DERRICK Interview with Blind Filmmaker Michael Schwartz

November 11, 2016

michaelschwartzEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Michael Schwartz who is a legally blind filmmaker and owner of Trailhead Productions brings fifteen years of experience in television news and production to the table, and you’ll see what that means all along the way. An award winning reporter, Michael knows television and works for you with the same dedication and ideals valued by the best in the business.   “We’re the storytellers, not the story.”  That means that at Trailhead, we never forget that you and your dreams are the stars of the show.

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

I’m a big believer in breaking through boundaries. Although I’ve been gradually losing my eyesight since I was thirteen years old, my dream was to pursue a career in visual storytelling, and I’ve never taken “no” for an answer. Through a career as a broadcast reporter and photographer, and now as a documentary filmmaker, I’ve seen firsthand that it’s possible to merge the worlds of visual storytelling and visual impairment. From my first job all the way through my current film. Following my own passions, though, cannot and should not be the end of the story. My dream is to change perceptions, raise expectations and make a difference in the world of inclusion for people with disabilities.

E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

I went to the University of Missouri School of Journalism. What I loved so much about my education there is that no matter what your specific goals were, you had to learn everything about the business. It wasn’t good enough to want to be just an anchor, or a reporter, or a photographer, or any of the other jobs in journalism. You had to learn it all, and I had so many opportunities to learn skills that have benefited me throughout my career as a storyteller. Understanding what makes up a good picture, learning how to tell a concise story, understanding how to combine dozens of stories to build a newscast that makes sense… it’s all about crafting stories that make a difference.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

The first resource actually doesn’t have anything to do with tools of the trade. It has to do with drive and resilience. The fact of the matter is that if you’re going to be a visual storyteller who’s visually impaired, there has to be an inner belief in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, nothing else matters.

I also rely on the twin pillars of of communication and partnership. While it’s easy to talk about the mechanics of how I do my job – working with the spatial and acoustic dynamics of an environment or a set to frame a shot, or shooting on a 4K camera to edit in a 1080 timeline, or not thinking of color itself as much as color profiles to use waveforms and vectorscopes to craft the mood and design of a shot, these are all just that” mechanics. They explain how do my job, but not why I do my job. I do my job because I get to work with a team of creative professions who share a creative vision. It’s what gets me up every morning in search of great stories to tell.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

I think the key to realizing your dreams is that you shouldn’t wait until you feel you’re 100% ready. The truth is that day may never come. There will always be at least one unanswered question, one skill you could hone a little more, one step you may feel you’re not ready to take yet. Life is about leaps of faith. When I set out to start my own business, one based on a risky proposition and an uncertain outcome – staring a video production company even though I’m visually impaired – the one thing I had was a belief that I could succeed. Yes, you start a venture with as many resources as you can muster and your prepare as much as you can, but success is based on action, and action requires at least a certain amount of faith in yourself. Really, I knew I was ready because I believed in myself.

I is for Individual. Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

I can’t speak highly enough of my colleague and friend Maxwell Ivey. Max calls himself the Blind Blogger, but his life is about so much more than his blindness. It’s about always seeking self-improvement, expanding horizons and making a difference. Max knows how to start with a dream, use the resources he’s developed over the course of a lifetime of finding unique solutions to difficult challenges, learning new skills to help him achieve his goals and always looking to the future.

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

I believe that the challenge anyone with a dream has to overcome is facing down low expectations. What I’ve found is that people tend to rise to the expectations we set for them. As a creative artist – a filmmaker – who is visually impaired, I work every day not only to coordinate a creative vision with my team, but also to lead others to a world where there is no barrier to achievement. I direct and even shoot documentaries, and will continue to do this throughout and beyond the process of losing my eyesight. This is because there is a certain truism that we all have to come to accept, that pursuing one’s passion is the best starting point, because there are no barriers to accomplishment.

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

There is really one key to success. Set the bar high for yourself and for those who share your passions. This doesn’t mean you’ll never make a mistake. As they say, that’s why pencils have erasers. High expectations push you to challenge yourself, and it motivates you to constantly question your own assumptions… even the ones you don’t know you have. Expecting the highest level of performance from everyone you work with encourages you to pursue nothing short of excellence.

