CAMPUSPEAK


Shaun Sperling Photo

Thirteen can be a tough age.  Young men and women struggle to understand who they are, what they believe, who they will associate with, and what messages they want to send to the world.  During the early teenage years relationships with friends and family are tested and major changes develop.

At age thirteen, Shaun Sperling was clear about the message he wanted to send to the world: after his 1992 Bar Mitzvah, he threw a Madonna-themed party and to mark the occasion, he greeted his friends and family with a choreographed dance to Madonna’s “Vogue,” complete with an air-brushed photo of Madonna painted on the back of his shirt. The dance was captured on film and found its way to the Internet over twenty years later.

Soon after posting it to YouTube, the video went viral and Shaun appeared on The Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Huffington Post Live and the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Shaun was fortunate to grow up with parents who encouraged him to be himself and a community that fostered individuality. Through the years, Shaun has learned that that living authentically is the key to a life of success, happiness and realizing your greatest potential. Today, Shaun is traveling the country talking with college students about developing the confidence to live an authentic life.

Shaun is not only an engaging, fun, and passionate speaker, but his message is unique and inspiring. Shaun reminded and reenergized us to be ourselves. Being authentic is a message any group can benefit from hearing!

Lindsey Hawkins, Bradley University


Through his storytelling skills and reflections on his own life, Shaun captures the hearts of all and challenges us to recognize our strengths, beliefs, and dreams. Shaun will leave a lasting impression on who you are and who you hope to become.

Christine Everest Adler, Principal, District 103




Be YOU: Discovering the Power of Authenticity

When Shaun Sperling danced to Madonna’s “Vogue” at his bar mitzvah in 1992, he was sending a message, loud and clear, that he was comfortable in his skin.  Twenty years later, he uploaded a video of the dance to YouTube, but he could not have prepared himself for what happened next—within days, the video was viewed over a million times and gained worldwide media attention. The reaction to the video can be attributed to Shaun’s ability to being authentic at such a young age—free of insecurities and other people’s judgments. In Be You: Discovering the Power of Authenticity, Shaun shares with students the necessary tools to realizing their greatest potential through authenticity. 

From the time we are born, we are bombarded with messages that tell us that we are not good enough. The way in which we internalize these messages makes being yourself one of the hardest things to achieve. Shaun’s message is that only by recognizing, owing and expressing all aspects of who we are, can we achieve true success and happiness. With the tools that Shaun provides, students are armed with the ability to embrace all that is true in their lives and find their path to success and happiness. Through hilarious stories, engaging anecdotes and practical content tailored to each event, this program helps individuals uncover the many layers that hide our truths and prevent us from realizing our greatest potential. Shaun challenges students to dig deep into their lives to be better students, stronger leaders and be the change in the community, and create the type of community they wish to exist in.

“It is only when you embark on a journey of authenticity, by recognizing, owning and expressing your gifts and talents, as well as your struggles and flaws, that you will be able to discover your truth and live a life in which you are free to be YOU. Being YOU is the key to success and happiness and making a profound and positive impact on others.”

LEARNING OUTCOMES:
1. Understand the hidden gifts that you bestow that will help you find true success and happiness.
2. Learn tools to help you combat the negative messages that you encounter everyday that prevent you from being yourself and achieving your goals.
3. Gain the power to effect those around you to become a more powerful leader and create a more positive community.
4. Be inspired to handle difficult situations head on and come out on top.

That’s So Gay: Discovering the Gifts of LGBTQ

What do you think of when you hear the terms “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer?” All sorts of images are conjured up about the LGBTQ community because of the polarizing stereotypes that have been assigned to these groups. Whether it is images in media and popular culture, preconceived notions by our communities and families, or our own experience, we all have our own story about the LGBTQ community. But how many of the images are truly celebratory of the strengths and gifts of the LGBTQ community? Our perceptions are not always complete or accurate and can be damaging to everyone. It is time to change the story.

Shaun Sperling is empowering communities to change their stories, by debunking harmful generalizations and stereotypes and instead, celebrating the gifts that come from LGBTQ individuals and communities. Shaun believes that LGBTQ is more than lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer/questioning individuals. No matter how you identify, nearly everyone knows someone who identifies as LGBTQ, so we are all part of the paradigm. It’s time to take a look at the perception of LGBTQ, how the stereotypes hurt us, and what we are missing as a result of the perceptions that exist.

Changing the story can lead to freedom, both on an individual and public level. Shaun ends his program with discussions around the gifts we will each receive from changing our stories of LGBTQ—from transforming our own shame to pride, to being a better student, leader and member of society. On a public level, Shaun believes that we each have the power to stop the unequal treatment of the LGBTQ community and create a world to live in where we don’t have live in the constraints of boxes that we fit in, but rather on our experiences and gifts. Shaun challenges students to be the change in the community, and create the type of community they wish to exist in.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:
1. Tools to transform shame into pride to live your life with confidence and strength.
2. Empowerment to take a stand for anybody that doesn’t fit the mold.
3. Gain perspective in order to understand the LGBTQ community and other minority groups and to utilize the many gifts that come from being “different.”
4. Be inspired to change the story in order to be a stronger leader, build better communities and put an end to the unequal treatment of the LGBT Community and other minority groups.


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Our speakers provide value items to our customers every time they book a program at full price. These can be used as giveaways to students who attend the program, or as gifts to your hardworking student leaders.

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  • Five signed copies of any of Rick’s books
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