Motivational speaker encourages students to turn obstacles into advantages
Program Board gave the mic to a professional motivator who defied the odds of a severe communication disorder on Feb. 6.
On his road to becoming a professional motivational speaker, Bill Deering was told multiple times that he was stuck in a fantasy.
Deering hosted a presentation titled "Turning Disabilities Into Abilities" Feb. 6 in the Bovee University Center.
He said peers asked him who would be willing to hear his story, especially with a severe stuttering problem that altered his everyday life growing up.
"I wanted to speak with groups of people because I had something to say," Deering said, explaining that he was first inspired to pursue a career involving communication after encountering a new perspective during a college seminar.
A fellow student said Deering's stutter could give him an advantage in life.
"At first I was upset," Deering said, "What did this guy know? He didn't know my life, he didn't know about the kinds of pain and struggle I went through."
Deering said he later found out from the man that his stutter encouraged others to stop and listen closely.
"The truth was, it wasn't that I stopped caring, but was that I stopped letting my concern stop me in my life," he said.
After a career as a bank teller and then attending a motivational speaking workshop in Florida, Deering was prepared to kick off his career despite ridicule.
He said after an entire year hundreds of calls, shaky conversations and overcoming immense anxiousness, Deering had landed his first gig in New York to speak to 500 junior high students.
His stutter was greeted by ten whole meetings of laughter, he said.
When speaking to 2,000 ninth graders a week later, Deering decided to confront the laughter.
"Whatever you see in me, you see in yourself -- whatever you're laughing at in me, you're laughing at in yourself," he said to the audience, filling the room with what he described as an "intense silence."
Lecture director and Mount Pleasant senior Elizabeth Hernandez said this semester she wanted to deliver a theme of overcoming discouragement and obstacles to becoming one's best self.
"(Our speakers will) mostly be people overcoming hardships in their life," she said, "It'll be focusing on getting over those (challenges) in your life and knowing that it does get better."
Upcoming speakers to be brought by Program Board will address topics like discrimination in the LGBTQ community and substance abuse throughout the semester.
The David Garcia Project (DPG) joined Program Board for the event.
The DPG is an advocacy and informational program organized through the Mary Ellen Volunteer Center. It is designated to facilitate simulations to help students and community members get a more in-depth understanding of disabilities.
Topics brought forward by the DPG make discussion for disabilities regarding learning, hearing loss and deafness, arthritis and more.
Facilitator Ruthie Castle, a Gaylord senior, said she was talking to Deering directly before the event to help bring more stimulations to campus for communication impairments.
"He was saying in one of his college classes the professor required all of the students to go around campus and add a stutter for a few days," Castle said. "He said it made people understand better of what he was going through and instead of just assuming stuttering was a minor thing."
She said the DPG is always eager to expand collaborations and awareness across campus.