Message at Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Americans

September 15, 2009 · Print This Article

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Tonight I’m in Orlando with Jess for the U.S. Junior Chamber (Jaycees) Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA) Banquet. I was very proud to be one of the recipients, along with nine amazing individuals with whom I’m honored to be associated.

The speeches tonight that the winners gave were truly inspirational. I had the opportunity to give a four minute speech to the U.S Jaycees in the room and I wanted to post the text of the speech here.

TOYA Speech

Thank you for this award and honor. Thank you to my lovely girlfriend Jess for joining me tonight. Thank you to Peter Ansbacher and the NC Jaycees for nominating me.

What I love about Jaycees is that it is an international organization of young folks in our generation passionate about service who want to change the world.

When I came into this room tonight the second sentence of the Jaycees Creed on the back of the program caught my eye. It says “The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.” Grab your program and read it with me now. “The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.” This sentence spoke to my heart. It is with this inspiration that I speak tonight.

I am an entrepreneur and social entrepreneur. The phrase social entrepreneur may be new to some. To me, it is someone who rearranges resources to improve the world. In this sense, all of you are social entrepreneurs. My friends, there are some truly great leaders of our generation in this room tonight, not only the award winners but all of you as Jaycees. You may be one of these leaders. Tonight I’d like to speak directly to those in this room who are the leaders of our generation. I’d like to share a great challenge that our generation faces that is especially dear to my heart.

Let me start by sharing two facts that strike me. One from the World Bank and one from UNICEF.

First, 2.56 billion people, that’s 40% of humanity, people just like you and I, live on under $2 per day, PPP adjusted (1). That’s half a latte at Starbucks. Imagine living on $2 per day. Second, on average 24,956 children under five die each day in the developing world (2). This doesn’t have to happen. As we sit here at this wonderful banquet and nice hotel in Orlando, we must remember that so many do not have the opportunity we have been given.

We are all social entrepreneurs and we have the opportunity to reshape our world. For the first time in human history we have the resources and communication technology necessary to end extreme poverty and hunger in our lifetime. There is no way we will have true global security until all of us have access to education and opportunity, starting from the simple principle that all lives have equal value.

I look forward to spending the next five decades working with many of you to change the world. We are all social entrepreneurs. We are all leaders. So let’s use our leadership capacities to build something greater than ourselves.

This is our calling. This is our opportunity. It is our time. Thank you!

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Here are the bios for the winners from the Jaycees website:

Ryan Allis, 25, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ryan is co-founder and CEO of iContact, the leading provider of e-mail marketing tools for small to mid-sized businesses. He started iContact at the age of 18 and has built iContact into a company with more than 180 employees and 50,000 customers. An active board member of Nourish International and with his own non-profit foundation, The Humanity Campaign Inc., Ryan’s goal is to reduce poverty and hunger and increase access to education, healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurial opportunities worldwide.

Lt Colonel Steven Matthew Beasley, 37, Rapid City, South Dakota. Currently serving as Commander of the 34th Bomb Squadron and B-1 Instructor Pilot at Ellsworth Air Force Base, his military career has included designing training routes for stealth fighters in preparations for Operation Desert Strike to serving as a B-1 pilot over Afghanistan. His commitment to volunteerism at orphanages in Djibouti, Africa and through organizations such as Habitat for Humanity has inspired those around him.

Jacqueline Baly Chaumette, 40, Sugar Land, Texas. Councilmember for the city of Sugar Land and President and CEO of BalyProjects, LLC. Through her company, Chaumette is currently working on replacing aging local school district buses with clean-fuel buses. On City Council, she is the only woman, only black person, and youngest person on the city council, where she helps oversee the city’s policies and budget. Her work with the city of Sugar Land has involved planning Town Square, the city’s new downtown.

Lieutenant Colonel Troy Edward Dunn, 37, Washington, D.C. Currently, Dunn is the Commander, 11th Mission Support Squadron, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington D.C. where he has administrative command authority over 48,000 Airmen in 95 countries and 34 states, including 9,400 Airmen in the National Capital Region. As Air Staff Branch Chief and Air Force Crisis Action Team Leader, Dunn was the Air Force’s number-one authority on personnel readiness and deployments. Father of two autistic sons, Dunn has launched the Heart of Autism Project to provide a closer look into this national issue through a documentary, series of interviews with professional organizations, and personal accounts of families sharing their story.

Kathryn Cunningham Hall, 23, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founder of Power Up Gambia, an organization formed to provide the necessary funds to purchase a solar powered electrical system for Sulayman Junkung General Hospital (SJGH) in The Gambia, West Africa. Hall is now working on her second project, providing power to a sister clinic of SJGH. Power Up Gambia is dedicated to providing reliable electricity and water to healthcare facilities in The Gambia through solar energy to make primary and lifesaving healthcare available to Gambian citizens.

Cameron Johnson, 24, Roanoke, Virginia. Currently President and CEO of Cameron Johnson Inc., by the age of 21, Johnson had started 12 profitable Internet companies and had been the youngest American appointed to the board of a Tokyo-based company at the age of 15. Consultant to several Fortune 500 companies, Johnson is a frequent speaker and an author, and volunteers his time focusing on promoting financial literacy among young people in America.

Atif M. Moon, 24, Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Born with cancer that left him wheelchair bound, Moon is a nationally ranked Wheelchair Tennis player. He works for Bertech Industries, an Electronic Distribution company. Moon will be pursuing a Masters degree in Sport Management in Spring 2010. He has co-founded the Center for Global Understanding (CFGU), a non-advocacy, non-religious organization to encourage the Muslim American youth to participate in civic engagement and is a role model through his example of living a full life with a disability.

Gary C. Norman, 35, Baltimore, Maryland. Founding principle of Norman Access and Conflict Resolution Consultants Group, Norman provides a range of legal and non-legal services extending to pro bono and professional-related activities. Serving as Chair of the Animal Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, Norman is also leading the planning for the first-ever MSBA animal law symposium. He is immediate past president of the Maryland Area Guide Dog Users, Inc., and is a well-published author and noted speaker.

Michael Richard Simmel, 31, Allendale, New Jersey. A professional show basketball player with the Harlem Wizards Basketball team, Simmel is a featured performer and performs in front of millions of people all across North America. He is one of 3,000,000 Americans living with epilepsy and is also one of 2,500,000 affected with bipolar disorder. Constantly donating his time and talents encouraging and advocating for people, especially children, who have other disabilities in addition to epilepsy, Simmel has his own non-profit organization, The Bounce Out the Stigma Project, to help empower young people and educate the public.

Robert J. Witte, 41, Plano, Texas. Partner with the law firm Strasburger & Price, LLP, Witte combines his expertise in business litigation with his leadership in actively mentoring young lawyers. He is a noted author and speaker, and has led countless humanitarian efforts and record-setting philanthropic initiatives for organizations including the Dallas Summer Musicals, the Dallas Heart Ball, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Sources for statistics used:

1 – 2008 World Development Indicators: Poverty Data Supplement, World Bank

From p. 10: “…the number of people living on less than $2.00 a day has remained nearly constant at 2.5 billion. From Table 3: “People living on less than 2005 PPP $2.00 a day (millions), 2005 – 2.564″

2 – UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2009

From p. 121, Statistical Tables, Table 1 Basic Indicators, Summary Indicators, Developing Countries “Annual Number of Under 5 Deaths (Thousands), 2007 – 9109″ To arrive at 24,956 deaths of children under five per day I took 9,109,000 total deaths per year for children under 5 in developing countries and divided by 365.

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