THE GENERALS

Lt. Col William Gus Pagonis and Brigadier General Nick Halley

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“General Knowledge”

 

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Jessica Cox

Jessica is recognized internationally as an inspirational keynote speaker. Born without arms, Jessica Cox could have succumbed to the low expectations that ushered her into this world. In spite of them all, she earned two black belts in Taekwondo, graduated from college, and learned to swim, drive a car, fly an airplane, surf, scuba dive, and live independently using her feet in ways others who take their hands for granted can only imagine. She holds the title of the first person without arms to get a black belt in the American Taekwondo Association and the Guiness World Record for the first pilot to fly with her feet.

However, Jessica’s greatest triumph in life stands far above any physical feat. It is her unrepentant regard for herself as a whole person, her high degree of self-acceptance that gives her freedom and power to insist that society accept her, too, just as she is.

Accolades

  • Guinness World Record: The First Armless Person in the World Ever to Have Obtained a Pilot’s License, 2011
  • AOPA LIVE Pilots Choice Award 2010: Most Watched Female Aviator
  • Filipino Women’s Network: 100 Most Influential Filipino Women in the U.S., 2009
  • Published in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, 2009
  • The Filipino American Journal Award of Excellence, Outstanding Filipino Award, 2008

TOPICS

When Jessica first walks on stage, the audience has no idea that she doesn’t have arms. Carefully hidden underneath a jacket, she has on her prosthetic arms. Minutes into the introduction, she removes them and begins her speech rightfully titled:

Disarming the Impossible! Corporate Keynote:
Turning “Impossible” into “Accomplishment”
What limits people in your group from attaining their highest potential? How can they push limitations aside?
Jessica believes that by combining creativity, persistence, and fearlessness, nothing is impossible. In her presentation, she digs deep into her experiences living armless in a two-handed world. She shows how these three qualities helped her achieve the seemingly impossible.
Jessica’s elements stem from answering such questions as:

  • Are you letting your fears stand in the way of your opportunities?
  • Is it easier to come up with an excuse than a creative solution to a challenge?
  • What handicaps are you-and others-creating that you don’t need?
  • How soon should you give up when confronted with a difficult challenge?

Get Ready to Turn your “I can’t” into “I can!” and “I will!” Youth Keynote: Embracing Differences
Every person on this earth is “different” in one way or another and in one form or another has endured pressure to conform under the threat of rejection and isolation. Students experience the constant pressure to “fit in.” Jessica shares the struggle of masking her difference growing up in a two-handed world but then realizing the importance of being true to who we are as individuals. In order to be a good leader, Jessica believes it is critical to stand up for who it is we are, stand out every opportunity we have, and to stand proud of our differences!

Thinking Outside the Shoe
As a person who has never viewed herself as a victim of her condition, Jessica shares in her speeches humerous stories of struggle and success living in a “two-handed” world.  She provides critical insight on how to best approach a challenge, redefining the concept of innovative thinking.  She helps people reconnect with their own inner strengths and aptitudes.  Jessica believes in combining creativity, desire, persistence and fearlessness; with them, nothing is impossible.  In her presentation, she will dig deep into her excperiences living armless in a two-handed world and share how these four elements helped her achieve the seemingly impossible.

Jessica’s points stem from answering such questions as:

  • Why is it more important to “fit in” than to stand out and be different?
  • Do students act based on what everyone else is doing?
  • Who is responsible for standing up for who we are as individuals?
  • Why are we so worried about what everyone else thinks?

Full Biography

Jessica Cox was born without arms. The doctors do not know why she was born “differently-abed.” But she does. Jessica has made achievements with her feet that most people only dream of. Now she shares her story with people around the world.

Born in 1983 in Sierra Vista, Arizona, Jessica has learned to live her life with her feet. There were many questions at the time about whether Jessica would be able to live a “normal” life. However, Jessica’s father has said he never shed a tear about her birth condition. He had full confidence in her potential. With the support of her parents and family, Jessica became confident in herself as an adult and continued to explore the world with her feet.

