Ali Impersonator: ‘Knockout Strategies to Build the Mind of a Champion’

111As the business keynote speaker at last month’s 11th Annual Adjunct Innovators Conference, Chicago land Popcorn CEO Dwayne Walker delighted his audience at Avalon Manor by appearing as a celebrity impersonator of the late Muhammad Ali.  But his message to sow and develop the gifts and talents of students clearly was the focus of this retired group president who now runs gourmet popcorn distributor in Merrillville.   Dressed in gym shoes, shorts and wearing a robe like the famous boxer, Walker shared how his resemblance to Ali led him not only to celebrate a Great American, but to demonstrate his philosophy of developing gifts and talents in young people. He said he learned the importance of asking the right questions. “First, ask what do you like to do? Secondly, ask what do people tell you they like you to do? Third, ask what are you interested in learning? Fourth, what other things might you want to learn?” Over the years, his likeness of Ali was repeatedly brought to his attention, and finally, he realized his passion by impersonating the famous boxer, whom he visited multiple times, getting to know Ali and his family as a friend.  He urged instructors to encourage students to discover their passion and avoid distractions by sowing their gifts and talents. He said, “Too many want to enjoy the harvest before they sow the seeds.”  He ended by quoting Ali, “Don’t count the days. Make the days count!”

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