I am passionate about the power of words to educate an audience and to make complex subjects accessible. Speaking allows me to reach an audience in a way that compliments and extends my work as a writer.
I have spoken for a wide range of audiences, both in-person and remote. Speaking formats include:
- Corporate training, both in-person and remote
- Professional development training for students
- Keynote graduation addresses
- Adjunct instruction at the college level
- Academic advising/counseling for single students, families, or groups.
Hilltop Communications can tailor a talk that is just right for your audience. Sample topics ready for delivery include:
History and Current Events
Observing the Hemingways: Ernest Hemingway and Great Depression Tourism in Key West
When American writer Ernest Hemingway discovered that his house was prominently marked on an official map distributed to tourists, he was angry enough to build a masonry wall around his beautiful home. But this kind of tourism was due to the influence of New Deal efforts to change Key West’s primary economic base from the lucrative harvest and salvage industries that dominated the 19th century to the tourism that would dominate today. This talk shows the change in the island’s economic focus and the influences of the Great Depression and its relief programs through Hemingway’s eyes, including the tragedy of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane.
Henry Flagler: How a Man from Ohio Took the Railroad to the Southernmost Point
Many people have heard of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil, but fewer know of his business partner, Henry M. Flagler. A native of northern Ohio, Flagler took his Standard Oil earnings and used them to launch an ambitious project to take the railroad through Florida to the southernmost point of the United States, Key West, crossing swamps, reefs, and open ocean in the process. Flagler achieved his goal in 1912, forever changing life in the Florida Keys. This is an entertaining and inspiring story of an Ohio native who very much wished to winter in the South – and made it happen.
The Cigar Rollers of Old Key West
In the late 1800s, Key West was the richest city per capita in the United States, and much of this affluence was driven by one of its first industries, cigar production. When unrest drove Cuban cigar makers north, Key West opened its arms to several manufacturers who built factories up and down the waterfront dedicated to making these hand-rolled indulgences. Although the industry was relatively short-lived on the island, with wooden factories filled with tobacco leaves a natural target for fire, the presence of the cigar industry has left an indelible stamp on the island. Learn about this vibrant industry and the legacy it has left to the Florida Keys today.
The Development of Photography: Daguerreotype to Civil War
When Louis Daguerre announced the development of his process for creating images by exposing a plate to light – photography – he was building on many decades of efforts to render the world in an accurate, easy-to-capture way. Soon, this process would undergo changes and improvements that made it suitable for capturing a wide range of activities and events. This talk will trace photography’s early years and tell the story of how it educated and informed, introduced the public to the realities of war, and influenced a presidential election.
What Generational Theory Tells Us about Decades Past . . .and the Decade to Come
Drawing on the generational theory of historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, this talk explains how the rotating cycles of generations through history explain the events of the post-WWII era, the turbulent 1960s and 70s, the “Me Generation” of the 1980s, the events of the turn of the Millennium, and the present day. We will also use this theory to explore what we might expect culturally, politically, and economically in the coming decade.
Propaganda Advertising of WWII
“Propaganda” has a negative connotation today, but, in times of crisis, it is a powerful tool to persuade the population and encourage positive behaviors. In this highly-visual talk, we will explore the wide variety of purposes and techniques of propaganda advertising as they were used during the 1930s and 40s and how to recognize effective propaganda advertising today.
The Creative Revolution in Advertising
In 1960, advertising giant Doyle Dane Bernbach released the iconic “Think Small” ad for the Volkswagen Beetle, and the advertising world would never be the same again. We will explore the “Creative Revolution” in advertising, looking at some of the most famous and noteworthy ads of the period and exploring what lessons they can teach advertisers today.
The Greatest Advertising Campaigns in History
Woodbury’s A Skin You Love to Touch. Listerine’s Often a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride. Burma Shave signs. Maidenform’s I Dreamed. VW’s Think Small. Apple’s 1984. These and other campaigns transcended mere product advertising and entered the cultural vernacular. Learn the stories behind a variety of historic advertising campaigns, what made them successful, and why we remember them today.
Skills and Activity Training
Planning Your Trip to Key West
So you’ve decided to visit Key West! Whether you are taking a cruise and will be there for a day or are going for a long weekend or even a week, this presentation will introduce you to the historical sites, interesting activities, and options for downtime that fill the island. We will cover options ranging from the athletic to the relaxed, suitable for every traveler.
How to Deliver a Dynamic Lecture
They call it “Death by PowerPoint:” the boredom that ensues when a speaker constructs a slide deck, turns off the lights, and reads each slide aloud. It shouldn’t be this way! Lecture can be one of the most effective ways of engaging an audience, because the best lectures use the techniques of storytelling, interaction, and passion to keep an audience interested. In this session, we will explore the components of a dynamic lecture and cover actionable strategies that will make your next talk a hit.
Getting Started in Self-Publishing (suitable for workshop or class format)
Have a great idea you’d love to see in print? Have you finished your book but don’t want to go through a traditional publisher? Self-publishing may be for you! With an estimated 40 percent of all e-book revenue going to authors who self-publish, this method is ideal for people who have a book with a limited audience, those who wish to maintain creative control over their work, or those who enjoy the publication process. Using Amazon CreateSpace, we will work through the process of turning your book into both a physical and an e-book product and placing it for sale.
Beginning Ballroom or Social Dancing (suitable for workshop format or limited or ongoing class)
Co-Taught with Partner Daniel Lorenzetti
Whether you are going to an upcoming wedding, have a class reunion in the future, or just want to learn to “cut a rug,” ballroom dancing is a great way to get some exercise and have fun with your partner and your friends! We will cover the basic steps of dances, chosen for your group’s needs from:
- Ballroom option: waltz, tango, foxtrot, rumba, swing, cha-cha
- Social option: salsa, bachata, merengue, rumba, swing
Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss the needs for your group or organization.