DERRICK Interview with Marketing Specialist Sam Abbott

December 2, 2013

SamAbbottEncouragement 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 Sam Abbott who is a God-fearing, 25 year old from Columbus, Georgia. He is currently a Marketing Specialist at United Parcel Service (UPS) in Atlanta, Georgia. In this position, he utilizes market trends, historical data, and competitor information to set service rates and pioneer revenue-generating initiatives. He is an active duty Air Force veteran and current Logistics Plans Craftsman in the Air National Guard.

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

At 25, I have managed to earn three college degrees, which allowed me to pursue my chosen career path. I have proudly served my country, and had the ability to live in Europe for two years while doing so. This year I became a published author on Amazon and bought my first home, a condo in Downtown Atlanta. God has truly been good to me!NikeBrand

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

I have an Associate’s Degree in Logistics from the Community College of the Air Force; a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing & Business Administration from Auburn University; and a Master’s in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University. I use the knowledge as well as analytical, decision-making and problem solving skills gained from these programs on a daily basis, both in personal and professional areas. No matter what a person’s career goals are, I believe education is vitally important.

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

I’m constantly learning new things and striving to reach the goals I set for myself. I have an inherent hunger for achievement and am able to remain focused on completing objectives. Regardless of obstacles, my determination does not waiver.

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

While earning my undergraduate degree, I realized I wanted to have the occupation I currently have. I knew I wanted a career in Marketing, and as I better understood the different facets of it and their characteristics, I knew I wanted to be more involved in the strategic aspects of the field. I have been in my current position for almost a year now, and have been able to use my existing skills and abilities, while continuing to learn from tasks, challenges and my peers.

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

While in graduate school, I worked on campus at Kennesaw State University as a Business Operations Assistant in the Information Technology Services department. I really looked up to my director there, McCree Lake. He was young, very intelligent, and driven. McCree was one of those rare managers who served as an inspiring mentor for the whole staff. His high level of technical expertise and interpersonal skills were reflected in the department’s success. These qualities were most notably depicted in his ability to motivate a team to care about its project and be invested in the project’s success. McCree’s positive attitude and the respect others had for him were palpable. It was truly a privilege working under such leadership!

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

I’ve faced many challenges in my life, but I always challenged myself to evolve through them. I view each one as an opportunity to learn and grow in a way that will help me in the future.I keep my faith in God and remember that He has a plan for me.

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

The key to success is God’s grace. No matter how much money I earn or what connections I make, I know I wouldn’t be able to accomplish my goals without His help.

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

It’s important to utilize the resources you have to accomplish your goals. Make a plan that details the steps you will take, and recruit the help of someone close to hold you accountable if needed. Never assume you’re dreaming too big.

Social Media Contact Info

LinkedIn: Samontini Abbott

Facebook: Sam Abbott

Twitter: @samontini

Instagram: @samontini

Amazon: Nike: The Global Brand

The DAILY Message for Monday November 11th, 2013

November 11, 2013

TSUEach week day Derrick Hayes encourages you through a Derricknym, App and Idea to Lift You.

(Please read , Like, Share, Retweet or Reblog The DAILY Message)

  • Derricknym: Respect Each VETERAN (Visionary Employee That Everyone Respectfully Appreciates Now.
  • App: Today’s word is Damage. Things happen and damage can be done. How bad situations become can be determined by how much damage control is implemented. Receive Today’s word with Motivation To Your Mobile app on Android and i-phones.  
  • Idea: Serve those that have served.

Please visit Derrick’s website at and to book him for a speaking engagement or media event, send an email to  or call (706) 615-1662.

DERRICK Interview with Veteran Miyoko Hikiji

October 25, 2013

MiyokoBookCoverEncouragement 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 Miyoko Hikiji who joined the active duty Army in 1995 and served three years as a supply clerk at military bases in Louisiana and Texas before returning to her home state of Iowa where she attended Iowa State University. While studying journalism and mass communication and psychology, she continued to serve part-time with the Iowa Army National Guard as a supply clerk and truck driver. She deployed to Iraq for a year from 2003-04 and her experience as a female combat veteran is the crux of her memoir titled “All I Could Be: My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq.”

Miyoko was honorable discharged after 9 years of service, with 12 military decorations, and since 2005 she has worked as a writer, actress and model.

Miyoko is an advocate for veterans, especially in the areas of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and Suicide. These topics, which effect a large percentage of the military population from the previous decade of wars, are the subjects she is investigating for her second book.

