Friday, July 18, 2014

Featuring AEI's latest Exclusive Speaker: Natalie Randolph

Natalie Randolph has officially joined the roster at AEI Speakers Bureau. Having recently stepped down after 4 years as the head coach of Calvin Coolidge Senior High School’s varsity football team in Washington D.C., one of just a few female football coaches in the entire country, Randolph is now available for speaking engagements. 

In her keynote "Finding Self in Strange Places" Randolph shares her journey to truth of self and how honesty with oneself is the necessary way to reach youth audiences both in the classroom and on the field. In her 2013 TEDx talk at Middlebury College titled "Good Things Never Come Easy", she elaborated how the students could see right through any false pretenses and if she was going to get through to them, she had to embrace that truth, and her own: 

As a teacher, Randolph is focused on bridging the gap between academics and athletics. In her keynote, "Competition in Education" she speaks to the importance of success AND failure. With the fear of failure comes the behavior to simply not try and without trying there can be no success. Randolph speaks to how competition in sports can lead to competition in education and greater success overall. 

See her ESPN feature!

Bring Natalie Randolph to your school and hear for yourself her inspiring story. 

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Freedom From Fear of (Public) Speaking Month

The alliteration of this monthly awareness can quite easily be reinterpreted into slandering the first amendment, which is perfectly legal, but not culturally accepted. It’s not “free from Freedom of Speech,” it is “freedom from fear of public speaking.” What it means is we should not be afraid to speak up, speak out and present our ideas to others. People generally love having the ability to complain about what’s wrong with the world, but it takes real skill to put that rant into a course of action that inspires yourself and the listeners around you.

Public speaking is fascinating. There are individuals who are excellent at presentation, but have nothing to say. There are also individuals with brilliant ideas, but lack the words to match them. However, given the choice, we’d pay far more attention to presentation than content. This is why we typically zone out during high school presentations and cults have a large following. While that is a simplified explanation, public speaking is much more impressive than any school assembly.

Fortunately, if you are the person who is brilliant but needs help expressing that, you’re the luckier of the two. Thoughts and creativity cannot be taught, though how you organize and express yourself can be. It is tougher than it looks, which is why the month of July honors public speakers. You do a small-scale public speaking every day with various groups you spend time with. So here is a general overview about public speaking and good speakers.

Most people have something to say. It’s so easy to forget how people are different, and that opinions are all over the place. Reviews in magazines, blogs, and YouTube certainly prove that, and multiple online reviewers exist for almost every topic one can converse about. However, at the same time, for YouTube videos, there are also comments where opinions solely consist of how much the poster hates you and everything you stand for. What separates the good from the bad is confidence in one’s ideas, organization and balance. Though you know, basic courtesy is good too. 

A speaker is confident in their own ideas. Even if they are nervous about sharing them and memorizing what they will say, if they know that their idea is a good one, then that should carry over more. If one constantly compromises such thoughts, how will they be able to express it? They can be influenced by current events, but confidence also stems from core values should remaining consistent.

Consistency is so important when in presenting. Speaking is telling its own story, and getting from one idea to the next gets the point across a lot better. While values need to be consistent so you believe in it, the topic needs to be clear so others understand. Love for example is described as a human mystery. You know what else is a human mystery? The Bermuda Triangle!

While that was yet another generalization, it’s important to remember focus helps with understanding. The end goal is to communicate a message, and stay true to it. This is incredibly easy to forget. You know your ideas, but that does not mean everyone else will, due to how easy it is to forget not everyone sees through your eyes. Sometimes you just have to explain a little bit more, while balancing that out with a solid technique.

A good speech is a work of art. There are so many layers, both technical and creative involved. It is a lot to work with, and it’s even harder to make it look easy and natural, which comes with both practice and a personal style. Some speakers are very good with anecdotes, while others excel with humor. Think of the person who you admire most. Is their style similar or different from yours? Why is that?

As much as we love talking, it is even more important to listen to other speakers. Everyone has a story, and a unique way to express it. It can help a person understand what to do and what to avoid. Listening to others will help you broaden an understanding for what it is like to be in another person’s life, even for a few seconds.

While July is the month to honor speaking and confronting that fear, AEI Speakers Bureau honors speakers and speaking every day. We have people discussing all topics, from education and marketing, to LGBTQ communities, to leadership, teamwork and technology. It is the modern day version of oral traditions.

 For more information on all of our speakers, please visit us at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

Fun Fact: The United States is now 238 years old! 

Were you able to catch any episodes of our own exclusive speaker Brian Unger's How the States Got Their Shapes on the History Channel? The premiere episode will be airing again in honor of our national holiday on July 5th - check your local listings! 