As a child, Jessica studied dance in her home town. When the first performance arrived, she asked to be put in the back row. Her dance teacher told her there was no back row. Tentatively she took the stage with the other students and performed her routine. When she finished, the applause from the audience gave her encouragement and the confidence to continue dancing for 14 years.

Jessica’s parents eventually met a Taekwondo instructor named Jim Cunningham. His response when told of her birth condition was that she would be more than physically able and that only her attitude could hold her back. At the age of 14, Jessica earned her first Black Belt in the International Taekwondo Federation.

After graduating from high school, Jessica attended the University of Arizona where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. When talking about her degree, she frequently explains that psychology credits the way people think has a greater impact on their lives than a physical limitation.

During college, Jessica found a club of the American Taekwondo Association and resumed training in the sport. Even though Jessica already had one black belt in a different style, she had to relearn all of the color belt material. The instructors created a curriculum that would be accessible to any future arm less students. Jessica then became the first arm less person to earn a black belt in the ATA.
Jessica’s most famous accomplishment was learning how to fly. It took three states, four airplanes, two flight instructors and a discouraging year to find the right aircraft: a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane. She received the Guinness World Record for being the first person certified to fly an airplane with only their feet.

Jessica now works as a motivational speaker. She travels the world sharing her story and encouraging people to be creative and innovative with the mantra “Think outside the shoe.

Bruckner Chase

On August 24, 2010, at 4:00 AM, surrounded by a community of supporters, Bruckner Chase embarked on a 25-mile marathon swim to connect Santa Cruz to Monterey while also binding those on land with the Monterrey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Those twenty-five miles developed into an epic fourteen-hour journey in which he encountered everything from massive jellyfish to blue whales, fog to white-capped swells. Read more

Michelle Rosado

Michelle Rosado has a message of inspiration and empowerment for your audience, as well as an engaging style that will make your entire organization strive to new heights by helping them to discover their own inner strength both personally and professionally. Internationally recognized as “The Woman of Empowerment“, Michelle has overcome some incredible life obstacles, including surviving a physically and mentally abusive relationship, as well as escaping the World Trade Center just seconds before her offices were destroyed.

With more than 15 years in financial services, and over 20 years of business experience, Michelle Rosado has been influenced by some of the most successful people in business. Her message delivers innovative and unique empowerment strategies to enthusiastic audiences around the country. Industries from self-help, real estate, multi-level marketing, higher education and many more have been moved by Michelle’s powerful message. Michelle knows how to accelerate personal achievement and life fulfillment, and has created a definitive method to help people to reach their goals in record time as she has done.

PROGRAM TOPICS

9/11
Michelle Rosado shares her message of hope and perseverance beyond the unthinkable trauma of her ordeal and escape from the World Trade Center disaster on September 11, 2001. On 9/11/01, Michelle Rosado was on the 95th floor of Tower 2 of the World Trade Center when there was a crashing sound causing the windows in her office to shatter. The decisions she made in the moments following 9/11 changed her life forever.

Michelle is co-author of “Pursuing Your Destiny,” a book based on the true story of her escape from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Empowerment Strategies
Learn the tools, tips and resources to empower and inspire you organization. Your audience will be inspired and motivated to achieve greater success, by establishing a greater appreciation for life. Michelle will provide the tools necessary to achieve goals, find inner strength and adapt to change. Learn the techniques that allowed her to retire from corporate America by age 30 to become a full-time business owner, and then a professional speaker, author, and mentor.

Full Biography

MICHELLE ROSADO

Michelle Cruz-Rosado was born in New York, New York, to Filipino and Honduran immigrant parents, grew up in Queens, New York, and returned to New York City in 2000. Michelle began her financial career early in her life during the “irrational exuberance” on Wall Street in the 90′s and into the 2000′s. Her first article, “Will I Recover” tells of her personal experience as a survivor of the attacks of 9/11/01, was released in October of that same year and became the thought which led to her co-authored book, “Pursuing Your Destiny.”

