Ben Nemtin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? and the star of the MTV show The Buried Life. As the co-founder of The Buried Life movement, Ben’s message of radical possibility has been featured by major media outlets including The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, Inc., ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC News. Oprah called Ben’s life work “truly inspiring.” Dubbed the “Next-Gen Speaker”, Inc. Magazine calls Ben’s live performances ‘Powerful and inspiring’. An acclaimed keynote speaker, Nemtin has presented his '5 Steps to Make the Impossible Possible' to business conferences and corporate leadership teams around the world, garnering standing ovations from Amazon, Microsoft, N...
Ben Nemtin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? and the star of the MTV show The Buried Life. As the co-founder of The Buried Life movement, Ben’s message of radical possibility has been featured by major media outlets including The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, Inc., ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC News. Oprah called Ben’s life work “truly inspiring.” Dubbed the “Next-Gen Speaker”, Inc. Magazine calls Ben’s live performances ‘Powerful and inspiring’. An acclaimed keynote speaker, Nemtin has presented his '5 Steps to Make the Impossible Possible' to business conferences and corporate leadership teams around the world, garnering standing ovations from Amazon, Microsoft, Nationwide, Viacom, Verizon, Levi's, Harvard, and more.
In a pit of depression, Ben and his three best friends decided to create the world’s greatest bucket list to make them feel alive. They bought a rickety old bus and criss-crossed North America, achieving the unthinkable. And most importantly, every time they accomplished a dream, they helped a complete stranger cross something off their bucket list. From playing basketball with President Obama to streaking a professional soccer field, from raising over $400,000 for charity to placing a record-breaking $250,000 bet on roulette—Ben’s bucket list quest has inspired millions to chase their dreams and realize that impossible is possible. To book Ben Nemtin call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.
5 Steps To Make The Impossible Possible
Ben Nemtin is on a mission to achieve the unthinkable. From playing basketball with President Obama to streaking a soccer field, from raising over $400,000 for charity to placing a record-breaking $250,000 bet on roulette—Ben’s bucket list quest has inspired millions to strive for greatness. Ben weaves the compelling story of how The Buried Life grew from 100 impossible dreams scribbled on a piece of paper into a global movement of millions and skillfully connects his story to the fabric of our daily lives.
Ben’s message of radical possibility combined with his ‘5 Steps to Make the Impossible Possible’ leaves audiences not only inspired but also equipped to tackle the seemingly insurmountable. Ben’s system of achieving any impossible goal demystifies daunting tasks and turns ‘dreams’ into ‘projects’ by creating a digestible pathway to success. Mediocre is crowded, raise your bar and surprise yourself.
The Future of Corporate Culture: Why Your Employees Dreams Matter
The future of corporate culture is being shaped outside of the office. Ben knows firsthand that pursuing your passions brings you purpose, fulfillment and happiness. The simple truth: you won’t get your employees to devote themselves fully to your organization if you aren’t helping them achieve their dreams. Encouraging employee dream realization creates a healthy work-life balance which is the key factor in determining employee happiness.
Ben’s program educates audiences about the importance of a bucket list, creates a safe space for sharing dreams and inspires audiences to act on it by building tiers of accountability. The tools he leaves behind allow employees to turn their enthusiasm into action, with the help and encouragement of their employer. Employee dream realization increases retention, aides recruitment and aligns work-life balance which leads to happiness.
It's Ok to Not Be Ok
He is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author, starred in his own MTV show, met President Obama at the White House, has been interviewed by Oprah and has been chasing his dreams for the past decade. He also struggles with depression. You might not guess this is a struggle for Ben and that’s exactly why he wants to talk about it. In university, Ben was hit with a crippling depression that forced him to drop out of school and retreat into his parents' house. It wasn’t until his friends pulled him out of the darkness by forcing him to join them on a summer abroad that he finally started feeling back to himself.
Ben began redefining what he needed to optimize his health and lead a balanced life. This meant change and that change manifested itself in The Buried Life, a commitment to finally follow his buried passions and true purpose. Ben is a mental health advocate who believes the stigma of mental illness can be broken by having open, honest conversations. He believes that it is not on the 1 in 5 that struggle with mental health to break the stigma, it's on the 4 out of 5 that don't. By showing how his own vulnerabilities have become his strengths and underlining that all humans struggle, he gives others the courage to talk about their own internal battles and normalizes the conversation. Ben shares the tools that help him cope with the stresses of life and emphasizes the fact that it is ok to reach out for help. His astounding story and authentic levity gives audiences hope and normalizes mental illness in a healthy and vibrant way.
(West Palm Beach, FL), February 8, 2019—An eight-year-old boy battling a brain stem tumor will get his wish to attend the Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup in Lake Placid, New York and ride in a bobsled with elite athletes, thanks to the support of people attending the TechKnowledge 2019 conference hosted by the Association for Talent Development (ATD).
ATD, the world’s largest association dedicated to supporting the work of talent development professionals, convened more than 1,200 attendees at its TechKnowledge conference in West Palm Beach. Attendees were challenged to achieve 50,000 points in the Play@TK game held during the conference to support granting a wish for a critically ill child in the local area. The idea was inspired, in part, by keynote speaker Ben Nemtin, star of The Buried Life, who committed to helping complete strangers every time he accomplished something on his bucket list.
