by Mark A. Cohen
Transcribed in 2011, Written : Aug. 2013 and Jan. 29, 2014
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Continued from Part II, posted on August 15, 2013.
Many years ago my wife and I struggled to make ends meet. I thought that selling Amway products would work for us, and persuaded her to try it. While others succeeded at it, we failed miserably; we had trouble convincing others to buy. I don’t blame Amway, we simply didn’t possess the required skills. During our Amway experiment, we purchased several cassette tapes from the company at the suggestion of our sponsor. Most of them bored me, but a single tape stood out. I listened to it often and I’ve quoted it many times. One of the two founders of the Amway Corporation, Rich DeVos, spoke in front of a group of about 1,800 young people at the 23rd annual Junior Achievers conference. I believe this occurred sometime in 1966. His use of words may seem outdated, and DeVos might not express himself the same way today, but the message is “right on!”
Rich DeVos, Part III:
I gave a talk one day in a high school and I talked about smoking, you know. I’d made some comments about the fact that it’s an interesting thing that when you’re your age [young, like his audience], it’s real [inaudible] stuff [he means it’s cool] to smoke. And when you’re my age you’re a big shot if you can quit. Now, that’s an interesting thing. But I made some implications that I didn’t approve of smoking –
Co-founder Jay Van Andel, Steve Van Andel, current president Doug DeVos, and co-founder Rich DeVos
One young gal comes up to me afterward and she says, “I’ll have you know, I smoke.
I says, “You’re kidding.” She was a high schooler.
She says, “No, I do.” I said, “I don’t believe you.”
She said, “Really, I smoke.”
“Nawww,” I said. (laughter) “You don’t smoke, honey, the cigarette smokes, you’re just the sucker! Ya gotta remember that. (loud laughter, and applause)
I mentioned the fact that you’re the leader, you’re the comer, you’re the go-er, you’re the achiever. And as such, others will follow you.
DeVos and Van Andel with TV icon Walter Cronkite in 1986
But as you progress, and as you assume your roles of leadership, and as you excel, I want you to remember something. That one of the greatest problems we’ve got in America today outside the racial strife that’s going on [remember, this was during the 1960’s] and we all deplore – is the equal respect for each other.
One of the things any minority group is seeking is just respect me for what I am. Don’t give me any favors. I’m not asking for that. Most of them aren’t asking for that. They’re just asking for equal respect and equal opportunity. And, it’s all of us that are going to change that. That won’t happen by accident.
But you see, I see it happening between groups of people. Between classes of people as well as groups – and racial groups.
I’d give this guy the microphone, anytime.
And, so, the man says, “Well, I went to college.” Well, that’s alright, I hope you all go to college. I hope you all graduate. But you know about half the kids coming out of school aren’t going to go to college.
And, although you may have a greater responsibility because you have greater talent… As a man or a woman you’re not necessarily better than the ones who didn’t. I want you to remember that.
I want you to remember that, the next time that fellow comes by who picks up the garbage at your house. He’s a fellow American who’s using his talent to do what he can do. But he, too, is a part of the great mainstream of American life.
This is the end of Part III, and I’ll cover the amazing conversation he had with his garbage man in Part IV, next time.
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Mark A. Cohen will soon be a published author, as the Castle Rock Writers are under contract to write and publish The Chronicles of Douglas County, Colorado, in 2014.
Mark A. Cohen is currently seeking representation for his memoir, From The Left to the Right.
Mark A. Cohen is currently represented by book agent Katharine Sands, of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, for a joint venture with published author Sarah Darer Littman on a project which will detail the ins and outs of dollar bill tracking on WheresGeorge.com.
Mark A. Cohen is a member of and helps run the Parker Writers Group (Check out their Facebook page here)
Or, see the Parker Writers Group Web page here
Mark A. Cohen’s web site, www.mark-cohen.com, is up, but still under construction…please continue to bear with me! (I find difficulty in doing it all… someday…)
Mark A. Cohen is a member of the Castle Rock Writers, their web page is here. Please check out their web page, and The Castle Rock Writers Facebook page is here – please ‘like’ it!
Mark A. Cohen currently sits on the committee which hosted the previous Castle Rock Writers Conference on October 23, 2013. He is currently their Vice-Treasurer. The group, whose motto is Rock Solid Writing, is seeking its 501c3.
The Castle Rock Writers will hold their next, low-cost Castle Rock Writers Conference on Saturday, October 4, 2014 (Ten, Four), at the Douglas County Events Center in Castle Rock, Colorado. Please visit The Castle Rock Writers web page. Registration for the next conference is not open yet.
Mark A. Cohen plans to speak at the Douglas County Republicans’ First Friday Breakfast sometime in 2014.
Mark A. Cohen plans to speak at the Parker Writers Group meeting on July 13, 2014.
Mark A. Cohen spoke for about 20 minutes at the Coffee4Conservatives meeting at the Firehouse on State Road 83, in Franktown, CO, on Oct. 21, 2012.
Mark A. Cohen spoke for about 30 minutes at the Douglas County Republicans’ First Friday Breakfast in Parker, CO, held at The War Horse Inn, on Dec. 2, 2011.
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