Note: Click here to see where I am speaking next, as well as for a list of past appearances.
I consider public speaking and networking part of my responsibilities as a local, provincial, national, and world citizen.
My formal public speaking appearances generally fall into two categories (with lots of interplay between the two) those topics being:
- Inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities: speeches, workshops, and consultations with anyone willing to listen, learn, and dialogue about the current severely marginalized state of people with intellectual disabilities and what needs to happen for our communities to becoming welcoming and inclusive. In simple terms, it’s about real education, real jobs, real homes, and real relationships. People with intellectual disabilities are dominated by human services systems machinery that has the vast majority of them unemployed (or in unpaid work-like segregated environments), living in institutional settings (predominantly group homes but also nursing homes and other agency-owned and staff-directed environments), and isolated from developing friendships and romantic relationships. In many ways this all begins in the school system, where in large measure students with intellectual disabilities continue to be segregated from their peers. This continues into adulthood with exclusion from workplaces, housing, and social-recreational opportunities. Be a part of the solution. Ask me how!
- Organizational strategy and management : experiencing mission drift? Having difficulty working with funder expectations? Wondering how a part-time volunteer board is supposed to accept full-time fiduciary responsibility? Having trouble differentiating Executive Director and board responsibilities? I’ve learned from successes and disasters occupying various seats around board room tables as a staff member and as a volunteer. Boards often claim to be practicing one governance model or another, but they may neglect to appreciate that all non-profit governance is dysfunctional without the ability to trust and be trusted, and there are processes to help make this possible. I do not make speeches about organizational strategy and management. But I am capable of listening and offering feedback that organizations often find useful. I am passionate about the need for organizations to keep their focus on their mission, and to govern and manage with clarity and transparency.
- Social media for social change: speeches, workshops, and consultations mainly with non-profits (charities, voluntary organizations, associations, and more) to explain how social media is just one tool that must be integrated with any agency’s overall marketing and communications strategy. I believe that social media is a critical tool for realizing mission-oriented outcomes (which in the non-profit community should be about changing the world for the better). Social media used properly is not an insincere gadget for increasing revenues or creating an illusion of popularity, it is a means to an end for strengthening our communities by working with others to create social change. I believe there are no social media experts. There are only people and organizations that are using social media for the right reasons and have incorporated social media into their overall marketing and communications strategy.