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June 4, 2017

When life deals you lemons …

I did not set out to be an inspirational speaker. In fact, I did not choose to be one, it chose me.

I was very happy and fulfilled reaping the rewards of the tremendous effort that it took to be admitted at, graduate from, and pay for an Ivy League education (Cornell Law School). I successfully practiced law, including as a trial and federal appeals court attorney, for Exxon then a market-listed steel processing company for a total of 15 years from 1986 to 2002. I loved my profession, my job, and all the benefits of being the top attorney of a corporation.

Then, life or God or my higher power, whatever you want to call that force in the universe that may not direct your every movement, but intervenes in your life, threw me a curve ball. At 41 years old, I was being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I fought it. I fought it hard. I stayed positive. I stayed optimistic. Even when I could not hide the effects of the disease, I knew that tomorrow, or the next day, I would be back to “normal.” Finally, after leading the sale of the company to a private corporation, taking it off the public market, I decided in 2008 that the fatigue and other manifestations of the disease were too overwhelming and that I needed to leave the hours, responsibilities, and especially stress of my position, not having the forethought to realize that no one else would hire into a lesser in-house attorney position, a person who clearly had something wrong with him. It may be against the law (ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act), but, if I were in their shoes, I doubt that, based upon a couple of interviews, I would have the courage to recommend that my company hire me.

As I contemplated my situation, it occurred to me that, maybe, just maybe, I was destined to do something else with my life. I love to connect with people. I loved to inspire groups of people in need of inspiration. I had always wanted to write a book on how to be (more) successful. I was funny. I was not given the option of spending the hours that I could work each day (fatigue is a part of having PD) as an attorney. Finally, I, like most of us, wanted to find purpose in my existence on earth during this lifetime.

What was I being directed to? You don’t have to hit me over the head for me to wake up to my new “normal” or reality. I needed to be an inspirational speaker. Over the past ten years, I have honed my new craft.

In fact, at my last speaking engagement, I received the following reviews:

  • You caught my attention and I was enthralled.
  • You were able to couple the impairments you experience with the emotions felt.
  • You walked us through your life with the disease through “your eyes”.  A perspective that a therapist/nurse rarely has the chance to hear.  We get so busy telling patients how to deal with x, y and z, but our eyes are blurred by the science of it all most of the time.
  • You did it through truth.
  • Through your humor, humility and determination to tell your story. One that most deservedly needs to be shared.
  • I will advocate to have you share your story.
  • I appreciate your determination, diligence and dedication.

Chief Executive Officer – Rehabilitation Hospital  

  • You touched every person at our conference, who will in turn change and impact so many others. The feedback from our participants was overwhelmingly positive.
  • You are the only speaker to ever receive a standing ovation.
  • Thank you for taking time to share, motivate and inspire. We are blessed to know you.

Director of Marketing – Rehabilitation Hospital  

  • You were just wonderful today. Funny, poignant, sensitive and empowered. I’m so glad I sat up front!
  • I wanted to say thank you once again for speaking at our conference this past Saturday. I also wanted to share with you some of the comments we received on our course evaluation forms about your presentation:
  • One of the best presentations I’ve had the privilege to hear!
  • He was engaging, informative and super encouraging!
  • Excellent speaker with heartfelt examples and inspirational.
  • Awesome perspective, presentation. John helped me understand better the challenges that persons diagnosed with Parkinson’s must conquer.
  • A+. The best.
  • John gave a very personal touch to Parkinson’s. He spoke from a perspective that is critical to understand from a PT standpoint.
  • Speaker was very inspiring and uplifting. I learned some things about Parkinson’s I did not know.
  • Great presentation: factual, humorous, emotional, wonderful, informative.
  • Thank you, John. Great presentation. You are an inspiration.
  • Enjoyable. Beautiful spirit.
  • Dynamic – interesting – discussed topics that are important to Parkinson’s
  • I believe John found his calling in life. Truly inspirational speaker.
  • Incredible.
  • One of the most influential speakers I’ve ever heard! Thank you for sharing your story and adding humor to it! Great opener!
  • Outstanding! What an amazing man. He brought forth a holistic view of treatment and living.
  • One of the best speakers/most inspirational I’ve heard. Thank you for sharing.
  • Wow! What a testimony! Not just an enjoyable story, very touching and informative!

