Keith Wilford has shared his life story at many independent schools and colleges. As a boy, he was misdiagnosed with selective mutism, survived a sudden life-threatening health crisis, and rebounded from the trauma of unemployment and an ensuing inability to afford housing. Wilford will talk about finding your authentic self, how to be more mindful, how to be a good community member, and will engage in authentic/organic conversation.
“Over the years, we’ve had some wonderful speakers for our Health and Wellness assemblies,” said John Suby, director of Athletics, Health and Wellness. “This year, we are thrilled to have Keith Wilford bring his energy, enthusiasm and heart to the Dana Hall community. Reviews from other schools have been outstanding, and both the Health and Wellness Committee and the Office of Community, Equity and Inclusion are excited to co-sponsor this event.”
We caught up with Wilford over email to learn what piqued his interest in this topic and what he hopes to share with the Dana Hall community.
How did you get involved in motivational speaking? What drew you to the topics you discuss?
I've never considered myself a motivational speaker, actually. I think with the emotional energy that I put towards my words, I feel that most feel that’s what I do. If people feel inspired in some way that just means that somewhere in their heart they allowed themselves to be receptive to my words. The topics that I discuss are totally rooted in what I experienced personally and what I see in people daily. I never make assumptions or predict what people hope to hear from me. I feel, I look, I listen—and that fuels my words.
Why is it important to share this message with others? Why now?
I feel as though people need to connect to personal stories of others. We get consumed with achievement and outcomes that we forget about the most fulfilling part: the journey. Time is never on our side, so the time is now.
What is the one thing you hope parents and students take away from your upcoming presentations at Dana Hall?
My biggest hope is for the community of Dana Hall is to feel my energy, my care and my authenticity. The work surrounding being vulnerable and attaching ourselves to self-worth/value is so critical to the overall health of our entire community.
Parents and guardians are invited to the parent presentation on Monday, November 5, at 7 p.m., in Waldo Auditorium. Wilford will present to the students and faculty in advance of meeting with parents.