People Who Make A Difference: Donna Burick, RMP, CBT, Par BP

October 21, 2013

Donna BurickDonna Burick is doing the work she was designed to do. I’ve known Donna for a number of years and have come to respect and admire her intuitive nature. As long as she can remember, Donna was driven to help people as a calling, so she studied social work in college. After graduation, Donna decided that was not the right career path, instead she channeled her energies into opening a gourmet catering company called A Pinch of Thyme Catering. This work aligned with her desire to connect with and guide people through major life events.
After operating the catering company for over 13 years, Donna was introduced to the world of alternative healing when she began working with a Qigong Master to reverse her infertility, help with allergies and balance out her stressful lifestyle. This experience resonated with her so strongly that she sold the catering company and began the journey of studying holistic healing modalities, focusing in on the BodyTalk System. Donna now has 2 handsome sons and work that fulfills her deepest passions. She’s happy to wake up every day, anticipating the gifts that will come her way.

Since that significant turning point, Donna has created a unique fusion of intuitive guidance, life coaching and energy healing. She works with clients who are navigating life transitions, struggling with physical pain or illness, looking for clarity and purpose, and/or need business guidance and direction. Her practice is focused on creating permanent, holistic transformation in the lives of her clients. As a Whole Life Coach and Energy Therapist Donna has the opportunity to impact all aspects of her clients’ lives, whether it’s physical, emotional, mental or spiritual healing. She believes that our lives are intricate webs of interconnected parts and seeks out root causes of imbalances, helping her clients repair the ripple effect of damage.

Whole Life Coaching with Energy Therapy helps to align body, mind, and spirit. This synergy removes hidden blocks in order to allow transformations to occurs quickly and easily. Whole Life Coaching with Energy Therapy treats each aspect of your life like a section of a wheel. When your work, relationship and health aspects are uneven, you experience a “bumpy ride.” Donna’s fusion of techniques has helped her clients who desire to:

  • Glide though transitions
  • Overcome depression and fatigue
  • Return to health and optimal weight
  • Navigate divorce or relationship shifts
  • De-clutter their mind and environment
  • Tap into their passion at work
  • Improve their family dynamics
  • Alleviate headaches, stress and allergies

Regardless of your issue, there’s a brighter path, a less stressful choice, an easier way and a simpler solution. Let Donna Burick help guide you along that path.

Visit Donnas’ website:
Contact Donna at:

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People Who Make a Difference: John Thompson

August 23, 2013

thompson_head12I met John Thompson (JT) while attending UNCG. John played basketball, I played soccer, we lived in the same dorm, and socialized with the same friends. It was then that I first noticed the qualities that defined him. I’ve respected John Thompson ever since.  

Originally from Durham, NC, Thompson played collegiately at St. Andrews and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Thompson became captain of his team as a senior and graduated from UNCG in 1984 with a degree in communications. After graduation, he was invited to try out with the Florida Suncoast Stingers of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA).

John has a proven track record as a leader and coach within the college ranks. The 2013-2014 season marks 19 years for John Thompson as head coach for the North Carolina Wesleyan men’s basketball program as well as serving as the Battling Bishops’ Director of Athletics since 1998. Widely respected among his coaching peers, Thompson is considered to be a true teacher of the game of basketball… and of life.

Thompson is the all-time winningest coach in Wesleyan men’s basketball history with five regular season and/or tournament championships during his tenure. His first conference title came during the 1999-2000 season when he led the Battling Bishops to the USA South Regular Season Championship, which earned him the first of three Coach of the Year awards. He went on to capture his first USA South Tournament Championship in 2002 and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

In 2009-2010, the veteran coach led Wesleyan to an 11-1 mark in league play en route to the program’s sixth Regular Season Championship. For his efforts, he was named the USA South’s Coach of the Year for a second time, following it up with his third Coach of the Year nod after leading the Bishops to a second straight league title in 2010-2011. Wesleyan also went on to win the program’s fourth USA South Tournament crown that season before advancing to the NCAA Tournament. 

