Gave a slide show and presentation at the restaurant R2L atop Liberty Two in Philadelphia to clients of Devine and Partners. Jay Devine wrote me, “Our clients loved the presentation. It is such an inspiring story and thanks for sharing it.”
Also presented to patients, staff, families and volunteers at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia. “The story and presentation was wonderful, and we appreciate having you with us,” emailed Ron Suggs, the Vice President for Development.
I have a slide show and I share the story and photos of this incredible book, from before the accident, immediately after, and up to the present. I chronicle Matt’s incredible comeback. It is a presentation sure to lift your spirits and inspire you to do better and be better. On occasion, I can get Matt to present with me, although he’s busy in medical school doing rotations.
I have been speaking to groups for many years, with great results, and I would love to come and talk with you about my new book, The Road Back.
I will tell you about Matt Miller's inspiring, amazing journey. What happens to him, how he recovers, and what he is able to accomplish are astonishing. Matt Miller's story is not only a celebration of a life, and a riveting drama, but also an example of an America that shines. Just when you feel like you can't escape the rancor in our political life, or feel like the country is beginning to decline, this book is a tonic. America worked. Our emergency responders got there in time and saved him. The doctors and nurses rebuilt him and restored him and gave him care he likely wouldn't have gotten anywhere else in the world. His family supported and healed him, a model of how families should function, especially in crisis. His beautiful young girlfriend stood beside knowing he might never look the same or be the same. Most of all, Matt himself showed a determination and faith that have defined America since its inception. This is a book that will underscore your faith in people, and I will share this positive feeling in my visit with you.
I recently spoke to the South Jersey Athletic Club, a group of distance runners, and gave a slide show of photographs of Matt Miller before the accident, immediately after and as he progressed back to the Ironman and medical school. They loved it. Here is an email I received the next morning from Brandon Hamilton, the president: "What a great night last night. You really have a gift for writing and finding inspirational stories. Thanks for sharing your gift with us. I hope that was just the start of many successful events to come." He is at email@example.com.
My talks are always entertaining, and often motivational. What comes through is my passion, and audiences leave energized and satisfied.
I do other talks as well. I can speak with you about my life as a storyteller, my view of the role and importance of stories in our lives and in our culture, and I can share with you many of my favorites over 30 years as an award-winning journalist. These are stories of people who have overcome incredible obstacles, or achieved amazing things, or who simply have lived life to the fullest, following their dreams. If I do my job right, after my talk you will be revved up and ready to pursue your own dreams, large and small.
I still love to give talks about my earlier book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love Hope and Happiness at America's Most Famous Steps. I recruited my friend and colleague, Tom Gralish, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer at the Inquirer, and we spent a year at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, steps made famous by Sylvester Stallone in the movie, Rocky. I share the incredible and inspirational stories and photos of people from all over the world who, 35 years after the original movie, still come and run the steps like Rocky. Stallone himself wrote the Foreword. I made a great discovery that year at the steps — the movie and the actor bring the masses there, but when they run, they are celebrating their own lives and achievements, loves and friendship. I also share my own stories and amusing anecdotes about the hurdles I had to overcome in writing the book — like getting to Stallone!
I will talk to conventions, companies, community groups and schools. I have presented to the American Library Association, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, The Equipment Leasing & Finance Association, and Royal Caribbean International in Miami, SunTrust Bank in Atlanta, universities, high schools and even middle schools.
“We had such a blast with you …The presentation was wonderful!! We’ve only heard great feedback from our members. In fact, a lot of our members thought we were crazy to schedule a running of the Rocky steps…until they met you and heard some of the stories. Your stories sparked quite a transformation. Suddenly, people were talking about what it would mean to them (personally) to run the steps. It was quite interesting.” --Angie McCormick, with the Georgia Association of Educators, at their convention in Philadelphia
“Thank you for the knockout presentation you made at our Annual Meeting in Philly. We always try to look for speakers with local appeal and we were fortunate to find you. The stories and photographs from Rocky Stories were entertaining and inspiring. Several attendees were seen running the steps themselves afterward.” Thanks again for everything. We truly enjoyed it."
— Trish Land, Meeting Planner, National Council of Examiners for Enginnering and Surveying (NCEES) (864) 654-6824, Ext. 205. firstname.lastname@example.org
“Michael Vitez’s presentation on Running Philadelphia’s Rocky Steps should be a must-have at your conference… Using his wonderful sense of humor, he showed our attendees how the Rocky Steps have motivated and inspired people around the world. By the end of his presentation, the majority of the attendees, including myself, were inspired to take our own journey up the Rocky Steps. Our conference was jam-packed with sessions addressing important high-level issues. His presentation provided a mental break for our conference attendees. I wholeheartedly recommend him as a guest speaker. He is an ambassador of Philadelphia!"
— Racquel Codling, Director, Business Development Conferences, Equipment Leasing and Finance Association. Tel: (202) 238-3414. Email: email@example.com
“I first met Michael Vitez early one morning over breakfast in Center City Philadelphia. I immediately liked him and very quickly found myself captivated by his stories and his storytelling. As a result, we hired Michael to speak at our annual thinkAbout event in Philadelphia in 2009. He wowed our participants. What really amazed me was how Michael managed to create the same kind of restaurant-booth intimacy and rapport with a larger audience that he had established with me some months earlier one-on-one. He models the kind of memory-making skills that we encourage all experience-stagers to cultivate.”
— Jim Gilmore, president of strategic horizons, www.strategichorizons.com.
“Thanks for providing the Wow…Your visits have been so powerful!
— Charly McDonald, Director, Guest Activities, Royal Caribbean International
"Dear Mike and Tom, Many, many thanks for a wonderful day today. Your presentation to our students was exactly the message they needed to hear. Success takes a lot of hard work and effort, and you just can’t give up hope if you think you have a great idea. You both gave our students a lot to think about as they enter high school. The slides were great and the stories behind each one of them were so interesting. I hadn’t realized that all of Tom’s photographs were taken in real time with nothing posed or restaged — fantastic photos. I’ve heard nothing but great comments all day from everyone who attended your presentation. People were very impressed — and some of those people are not easy to please!"
— Judi Sheridan, middle school librarian, New Jersey
Additional reference: Brian Niles, CEO, TargetX, 877-715-7474, Niles@TargetX.com
And finally, I am happy to come to your business or non-profit organization as a consultant and help you understand the power and potential of your own story. I believe stories are our salvation. That has often been the title of talks I have given. I can help you identify your organization's story, and even help you tell it. In my experience, stories are not only the best way to convey your mission and passion and essence to your clients, but also can be useful in trying to bring about culture change within your own organization. Nothing unites us or inspires us as much as a great story.