Ep. 039 – Greg Bennick, Public Speaker & Director of One Hundred For Haiti (A Seattle Non-Profit)

Ep. 039 – Greg Bennick, Public Speaker & Director of One Hundred For Haiti (A Seattle Non-Profit)

This week’s guest is Greg Bennick, a public speaker and Executive Director for the Seattle based non-profit, One Hundred for Haiti. Greg got started as an entertainer in his early teens and has been doing public speaking, communicating ideas and engaging with audiences (as a musician in touring bands & as a speaker) ever since.

Highlights From This Episode:

Greg started performing around 13 years old and quickly discovered that people pay far more attention to ideas when they are entertained. He currently does public speaking in two main avenues; The corporate, business and special events realm and doing spoken word at independent  (often punk rock related) events around the world. While they seem like very different things… they are really quite similar, as communicating ideas, having people connect with those ideas in an entertaining and engaging way, is something that is really important to Greg. So communicating has always been part of his life.

Greg’s involvement with Haiti came about differently. Since Greg makes his living speaking, he doesn’t have a “day job” and so when the earthquake in Haiti happened in 2010, he had the time and flexibility in his schedule to actually go to Haiti and help. Some friends and him sailed on a sailboat with thousands of pounds of supplies and food and (as far as he knows) were the first private relief boat to hit the southern coast of Haiti. This wasn’t his first time to Haiti but after seeing the situation and condition that his friends were in after the earthquake, he decided that he had to do more… and One Hundred for Haiti was born.

Using his experience and ideas he has learned from the punk rock scene and the do it yourself culture, he knew he could make a direct impact for Haiti on a couple select issues that they decided to focus on. He wanted to make sure that the model for helping was one that supports and empowers the Haitians to provide the resources and jobs for them to provide the solution themselves, as opposed to “swooping in” as American rescuers and doing the work on the ground that the Haitians can do and want to do themselves. Haitian run on Haitian terms, by Haitians, for Haitians. One Hundred for Haiti simply provides the support, money and supplies to empower the Haitians to provide the solutions for a better quality of life for the people in Haiti.

As an organization, they run very lean with all volunteers (no paid staff), so that all the donations go directly to paying for supplies (not salaries and airfare).

Their focus is on two initiatives: The Rural Water Project & GTPE (a Creole acronym that stands for the working group for the protection of children).

Rural Water Project: In North Haiti, cholera was a huge issue a couple years ago and some friends of his started a group called Peace Work Medical, where they helped the Haitians build cisterns that were fed by naturally occurring springs, where the water could be treated if there was another cholera outbreak. These cisterns were especially effective and when Peace Work was done with their work in Haiti, Greg asked if he could take over the 20+ cisterns they had built. They now have over 40 sites, all requested made by Haitians, built by Haitians and managed by Haitians. Since having started the Rural Water Project, there have been no cholera deaths in the regions where they have helped build these cisterns… and that is what they are trying to maintain.

GTPE: In the south portion of Haiti, sexual assault has been rampant and GTPE is the program their anti-sexual assault and education and the only one of it’s kind in South Haiti. One Hundred for Haiti is the sole funder of this anti-sexual assault education initiative.

One Hundred for Haiti is entirely funded by individual private donations, with the exception of one very generous corporate sponsor, LUSH. Greg has been involved with the Punk Rock scene for a long time and there are a number of band’s that have gotten behind them to help raise money during concert tours, like the Seattle band, Wake of Humanity and the Detroit band, Hallow Earth. Greg used to tour with the band Trial for many years.

  • What do you love most about what you do? With the speaking business, Greg loves the challenge and unpredictable nature of owning your own business. With OHfH, Greg loves the idea that a group of dedicated individuals and work together and make a difference.
  • Of all the speaking engagements you have done, from the small grassroots events to Fortune 100 Corporations, which was your favorite speaking gig and why? A retreat event on the East Coast, for a friend he went to high school with for her travel agency (Largay Travel).
  • What was your biggest challenges with running your own business? While Greg loves what he does, finding new business is super challenging, as there is not a huge market for public speakers (like there might be for hairdressers or another service that nearly everyone will use). And if there is a major apocalyptic event, no one is going to be running around asking where they can find an entertaining keynote speaker 😉. With One Hundred For Haiti, the biggest challenge is keeping the energy for support flowing and keep people involved in a genuine way.
  • What is the best advice you have ever received?  As greg was talking to his mom one day, updating her on all the things he had been doing in Haiti, travel and such… and when he got to the end of telling her all about his recent exciting adventures, she turned to him and said, “The shave of all this is that you doubt yourself”. She had uncovered a theme of anxiety and self-doubt in Greg, of him wondering if he was doing enough in Haiti, with his speaking, travel, making a difference in the world, etc. What she was saying is for him to strip away the self-doubt, “you are doing everything you can be doing… get excited about that, do more of it and go bigger and leave all the self-doubt behind”. It’s a conscious choice to reject that negative self-talk each day.
  • Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites? S-Town Podcast (from Serial and This American Life), not to be confused with “Sea-Town Podcast“. He also mentions How Stuff Works and the first season of Serial.
  • What is your one book recommendation for our listeners? “The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle” by Steven Pressfield & Earnest Becker’s, “The Denial of Death“.
  • Parting Guidance – “In the midst of all of our self-doubt and negativity in the world, let’s all make one choice TODAY that does something good in the world, to counteract that”.
    • Write in to the show or leave a comment letting us know what YOU DID TODAY to counter act the negative voices. 

Episode Links & Resources:

Ways to Subscribe to The Sea-Town Podcast:

Help Us Spread The Word – Reviews Help a Ton!

Thanks for joining me again this week. If you have any tips, suggestions, or comments about this episode – email me at ChristianH@Sea-TownPodcast.com. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post. Thank you! And finally, please leave an honest review for The Sea-Town Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and I read each and every one of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.