Neuro Conference CoordinatorRehabilitation Hospital

Here are the details on the value that I provide: John Baumann’s mission related to healthcare is to attract as many attendees for 45 minutes to one hour speaking engagement (or half day workshops) anywhere in the world (to which it is safe to travel) for a reasonable honorarium on a subject that helps inspire, motivate, and/or educate people with information, inspirational messages, humour, optimism, perspective, uncovering their purpose, etc. in any one or more of his areas of expertise:

IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIFE – How to live the highest quality of life possible for as long as possible with (or without) a chronic illness (John Baumann’s being 15 years with Parkinson’s);

RESPECT AND APPRECIATION – How appreciated professional caregivers (doctors, nurses, therapists, etc.) are (RTBDA – Rarely Thanked But Definitely Appreciated);

OPTIMISM – Reclaiming Posi-spective – How to be positive despite living with a chronic illness:

SUCCESS – How to be (more) successful using John Baumann’s book, Decide Success: Twelve Action Steps to Achieve the Success You Truly Desire, as a template/ workbook:

  • Organizations that employee or utilize professional care givers (hospitals, healthcare providers, medical associations, nursing associations, rehabilitation associations, health-related organizations (fitness, nutrition, effects of positive thinking), etc.) for people with chronic illnesses (Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, etc.),
  • Support groups for people with chronic illnesses (Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, etc.),
  • Support groups for family care givers for people with chronic illnesses (Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, etc.),
  • Pharmaceutical company representatives and other personnel that have one or more drugs on, or coming onto the market, to treat people with chronic illnesses (Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, etc.),
  • Anybody who has the forethought to try to prevent them from getting or be prepared to handle in the event that sometime in their lives that may be diagnosed with a chronic illness (Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, etc.),
  • Any organization that cares enough about the long-term health of their people to want someone to inspire, motivate and educate them to become healthier,
  • Anybody who enjoys being inspired, motivated, and/or educated.
  • Any university, hospital or other organization presenting a seminar where Continuing Medical Education Credits are awarded.

John Baumann’s mission related to his unique legal experience is to educate people with information, instruction, humour, perspective, etc. in any one or more of his areas of legal expertise:

HARASSMENT ELIMINATION – How to create a workplace culture that encourages, and results in, a non-hostile environment:

  • Any organization that has had complaints, EEOC investigations, lawsuits, etc. involving allegations of a hostile environment, discrimination, sexual harassment, racial harassment, any other protected form of discrimination and/or harassment (disability, age, national origin, gender, etc.);
  • Any organization that has not had complaints, but wants to proactively prevent harassment before it happens;
  • Any organization that wants their human resources department to be as educated as possible in how to communicate the policy against harassment to their employees, how to train supervisors in the policy, how to train the supervisors on the initial response to a complaint or witnessing harassment, how Human Resources should properly respond to a harassment allegation, etc.
  • Any organization that does not have the in-house expertise to formulate a proactive harassment prevention program including writing an understandable policy, reviewing the policy with new employees, reviewing the policy annually with all employees, how to handle a complaint, etc.

BASIC LAW – Teaching any area of the law in an understandable way to anyone (typically management, supervisors and human resource personnel):

  • Any organization that has had complaints, EEOC investigations, lawsuits, etc. involving allegations of a hostile environment, discrimination, sexual harassment, racial harassment, any other protected form of discrimination and/or harassment (disability, age, national origin, gender, etc.);
  • Any organization that has not had complaints, but wants to proactively prevent harassment before it happens;
  • Any organization that has not educated their management and human resources personnel on the Fair Labor Standards Act laws on overtime for salaried personnel, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (unions), etc.

Be a part of my mission by recommending me as a speaker to the organizer at an event.

502-262-3300

 

 

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