Michael is a friend of mine, and I want to encourage you to support his new documentary series, “The Palette Project: Losing Sight, Maintaining A Vision.” He’s made it really easy to pledge with a micropayment of just $1 for the videos he’s posting on his Patreon feed. This is a great way to show your support, and you can make a difference by helping him make a difference. Plus, you get to see some pretty amazing videos of some pretty amazing people, and learn what it’s like to be a visually impaired filmmaker. – Maxwell Ivey

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The DAILY Message for Monday April 4th, 2016

April 3, 2016

“I hope this word helps you fly like a BIRD (Better Instruction Raises Dreams).”

Derrick Hayes is known as the “Encouragement Speaker” and is available for speaking engagements and Derricknym signings at meetings, conferences, and events. Please visit http://www.DerrickHayes.com email info@DerrickHayes.com  or call (706) 615-1662 to book Derrick Hayes now.


DERRICK Interview with Attendant CEO Alex Kruger

July 10, 2015

AlexKrugerEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Alex Kruger who is the Founder and CEO of Attendant where they have an amazing new software that is helping families ease through a difficult transition.

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

The goal, as a the CEO of a concierge service for people who are grieving, is simply to make as positive of an impact on the lives and experiences of our customers as possible. We know that the “death space” isn’t the most enjoyable topic to discuss, but having to deal with the death of a loved one is something we all go through at some point and it can be one of the most difficult times for people. Assisting people during those moments and knowing we made a difference is something we want to achieve. At this time we’ve successfully secured funding to help make this possible and are now building out partnerships and getting the word out there.

E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

I went to the University of Michigan Ross School of Business where I studied entrepreneurship and international studies. There are a lot of experiences from my university years that I can recall as being monumental in creating the person that I am today, but I would have to say that the most important lesson I gained is simply learning how to learn from people I encounter. I love hearing about people’s interests, talking about what they know, and seeing how they approach challenges. A huge part of my day is speaking with people and learning more about the families we’re working with and the business we’re part of. The classes helped me get there.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

Our team really represents the strength of our company because we all share a goal of being that helpful force in families’ lives and we all understand the obstacles that we have to overcome to get there. A lot of our members have experience at other companies. Personally I’ve grown business development teams for two companies and I think our combined insight and experience really allows our ideas to be rich and creative.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

I can say that no one ever feels perfectly ready for any huge or ambitious undertaking when the time comes. But I feel ready enough. Around 6 months ago I saw a need and a way to help people, and that was enough for me. Our whole team is on board with this. We really understand the importance of what we’re doing and how big of a problem we’re tackling.

I is for Individual. Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

I would have to say Mark Lawrence, the CEO and co-founder of SpotHero. When you talk about entrepreneurship, you’re really talking about bringing out the best out of the people you work with and I think Mark did that better than anyone I’ve seen. Mark’s genuineness when it comes to interacting with others, whether it be co-workers, partners, customers, or strangers is a prime example of good leadership.

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

A lot of challenges have to do with how we get our foot in the door and communicate who we are to people. Many people lack awareness of the importance of closing accounts and filing the paperwork so it’s difficult to sell them on what we do. Many are only interested in Social Security or Veteran Affairs benefits but what we want them to know is that benefits is only the tip of the post-death iceberg that needs to be handled. A lot of what we have to struggle with is educating our customers on the importance of making sure that everything from credit bureaus to social media gets modified to help protect the identities and estates of their loved ones.

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

Is there anything that we did not touch on that you would like to inspire others with?

Don’t let a lack of results discourage you. Entrepreneurship is a slow and often hectic process and success relies on your ability to stay true to what you believe in. Your business will not be going full speed ahead all the time so surrounding yourself with driven people who care about the vision and always reminding yourself of why you do what you do will keep you moving through the tougher moments.

Visit Alex Kruger for more information.


DERRICK Interview with Christian Rapper JT da Golden Child

October 5, 2014

JTEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Jayson Turner, also known as JT da Golden Child has been affiliated with Mo Serious for at least the past decade. Prior to committing to doing Christian rap, he was creating a buzz for his label Hard Head Records. Poetic Prophet would assist him in management of the label and business decisions.

