November 26, 2008: Barry Cauchon

As many of you know, I volunteer for an organization called the Power Within that puts on high-powered speaker events. Today, we hosted President Bill Clinton in London, Ontario, Canada. I have volunteered at two previous Clinton speeches (one on November 13, 2007 and the other on October 16, 2008) and so this time, I think the folks at the Power Within wanted to give me a ‘thank you’ surprise. So they assigned me to work with the photographer in the Pre-Show Photo Op session. This is a 20 minute period where about 100 pre-paid patrons come to get their pictures taken with the President.

So there we were, set up and ready to go in a small 10′ x 10′ room, with the 100 people lined up just outside, waiting for their opportunity. Inside the room was me, the photographer, another volunteer colleague Louise, and 2 to 3 other sponsor reps. Except for Louis and me, everyone was in either a suit or dress. Louise and I were wearing bright blue STAFF tops. We kind of stood out in the sea of suits!!!

After about a half-hour delay, the room began to quickly fill with secret service, additional sponsor reps and President Clinton’s advance team members. All in all, there were now probably about 15 people in this tiny little room.

Finally President Clinton entered the room to my right. He looked around and then walked over to Louise and me and greeted us. After saying hi to Louise, he stepped in front of me, shook my hand and said “Hello. Nice to see you”. “Nice to see you too, Mr. President. Have a great day!” was my reply. WOW. That was totally unexpected.

Other than the 100 people that were about to come in and get their pictures taken with him, we were the only two he greeted. So cool! Anyway, I got to then spend the next 20 minutes standing within 6 feet of the President watching him work with the various people who came to get their pictures taken with him. He is warm and inviting and of course, very personable. It was a great gift and I want to thank my friends at the Power Within for doing this for me.

As a transplanted American citizen living in Canada, it was a very proud moment for me to meet the President of the United States. Up until seeing President Clinton give his speech last November, I had only seen one other President speak live, and that was LBJ. In 1965, when I was a cub scout, I saw LBJ give a live speech at Langley Air force Base in Hampton, Virginia. It left quite an impression on me.

So years later, I’ve now actually met the President of the United States. And I did it by just being a volunteer and giving my time and energy to an organization that brings great speakers to the public. You never know where things will lead you to, but for me, look what happened! It was great.

Thanks for letting me share.



Published in: on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at '7:21 pm'  Comments (13)  
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October 22, 2008: Barry Cauchon

  If I have not mentioned it before, I volunteer for a high-powered speakers bureau in Toronto. Last week, President Bill Clinton was our guest and spoke on the economy and the upcoming Presidential elections. As tempting as it would be to share the content in detail of his speech, I feel this blog is far better served by talking to you about the President himself and his personal character.

I have been lucky enough to witness three live speeches by President Clinton in the last year. His presentation style is easy going but authoritative. He can take complex concepts (such as the economy) and make them easy to understand. And above all, he is so very likable and engaging that you really enjoy just listening to him speak.

But it’s the things that you don’t see on stage that have always impressed me about this great man.

On this particular day last week, President Clinton was scheduled to do a meet-and-greet photo session with about 100 paying guests. Two of our volunteers had been asked to assist the President’s staff with this part of the visit. They were given the task of holding the purses and other personal belongings of the people being photographed with the President as they did not want to be burdened with these items.

After the last person had been photographed with the President, he looked around and asked “Is there anyone else”? As there were not, and the fact that he was running fifteen minutes behind schedule, what he did next, tells a lot about this man. He looked toward our two volunteers, smiled and asked them to get the attention of the photographer. Our volunteers summoned the photographer, not knowing what the President required. But as they came back with her, President Clinton walked up to our two volunteers (two very nice senior ladies), put his arms around their shoulders and asked the photographer to take their picture together. They were both stunned and honored. As volunteers, we do not approach our guests for autographs or photographs. But here he was, the ex-President of the United States, insisting on taking this picture, even as his own staff was urging him onto the stage to start his speech.

So, regardless of your politics or of your opinion of President Clinton’s presidency, I can say that you will not find a more genuine person who is willing to give of himself to others. I believe he walks his walk and talks his talk.

If you ever have an opportunity to see President Clinton speak live, I urge you to do so. He’s straight forward and captivating. And he is very very likable.

By the way, when asked during his speech, who will be the next President of the United States, President Clinton answered “Obama……by a landslide”!

Time will tell in the next two weeks if this is the case.



Published in: on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at '10:17 pm'  Leave a Comment  
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