Greg Smith Keynote Speaker

Leadership Expert on Resiliency and Inner Strength – Greg helps leaders and teams “Go Full-Strength!” for maximum productivity.

(228) 424-3896

Inner Strength insights from the world of sports, disability, entertainment, business, politics and everything else I’d like to share with you.

Category Archives: Videos

Screening of PBS Documentary “On A Roll: Family, Disability & the American Dream” Starts Now!

PBS page banner

PBS site for documentary On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream: www.PBS.org/onaroll

Watch online now at www.onarollmovie.com

We’ve come a long way since 1990. We’ve also come a long way since 2000. That year, the disability community, led by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) planned a 24-city, cross-country relay that celebrated the 10-year anniversary of ADA.

That relay and the events of July 26, 2000 are a major part of the award winning PBS documentary film, “On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream.”  It is a nostalgic look back at the disability community’s biggest celebration to date.

The film was made by Joanne Caputo, who learned of my work as host of “On A Roll Radio” as a result of the friendship our young sons developed in Yellow Springs, OH. It started with her bringing her camcorder to our house.

From now, throughout the month of July, “On A Roll” is available free at www.onarollmovie.com. Please enjoy and spread the word about it. When it aired on PBS, 1.2 million people saw the initial broadcast. Hopefully, we can reach as many people this month as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA.

Star Studded Cast!

Here are most of the people with cameos in the film, in order of appearance:

Berkeley Smith
Donovan Smith
Greg A. Smith, Jr.
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Mike Ervin
Christopher Reeve
Dr. JR Harding
Becky Ogle
Judy Heumann
Bob Kafka
Jim Smith
Adelia Smith
Jackie Cammon
Tonya Tetteh
Wesley Gaffney
Kevin Gaffney
Eric Gaffney
Todd Richardson
“Duke”
Ron Pope
Jane Criddell
Ron Pope
Jeannie Morris
Angie Jacobs
Michelle Carston
Dr. Mitch Tepper
Terri Nealy
Eleanor Smith
Dominique Wilkins
Masha Malikina
Bobby Coward
Juliette Rizzo
Andy Imparato
Justin Dart
Ann Marie Hughey
Kyle Glozier
Senator Tom Harkin
Vice President Al Gore
Paul Spooner
Ted Kennedy Jr.
Senator Edward Kennedy
President Bill Clinton
Yoshiko Dart
Hillary Clinton
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Steve Drosdow
Joyce Preston Scott
Gilda Dennis
Kate Adamson

Get your popcorn ready! I hope you enjoy one of the greatest disability documentaries ever made.

Chad Hymas Video Inspires “Operation Rise & Shine”

Operation Rise & Shine Logo

Gaining Strength from a “Roll Model,” Chad Hymas

by Greg Smith

Getting in and out of bed is something most people take for granted. Due to muscular dystrophy, I have slowly been losing the ability to do this independently. I’m not prepared to live with the lifestyle restrictions caused by the rigid scheduling of assistants to get me in bed. So I’ve established “Operation Rise and Shine: One Man’s Quest to Go to Bed and Get Up Whenever!”

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Inspirational Speaker Chad Hymas

“Operation Rise and Shine” is constantly fueled by the inner strength, determination, and relentlessness that is built into my psyche. But finding even more motivation to persevere is something I always strive to do. I was extremely inspired by a video posted by my National Speakers Association colleague Chad Hymas. As C-4 quadriplegic, Chad travels the world alone as an inspirational speaker and gets undressed and dressed daily by himself. It took him 2 1/2 years to learn the entire process. In this video, he shares his process and reveals the potential of focused, relentless determination.

If you watch the whole video, please go ahead and admit it in the “comments” section below.  Were you inspired?

My “Operation Rise & Shine” has taken major strides forward over the past few days. Saturday, a new mattress was delivered to the house. This mattress is firm enough to support my body without my weight pushing me down into a hole. This allows me to much more easily turn from side to side. Adding silk sheets makes the process a lot easier too. In addition, the new mattress is about 3 inches lower to the ground than the previous one which makes transferring easier.

