Blog, breakout session, Choices, consult, consulting, event, Help, hope, interview, law enforcement, mental health, national speaker, public speaker, southern fried asian, speaker, speech, Strength, suicide prevention, susie reece, Susie Reynolds, susie reynolds reece

Finding Your Public Speaker in 2020

How do you choose an impactful speaker these days?

You have a conference, training, or general event coming up. You’ve planned and put together your agenda. You know your audience, but who are you bringing to really cement your program in stone? Are you simply bringing in the first name you can think of or do you have the perfect person in mind?

1: Talk to your speaker and be sure they understand the needs of your audience as well as what your goals are for the event.

2: Ask qualifying questions up front. What is your rate? What additional services can you provide for this rate? Have you worked with this audience type before? What are your needs during the event? What technology needs do you have? What types of event promotion can we expect from you? Think of this as a job interview, because that is exactly what you are doing.

3: Do your homework on them and be sure you have a feel for their style.

4: Be upfront about your needs. Your event agenda, logistics, your goals, and your expectations. Don’t settle!

5: Check around! The ball is in your court. If you are in need of a speaker, do your research and find one you connect with on a personal level. There’s no harm in having a few speakers you like either. You can always create a speaker list for future events.

6: Don’t wait to book a speaker! Many speakers are booked out weeks to months in advance. The sooner you can get them to tentatively hold a date the better.

7: Keep your speaker informed of your planning and event process. The more information they have the better they can be prepared to do a great job.

Good luck on your search for the perfect complement to your event.

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Acceptance, Children, Choices, Depression, Fear, Help, hope, Love, mental health, public speaker, Relationships, Strength, Suicide, suicide prevention, Understanding

Bullying a Blinding Issue

Navigating the worlds of suicide prevention can be difficult. It’s definitely a delicate balance when it comes to the many ways people want to be engaged and represented in their individual journeys.

There are some things we have learned through experience, through education, and through the expertise of others. But there are also some very simple beliefs we hold dear to our hearts. Beliefs like, not everyone will always like you, but we can still do our best to be kind. We believe boundaries are part of a healthy self-care regimen. These include the types of people we engage and interact with in our lives. Boundaries that protect our wellbeing. Boundaries that set standards for our safety and the safety of others.

Safety and security are of the utmost importance. We want you all to be safe. To be happy and healthy. But we know we all encounter people who are in pain from time to time. Sometimes their pain spills over into the world around them. It isn’t fair. It isn’t easy. But it happens.

The thing is, we don’t always know what is going on in a person’s life. We don’t always know the tragedies or traumas a person has experienced. These traumas affect us, often deeply. They can alter our ability to be compassionate, to be aware of our impact on others, to be kind. We can hurt others and in that hurt, we can feel less alone.

How terrible, that a person can be in so much pain, that the act of hurting another can lead them to feel less alone.

Nothing in this world is simple. We don’t have all the answers and we don’t know the whole story but we do know, pain magnifies pain. Pain begets pain when allowed to go unaddressed.

Our approach to bullying is this, people are hurting. We do not condone physical violence. We do not agree with emotional, mental, verbal abuse. We do not believe in name calling or pointing fingers.

We believe these behaviors are symptoms of a much larger issue. When it comes to youth and children, we especially believe WE are the adults. It is our role to pause with them, see them, offer support, educate, help them through their pain, and never limit them with so simple and blind a phrase as “Bullying is for Losers.”

Everyday children are hurting. Everyday they are told they will never, are not, cannot… let’s change the way we communicate.

It won’t be quick or easy but in the end, if we put the work in…. we could change so many worlds.

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Blog, Choices, Depression, Fear, Help, hope, public speaker, Relationships, southern fried asian, Strength, Suicide, suicide prevention, susie reece, Susie Reynolds, susie reynolds reece

A Chapter’s End

Today I closed the door on a huge part of the past three years of my life and I now find myself starting a new journey. As of this evening, I am no longer employed with CHI St. Vincent. 

Some of you know me because of the work I’ve been doing, some of you may be aware, some of you may not know me at all. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself doing my best to explain what I do to others and getting puzzled looks. I think the best way to say it was what wasn’t I doing? 