Later on, he realized that the gift he was using to highlight the streets should be used to glorify Jesus Christ. It was that realization that led him to joining Mo Serious as an artist. His first project under MSE is Untold Stories. It’s the story of man from Mo City who dealt with adversity and through it all, found Christ and changed his life.

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

My dream and goal is to reach the world through entertainment and my music and encourage the masses to follow their dreams and always keep God first.

E is for Education. What is your Educational background?

I am a graduate of a historically black college.  I use my educational background in my music by my articulation as well as my word play. Due to my extensive vocabulary because of school and education I am able to play with words the way I do.  I also use my speech classes when I have speaking engagements.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

One of the main resources I use is my versatility. I am able to adapt to any environment. Therefore with my music my subject matter and content do not change but my delivery does.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

I knew I wanted to be an entertainer at an early age.  I have been rapping since I was in the 8th grade. I didn’t switch to gospel until a year ago because I realized my gift was needed in that arena.

JTGoldenChildI is for Individual. Name at least one person in your network that you feel others should learn about and why?

One individual I think people need to learn about is Marcus Parker. He has a tremendous story and he is also the true definition of hard work and dedication paying off.

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you or do you face in your journey?

One of the main challenges I had growing was not having my father in the home with me and having to deal with a step father who did not like me.

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

The main key I would like to leave is simply put God first in everything that you do. When you do that you are guaranteed to succeed.

Visit JT da Golden Child for more information.


DERRICK Interview with Business Consultant Ja War

September 7, 2014

JaWarEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with JAWAR who is a Keynote Motivational Speaking Expert, Author & Business Consultant. He speaks and consults on personal achievement & self-motivation, self-publishing your own book, social media & internet marketing and the music business.

JAWAR has authored and published over 20+ paperback, audio and ebooks including the How to Self-Publish for Profit, the Twitter Resource Book and the Music Industry Connection Book Series while maintaining over 60+ websites, blogs and social networking profiles.

As a keynote motivational speaking expert and panelist JAWAR has spoken and appeared in over 100 conferences, workshops, seminars, radio shows and publications.

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

I’m going to help over 1,000,000 people be happy, healthy and wealthy using the three step success system of “THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE!” while creating and leaving a legacy of generational wealth.

E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

My educational background is a combination of formal mis-education, street knowledge, knowledge of self, personal research and intuitive vibrations.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

The resource of intuition, combined with a burning desire to achieve whatever goal is set allows me to show and prove my divine resourcefulness.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

Myself was made ready through circumstances and conditions, yet at the end of the day all the glory goes to God. Like most intelligent people, I realize I’m a work in progress, so ready is relative.

I is for Individual. Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

People should learn about Ty Cohen, because he continues to use his mind and burning desire to create that which he desires, has great humility and seeks to help others achieve their financial and personal goals should they have the burning desire to do so. Tell him JAWAR sent you.

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

I’ve had to overcome a severe speech impediment as a child. I’ve gone on to become a motivational speaker. I’ve also had to overcome being homeless … I’m no longer homeless.

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

Be true to yourself, follow your intuition, create a definite purpose, write out your specific daily activities and get them done. Focus on working ON your business and not necessarily IN your business.

Of course, you’ll want to employ the three step success system of “THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE!” to get started visit http://www.FocusYourMotivation.com/


DERRICK Interview with Sports Agent Deryk Gilmore

September 3, 2014

DGEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Deryk Gilmore who is certified contract advisor for Priority Sports. Prior to joining the Priority team, Deryk was involved with college athletics for over 11 years working in football as a Recruiting Coordinator and Director of Football Operations in both the Big Ten and Pac Ten conferences. A New York native, Gilmore lettered and played defensive tackle for the Penn State Nittany Lions, a member of the 1986 National Championship Team.

After graduating from college, Gilmore went on to the University of Illinois where he began his work in football evaluating and recruiting the top high school players in the country. Developing unique strategies to market high school prospects, Gilmore helped the Illini recruit players that would take Illinois to the first major bowl game in 10 years. Deryk was then hired by the University of Oregon where he led the Ducks to a top 10 recruiting class in football and top 5 class in basketball, their highest ranked classes in the program’s history.

