I was recently asked about why I put together the Melibee Global speaker roster – a very good question indeed!
When I worked at colleges, I often found that my colleagues relied on their routine “go to” individuals when they needed a speaker. As a result, unless the person was particularly popular with students, the attendance was often underwhelming. While the “go to” presenters had much to offer, they didn’t offer the element of surprise – simply put, they weren’t something new.
I thought back to the many incredible people that I’ve met on my journey and started to make some phone calls to inquire whether my “dream team” had an in interest in speaking publicly. With each phone call, I learned more about what each speaker had to offer beyond what I already knew, which was already impressive. I was incredibly inspired.
The current roster of global education speakers touch on everything from global citizenship, service learning, sustainability, faith, and study abroad to the simple reminder that sometimes we need to take a big leap and trust that the net will be there to catch us. Each presenter is what I call “smart phone worthy,” meaning that you and your students will put down your smart phones because you are so engaged by their stories, lessons and insights.
How can a speaker contribute to your organization? Here are some ideas:
1) Keynote presentation: Offer it to your campus, organization and your community too.
2) Classroom presentation: Many Melibee speakers can spend an entire day on campus presenting in classrooms, over lunch/dinner and with small groups of student leaders (vs. only offering a presentation.)
3) Staff training: This is a great opportunity to treat your staff to a customized and inspiring training on a subject in the field.
4) Conference presentation: Instead of another presentation by another government officer presenting at your conference bring in a fresh face with an inspiring message, toolkit and/or book.
5) Workshop:Several speakers can present half and full day workshops.
6) Human Resources/Multicultural Affairs: Melibee presenters offer a great opportunity to encourage dialogue about diversity.
7) Honors Program: Bring in a speaker to enhance your honors program.
8 ) Guest lecturer: Invite a speaker to co-teach a class.
9) Re-entry: Several speakers can provide real world stories/create dialogue at re-entry conferences and workshops through specific exercises and activities. This applies to both international students and study abroad students.
10) Study Abroad Fairs: There is no better way to get students to think seriously about study abroad than to hear from a seasoned traveler who has much to say about the impact of the experience.
11) Create a common read/activity at your organization or campus: Three Melibee speakers have written books (Katie Krueger, Carrie Wagner and Ibrahim Abdul-Matin), one has a film (Crossing Borders by Arnd Wachter,) while another has a documentary being edited (30 Mosques). One has an assessment tool – the BEVI (Beliefs, Events, Values inventory). Your campus (including faculty and staff) could opt in to take the BEVI and then have Dr. Shealy come to campus to explain the tool and why we believe what we believe! Another speaker has an online global ed TV show. You could have your campus watch the “Bridge the Gap TV series” online and then bring Chris Bashinelli, the founder, to campus to talk about his work on this project with Ben and Jerry’s corporation. Include the local community in these events too!
Needless to say, there are many ways to incorporate a Melibee speaker into your organization’s programming.
I am often asked about how to fund a speaker. I find that people are often afraid to inquire about speakers because they assume the cost will be out of their financial league. Here are some examples of how schools and organizations have funded speakers:
1) Partnering with others: One college brought in Ibrahim Abdul-Matin to speak, attend a dinner and conduct a book signing. The student group didn’t think they had the funds, but were able to partner with several other clubs to pool monies together. They also asked their local mayor’s office to contribute (and they did.) Another school is reaching out to the local police department for funds to bring Steve Moore to campus. Partnering with others is the fastest way to find funds for an excellent speaker.
2) Ask your campus’ Foundation for support: The Foundation is the hot spot for hidden money. Ask and you often will receive!
3) Campus PR Office: They are always looking for ways to publicize the campus. Visibility is their middle name! When you bring someone like Aman Ali or Bassam Tariq from the 30 mosques project to campus, the press will come out to report on in. That is usually worth a donation from your PR office.
4) Create a fundraiser around each event: Some schools will use book sales for several Melibee speakers as fundraisers for the event.
5) The President’s Office: The President always has some money socked away. Ask him or her to contribute and to introduce your guest speaker!
6) Find a sponsor: You work with many 3rd party for profit companies, right? You give them a lot of business! Ask them to donate toward a campus event that supports students who FUND their business! If you don’t ask, you won’t know, right?
7) Visit your Grants Office: Perhaps there is a grant that would support a global ed speaker coming to your campus or organization?
8 ) When all else fails, charge a $1: Everyone can afford a dollar to be inspired. Remind them about other things they’d spend a dollar on without thinking twice such as a 16 ounce bottle of soda, a bag of chips or a candy bar. This will put the request for a dollar in perspective.
What other ideas do you have for speakers and for funding? Please feel free to comment below!