Keynote speaker at Spring Valley High School
Through a series of inspired and coincidental events I was asked to be the keynote speaker on the first day of school (2023) for faculty at Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas, NV. It all started with a visit by Vice Principal Mike Oliver to a Deja Vu Surf store on Kauai, while on vacation. Mike learned about the CAN. brand, bought some gear, and decided to share some of the brand concepts with fellow staff and the Principal Tara Powell. That turned into a larger discussion with other staff and eventually my best friend Tony Gebbia who is the International Baccalaureate coordinator for the school. When Mike mentioned the brand Tony said "what!, Andy, that's one of my is best friends."
While living in Las Vegas for over 15 years I raced bikes with Tony and managed the Allegiant Air cycling team.
Important background: Tony has a lot to do with who I have become and how I approach life. He's the friend who I have celebrated some of my greatest achievements with. He has also helped me sort through some of my biggest life challenges and has always helped me to escape my comfort zone. Example: convincing me we could win Race Across America (link to PR above). So, when he said Vice Principal Oliver and Principal Powell wanted me to be the keynote speaker to kick off the 2023 school year for the faculty, "CAN." was my only reply. They also wanted to incorporate the CAN. logo into the schools branding. That was automatic, and in my comfort zone for sure!
What was way out of my comfort zone was presenting to an audience of 120 and for an extended amount of time. I was especially nervous about presenting to teachers who are professionals at speaking and presenting.
They asked me to just tell my story and talk about some of the brand concepts. As I began preparing for the presentation I looked back at my journey and some of the four to five hour training rides/discussions with Tony. About a decade ago when my wife and I decided we needed to make some changes, and me in particular with career and my focus in life, it was Tony who helped guide me through it. My first introduction to self actualization and self-transcendence was on a ride with Tony. No hippie shit, just a lesson about Maslow and the idea of contributing more as a human. I often say the brand I started is more about life than lifestyle, and that was in summary what I presented. Mostly about my transformation of finding some purpose in work and a bit more meaning in life... nothing earth shattering. But, I wanted to remind them that as teacher and like the healthcare professionals I'm surrounded by in my day job, they have the opportunity to roll out of bed and lean into some significant purpose. Before finding my way into a new career and starting up the brand, I was singularly focused on myself. Not necessarily a bad thing. But as I mentioned to them my focus on "personal athletic achievements, new Infiniti cars and better backsplash," was not cutting it for me. I certainly have perspective on how hard it is to meet your basic needs daily for people, and lots of gratitude for my luck and circumstances. The point I wanted to make is how magical and compelling it is to be in a career that when your needs are met (a daily battle) and you're in that flow state of teaching, you're able to make a huge impact on other humans. I also spoke about my struggles as a student with learning disabilities and the impact individual teachers and coaches had on me. It wasn't the programs or curriculum that made a difference in my life, but awesome teachers who took the time to engage.
Looking back it was an awesome experience that I'm super proud of.
No, it was not a paid gig, and no I'm not a motivational speaker! But, because of customers like you & Mike and friends like Tony I am able to pursue my own CAN. journey.
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