Gilmore, known for his creative marketing strategies has been featured in a number of sports publications. Deryk has a Bachelor of Science from Penn State in Agribusiness Management and an MBA in Operations and MS in Sports Marketing from the University of Illinois. He and his wife Camille, live in Atlanta, GA, with their sons Dantae’ and Deion.  Deryk and his wife, Camille, were recently profiled in Essence Magazine.

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

My goal is to have an impact on the community and leave a legacy.

E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

I have an MBA in Operations and MS in Sports Marketing- they are used daily to coordinate my business and to promote my players.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

My background in football is unique in that I have a great understanding of the game on and off the field and have worked so many years with athletes so as a player, administrator, agent and advocate there is not a problem that I have not encountered.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

I prayed on it when I moved to Atlanta and know that I was directed to leave coaching and work with young men on a different level.

I is for Individual. Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

Ryan Goldin (GATA Training) and Lyle Henley (D1 Sports)  are two of the best trainers no one has heard of and where players should be working to get better.

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

I think a lot of times African Americans will feel more comfortable with white agents which is surprising.  Despite your pedigree and background they feel that somehow you can’t help them.  It can be disappointing.

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

The nuns in school used to say ask God for everything but don’t pray if you haven’t studied.  I think you need to put God first, trust in him and then outwork everyone and anyone.  Your hunger to win should be unmatched.

Visit Deryk Gilmore for more information.


DERRICK Interview with Student Life Manager Rick Daniels

July 23, 2014

RickDanielsEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Rick Daniels who is the Manager of Student Life at Rock Valley College. He received his bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2008 and his Master’s in Higher Education in from the same institution in 2011.

Today, Rick’s personal mission is to empower, impact and encourage the lives of students everywhere. He speaks on issues concerning leadership, diversity, Greek life, and is considered by many to be one of the best event hosts in the country; having hosted events for the National Black Greek Leadership Conference, The National Step Show Alliance, Disney youth Programs, and colleges and universities across the nation. Rick is happily married and a father of three, Christian, Madison, and Morgan Daniels. Rick is currently on the Go Hard or Go Home Student Leadership tour his personal mission to impact the lives of students at over 50 colleges, universities, high schools, and community organizations nationwide!

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

*         I have many dreams! However the two most pressing are moving forward in the field of higher education and continuing my speaking/writing career. Throughout my short career I have been blessed to receive two degrees, a B.A. in Journalism and a Masters in Higher Education. I am also the author of Tap Dancing Without Shoes: The History of Stepping and the Impact on Greek Life and Popular Culture.  I’ve also been fortunate to launch a successful speaking tour, the “Go Hard or Go Home Student Leadership” tour.  This platform has enabled me to speak to over 150 colleges, universities, and organizations worldwide.

E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

*         As previously stated, I am blessed to have two degrees to my name and will be attending Northern Illinois University in the fall to pursue my Doctorate in Educational Psychology. I use my education daily in my position as Student Life Manager at Rock Valley College. However, I’ve learned more behind the desk than I ever did in the classroom and therefore learn something new each day, which compliments the education that I have already received.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

*         The best resource I can offer is my story!  As a former student leader, I have been able to use my personal story to uplift and encourage students across the nation to keep moving forward in their educational journeys.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

*         The very first day on the job. As I pulled into the parking lot I heard the still, small voice of God tell me that this was where I was supposed to be.

I is for Individual. Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

*         James Robilotta. He is an incredible speaker who has a truly inspiring story on leadership. Anyone who comes into contact will agree that he is a genuine spirit.

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

*         My biggest challenge was overcoming the mindset of failure and complacency that plagued my thinking upon graduating high school. I was fortunate enough to grow up with all of the ingredients of a good home but made the decision to slack off in school, which seriously hindered me when it was time to move forward with my education. I overcame this by reversing the previous decision and making the conscious effort to succeed no matter what!

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

*         Decide to be a success! Success and failure in life often come down to decision making and strategic planning. Some people make the decision to be negative, to be lazy, or to fail! The key to success is deciding that no matter what, I will move forward and I will win!

Visit Rick Daniels for more information.