In 2006, Michelle received a Lifetime of Achievement award from New York’s Madison’s Who’s Who, and is recognized throughout the business world as the “Woman of Empowerment.” Rosado’s remarkable story of survival has been featured on networks such as CNN, NBC Nightly News, FOX and more.

“Pursuing Your Destiny,” is based on the true life story of her escape from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. As a successful business owner, professional speaker, and coach, Michelle has inspired people around the world with her message of hope and perseverance. She has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from New York’s Madison’s Who’s Who, and is recognized throughout the business world as the “Woman of Empowerment.”

As a public speaker, Michelle presents passionately on a wide range of topics. She has presented to women’s groups, multi-level marketing companies, juvenile detention facilities, and has hosted all-day motivational training seminars. Her story has been featured on NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and CNN along with a photo of the towers taken by Michelle on September 7, 2001.

The inspirational story of her personal victory, entitled “Will I Recover” was featured in an article on the fifth anniversary of that fateful day. As a follow-up to the recollections of her victory, her second article, “The Recovery” was published in Envision Magazine’s October 2006 edition. The first article was written in the weeks following the tragedy for personal healing purposes, however the popularity and overwhelming feedback from readers worldwide would become the inspiration behind writing “Pursuing Your Destiny.”

Michelle is the co-founder of Rosado Companies, an organization dedicated to providing an array of top-notch services in the areas of technology, finance, and overall personal growth.

Tim Daggett

With a perfect 10, Tim clinched the first Olympic gold medal for the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team in modern history. Despite hardship and numerous life threatening injuries, Tim continued to follow his heart and compete in the sport he loved. His desire and perseverence allowed Tim to leave gymnastics on his own terms.as a world-class competitor.Tim is not an ordinary speaker. He adds to his lecture two heart-felt video presentations, plus the awe-inspiring gymnastics demonstration–all of which combine to entertain, captivate and encourage audiences to “go for their gold.”

Tim is a teacher, and he is a do-er. His presentations are filled with a unique mix of emotion, humor and entertainment, and as he shares his momentous success and his heroic struggle, he touches the hearts of all who hear him.

Full Biography

Tim Daggett is not an ordinary speaker. He adds to his lecture two heart-felt video presentations, plus the awe-inspiring gymnastics demonstration–all of which combine to entertain, captivate and encourage audiences to “go for their gold.”

Tim is a teacher, and he is a do-er. His presentations are filled with a unique mix of emotion, humor and entertainment, and as he shares his momentous success and his heroic struggle, he touches the hearts of all who hear him.

Tim has established a multi-million dollar training facility for gymnastics in Agawam, Massachusetts. Over 1300 children of all ages flood to the gym each week to enhance their lives and grow through the sport of gymnastics. Tim’s responsibility in the facility’s daily operations gives him real world experience when speaking to companies and associations. He’s not just a speaker addressing past glories; he is a motivated problem solver, constantly improving his businesses through intelligent action.

After years of successful presentations and numerous inquires about a book, Tim knew it was time to put pen to paper. Dare to Dream was born and it chronicles his life. Recently Tim also co-authored a chapter from the book Awaken the Olympian Within, along with other USA Olympic medalists.

Mallory Weggemann

2012 Paralympian Mallory Weggemann had her life changed on January 21, 2008. A routine epidural to help treat back pain left the college freshman paralyzed from the waist down. Having been a competitive swimmer since the age of seven, and still coping with her new disability, she found one thing unchanged – her love for swimming. On April 8, 2008, Mallory returned to the pool, and has been breaking national and world records ever since. Mallory is currently ranked first in six of the seven Paralympic events and has her eyes set on nine gold medals in London.

Swimming Career:

Current member of the US Paralympics National Team;
2009, 2010 and 2011 USA Swimming Disabled Swimmer of the Year (Trischa L. Zorn Award);
2009 and 2010 Swimming World Magazine Female Disabled Swimmer of the Year;
Five gold medals 2009 IPC Swimming World Championships 25m in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
Eight gold medals and one silver medal 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands;
2011 ESPN ESPY winner – Best Female Athlete with a Disability;
USA Swimming Central Zone Athlete Representative;
USA Swimming Disability Committee;
USA Swimming Athlete Executive Committee;
Currently holds 34 American Records; and
Currently holds 15 World Records:

Personal Story:
Everything Happens for a Reason. (Includes moving anecdotes from personal journal).

