Week 37: Obama’s Speech Writer – Jon Favreau

My name is Davis. I’m spending a year reaching out to my role models. Here’s why

Jon Favreau with President Obama

Jon Favreau with President Obama

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that President Barack Obama’s speeches are oratory art.

While Obama brainstorms and edits his own speeches, the bulk of the writing belongs to his speechwriter, Jon Favreau.

Jon met Obama in 2004 (when Obama was still a State Senator running for the U.S. Senate) backstage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention as Obama was rehearsing his keynote address. Jon, then only 23, interrupted Obama’s rehearsal and offered advice on rewrites.

After Obama’s election to the Senate, Jon went on to work for Obama’s campaign and in 2008, at the age of 27, became the President’s Director of Speechwriting.

In high school, I read, listened to, and studied Jon’s speeches. When I was writing speeches for competitions or my own graduation, Jon Favreau was my standard.

When it came to writing speeches, he was my role model.

This week I wanted to reach out to him.

The Most Important Question

One of the questions that I like to ask is “what is the most exciting project you’re working on?” When I know the answer, I ask myself “how can I help this person with the project they’re most passionately working on my right?” Finding the answers to these two questions helps me find a way to help my role model and most of the time connect with them.

Looking at where Jon is traveling these days: between Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, I won’t have a chance to meet him in person to ask him about the most exciting project he is working on.

I decide to take it on Twitter.

Taking it on Twitter

I realize asking on Twitter has a slim chance of working, but a slim chance is better than a zero chance.

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We’ll see what happens.

Next Tuesday

This week I will be reaching out to Adam Braun, the Founder & CEO of Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization that builds schools and increases access to education for children in the developing world.

Week 36: The Founders of Simple Green Smoothies – Jadah Sellner and Jen Hansard

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My name is Davis. I’m spending a year reaching out to my role models. Here’s why.  I first heard about Jadah Sellner and Jen Hansard, the founders of Simple Green Smoothies when I attended the World Domination Summit last summer. Jadah and Jen are two friends who met at a mom’s group in Los Angeles and […]

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Week 35: Luck is Opportunity Meets Preparation – Rolf Potts

Photo Credit: Rolf Potts

My name is Davis. I’m spending a year reaching out to my role models. Here’s why.  Last week I hosted one of my heroes, Rolf Potts, for a public event in New Haven, Connecticut. Rolf is a travel writer who has written for National Geographic Traveler, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Salon, and The Guardian, and has reported […]

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Week 34: When Listening Pays – Kevin P. Ryan

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My name is Davis. I’m spending a year reaching out to my role models. Here’s why.  I read Business Insider long before I knew who Kevin Ryan was. Ryan is the founder of Gilt Groupe, MongoDB, and Business Insider; each of his three companies are worth at least $1.1 billion. Fortune calls him the “Godfather of NYC Tech.” Last week […]

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Week 33: Hosting the Marathon Man – Croix Sather

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My name is Davis. I’m spending a year reaching out to my role models. Here’s why.  Last week, I hosted Croix Sather for an event on campus. Croix is an ultramarathon runner who is best known for his 2011 Run Across America (he ran a marathon every day for 100 days) and breaking the Badwater Ultramarathon record […]

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