Most recently in the summer of 2012, Thompson was selected to be a court coach for USA Basketball’s Junior National Team. Thompson joined an elite group of collegiate coaches at the U18 training camp, which was held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, CO.

“I am very honored to have been selected to work with USA Basketball,” said Thompson. “To assist Coach Billy Donovan and the other coaches, and then to see the team ultimately win the FIBA Americas Gold Medal, was truly humbling. The team represented our country well!”

John Thompson wears many hats at Wesleyan and in the community. In addition to serving as Vice President and Director of Athletics, as well as head basketball coach, he held the position of President of the USA South from 2001-2005 and has been chairman of the USA South Basketball Coaches Committee. Additionally, he has served on the NABC Legislation Committee and the NABC Congress. From 2007 to 2011, he served a four-year appointment to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee.

Thompson has also assisted the Advisory Board of the Wesleyan Internship and Career Center and has served on the Staff Council, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee, the Matriculation Committee, the Homecoming Committee, the Enrollment Management Committee, the SACS Self-Study Education Sub-Committee, the 50th Anniversary Committee, and as a College 101 professor. Recently, he has been appointed to the College’s First Year Experience Committee and the Campus Security Committee, while also coordinating the annual Shelton Leadership Challenge, a summer program named for General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Thompson places a strong emphasis on player development both on the court and in the classroom. His practices are carefully designed lesson plans that promote hard work, perseverance, and self-discipline. In an effort to see his players succeed, he strives daily to promote this message.

“We work very hard at player development,” says Thompson. “This consists not only of basketball skills and related education, but classroom, community, and character development as well.”

His work ethic and enthusiasm for the game serve as the foundation for the North Carolina Wesleyan program. An intense competitor, it is Thompson’s goal to develop a consistently successful program that is built around good people… people that personify effort, determination, and passion. By bringing out these qualities in Bishop athletes, Thompson is able to create fundamentally sound players that compete at both ends of the court.

Adds Thompson, “Passion, work ethic, persistence, and loyalty are key ingredients that we look for in recruiting and that we try to instill here in our program. We believe these attributes and values set the tone as we strive for excellence.”

Thompson and his wife, Laura, live in Rocky Mount. They have three sons: Andrew and twins Jackson and Walker.

John has also gained notoriety as an excellent speaker. He has spoken at North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association and Florida Athletic Coaches Association clinics, among others.

Contact John to have him speak at your event:

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People Who Make a Difference: David Pinkley

July 5, 2013

David HinkleyI met David Pinkley through my work with National Speakers Associations Carolinas Chapter. Since that first meeting we’ve connected at our national convention, shared lunch, and chatted on the phone. David’s a true professional and the real deal. Our conversations have been encouraging, enlightening, and authentic. He’s the kind of person that helps me grow both professionally and personally—the kind of person I choose to be around.

David was laid-off from his first job in 1996 and vowed he’d never be unemployed again. Since then he has built a career around helping others build theirs. David is a professional speaker and founder of five companies, which focus on key areas of professional development and success:

For 17 years, David has been improving the way hiring managers and job seekers communicate. He is keenly interested in Employer and Employee Branding – the intersection of how companies package their opportunities to attract talent, and how individuals package themselves to attract great companies. David is a widely regarded expert on executive recruiting, career strategy and resume writing. He has:

  • Reviewed over 40,000 resumes
  • Interviewed over 3,000 people
  • Negotiated millions in compensation.

A highly sought-after speaker, David ignites inside you a desire to grow and he inspires the confidence for you to take action. He goes beyond motivating people he creates catalytic experiences that inspire audiences to be better. He knows that lasting change doesn’t always occur during a speech, but in the quiet moments thereafter when people personally commit to doing something new.  His most popular speeches are:

  • Awaken Your Professional Soul
  • Leadership 101: People Are Not Your Greatest Asset
  • Failure 101: How to Compel People To Buy
  • What Empty Trucks Teach Us About Confidence
  • How Successful Women Create Personal Brands That Are Unforgettable

David draws from diverse life experiences. Originally from Michigan, he has lived and worked in New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, Raleigh and Charlotte, NC.  He has traveled in 40 states and visited 23 countries. He has high-fived Elton John during a concert and has been the only non-African American member of a historic black Baptist Church in Chicago. His is firmly rooted in Charlotte, NC where he enjoys quality time with his three kids.

