I have been on stage ever since I can remember – tap and ballet performances, piano recitals, singing in choirs, playing music for Masses. One of my best friends from high school and I played at Mass in high school. She made a career of her music, (check her out at http://www.cherandgeneklosner.com) and I made a career of speaking.
I was active in Junior Achievement when I was in high school, attended conferences and led many delegations to conferences. At one of the early events, I saw a motivational speaker who told us: “If it is to be, then it’s up to me!” I decided then to choose speaking as a career. I was 15 years old.
While in Junior Achievement, I was introduced to an organization called Toastmasters. My first speech was a disaster! My knees knocked together, my hands were a sweaty mess, and all I could stammer was my name and where I was born. With practice and lots of feedback, I eventually won local titles and competed Nationally in Toastmasters. At age 15, I began speaking to groups up to 1000 all over the region.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered the international motivational speaking legend Zig Ziglar. I listened to everything Zig I could get my hands on. Even though I didn’t know how I would make it happen, the desire and passion to be a speaker burned bright.
When I entered college, I joined the speech and debate team. One of my debate coaches, Tom Holihan told me I should put all that talking to good use and major in it. I am forever thankful that he steered me in that direction. It has enabled me to create a career I love.
Eventually, I put my many years of experience presenting in sales and nonprofit to work for American Express as a Senior Management Education Specialist. I re-discovered the fun of being able to share ideas, teach skills, see the 'ah-ha's' on participants' faces and learn from the audience – much of what I carry to my presentations today!
In 1993, after experiencing my third lay-off in seven years, second from a Fortune 100 company, I started what is now Greenelight Professional Development. Finally, I was able to begin giving back to the organizations and people that had influenced my career.
I have had the privilege of working in many interesting and exciting industries including healthcare, corrections, law enforcement, elections, tele-communications, on-line auctions, food processing, Federal, State, County and City governments and most recently, automotive. In all areas, we have improved communications, strengthened teamwork and enhanced productivity.
My clients know that I always have their best interest in mind. I treasure the relationships and friendships we have built over the years and will continue into the future.