By Jim Cathcart

Every industry has its ways of saying “I value what you do” to its members. In the field of professional speaking the awards include:
  • Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – an earned designation from NSA, the National Speakers Association based on professional education and experience.
  • Speaker Hall of Fame (CPAE) – the Council of Peers Award for Excellence, bestowed by the Hall of Fame Board of Governors within NSA.
  • The Cavett Award – named for the founder of NSA, Cavett Robert. Given for a lifetime of unselfish service to the speaking industry in the spirit of its founder.
  • The Golden Gavel – given by the 230,000 members of Toastmasters International each year to one person they deem to be an example of speaking excellence.
I have had the great honor to receive all of these awards in my 31 years of professional speaking. And, this past weekend, I was honored by a group of veteran speakers at the “Veteran Speakers Retreat” with the award called:
  • “Legends of the Speaking Profession” – for a career of “creativity, improvisation, risk-taking and willingness to share.”
It is a great affirmation of my contributions bestowed by the people I’ve known and admired these many years. Frankly, I’m a bit uncomfortable with the word “Legend” applied to me but grateful nonetheless.
Other “Legends” include: NSA’s first president, Bill Gove, Charles “Tremendous” Jones, Cavett Robert, Jeanne Robertson, Larry Wilson, Don Hutson, Norman Vincent Peale, Earl Nightingale, Joe Batten and Dr. Ken McFarland plus around 30 more.
My wife, Paula, and I attended the Retreat in Hagerstown, MD, where by coincidence I had been the keynote speaker last year for the Chamber of Commerce’s 80th Anniversary Banquet.
It was a special time spent with some of the speaking industry’s top performers. True masters of their craft.
The inductees for 2008 were:
  • Jim Cathcart
  • Danny Cox
  • Ed Foreman
  • Mike McKinley
  • and posthumously-
  • Joe Batten
  • Dr. Ken McFarland.
I consider the other “Legends” to be much more worthy of that designation than I.
And, I’m really pleased to be counted among them.
For further information on this award contact Ed Helvey, a long time colleague and friend who coordinates the activities of the Veteran Speakers Retreat. His email is: ed.helvey@gmail.com.

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