Contact David at You’ll be glad you did.

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People Who Make a Difference: Chris Adams

May 6, 2013

Chris AdamsI first met Chris Adams in 1984. We were roommates at the UNCG infirmary. Somehow, that experience forged a bond between us. Over the past 29 years I’ve kept an eye on Chris’ career; he’s a consummate professional. Chris is caring and articulate, entrenched in our community and gives of his time, energy and resources. Chris has encouraged me both personally and professionally. I’m honored to call Chris Adams a friend.  

Chris is a native of Durham, NC. He’s enjoyed a 25 year career in the hospitality industry with several brands including Sheraton, Omni, Fairfield, Hilton, Best Western, Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, as well as several independent branded products. Chris has served in various community organizations including stints as a Board Member on the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Guilford Merchants Association, Workforce Development, Hayes Taylor YMCA, Win-Win Resolutions, Foster Friends of NC, Board of Visitors at Guilford College, Circle of Pride at Greensboro College, Guilford County Hotel Motel Association, and the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has a real heart and desire to help others fulfill their passion and purpose both personally and professionally with an upgraded mindset of focus, motivation, and action. There is a star in each of us and each has a responsibility to encourage, energize, and engage one another to bring it to the surface.

Click here to check out Chris on LinkedIn.

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People Who Make a Difference: Joey Slepp

February 18, 2013

Joey SleppI’ve heard that people come into our lives for a reason, season, or lifetime. Joey Slepp one of those lifetime friends. We met over 20 years ago and a lot has changed for both of us since then. You’ll find several references to Joey (AKA Joey from Jersey) in my book, Your Employees Have Quit—They Just Haven’t Left.

Joey has been a high level sales professional for 20+ years.  He has been consistently recognized with multiple awards for quota attainment such as Achiever’s Club as well as a Values in Action award. He attributes his perennial success to serving his clients and prospects with a consultative approach. Joey solves business problems while forging long-term loyal relationships. He also understands the value in networking and building the “brand” which represents industry and technology expertise. He is willing to share his experience and expertise in helping other professionals achieve their goals.

Joey is working to make a difference in our local community. He has been active with, and currently a Board member in, the Crescent Rotary Club and enjoys community service projects working alongside other professionals. Joey also serves on the Board of Directors for Adult Center of Enrichment, a non-profit whose mission is to enrich the lives of impaired adults, their families and the community through adult day services, respite care, education and support.

Joey has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Wake Forest University and an MBA from UNC-Greensboro. He is married to Karen, a middle school teacher in Kernersville, and between them have 5 children ranging in ages from 24 to 18.

Click here to visit Joey’s LinkedIn profile.

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People Who Make a Difference: Carol Wise

January 3, 2013

Carol Wise is a wonderful example of how life can unfold. She demonstrates what it means to live intentionally. She’s encouraged me to see life as a connection of meaningful events that lead me to become the person I’m intended to be. She could do the same for you. As the founder of Coaching Partners, Carol helps her clients achieve what they want for themselves. She works with clients from a variety of industries, including: accounting, software and IT development, leadership training and development, artists, writers, web designers, researchers, and HR managers. Carol uses her creativity to help her clients fine-tune their priorities. In 2012 she lead a 6-week course based on The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.

Carol lives what she teaches. In mid-life she changed her life and now helps others who struggle with change. With her children grown and out of the nest, Carol’s focus has shifted toward social justice and helping a wider community. In 2010, Carol moved to Durham, NC in pursuit of the next phase of her development, non-profit work and consulting. She promptly received her certification in Non Profit Management from Duke University. In 2011 she was accepted into the prestigious Master’s program at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

Most recently, Carol has delivered presentations on Advance Care Planning and The Five Wishes. She is passionate about healthy families and advocates for our Aging loved ones. She works with A Helping Hand, a Triangle non-profit agency serving the needs of the Aging community.