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Friday, June 27, 2014

June Recap

Happy June Recap

Our speakers cover different topics regarding everything from human rights to the latest technology. Every Friday in June, we posted about one of our speakers or one of our ideas and values. Since another month is now almost passed and we love to cover a wide variety of messages, we decided to take a look at the previous month. It brought us author recommendations, energy, and acceptance.

In case you missed any of these posts, we started strong on June 6th with Read in the Sunshine, giving you authors to consider reading during your time at the beach or a family reunion. Our renowned authors include Sandra Brown, a New York Times bestseller, Mary Higgins Clark, one of the most famous suspense writers, and Scott Turow, a New York Times best bestseller and journalist. 

During our second week on June 13th, Theresa Behenna dazzles audiences yet again with her story, connecting her fun and happiness to her success. Through her and her examples, we are able to learn that happiness is part of the route to success, and doing something you love is not without difficulties, but more than makes up for it in rewards and investment.

Finally, in honor of LGBTQ awareness month, June 20th, we listened closely to Daniel Trust recounting his story, and noting recent experiences from AEI’s additional LGBTQ advocates. We received a firm yet gentle reminder how much is still needed to overcome in the name of love.

Keep coming back, as July offers more posts regarding both AEI and our speakers. Next month brings us a happy Independence Day plus full awareness of the fear of public speaking. Until then, enjoy the beautiful June sunsets.

 For more information on all of our speakers, please visit us at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Daniel Trust and How to Honor LGBTQ Month

 “So I started going to everyone at work, I was like ‘Hey, I came out today,’ and they said ‘you came out? Came out of what?’”

With humor and a calm demeanor, Daniel Trust recalls the day he came out to his peers at work, on National Coming Out Day.  

A man who is both a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and active in the LGBTQ community represents the continuing struggle for rights and acceptance both in the United States and abroad.

He recalls how in Rwanda, homosexuality is a taboo. If one is found out, he or she is killed. He came to the United States still afraid.

Meanwhile, in the United States and abroad, there are still split opinions on the issue. The United States continues to debate the religious morals regarding homosexuality, while legalization across the 50 states proceeds. Despite the progress, children and adults across the country according to news stories and online confessionals, still find themselves rejected by families after coming out, increasing fear among closeted individuals.

Others explore their sexuality to figure out more about who they are. The less confusion one harbors about their own identity, the healthier one’s relationships with their peers and career become.

Athletes and audiences also famously protested the anti-gay laws during the Sochi Olympics.  There are still many more countries, cities and towns where homosexuality is taboo, where people are killed or silenced. However, those around the globe and far too many rom-coms prove, love cannot be killed.

Also from abroad, British diver Tom Daley came out though confusing people by being in a relationship with a man, but “still fancying girls.” He shows the capacity of love an individual can feel towards another, regardless of gender, more commonly known as bisexuality.

Meanwhile, public individuals like actress Cynthia Nixon, CNN correspondents Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon, retired National League Baseball Umpire Dave Pallone, and TV personality Ellen DeGeneres make it a little easier to pave the way for acceptance. 

Public straight allies have shown support too. Actress Patty Duke became an ordained minister to help oversee marriages among LGBTQ couples, a year after playing a woman in a lesbian relationship on Glee. She said online “As an ordained minister I want to marry all the gay couples in our country.” It is safe to say that so much good has come out of so many different individuals. 

Similar to the legal versus cultural issues of acceptance, there are still ways to go to further promote such tolerance and love.

Daniel Trust, is one such example of an excellent representative, continuing to promote human rights of a US Citizen, Rwandan Citizen, and a member of the LGBTQ community.

With continued legalization for gay marriage, the issue has no longer become solely about recognition but about accepting people for who they are, especially with increased awareness and understanding of bi and pansexuality which loves more than one gender, and for transgendered and intersexed individuals. Hate crimes against such individuals continue and are coming more to the surface.

Far more people are still afraid to come out or acknowledge who they are to themselves, their families and friends. Daniel Trust mentions that without a support system, LGBTQ individuals are more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals. One measure that has been taken is awareness through the month of June now celebrated as LGBTQ month.

The month of June celebrates pride for who one is, who they love, and their gender identity. Gay pride parades occur all over the country. Articles about tolerance and acceptance continue to trend online, and there are opportunities for all people, gay or straight, to show support for people and those they care about.

For more information about Daniel or additional LGBTQ speakers, check out the AEI Speakers website.

 For more information on all of our speakers, please visit us at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!