Colorado DECA 2018 Speaking Recap

by | Mar 12, 2018 | Speaking Recap, Students And Educators Speaking

I believe that one of the most important things you can do to live an exciting and fulfilling is that whenever you’re faced with a challenge, you say “yes” first and then figure out the “how” later! It’s so common for people to get overwhelmed by their goals before even starting them because they’re living in the future opposed to the present moment. I believe that anyone can achieve anything they desire if they embrace the unknown and fully commit to what’s required of them.

It was such an honor to present a motivational leadership keynote for 3,000+ amazing high school students at the 2018 DECA State Conference which took place at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. There were plenty of moments leading up to this event that could have derailed my mission of delivering the best keynote they’ve ever had at this annual event and impacting thousands of lives by providing a framework for living a fulfilling life. Through various talks with the organizers and production coordinators, I was told that I had my work cut out for me; some of their past speakers only lasted 10 minutes before walking off stage due to the overpowering energy that thousands of high schools are able to generate. I knew that I just needed to say “yes” without overthinking it so I could remain completely present during the presentation and focus on my number one priority – providing an exceptional experience for everyone in the room.

I have a strong desire to impact youth because I feel that what I speak on in my Bucket List Life keynote could help them avoid many costly mistakes in life that may lead to getting stuck or, even worse, having regrets in the future. I feel it’s especially important to empower the students I speak in front of to live more fulfilled so as they develop into future leaders, they remember the power of creating new experiences, building deeper relationships, and most importantly, helping others. For this event in particular, I tailored my message towards leadership by driving home the point that our legacy is defined by the people we help.

During the keynote, I knew that the audience would mirror the energy I put in and with that large of a crowd, it was imperative to give them my absolute best. Following the presentation, the feedback was phenomenal and the kids loved it! I was so fired up to hear all of the powerful takeaways and breakthroughs attendees when they approached me throughout the remainder of the event. It was a true pleasure to hear that Everett Vaughan, the Colorado DECA State Advisor, said my presentation was the best that they’ve ever had at their State Conference in the 11 years he’s held his position. The students stayed engaged and energized throughout the entire keynote which means that achieved what I set out to do!

Overall, it was a truly amazing experience and honor to speak for the Colorado DECA State Conference. I believe organizations like this are invaluable to the development of the future generations and I greatly look forward to helping out other chapters provide a memorable and impactful experience for their members!


I thought it was a great opening ceremony. It was really cool having him there and seeing what he had to say. It was really exciting when he climbed on top of the ladder. Just living in the moment. It was really cool seeing all the experiences that he’s done just because he went out of his comfort zone, and just didn’t hold anything back. I think he did a great job! I would definitely recommend him.

Student, DECA

He pretty much just talked about being able to take care of people and creating new experiences. I feel like it was a lot more personal in relation to last year’s speaker, and it was something that we actually wanted to talk about because it’s our lives and not something like boring statistical stuff.

Something powerful he talked about was how to live life in the moment. I thought it was powerful because you never know when your last day is gonna be and you take a lot of stuff for granted. So, it’s really important to live in the moment. He was awesome. I think his talk would perfect for high school students or adults or anybody really. Would absolutely recommend!


Student, DECA

He’s a really good speaker, and he made me think of some stuff I’ve never really thought about before like everyone’s life could be turned into a two hour movie and how it would inspire other people. It was both engaging and exciting. It was really fun. The group he was speaking to was high school students, and sometimes it’s hard to keep them engaged because they go on their phones and stuff. But, everyone there was really engaged and no one went on their phones or anything. He was great!

Student, DECA

His presentation was really good! I just felt so inspired after he talked, and it made me want to put myself out there and try new things. Also, he asked for a lot of participation which allowed us to engage with him and it really helped us to understand what he was saying better. I would absolutely recommend him to talk to other students.

Student, DECA

I thought his presentation was great. One of the most powerful takeaways for me was when he talked about the importance of rising above your environment; there’s a lot of people out there that try to talk you down and talk you out of decisions, and so it reiterated even more so what my parents always tell me and try to instill in me.

During the breakout session, he brought me up and we talked about my goal to win the Masters at least once. He asked what steps am I taking to get there, what actions am I taking, what actions can I take in the future, and so he just kind of stepped me in the process to get there. It was something that, luckily, I’ve had some mentors that have helped me do that along the way, and it’s always good to be able to go through it again and just kind of ingrain it in my mind more and more. It was a powerful experience.


Student, DECA

Kenyon’s message was so relevant and inspiring and it really showed that no goal is too high for anybody. The visuals were awesome. His energy was contagious and overall, he did an excellent job.

There were over 3,200+ high school kids in attendance and he handled the audience like a pro. I was so impressed with him. I mean they gave him a run for his money and he just … He reeled them back in. He knew exactly when they were getting a little too excited for the room and he was able to get them right back on track.

The most powerful takeaway was that he really showed that his message related to really everybody, whether it’s a high school audience, college audience, or a professional. I mean anybody could take something away from his message.

I would absolutely recommend, Kenyon! He did a wonderful job.

Charlotte Raybourn

Founder, Charlotte Raybourn Speaker Management

I’ve been the State Advisor for DECA for the past 11 years and I’d probably say Kenyon is the number one speaker we’ve ever brought in.

What Kenyon has to say ties into our mission statement extremely well; we want to build young entrepreneurs and we want to build the leaders of tomorrow. The topics that he touches on and how he presents it leads directly to that – to be that individual, to step up, to come forward, to make yourself that better person that’s going to go on and do something in life.

Kenyon came to our Colorado Marketing Education Association Conference for a conference for our professional organization and presented a keynote at our conference. The advisors there loved it, thought he’d be great for our kids so we decided to bring him to our State Conference.

The past experiences with keynote speakers we’ve brought in have been the students getting very disconnected from the speaker. The kids aren’t energized. Kenyon was given a great challenge: a 60-minute presentation to over 3,000 high school kids and to keep them energized and active. He accepted the challenge and he told me that if he couldn’t keep them involved and active in what he was saying, then he wasn’t doin’ his job. We’ve had a couple speakers come in that had gotten the kids involved – maybe 30 minutes worth. He was able to get the kids involved… he got them up out of their seats, thinking, laughing, and cheering.

Following the presentation, I talked to many advisors as well as a lot of the kids and they LOVED it. They said they’ve never seen anybody be able to hold a student organization with 3,000 kids sitting there for 60 minutes, in chairs, with complete attention for an entire 60 minutes. Some of the comments made were, “I can’t believe that this guy has got our kids involved, and I mean TOTALLY involved, in what he was doing and saying.“

High school kids are a tough audience. These days, every kid’s got a smartphone so it would have been very easy for kids to sit there with a phone and just ignore the speaker but they didn’t because he did such a great job of keeping everyone engaged. In addition, when he came to our Colorado Marketing Education Association conference, he had a presentation there for almost an hour and a half with a room full of adults and there wasn’t a single advisor that got up and left. I think, all levels, whether it be corporate level, high school level, college, whatever it may be, the topic and the way that he presents it can be for all audiences. Thanks to Kenyon, I mean, it’s been fantastic. The advisors all said it was amazing; it held the kids’ attention, the kids were excited when they left the general session and they were talking about it. If you can get 3,000+ kids off their telephones, and you get them excited at what that presentation was about, that’s a success.

I would absolutely recommend Kenyon 100%. If you are able to get him for your event, get him!

Ev Vaughan

State Advisor, Colorado DECA

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