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.