This Friday November 21 marks the first of two events this year as part of Ed’s annual Career Development Conference and curriculum, and the first ever to encourage and equip students in the art of public speaking. This year, our presentation line-up includes five local professionals – who will each be bring their own unique talents and experiences to the Conference. Learn more about them below.
Jim Belk, Jim Belk Speaking: “Who’s Speaking Here, Anyway?”
Jim Belk found his passion for speaking in high school. After thousands of speeches, he became convinced that much of what we have been taught about speaking is actually the source of much of our fear – and needs to be flipped. His use of video and ideas from all kinds of thinkers makes his material original, fun, funny, and off-the-wall. He is a public speaking/business communications researcher, blogger, consultant, and trainer/coach.
Allison Blankenship, Precision Speaking: “Executive Presence”
Allison Blankenship is no stranger to busting barriers. She bounced back from qualifying for food stamps to become one of the first female regional directors in a 5-star hotel company. After winning the Jim Barber Leadership Award for the state of Florida, she wrote 4 books, founded a women’s honorary at Auburn and was named the Florida Speaker of the Year. Allison specializes in establishing executive presence, creating buy-in and becoming a dynamic presenter.
Marcus Carson is a native of Birmingham, AL, and grew up in the Titusville neighborhood. He attended Glen Iris Elementary, Center Street Middle, and graduated from Huffman High School in 2003 with honors. After two years of living in Charlotte, NC and working as a financial analyst, Marcus soon realized that his passion lie in helping young men who have similar backgrounds of his own, but lack the direction and/or support that were provided to him by his family and through his faith. The lessons learned growing up in an economically disadvantaged environment, coupled with the life skills and exposure opportunities presented to Marcus during his collegiate and professional career, provided the framework for a vision that led to the founding of Growing Kings.
A long-time proponent of green living and an advocate for sustainability initiatives, Natalie Kelly put her passions to work by creating Birmingham’s first online community-oriented, green living resource. In February, 2009, Natalie founded the website, MyGreenBirmingham.com based on a need to serve and enhance Birmingham’s growing interest around greener lifestyles. It wasn’t long before it soon became well-known as “the local guide to green living.” A second site, MyGreenMontgomery.com, serving the city of Montgomery, Alabama, later followed. Natalie’s passion for helping people become empowered by better quality of life through greener, more sustainable living choices, has led her to build a brand and business devoted to sustainability progress at both local and national levels.
The narrative thread of story weaves itself through Taylor Robinson’s life. This West Texas native has helped a myriad of organizations see that a great story told well is the most powerful tool they can use to communicate their vision. Taylor has crafted campaigns for many faith-based organizations such as Compassion International, Radical, LifeWay, and numerous other organizations such as the United States Olympic Committee. Taylor is also one of the co-creators and hosts of a thriving live storytelling event called Arc Light Stories. Arc Light features “True, Personal Stories, Told In Person.” Whether it is advertising or entertainment, Taylor has honed a deep understanding of how to take the raw, seemingly disparate elements of a story.