The next phase of the Operation is to make the process easier. Now, I am able to make the transfer from bed to wheelchair and vice versa, but is it is extremely difficult. I will be working with my occupational therapist, Danielle Johnson, to come up with little tricks that eliminate the grueling maneuvers. I look forward to sharing our progress as we try to shave the time for transfers down from 20 minutes to under one minute.

Stay tuned for more updates and video proof of the success of “Operation Rise & Shine.”  And a special ‘thank you’ to my speaker colleague, Chad Hymas.

 

Wardrobe Malfunction Can’t Slow the Strength Coach Show!

Despite extreme challenges along the way, Wednesday’s speech at the AASHTO Symposium was a huge success. And boy, were there challenges?

Our flight involved a layover in Chicago. We arrived at Midway airport forty minutes late. We were very concerned about missing the connecting flight to Phoenix. To make the connection quicker, I told the flight attendant to inform the ground crew to transfer my chair directly from one plane to the other as opposed to bringing it to me to use in the terminal.

The airport personnel wanted me to use a regular wheelchair to go two gates away, however I cannot sit in a regular wheelchair without a head rest. The aisle chair, also known fondly in wheelchair user circles as the “Hannibal Lecter chair,” has complete head support and would be perfect for the short move two terminals down.

A 10 minute argument ensued. The airport personnel would not do it. Southwest Airlines had to be the ones to push the aisle chair.

When we arrived at the gate, we noticed that the flight had not even been boarded yet. There were mechanical problems and another two hours were tacked onto the length of our voyage.

Our scheduled 6:40 arrival time didn’t happen. We arrived at the hotel around 9:30 and after a room service burger, it was lights out.

The next morning, after showering, I realized that there had been a “wardrobe malfunction” in the packing of my suit. The jacket was packed but the pants and shirt were nowhere to be found! I wore a black T-shirt, some black sweatpants, and a sports jacket!

I didn’t mention it to anyone, and nobody seemed to notice. When it was time for me to speak, I had totally forgotten about it. It wasn’t on my mind and didn’t get in my way.

The speech went well. Yes there were AV problems despite a successful “run through” an hour earlier. But the audience was immediately captivated when I began, and I held their attention throughout my 45 minute
talk.

The rousing standing ovation and the higher than average book sales ratio tell me that I was effective in delivering my message. I love what I do.

Silencing the Negative Voice Within Debuts

“The Voice” has finally spoken!

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Thank you to all who turned out yesterday to see the debut of my new keynote, “Silencing the Negative Voice Within” at the Knight Non-Profit Center in Gulfport, MS.   It felt good to finally give the speech to somebody other than my dog, Comet!

A special thanks to the newsrooms at our two local television stations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  These stories are well done.

My only regret is that I didn’t find the time to get a haircut the day before!  I got one today!

Here is Michelle Lady‘s coverage on WLOX. (ABC, CBS)

 

Here is coverage from Nick Patrick of WXXV (FOX, NBC)

The feedback from people in the audience confirmed that my message was well received.  It really gives me joy to inspire people and to make a difference in their lives.  After the presentation, I was told by one attendee that it touched her in a special way.  Another called me after the event to thank me and to say that she really enjoyed it and has already implemented her plan to make her negative voice within shut up!

 

 

 

Guinness Wheelchair Basketball TV Spot OK with Me

Guinness Brand Manager Speaks about TV Spot

By Greg Smith

Getting it “right” when presenting disability in the mainstream media has always been a moving target:  A non-disabled actor is cast in a disabled role.  An “inspirational disabled person” who has done nothing exceptional other than being or becoming disabled is anointed and celebrated.  A screenplay in which the disabled person would rather be dead than accept his or her new life is turned into a film.  Or an evil villain whose hostility is sparked by anger after the onset of a disability hits the box office.

Moreover, motion pictures and television seem to only have tolerance for those with less visible disabilities.  You won’t find any skinny, bodily contracted rolling skeletons like me on the big screen or the flat screen. There has never been a place for a person like me in the mainstream mass media.  That’s why I created my own. Depicting a proper reflection of society in the mainstream media is a vision people with disabilities share. And experiencing more of the same media blunders is frustrating.

