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Christine K. Clifford

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Humorist and Author

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About Christine

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All of us have read or heard stories about people who turn lemons into lemonade. It is not often that we get the privilege of meeting such an individual. Before her bout with breast cancer, keynote speaker Christine K. Clifford had definitely cracked the "glass ceiling". By 40, she was Senior Executive Vice President for The SPAR Group, an international marketing firm in New York.

Humorist, Author, Professional Speaker, President/Chief Executive Officer of The Cancer Club and Divorcing Divas®

Once the top salesperson in the multi-billion retail services industry, Christine’s accounts included Kmart, Toys ‘R’ Us, Wal-Mart, AT&T, Mattel Toys, and Revlon. Taking her company from a million dollar per year loss to over $54 million in sales, Christine signed the largest contract in the history of her industry with Procter & Gamble, doubling the size of her company overnight.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in December of ’94, Christine went on to write eight award-winning, humorous portrayals of her story in books entitled Not Now…I’m Having A No Hair Day! , Our Family Has Cancer, Too!Inspiring Breakthrough Secrets to Live Your DreamsCancer Has Its Privileges: Stories of Hope & Laughter, and Your Guardian Angel’s Gift.

YOU, Inc. The Art of Selling Yourself was released March, 2007 by Warner Books. It has been named a “Notable Book of 2007” by the American Booksellers Association. She also appears in Masters of Sales(August, 2007).

Christine Clifford quickly learned that not only does the world laugh with you when you laugh, laughter takes away the pain.

Christine has just released two new books: Laugh ‘Til It Heals: Notes from the World’s Funniest Cancer Mailbox and The Clue Phone’s Ringing… It’s for You! Healing Humor for Women Divorcing, (October, 2011).

In 1994, Christine faced a life-changing experience and began her own company, The Cancer Club, the world’s largest producer of humorous and helpful products for people with cancer.

Christine is a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Survivor’s SoulChicken Soup for the Golfer’s SoulChicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul, and is featured in the books The Courage to Laugh and The Triumph of the Human Spirit: Real Cancer Survivors, Real Battles, Real Victories.

Featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalBetter Homes & GardensMORESelf, American HealthGolf Digest, as well as The Singapore Women’s Weekly and the Hindu in India, CNN Live called her “one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of therapeutic humor”.  She has also appeared on Lifetime Television Network’s New Attitudes show, and the Leeza Show.

Host of The Christine Clifford Celebrity Golf Tournament, a benefit for breast cancer research, Christine’s inaugural event raised over $100,000, making it the most successful first-year event in the history of the American Cancer Society. Her contribution has been over $1,000,000 and she has received the Council of Excellence Award for income development from the American Cancer Society.

In July, 2002, Christine was awarded The Order of the Delta Gamma Rose from the Sorority to confer special honor upon alumnae members who have made distinguished contributions to the nation or to the world through their individual efforts and talents and whose achievements have been given national recognition. It is the highest honor one can receive from the Sorority.

July, 2002 Christine was awarded her “CSP” (Certified Speaking Professional) designation from the National Speakers Association. The letters “CSP” following a speaker’s name indicate a speaking professional with proven experience who brings a proven track record of experience and expertise. Less than 7% of the 5,000 speakers who belong to the International Federation for Professional Speakers hold this professional designation.

Christine is a member of the Minnesota Speakers Association, the National Speakers Association, the American Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, and the National Association of Breast Cancer Organizations.  She is listed in International Who’s Who of Professionals, International Who’s Who of Entrepreneurs, and International Who’s Who of Authors and Writers.  She is also listed in Contemporary Authors and 2,000 Notable American Women. She serves on the Board of Directors for The Angel Foundation.

Christine helped to launch an anti-aging multi-level marketing company in 2009 called LifeVantage, and launched Divorcing Divas, LLC in 2010.

Christine has two sons: Tim and Brooks and is Grandmother to Siberian Husky, Skylar. Christine lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

See keynotes with Christine K. Clifford

    Keynote by Speaker Christine K. Clifford

    Laughter: Prescription for a Cure!

    • Presentation includes Chris­tine’s cartoons, the classic story about her flying wig at a major golf tournament (as featured in Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul) and a six-minute NBC special featuring Christine’s story – an hour of hope, laughter and positive thinking.

     

    Keynote by Speaker Christine K. Clifford

    Our Family Has Cancer, Too!

    • Based on her award-winning book of the same title, this is an inspiring and helpful presenta­tion for children, spouses, and friends of people dealing with cancer.
    • As the mother of six children, Christine’s wonderfully rendered cartoons and stories take the fear out of the disease, and help entire families see: they are not alone.