In her spare time, Carol enjoys traveling and celebrated the New Year in Panama. Never far from nature and salt water, Carol’s blog reflects what motivates and drives her, plus offers some concrete ideas for working and living.

Click here to visit Carol’s blog site.

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People Who Make a Difference: Merikay Tillman

December 1, 2012

I first met Merikay Tillman over a decade ago. Her effervescent spirit is captivating; to say that Merikay is a bundle of energy is an understatement. She’s also a giving, caring, and committed friend who’s helped professionals grow and improve for over 15 years. Merikay H. Tillman, M.S. is the founder of COACH MKay Companies, LLC an organization excelling in transforming teams from dysfunction to dynamic. She serves as a catalyst, inspiring people to create powerful connections and improve relationships and business results. 

Merikay’s first love has always been Healthcare. While studying dental assisting, she realized that practicing dentistry every day wasn’t her calling; however, along the way she discovered her passion for helping dentists run practices more efficiently and manage people more effectively. This led Merikay to work as a consultant for two healthcare firms helping dental practices and physician groups build their teams and business results. Currently Merikay is the Patient Experience Coach for High Point Regional Health System—leading the charge to enhance team relations and improve patient satisfaction. She speaks to associations nationally about the power of teams, communications and success strategies. Merikay is featured in the book series Stepping Stones to Success with other experts including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, and Dr. Denis Waitley. She’s released her first audio book titled: 99 StressBusters, How to Conquer Stress in Your Personal and Professional Life.

Merikay demonstrates her commitment to leadership within the community over the years as the President of Triad Networks, Key Professional Leads Group and Leadership Advisor for the High Point Chamber of Commerce for 8 years. She’s currently the corporate effort chair for the ALS Association, Catfish Hunter Chapter, honoring her friend, former CPA, Brigitte Gann who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease 3 years ago.  

Merikay is supported by her talented husband Jeff (when they first met he told her he was from LA… she didn’t know that meant Lower Archdale) a political consultant and songwriter. She’s proud mom to Melinda—an aspiring teacher enrolled at Greensboro College, Harrison—an ambitious athletic shoe designer and youth pastor attending Kiser Middle School, and Emma Freda—future singer and actress attending Sternberger Elementary School.

Click here to visit Merikay’s website.

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People Who Make a Difference: Tom Stratton

October 31, 2012

I’ve known Tom Stratton for over 10 years. I’ve discovered that he’s authentic. Tom’s the same person in and out of work; that’s uncommon—so is Tom. He exhibits a rare balance of people and process skills. Now in his fourth decade of helping people, Tom has served others across roles in Sales, Training, HR, Organization Development, Lean Manufacturing and, most recently “Pricing.”  Tom successfully discerns and satisfies underlying human needs while working through human interaction disagreements, disappointment, and discouragement.  Building on shared values and aspirations he catalyzes change and brings forth fresh new opportunities.  His work is a history of creating or repairing human interactions in service of individual or corporate objectives. 

Tom demonstrates great passion for understanding and realizing the many benefits of our human diversity. He’s a trusted advisor in a number of long standing relationships and particularly enjoys mentoring young people.  His professional training includes an undergraduate degree in Agriculture Education and completion of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland’s Organization and Systems Development program.  Intellectually curious, Tom invests a lot of time and energy in learning and evolving his thinking across a wide range of topics.  Relationally, Tom takes an open stance and engages with a diverse community of friends, colleagues, associates, and acquaintances in order to better understand our shared humanity. 

Highlights in Tom’s long corporate career include: Pioneering new sales territories, building a new Learning and Development function, enabling the turnaround of a manufacturing site, leading local, country, and global change programs, consulting to large scale change programs at chemical plants, creating and leading a management development program, and now creating a pricing function in his firm. 