You’re the Best, you can make a Difference, and you can Change the World.

Full Biography

On January 21, 2008, Mallory Weggemann received an epidural injection to help treat back pain; however by the time it was finished she was forever changed. Complications with the procedure left the college freshman paralyzed from the waist down.

Weggemann has been a competitive swimmer since the age of seven. After her injury at the age of 18, Weggemann chose to return to the pool. In April 2008, her older sister found an article in the local newspaper discussing the Paralympic Swimming Trials. The meet was being held at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Still coping with her new disability, Weggemann found one thing unchanged, her love for swimming.

While attending the meet as a spectator with her sister, she met several of the US National Team coaches as well as her current coach, Jim Anderson. The following Monday, Weggemann returned to the pool and has been swimming since. She touts her Paralympic trials experience as life changing. “I have always loved the sport but when this happened I thought my days of swimming were over and when I realized I could still do it, well I will never forget that moment.”

Weggemann broke her first set of world records at the Can Am Speedo Para Swim Meet held in Edmonton, Alberta Canada in July 2009. Weggemann set world records in the 50m freestyle, 400m freestyle, and 100m butterfly.

At the 2009 Short Course IPC Swimming World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 2009, Weggemann broke six more world records (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 20 point 4x50m freestyle relay) and took home five gold medals.

In August 2010 at the Long Course IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Weggemann proved herself again in the pool by taking home eight gold medals (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 200m individual medley, 400m freestyle relay, 400m medley relay) and one silver (100m backstroke). Weggemann finished the meet with nine World Records. The IPC wrote the following regarding Weggemann’s performance. “USA’s Mallory Weggemann (S7) was the most successful athlete of these World Championships, winning eight gold medals and breaking nine world records“.

Weggemann was ranked number one in the world in six of the seven paralympic events.

Weggemann is currently on leave from the University of Minnesota – School of Journalism until after the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, UK

Scott O’Grady

Scott O’Grady

An American Hero and New York Times Best-selling Author, Air Force fighter pilot, Captain Scott O’Grady was shot down over Bosnia while helping to enforce the NATO no-fly zone in an F-16. Alone and facing death, capture and the elements he discovered within himself the spirit to go on, and relied on the skills learned during a lifetime of preparing for the unthinkable. Even while isolated behind enemy lines, Captain O’Grady remained a member of a carefully drilled team. Read more

Bob Dole

Bob Dole

Since leaving public elective office, former Presidential candidate and Senator Bob Dole continues to take an active leadership role in a wide range of public policy and charitable causes. Recent projects include serving as Chairman of the National World War II Memorial, which was completed and dedicated in 2004; serving as Chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons, and co-chairing, with Former President Bill Clinton, a foundation to assist the spouses and children of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack; and serving as President of the Federal City Council. Read more

Sheila C. Johnson

Sheila C. Johnson

Sheila C. Johnson is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist whose accomplishments span the arenas of hospitality, sports, fashion design, TV/film, the arts, education, women’s empowerment, and community development. She is CEO of Salamander Hospitality, LLC, overseeing a growing portfolio of luxury properties and lifestyle businesses. As president and managing partner Johnson is also the only African-American female to enjoy ownership and have a stake in three professional sports teams: WNBA’s Washington Mystics, NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Read more

Aimee Mullins

Aimee Mullins is a remarkable athlete, actress, fashion model, and well respected motivational speaker. Born with fibular hemimelia (missing fibula bones) she had to have both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was only one-year-old. Today Aimee revels in the continuous exploration of what is possible. She has developed her own unique formula for creating the “invented life,” fashioned from her unique combination of life experiences as an Olympic athlete, ground-breaking high fashion model, a beacon for design tech, dedicated advocate and avant-garde actor. Read more