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

My dream is to be open minded to the gifts of the people and the world around me to live with an attitude of gratitude for the blessings of my life. I want to connect the strengths and talents of people in order to close the gaps and met needs, whether they be business, financial, social or emotional. I want to make a difference, no matter how small, each day, turning negative energy to positive in the world we share.

My goals, more concretely, are to pursue a master’s degree in journalism or creative writing, write a second non-fiction book, a sequel to my deployment memoir about post traumatic stress, military sexual drams, substance abuse and all the related challenges of veterans, especially women veterans, reintegrating to civilian life.

I want to continue to raise the awareness and education of the non-uniformed population about these issues and be a leader in the non-governmental, non-profit initiatives to help struggling veterans now.

Earlier in the year, my first book, “All I Could Be: My Story as a woman in Iraq,” was published by History Publishing.  It was a tremendous undertaking, but I can see now, that writing a book was only the launching pad for a much larger mission. I have joined forces with seven women vets to form the first National Women Veterans Speakers Bureau aimed at promoting a positive image of women and I am also the spokesperson for the military sexual trauma initiative for the Veterans National Recovery Center.

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

I have two BS degrees from Iowa State University in Journalism and Mass Communication and Psychology.  My media studies got me in the habit of scanning news stories, asking questions others are uncomfortable asking and many are hesitant to answer in plain truth. It also taught me to be a lifelong student of life to always wonder, search and learn.

My psychology studies helped me to view many mental disorders as challenges instead of illnesses, and many as manageable and treatable. Particularly in the realm of traumatic stress. I saw how the brain and body’s reaction was a normal response to extraordinary circumstances and that social support and help with others stressors, like homelessness or unemployment, can have a significant impact in helping a person win back their best self.

Through both courses of  study, I learned to listen compassionately to the stories of others.  Everyone has a great story inside.

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

My greatest resources are my abilities to communicate with clarity and passion as a writer and a speaker. What is unique about me is the fact that I have lived a soldier’s story, but don’t look like GI Joe. In fact, I now work part-time as an actress, a profession that some would label as quite opposite military life.  I see the two as having similarities life. There’s a different set of skills and a different uniform, but a similar level of commitment and preparedness. Good soldiers don’t miss “mission time”working actresses don’t miss “call time.” Both also require a high level of boldness and ability to think on your feet.

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

I knew I was both ready and moving in the direction of my destiny when I got those first few calls for interviews about my book prior to its publication. Some of the interview questions were difficult, complex or personal but I felt comfortable, articulate and in the right place at the right time.  It was time to raise the visibility of women in the military and I suddenly knew I was supposed to be a part of that movement. It was powerful feeling.

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

Photographer Ben Easter. I have a soft place in my heart for artists, of all mediums, that use their talents to not only express beauty and emotion, but do so for a greater good. Ben has a beautiful spirit  and easily connects with people through the lens of his camera to tell their stories. He has generously donated his time, talent and resources to create exhibits to raise money for children with Down Syndrome and children with an incarcerated parent. He also photographed my book cover, which I constantly receive compliments for.  Though Ben is already highly successful, I anticipate seeing his name attached to many projects in the future and I look forward to celebrating those with him and hopefully working with him again.

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

I came from a fairly large family of five brothers and sisters and I was the youngest. So, there was a lot of competition for my parents attention and considerable pressure for me to be as good in sports, music and athletics as my siblings, who were all very talented. My parents were only 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants, so they were hard working, but poor. College savings was not available to me. That’s the biggest reason I joined the military at 18 to earn the GI Bill.

I think there are also challenges embedded in being a minority, especially in a nearly all Caucasian state like Iowa. Many of my peers growing up, and some adults, displayed over discrimination and used racial slurs. Combatting their ignorance and developing thick skin prepared me for the greater challenge of being a woman in the military. My first duty assignment in 1995 was with a combat unit and had only recently opened its ranks to women in the few jobs labeled as “non-combat.” The women made up only about 3% of the unit and we had to overcome stereotypes and unfair treatment. Outside of my deployment to Iraq in 2003-04, that first year in the military was the most physically and mentally challenging experience of my life.

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

Don’t discount anyone. Many of the connections you make later in your career will originate from some of your first work relationships and friends, Movers and shakers from disparate industries often come together as leaders to promote community prosperity. Everyone is connected; always be professional. Also, a lesson I learned early on from one of my mentors was that it was my responsibility, at each rung of the career ladder that I climb, to reach down and pull someone up. The best position to be in is in the middle using the help of another to climb up while being the help someone else needs to achieve their next goal. Depositing into the dream accounts of others is one of the most rewarding investments you’ll ever make.