My heart has been in suicide prevention for as long as I can remember. It started as something quite personal and grew beyond me. I felt something deeply that I didn’t necessarily understand and I began a journey to learn more. That journey allowed me to witness opportunities to help and through relationships, support, and people believing in me, I was able to build on those opportunities. 

If you get to know me, I’ll tell you honestly that a great deal of my effort was based in selfishness because I gained so much from it. I loved what I was doing and it drove me to be a better person in so many ways. I never once dreaded a Monday of work. Not that I didn’t hesitate at the thought of early mornings or late nights, it’s just that I gained something immeasurable on an almost daily basis. 

Don’t get me wrong, some days were definitely hard work. Work to find the energy to push forward. Work to figure out ways to address seemingly impossible problems. Work to build relationships beyond the superficial. But in the end, I can honestly say that when you are passionate about something, it will never be work.

It would be easy to sit here and find this a failure. It would be so simple to see these past several years coming to a close and find myself bitter and resentful or fearful of the future, but I simply can’t. Not because I am an optimist, because I am most definitely not that. But because I have been blessed in innumerable ways. I have met many of you because of this opportunity. I have heard stories of hope and compassion. I have learned a great deal about who I am becoming and who I will never be. And I have found great joy in the work of suicide prevention. 

I write this to all of you now to let you know that although my employment has changed, my heart has not. These past few months and really year, has been quite difficult. Even now, I hold a lot of uncertainty in what my future will hold. But what I can tell you is that I will continue to serve those who ask for my help. I will continue to volunteer and work to better the communities I come into contact with. This may look different over the coming months. For me this will mean finding new ways to support myself, my family, and my future. If you find opportunities that I might be a good fit for, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I am still and will continue to act as the Executive Director of Suicide Prevention Allies. It is currently and has been a non paid position, although that may change in the future. 

Before I officially close this chapter of my life, I would like to ask that if you’ve met me, saw me speak, or gleaned anything from the work I’ve done over the past few years, please share it with me. I would love to be able to see the impact of the work I’ve done, it would mean so much to me to know that I did something of worth. 

Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to serve as I have. I pray that I will continue to be able to share the knowledge and skills I have with as many as possible. 

A few lessons I’ve learned along the way:

*Consistency is how trust is built and maintained. What we consistently do becomes our habits. 

*Take the time to build properly. Impatience may help you get things done quickly, but it won’t help you do them in the best way possible. 

*Nothing, absolutely nothing can replace the bond that comes from working alongside someone toward a common goal. 

*Life is terribly short. You have every right to decide who can join you on your journey. Choose your travel mates wisely or you’ll waste unnecessary time struggling with unnecessary stress. 

*Oftentimes there are more sides to a story than can be counted. 

*Not everyone will share your passion, and that’s more than okay. But be deadly cautious of those who are jealous of it.

*Even now in 2019, your word is your bond. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you’re unsure, just say so. People will respect that more than a broken promise. 

*Be careful what you tell people and when. 

*Timing is everything.

*Base your judgement of a person on your personal knowledge of them and not what others say. Everyone has their own perspective, motivation, and stories. And some people simply don’t want them to be liked.

*People want to feel heard. They will reach out to someone who will not dismiss them and sadly, that someone is often a stranger. Love those around you. They need to know it often.

*The people who care about you will show you. It may not be obvious at all times, but they will. Never forget those who check in on you in their own way. They do it because they care.

*Asking for help is harder than it should be and this small incapability is taking our lives at a devastating rate. 

*If you know something is ending, don’t wait. You’ll find yourself stuck in the most terrible way. If the relationship, job, current situation is bad or coming to a close, let it go. It won’t be simple but holding on won’t make your life any easier. 

*Don’t forget to look for the beauty. We learn invaluable lessons by looking for them when times are tough. That is how we grow strength and resilience. We must examine our lives, take note of our missteps, and move forward with knowledge we didn’t have before in the hopes of finding a better way. 

*And last but not least, no one, let me repeat that NO ONE has all their shit together. Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. 

Although I don’t believe I save lives, for those who’ve asked, my superhero name is Seoul Survivor. 

Name and Photo Courtesy of Jeff Fuller-Freeman

-Susie Reynolds Reece 

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