     

    Keynote by Speaker Christine K. Clifford

    Am I Out of Sick Days Yet?

    Illness, especially chronic disease, wrecks havoc on employees and the people left back in the office trying to “fill in the gaps”. Christine helps corporations and their employ­ees learn to deal with changes in the office, ways to offer sup­port, and methods to deal with the challenges that occur when a valued employee becomes ill. No down time here!

    • Selling: Selling the Invisible
    • Selling: You, Inc. The Art of Selling Yourself
    • Marketing Services and Intangibles: The Invisible Touch
    • Client Service and Relationship-Building: What Clients Love
    • Business Development for Professional Services

     

    Keynote by Speaker Christine K. Clifford

    Additional Topics:

    • The Blessings of Misfortune: Learn to Spin Straw Into Gold
    • Self Esteem for the Cancer Survivor’s Soul
    • From Road Warrior to Glorious Survivor
    • One Move at a Time: Exercise for Women Recovering from Breast Cancer Surgery
    • Cancer Has Its Privileges
10.09.2014

Interview with Christine K. Clifford

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

Since I speak on a variety of topics, ranging from sales and marketing to using humor to get through life’s adversities, I always hope people walk away with actionable ideas– that they can make changes in their personal and professional lives and find a better life. And regardless of what topic I’m speaking on, I have a main message which is: Don’t forget to laugh.

Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?

One of my signature stories is always fun to tell because of the reactions from the audience. I was in the midst of treatment for breast cancer. Bald as a billiard, I took a break from my treatments and the cold Minnesota winter and flew to Scottsdale, Arizona. While I was there, a tournament was being played on the Senior PGA Tour, called “The Tradition.” I bought tickets and was standing on the tee, watching three of my golf idols tee off: Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd and Tom Weiskopf.

A gust of wind came up and blew my hat– and my hair– right off my head, right into the middle of the fairway. The crowd of 10,000 people watching was silent. Not a peep. So I slid under the ropes, ran out into the middle of the fairway, grabbed my hat and my hair, and turned to the golfers. “Gentlemen, the wind is blowing left to right!” This story always brings down the house!

How do you prepare for speaking engagements?

I always ask to speak to as many people within an organization, including some of their customers, whenever possible. I’ve even traveled to conduct such interviews. I gain so much insight into what my client is struggling with, or wants to do better, or perhaps I learn things from their customers that they didn’t even know. The basic principles of my sales and marketing strategies don’t change, but I can customize them for the client.

How did your cancer ordeal help shape the person you are today?

I learned that there is nothing to fear. I encourage salespeople, for example, “Don’t forget to ask!” What is the worst thing that can happen to you? Your prospect might say, “No.” They might not return your call. But it isn’t the end of the world. You pick yourself up and move on to the next customer.

It also gave me the courage to do things I never knew I had inside of me: writing books, becoming a speaker, starting several businesses. If my Guardian Angel landed on my shoulder today and said I could go back and change three things in my life, my cancer experience would not be one of them. For me personally, it’s been a true gift.

Do you have any tips for individuals wishing to become better salespeople?

I have enough actionable tips to fill hours of conversation! But a few would include, don’t be a Jack of All Trades. Instead, become a Master of One. When you try to be too many things to too many people, you dilute your message or your company. You’re never perceived as an expert in your field. Instead, become the “Go To” person about one thing and the entire universe will open up to you.

My second piece of advice is, learn to tell your story and tell it well. Instead of opening a sales call with the benefits and features, and God forbid, price of the item/products/service you are selling, first, tell me your story. Why did you become a banker, or a teacher or open your own eye clinic? Tell me your story.

How are your keynote presentations unique?

I follow my own advice: I tell stories. People are always fascinated with the variety of stories I tell about issues like brands, price, relationships, packaging. I also insert a lot of humor and use my own trademark cartoons from many of the books I’ve written whenever possible. Stories are the way the human animal learns.

How much does humor factor into your keynotes?

For my presentations in healthcare, it’s predominately humor based. Using my own personal experiences, I demonstrate how we can find humor in even the most difficult situations. Humor is a great connector of people. And it’s a fabulous way to break the tension, put people at ease and find a way to communicate. In my corporate presentations on sales and marketing, I like to use humor as a way of puctuating my content.

What is the most important thing you have learned about yourself?

That I am a survivor: of breast cancer, of ups & downs in my companies and careers, of domestic violence, of loss. But being a survivor is a powerful thing to be. It teaches you that life goes on; it gets better and better; and it allows you to teach others by example. Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of my story with you and A-speakers.

See keynotes with Christine K. Clifford
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Keynote topics with Christine K. Clifford