But every now and then, baby steps in the right direction reveal that hope emerges.  The recent Guinness television spot, featuring wheelchair basketball players on the court, popping 3 pointers, smashing into each other and falling out of chairs is the newest major media offering to be evaluated.  At the end of the spot, all but one of the players rises to their feet and walks out of the gym.  Cut to a popular pub.  The group of friends is sitting down at a low table in a popular bar, enjoying a Guinness.  “Hot girls” arrive on the scene.  It’s a wheelchair dude’s heaven!  The spot is about friendship.  I approve.  It is not perfect, but it is a major step in the right direction.

There are plenty of my colleagues who disagree.  They have a problem with it being more about celebrating the “character” of the non-disabled friends who are kind enough to go through the trouble of getting in wheelchairs to hoop, and taking their poor disabled friend out for a beer.

“Context is important b/c the “got’cha” is central to the ad itself,” says Lawrence Carter Long, media enthusiast and co-host of “The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film” which showcased 21 socially and culturally significant cinematic depictions of the disability experience to over 87 million households on Turner Classic Movies last October.  “If the spot was all about friendship there would be no need to trick audiences with the big surprise. But the twist is there and, if we’re serious about changing the perception of disabled people in society we would be foolish to ignore it.”

Lawrence Carter Long

I decided to go to the source and talk to Guinness Brand Director, Doug Campbell.  How did the spot develop?  How was the disability community involved in the concept?  What was the intended message?

What did you think of the spot?  Do you think it is about friendship?  Or is it about the character of the non-disabled friends who choose to involve their friend, the “victim” of unfortunate events?  I think it is a step in the right direction.  I think Guinness should be rewarded, rather than criticized.  If we continue to criticize every effort to include us, we will never be welcomed back and progress will never happen.

Please comment in the section below, rather than on my Facebook page.  Thank you!  Looking forward to your reaction.

10X – The Only Difference Between Success and Failure!

Author Grant Cardone talks about “The 10X Rule” with “The Strength Coach”

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of interviewing a man who has provided a source of inspiration in the form of a book he authored in 2011.  “The 10X Rule” by Grant Cardone has “The Strength Coach” fired up.

I reached out to him and he said yes to this exclusive interview.   Grant is an international sales expert and author providing motivation & sales training programs to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, success-minded individuals and entrepreneurs. He is an internationally recognized motivational speaker and is a New York Times best selling author. He is regularly seen on Fox Business, NBC, MSNBC, and Business Insider. Cardone is the executive producer and star of “Turnaround King”, a TV program created around his motivating solution-oriented business coaching. Cardone hosts his own radio show, The Cardone Zone, where he entertains and educates listeners with tips and strategies to achieve greater success and break out of the “middle class rut.”

Sample this 18- minute interview and let me know what you think.  If you have high aspirations and believe in your future, like I do, this guy will get you fired up and put you on a successful path.  What do you think?

Happy 50th Anniversary to my Parents

Today, my parents reached a milestone in their relationship.  50 years of marriage.  Here is a short video tribute to their love.

Please share their example of love to everyone who would be interested, and feel free to offer your words in the “comments” section below.  Jim and Adelia Smith, on behalf of your children and your grandchildren, I extend this message to you on this special day:

“We love you.  We appreciate you.  We celebrate you!”

Football Coach and Players React

“The kids got a lot out of it.”

I spoke to the D’Iberville Warriors football team on March 19 and delivered the keynote “Dumb Enough for the Lawnmower.”  Here are some comments from Coach Buddy Singleton and a few of his players.  (1-minute, 45 second video)

If you want to inspire young people with a compelling, exciting, memorable speaker, call me at 228-424-3896 or fill out the form and we can arrange something.  My messages to youth can be customized for any gathering of young people.  I love speaking to sports teams, or general school-wide assemblies.  I also have a more advanced presentation for college students.  If you’re planning something to inspire young people, call me.