Helping others is a family affair. Tom’s wife, Janet, a Financial Advisor, his daughter, Betsy, a Youth Minister and his younger daughter, Samantha, a Physician Assistant, all contribute to the Spiritual, Physical, Financial and Relational health of their shared community. Beyond his corporate role, Tom and Janet, lead a Sunday Morning “Marriage Enrichment” class at First Christian Church in Kernersville, NC. Looking toward the future, Tom is seeking opportunities to employ his public speaking capabilities. 

Visit Tom’s LinkedIn profile by clicking here.

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People Who Make a Difference: Gary Bradt

September 4, 2012

Gary Bradt will tell you his truth. For me, it was what I needed to hear. He was on a team of trusted colleagues who provided feedback and edits for my book, Your Employees Have Quit—They Just Haven’t Left. I didn’t always like to hear Gary’s feedback; that’s why I respect him. He cares enough to say what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. Ultimately, every time I heeded his advice and made the recommended changes, my writing got better. That’s what good coaching does for us; it helps us get better.

Dr. Gary Bradt is an author, clinical psychologist, leadership consultant, C-Suite executive coach and speaker on the topic of adapting to and leading through change. In 2000 Gary gained national notoriety when he became the leading speaker for Dr. Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese. “Cheese” gave thousands of people the chance to get acquainted with Gary’s extraordinary ability to cut through their frustration and fear and get to the heart of the matter; delivering powerful tools that help them adapt when going through change.

Gary established a strong following as an executive coach and speaker long before Spencer Johnson asked him to be the messenger for his groundbreaking book. He began his leadership development career in 1987 with a respected leadership development consultancy. There he helped client companies launch proven leadership strategies and processes, which turned change and tough times into an opportunity to transform themselves and their performance. His mantra – adapt and ignite! – is a rallying cry for success in these tumultuous times.

Gary earned his BA in psychology from Duquesne, University in Pittsburgh PA. He earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from Hahnemann University and Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, which in 2007 honored him with the “Excellence in Professional Psychology” award. Only the second graduate to be so recognized at the time, this award underscored Dr. Bradt’s contributions to the field of professional psychology through his achievements as an author, leadership consultant/coach and world-class speaker.

Click here to visit Gary’s website.
Click here to view Gary’s book The Ring in the Rubble.

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People Who Make a Difference: Meredith Oliver

August 5, 2012

Meredith Oliver is one of my colleagues from the National Speakers Association Carolinas Chapter, we work beside each other on the board of directors. Meredith, aka The Digital Diva, is an Internet sales and marketing expert, a professional speaker, as well as a consultant and author. She also has an engaging and radiant personality.

Meredith is the founder and president of Creating WOW Communications; a Web marketing and sales training company delivering services such as website development, search engine optimization and social media marketing. Creating WOW Communications works with a variety of industries including marketing for home builders, senior communities, apartment communities, professional speakers, associations and small businesses.

Meredith holds a Masters Degree in Communication Technology from the prestigious Rollins College and a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Central Florida majoring in Psychology. She has 10 years of Internet Marketing experience developing websites and online campaigns for small and medium size businesses.

As a professional speaker, Meredith delivers keynote speeches, workshops, webinars and seminars. She speaks most often to business owners and sales people in the housing industry. She has spoken to a number of other industries, including home building, general real estate, healthcare, education, association, insurance, technology, and temporary staffing.

Meredith is a published author of two books, Click Power and The Fan Factor. Both books are available online and at her seminars. She is the author of numerous social media video tutorials and a social media boot camp.

She holds the MIRM (Master of Residential Marketing) and MCSP (Master Certified Sales Person) designations. She is the second vice-chair of the Institute of Residential Marketing. Meredith is also a member of the Triangle Sales & Marketing Council of the Home Builders Association of Wake County.

Meredith lives in Raleigh, N.C. with her husband, son and two shih tzus.

Click here to visit Meredith’s blog.

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