Unforgettable Stories for your Event
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About: Donald M. Stinson
Don Stinson was once a corporate suit who flew around the country in private jets. One day he up and quit, eventually making his way to a life of tasty ocean waves and an eBay-inspired wardrobe anchored by slightly-frayed, button-down shirts, cuffed khakis, and brown loafers. Except for gray hair and a face that says, “it wasn’t an easy childhood,” he looks like he never left 1968.
"As unusual as Don’s link to Watergate is his connection to celebrity executions.”
A few years ago, Don wrote Downstairs at the White House, is story of loitering outside of Richard Nixon’s Oval Office for a few years as an overly curious 17-year-old clerk during the Watergate scandal. It’s very funny. Mercifully, the book sold a bunch of copies and is still an Amazon bestseller in Political Humor and Young Adult Biographies. It allows him the lavish lifestyle of a man who can add pineapple on his pizza ... which is never.
As unusual as his link to Watergate is his connection to celebrity executions. Don's cousins, Mary, Queen of Scots and Charles I of England, both lost their heads after pissing too many people off once too often.
But there’s more to Don than just an aging preppy wannabe with an iPad. Don spent half his life clawing his way up the newspaper industry management ladder. As one of 100 newspaper advertising directors in Gannett Co., Inc. (best known as the publisher of USA TODAY), he was named the company’s advertising executive of the year three times in five years. He later became senior vice president of marketing of the Gannett Newspaper Division, responsible for overseeing the sales and marketing operations of U.S. daily newspapers with revenues of $5 billion. He was Gannett’s corporate staffer of the year. He received the Newspaper Association of America’s Lifetime Sales and Marketing Leadership Award. Then he quit.
Don later launched a revenue strategy consultancy focused on finding solutions to sales and margin problems with math instead of added resources. That and a few other ventures proved to be a lot more fun. Better yet, he could work from his couch with a bag of peanuts at his side instead of a pit bull-faced co-worker with breath that smelled like a rotting corpse, a unique story unto itself. But we digress.
A graduate of the School of Public Affairs at American University, Don later attended M.I.T., Harvard Business School, and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School where he completed advanced programs in strategy, innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, and complex negotiations. In addition, he served as a Fellow of the Strategic Planning Society in London, an international network of strategists dedicated to the development of strategic thinking, management, and leadership. He is a member of The Author's Guild.
Don’s also an honorary member of the Union of Russian Journalists, a long story that involves vodka. In the 1990’s, he worked with newspapers in Russia to establish a free and independent press. Although that didn’t work out, he did manage to be held hostage in a smelting plant, sleep in an insane asylum guarded by sheep herders, and wrestle a goat defending a lavatory door on Russian airline Aeroflot. (The goat won.)
What's in it for your audience?
Don's best-selling memoir, Downstairs at the White House, is a fascinating, uproariously funny, insider's view of events that shook America to its core. His speech to your group will deliver more of the same.
Your audience will be captivated by incredible stories richly decorated with presidents, first ladies, and celebrities ... and walk away still laughing about the awkward, pimple-faced teen who interacted with them all.
• For audiences primarily interested in the Watergate-era: it's an eye-popping, first-hand account of an earth-shattering moment in American history.
• For business audiences, the speech also serves up powerful messages about the value of taking calculated risks: They'll remember the lessons "They can't eat you" and "Walk into an Oval Office every now and then even if you're not invited" for a long time to come.