Inspirational Speaker, Chris Wallace, to inspire you.
2020 Erskine B. Bowles State Service Award Recipient
2017 Diversity Award Recipient
2017 Hometown Hero Award Recipient
2016 Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award Recipient
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Chris, a Fayetteville, North Carolina native and graduate of one of the nation's finest Historical Black Colleges and Universities, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, is a four time award-winning and 10 time award nominated youth and undergraduate program director, a strong advocate for youth and a lifelong public servant, by way of his extensive work in the community and continued work with youth and young adults. Chris has served in roles as Youth Development Directors, has worked in Communications with the National Football League's Carolina Panthers and has served with a myriad of youth leadership and service organizations such as Upward Bound, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the YMCA, National Youth Sports Program and others. He comfortably utilizes his lifelong love of learning, genuine affection and sense of humor with his audiences to help him achieve his ultimate goal of inspiring others.
Chris spent most of his formative years in one of the state's poorest and most crime-ridden communities in Fayetteville, North Carolina at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, primarily in a single-parent home with his father, who abused drugs and alcohol. Chris, who didn't formally meet his mother until he was 16 years old, spent a considerable amount of time looking for her and wondered why his mother didn't want him or love him. Even after meeting his mother, she'd often, in moments of anger and frustration, call Chris names, berate his father and tell Chris "I could have thrown you in a garbage can somewhere and no one would have known." Chris and his father moved eight times during ages 5-16, from roach-infested home to home, because of eviction, with Chris' father even spending time under the stars. They spent time on the couches of other friends/family and Chris' father stayed in a one-room motel for a lengthy period of time while Chris stayed with his grandmother during his latter years in high school. Chris was often bullied in school for his home life and appearance, which often included shabby clothing that wasn't washed, not having adequate air in the summer or heat in the winter, not always having running water and often having food shortages in his home. Having overcome this adversity with the strength of a support system who believed in him, including his dad, grandmother, several aunts and uncles, neighbors Mrs. Jones, Mrs. McEachern, Tonya, his youth league baseball and football coaches (Coach Blue, Coach Abraham and Coach Smokey) and a host of others, Chris went on to graduate from Terry Sanford Senior High School in Fayetteville and continued his academic growth, attending North Carolina A&T State University and earning a degree in 2003. Chris then attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, earning a second degree in 2006, before earning a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Duke in 2011 through a special program with the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.
In February 2020, Chris was named the Erskine B. Bowles Service Award Winner for the State of North Carolina, a statewide honor which recognizes one person in the state for exemplary community service and displaying generosity in contributions of time, energy and spirit to campuses and communities. He was presented this award in June 2020. In April 2016, Chris was awarded the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), an annual and prestigious award that recognizes outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina and is characterized by inspiring and helping others to serve as well as ensuring the impact is lasting. This award, which Chris was also nominated for in 2014 and 2018, is one of UNC's highest public service honors. Chris was honored as the 2017 Special Recognition recipient of the University of North Carolina's Diversity award for commitment to diversity and inclusion, an award which is considered the university’s highest recognition for diversity efforts and recognizes individuals or organizations for exemplary service or scholarship in promoting diversity, equity, social justice, community engagement and/or cultural awareness. In 2016, WCHL in Chapel Hill awarded Chris a "Hometown Hero" award, an award which recognizes individuals for going above and beyond in the community. In 2019, Chris was nominated for the Employee Forum’s “Hall of Fame” award, an award that goes to the staff member of the year who consistently exemplifies the University's mission of integrity, collaboration, respect and high level customer service. He was featured in the Fayetteville Observer newspaper in a series entitled "Poverty in Fayetteville, Poverty's Price," authored by veteran reporter Greg Barnes on April 30, 2016. This can be viewed on the "Article about Chris" tab above. Chris travels the states speaking to students about self-discovery, overcoming adversity and student engagement, which challenges them to become the best versions of themselves in spite of the challenges they face. Chris uses a unique approach that encourages individuals to unpack their feelings of doubt, worthlessness, uncertainty and fear in a constructive manner which proves that they are not alone in their struggles. Chris' desire to serve and speak is driven by his upbringing in poverty, the service of his youth league baseball coach (Henry "Pap" Blue) and the work of his grandparents, where his grandfather's selfless service in the U.S. Army and his grandmother's commitment to service in the community serving meals to displaced or less fortunate men, women and children while also serving at voter registration booths, made them the ultimate heroes and role models. Even more, Chris is inspired by his father's own ability to overcome adversity as a single-parent raising a son while battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
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*Chris' speaking engagements generally range from 15 minutes up to 1.5 hours*
*Target population: 6th grade thru adult*
Why should you invite Chris to speak?
Chris’ presentation entitled "You didn't come this far just to come THIS far," discusses self-discovery, overcoming adversity, the power of community service & engagement, leadership and love. This allows attendees an opportunity to learn strategies to increase leadership skills, establish their foundations as individuals and serve with purpose, helping them to become the very best versions of themselves. His presentation style is one that not only allows Chris to share his amazing story but also provides a unique, intimate experience for all participants, who will have opportunities to be intimately involved and invested in the presentation. This approach sends an undeniable message to all participants that the presentation isn’t just FOR them…..it’s WITH them. By presenting in this manner, Chris encourages participants to unpack their feelings of doubt, worthlessness, uncertainty and fear in a constructive manner, which proves that they are not alone in their struggles. Chris has received hundreds of letters, notes and messages from students, parents and school administrators, who were gracious and thankful for such an approach. One 11th grade student recently wrote “Hi Mr. Wallace. I know you already came to my school but I just wanted to tell you that ever since you came to my school, I have been taking your advice and have been changing the people around me who are trying to stop me from becoming the real me. I just want to say thank you so much. I just had to tell you that. You are a nice person and I hope you bless other kids like you blessed me. Thank you and God bless you.” As you scroll through the website and view images, videos and read testimonials, you’ll see, feel, read and hear a consistency in the enormous impact that ChrisInspiresYou makes on participants.
What will guests gain from this?
In this session, guests will learn:
-More about Chris' amazing story and how he was able to escape the grasp of his poverty-stricken community.
-Learn how self-discovery, overcoming adversity, the power of community service & engagement, leadership and love are pathways to success, allowing students to see the world around them in new ways.
-Learn how adversity is a part of life but the strength of a support system, beginning with a stronger belief in self, helps one to overcome such adversity.
-Learn to become better, stronger advocates of self and the community.
-Learn the steps in building and sustaining youth development programs.