Showcase – Kerri Eileen Gardner – Public speaker/Author
On the 6th of August 2016 Kerri contacted us with a support question about her website. After taking a very short glance on her site I quickly realised Kerri runs an amazing business. She does suicide prevention by being a Youth Motivational Speaker as well as an author. According to World Health Organization, approximately one million people commit suicide each year worldwide, that is about one death every 40 seconds or 3,000 per day. What that means is for each individual who takes his/her own life, at least 20 attempts to do so and the age groups are typically from 8 to 24. Through this interview you can learn more about who Kerri is, as well as her business.
Could you give an introduction of yourself and your business?
My target audience is youth and young adult from ages 10 to 24. Currently I am sending query emails to Middle, High Schools and Colleges here in Raleigh NC and through the state of North Carolina. I do not target a specific region as my topic on suicide prevention, anti-bullying and how to overcome it is Universal. My audience are dealing with problems at home; either divorce, mental, physical or emotional abuse. They may have a parent going through an illness, or have lost a close relative/pet recently.
There is also the social media of today that is great for promotion of your business but has truly changed the world of social interaction with our youth and young adults. They have no concept on how to interact with one another and this adds to the bullying problem as well. Once you could go home from school and shut the door from the pressures of being a teen, being bullied or feeling as if you didn’t fit in. Now you cannot get away from social media. It’s easy to bully without the person bullying feeling any consequences when they press send: and sent an horrible message on that person’s FB page, twitter etc. they are “ugly, fat, stupid, post naked photos, etc. and suggest this person should die”. Doing this in a second and not caring or realizing the fatal consequences this action could lead to.
Because of social media there has been an new form of Virtual Bullying, there are new Virtual Bullying Departments in Police stations now dealing with the onslaught of this epidemic which typically leads to suicide. Being a suicide survivor, I know exactly what these kids are feeling regardless it’s been 30 years since my attempt on my life. I’m also a mother and have had to deal with my own children being bullied, to the point our own son at the age of 8 years old was bullied in 2nd grade by a boy his own age. The boy and the little gang of boys he formed would take great pleasure in beating our son up at recess and threatening him to kill him with his father’s gun. After months of being bullied our son tried to stand in front of a moving vehicle thinking his life would be better at age 8 to die.
Because of what I’ve lived through and now have had to witness and help with our children I am very passionate on stopping bullying, educating these amazing kids they are all extraordinary and are meant to be here. Regardless of their past or current circumstances they do not have to take a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The pain will go away with asking for help, finding hope, changing their mindset and pursuing their passion on what will make them happy and sharing their dreams/goals with people/family who love, care and will support them.
What motivates you to do the work you do / get up in the morning?
My husband and our 3 kids are my life, my passion as well as the kids in the schools/colleges I know I can help. I want to change mindsets and hopefully save a life. This is my burning desire as I get out of bed each morning.
How long have you been in this business?
I’ve been an author for 3 years writing my book, I published this past January 9th 2016 and been speaking ever since.
What is the thing you are most proud of?
I am most proud that I was able to move past my depression and a suicide attempt which was not an easy feet. This has allowed me to find the love of my life, have a family and adventures I would never have able to experience if I had succeeded in killing myself. I am also proud that I have finally gotten over being ashamed of myself for trying to take my life at 13, which enabled me to write my story in order to help others who read it.
What made you decide to create a website for your business and what’s the main purpose of it?
My website is vital, completely necessary for my speaker/author business. It’s my calling card so to speak. It’s used to show prospective clients where I have spoken, references from schools, articles I’ve written and printed in the paper/magazine etc. Podcasts I’ve been on, newspaper interviews etc. It’s a virtual resume in essence and is required for schools, colleges, conferences etc. for hiring me to speak at their next event. Call to Action is “contact Kerri to have her speak at your next event”.
Did you build the website yourself, or did someone or some company build it for you?
My husband and I built it myself. When in doubt I sent an email to customer service and received help within 24 hours. I’ve also had the opportunity of having Gert Bark be a great help on areas on my website I was not able to reference a video in order to fix a problem. He’s been a great help! From start to finish about 10 days to 2 weeks to finish my website.
How much time did it take from start to finish to build it? What is the best tip or experience you can share with other people who plan to build a website for their business in your profession?
The best tip I would recommend is to do your research on other websites in the profession you are in. Find things you like and wish to implement into your website and then either do it yourself or like me find a website theme that has 90% of what you required to build your website. After paying $1500 dollars for a terrible website that I had to scrap, then trying 2 other themed website that just didn’t work, it was wonderful to finally find a website through Nexus that had 90% of what I was looking for. For me, my main interests were layout, flow of the website, ease to create it, and how it was mobile/other device friendly. All of these must haves were met by using the speaker theme from Nexus. I also loved how user friendly the theme is for not so technical people like myself. I’ve already referred the Speaker theme out to many of my speaker friends.
What's your business plan for the future / upcoming 12 months?
My business plan is to book 25 paid speaking engagements throughout North Carolina and others states, building my reputation as a Youth Motivational Speaker/Author and helping as many kids/administration by educating them on Suicide prevention and steps to keeping positive from the prospective of a Suicide survivor. While I build my speaking business these next 12 months, my family and I are currently selling all we own to purchase a Seismic Wave 412W Toy Hauler RV and Ford F450 truck to move into full time this June 2017. Our plans are to travel the 50 states, Canada, Nova Scotia showing our kids another way at life than a 9 to 5 job, and I’ll be taking my business on the road, speaking through the 50 states, etc.
If there’s anything else you like to share, let us know!
This Thursday, Sept. 1st 2016, I’ll be featured in the BareFoot Vegan Magazine.
Gert-Jan is co-founder and Lead developer. I am very thankful to have found my two great passions early in live; the first one is my passion to build and create things (both in the real and virtual world; whether its building castles from wooden blocks, lego structures or virtual things like software), and the other one is passion to want to know the fundamentals of how and why things work the way they do (my curiosity).