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

Trust yourself. You’ll make mistakes, especially if you take risks, But risks are required to actualize opportunity and the risk is often proportionate to the loss or gain. While we always want to gather information and trusted advice, at the end of the day the decision is yours and your path is unique. You will not get to where you need to go following in anyone else’s precise footsteps. Learn to adapt and don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way. You must pause and be thankful for the joys and blessings in order to have the emotional fuel required to keep charging ahead.

Visit Miyoko Hikiji for more information.

DERRICK Interview with Silicon Valley Technology Transfer Director Donna Maurillo

March 28, 2013

DonnaMaurilloEncouragement 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 Donna Maurillo who is director of technology transfer for the Mineta Transportation Institute in San Jose, Calif. For 20 years, she had a PR agency before being lured into Silicon Valley’s technology industry. She earned her Master of Science degree just a month before qualifying for full Social Security. She has two children, three grandchildren, and no plans to retire.

D is for Dream. What is your Dream?

I don’t really have dreams. I have a few long-term goals, such as saving for my retirement or traveling to Italy again. But when it comes to dreams, I find that if I slow down enough, some really good things catch up with me. Too often, people run after what they think will be good for them, and they don’t pay attention to what is already being sent their way.

E is for Encourage. What encourages you?

It doesn’t take much! I’m one of these people who can run all day on a few kind words. But when I fail at something, or when something bad happens, I allow myself time to feel sorry for myself, to feel that it isn’t fair, or even to get angry. I’ve known people who believe that those so-called negative emotions are bad for you. No, they’re not! Your emotions are simply your unedited reactions to events. If we deny them, they come back as obstacles — or ulcers. So I guess another source of encouragement for me is to allow myself to wallow for a bit. Once I can acknowledge those very real emotions, I can set them aside and get back to work.

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

My friends would say it’s my ability to find humor in almost any situation. Sometimes it’s gallows humor, but that also has its place. Laughter releases some good chemicals into your brain, it reduces tension, it can make adversaries lower their defenses, and it can help a group feel some kinship. Just the simple act of smiling — lifting those muscles at the corners of your mouth — can release “happy” endorphins. Isn’t that amazing?? Even a forced smile can make you feel better.

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

Ready? I don’t think I’ve ever been ready. Often, I’m one of those “ready, fire, aim” kinds of people. You can over-think some situations, and then you never feel ready enough. Most times, all you really need are some quick strategies, some reassurance that you’re reasonably prepared, and a willingness to charge into it. I used to have a sign in my office that said, “Leap off the cliff. Grow wings on the way down.” It reminded me that when we’re pushed, we can come up with some great solutions. I also had a boss who liked to say, “Never leap a chasm in two steps.” In other words, if you’re going to do it, then give it all you’ve got.

I is for Individual. Name at least one person that you know that you feel others should learn about and why?

The first person who pops to mind is my mother. She had some tough times raising eight kids, and she has every right to be beaten down. But she is one of the happiest and most positive people I know. Once I asked her how she ever stood up to the challenges, especially when we were teenagers. She said, “I remember only the good stuff.” My Mom’s parents are also memorable. They gave up everything they had in Italy to come to an unknown country and make a new start. Imagine leaving behind all your friends, many of your relatives, and all that was familiar to you — and never going back. I’m so grateful that they took that leap of faith because it gave the next generations so many opportunities that we would not have had otherwise.

C is for Continue. When you fail, things look bleak or are not optimistic, what makes you want to continue?

Age is a great thing because the older you become, the more perspective you gain. At least, that’s how it should be. But for too many of us, perspective is a gift we never unwrap. I try to keep in mind that the things I worry about today will likely be forgotten next month. And when you realize how big the universe is, and how long it’s been around, our problems are simply dust motes. A good dose of dark chocolate also lifts my mood.

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

Be true to who you are. As Thomas Jefferson said, you have to keep your roots planted in your principles, but when it comes to issues of fashion, then flow with the tide. Flexibility is important, but not at the cost of what you believe to be right and true. Or as my mother always says, “Keep an open mind, but don’t let your brains fall out.”

Visit Donna Maurillo for more information

DERRICK Interview with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Veteran Curtis Butler

February 26, 2013

CurtisButlerEncouragement 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 Curtis Butler lll.  who served his country from 1989-1991 and again from 2002-2007.  After serving his country he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

One of the ways in which Curtis found helpful in managing PTSD is by returning to school.  He enjoys attending the University of Phoenix because he feels wanted.  In addition, Curtis Butler has written his book on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to bring awareness to the condition and his struggle.

Listen to my DERRICK Interview with Veteran Curtis Butler.