Car accidents. Terminal illness. Meeting in-laws. Death. All things less scary than public speaking, as according to the American public. For most, working for Ethos would be a nightmare. Planning presentations, coaching speeches, guiding thought, helping students journey through millennia of rhetoric, philosophy, logic, and debate: who would enjoy this? My job is strange. Saying, “I’m a debate coach” on a first date, at Thanksgiving, to professors or to friends never gets old. What is a debate coach, exactly? How is this a real job? You mean you like public speaking? The questions are loaded with incredulity.
The truth is that I don’t like what Ethos does. I live for it. My heart beats for it. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ranks self-actualization as the least essential, least common, and yet most gratifying need. Through coaching communication, I am self-actualized. I have found the niche for which I was born.
How Did I Get Here?
Two years ago, I emailed Ethos asking for an internship. But they needed a program director, so I jumped in head first. It was challenging, to say the least. No other company would give a 19-year-old such responsibility. I didn’t come without my share of failures and learning experiences. Yet I persevered with the cheers, guidance, and instruction of many. Their direction and inspiration created the drive in Thaddeus and me to innovate for this company.
In the last two years, I have placed over 300 students with their perfect debate coach. Isaiah and I collaborated to write the Ethos Objective-Driven Coaching Curriculum, allowing us to reference several generations’ expertise and point new coaches to the way Ethos does things. I designed and taught four levels of an introductory rhetoric, logic, debate, and philosophy class. I spearheaded and led the very first Ethos National Extemp Club. I started and was the Head Coach for a D.C. NSDA LD Novice Club, and some of my students finaled. I have written and coached presentations for investor panels. I toured with Ethos summer camps, coaching hundreds. This year, I am in charge of summer camps.
Additionally, I am working alongside the Communications Department of a local college, helping them keenly craft press releases and articles. Thus, years later, I find myself the new vice-president and co-owner of a cutting-edge communications company. Isaiah McPeak, tireless leader and founder, guided me and so many others toward this path. For some, it stuck. For others, different paths made more sense. For me, this is all I could possibly desire. Ethos is my heart. Communication is my heart. People are my heart.
Who Am I?
Academic debate played a tremendous part in who I am today. My mom dragged me to my first speech class, debate class, and debate tournament. It took me over a year to realize I liked debate. From there, however, it’s a fast-paced love story.
I attended Ethos camps nearly every year of my debate/speech career. Year three of debate, I found myself at Nationals in four speeches. Year four, I found myself the regional champion in extemp and impromptu, and 2nd place TP speaker and 9th place TP team in the nation. I went on to win state-level American Legion competitions, work as a legal assistant, briefly participate in the region’s highest ranked Arab League team, and coach countless students to National titles.
If my mother hadn’t forced me into speech and debate, and if she hadn’t forced me to ironman at every tournament to “keep me out of trouble”, I wouldn’t be who I am. I truly am impassioned about debate coaching.
Yet debate coaching is a highly niched market. For years, Isaiah envisioned branching out of the high school debate market. He dreamt of pursuing professional and consulting markets. Ethos has dabbled in these arenas, hosting professional communication seminars, and briefly launching a sect of Ethos which coached/wrote professionals’ presentations and Powerpoints. Ethos has been flirting with the realm of communications consulting for years.
Conveniently, my life-long dream is to be a communications director/consultant. I will be the person your company hires to coach your executive’s quarterly presentation, train your managers to conduct interviews, help you market yourself, boring activities you would rather outsource. My vision is to move Ethos into that market. We have the minds, we have the credentials, we have the connections, we have the coaches with tireless work ethic.
So what’s next for Ethos? Enormous things. Interview training, negotiation/mediation training, presentation coaching seminars. And we won’t stop there. We’ll keep working until we’re #1 in the market for communications consulting, public debate coaching for public officials and executives, and maybe even some political consulting. The longer I exist in this world, the more I see a stark need for communicators, truth-seekers, negotiators, thinkers, philosophers. Thaddeus and I intend to take this company, full of such individuals and forge our way into a market desperate for ingenuity.
Thank you, the communicator, the truth-seeker, the negotiator, the thinker, the philosopher.
Thank you, those who have tirelessly worked to pour into Ethos, Thaddeus, and myself.
Thank you, Isaiah McPeak, for believing in young minds, for molding us, for being there for us, for encouraging us to divorce the shackles of empty societal pressures.
Thank you, mom, for making me who I am today, despite the unbelievable hardships you have faced and conquered along the way.
Thank you, Noah and Will, my brothers, for being my first debate students and happiest place to call home.
Thank you, Thaddeus Tague, for being a confidante, brother, advisor, and for taking over Ethos when I called you and told you we could run it together.
Thank you, Drew Magness, for being willing to do the gruntwork necessary to create the new Ethos.
And thank YOU, every client, every student, every parent who continues to believe in and seek after truth. My main vision for Ethos is to continue seeking alongside you.
Datum perficiemus munus!
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