Nemtin was the one who revealed that TechKnowledge attendees succeeded in their quest and introduced the boy and his family to cheering conference attendees.
Tiago will have his wish granted the weekend of February 15, 2019. It includes:
A VIP Package for the Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup and a bobsled passenger ride, compliments of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.
U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation athletes will join Tiago and his family at the World Cup Event on Saturday, February 16 and give them a tour of the Olympic Training Center (OTC) followed by lunch in the OTC Dining Hall.
Gordy Sheer with USA Luge will provide a tour of the U.S. Luge Start House before the family departs Lake Placid.
“Every day, talent development professionals make a difference in the workplace by helping people gain new knowledge, skills, and abilities. We know that learning often comes through memorable experiences and we’re excited to have been able to make this wish happen for Tiago,” said Tony Bingham, President and CEO of ATD.
BROOKFIELD, Wis., Jan. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- TTS, an OnCourse Learning Company, and the Center for Financial Training (CFT) announced the date and location for the annual Bank Trainers Conference & Expo 2019, the largest event dedicated to bank and credit union training professionals in the country. The event will take place May 7-9, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia.
Over 1100 training professionals from banks and credit unions across the United States and beyond have attended the Bank Trainers Conference & Expo to experience informative and engaging keynote presentations, hands on workshops, and networking events with some of the greatest minds in the industry all come together at a state-of-the-art event designed to help attendees stay up-to-date on the latest training tools, trends and techniques.
"From our first conference in 2013 until today, our goal has been to bring trainers from banks and credit unions together in one city to experience top notch speakers along with outstanding networking opportunities. The growth has exceeded our expectations and the 2019 conference brings an unbelievable group of presentations to Atlanta. If you are a trainer or training manager, you don't want to miss this special event." – Mark Bennett, President, TTS
Key highlights of Bank Trainers Conference & Expo 2019 include:
Keynote Speaker: Ben Nemtin, New York Times #1 Bestselling Author, started an inspiring movement that encourages individuals to realize their dreams. Oprah Winfrey called Ben's life work "truly inspiring".
Keynote Speaker: Honey Shelton, Nationally recognized speaker with 25 years of experience as a training and quality improvement consultant for banks and banking associations across the country. Founder of InterAction Training, the firm she founded for banks and credit union training.
Event Expo: Sponsors and attendees discuss the latest training solutions and innovations in the industry.
Workshops: From eLearning and Gamification to Presentation Skills and Managing Change.
Networking: Opportunities to network with the greatest minds in Learning and Development.
"The collaboration, synergy, and opportunity to learn from experts and peers will help you renew your commitment to excel at training effectiveness. See you in Atlanta!" – Honey Shelton, President, InterAction Training
Ben Nemtin never expected a two-week road trip in 2006 to lead to a T.V. show, a book deal, or meeting with the United States president.
In fact, his only goal was to get back to Victoria, B.C. without breaking the 1997 Dodge Coachman RV he and some buddies borrowed. Nevertheless, Nemtin, and friends Dave Lingwood, and brothers Jonnie and Duncan Penn raised gas money at a good-bye party and set out in their camper with one goal in mind: cross as many items off their "things to do before you die" list as they could in 14 days.
"We didn't even think we would make it back from our first road trip," Nemtin chuckled following a keynote speech at the 2018 Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce Chairman's Night. "We thought the RV would die because a mechanic told us it wouldn't make it home. That was my biggest goal: not having to tow the RV back because it would have been so expensive."
Their to-do list was extensive. It included the adventurous (learn to sail), the exotic (escape from a deserted island), the daunting (do a sketch with comedian Will Farrell), the intimidating (swim with sharks), the compassionate (pay for someone's groceries), and the downright strange (streak during a sports event and get away-according to the group's website this last goal is only partially complete).
The trip turned into a sensation, and as people heard about the group's goals, random strangers stepped in to try and help. The group responded by helping others cross items off their bucket list too. What started as a two-week road trip expanded into a show on MTV called The Buried Life, a New York Times bestseller, What do you want to do Before you Die?, and stable of extraordinary memories.
However, it wasn't until the group officially crossed off item number 95 (play basketball with President Barack Obama) that Nemtin really felt like they could do anything.
"It was such an impossible goal," he remembered. "I truly did not believe that it would ever come to fruition. Something,k I think, inside me changed. It sort of clicked. There was now the inherent belief that the impossible was possible, that I could do whatever put my mind to it."
What's most impressive about this isn't the stories or the achievements. Instead, it's where and how it all started.
Prior to all this, Nemtin suffered from crippling depression. He dropped out of school and moved back in with his parents before deciding to take the trip that would change his life. He wanted to feel more alive.
After having travelled the world and added new challenges to a new list (all but eight of the original 100 bucket list goals have been completed) Nemtin spends his time travelling the country speaking and advocating for mental health.
The goal is to get people to stop being afraid and step out of their comfort zones, and it's that message that brought him to Prince Albert on Thursday night.
"I think if more people did what they loved it would change the world because of the ripple effect it causes when you go after the things that you really love," Nemtin said. "That's really my mission, to get people out of that majority that looks back on their lives with regret."
Nemtin added that it's not selfish to pursue bucket list type goals. instead, he views it as part of a healthy and productive life. He said there's this misconception that if we help people achieve their goals and dreams that they'll leave their business or communities behind. More the most part, he explained, that goal is unfounded.
"It's not selfish to do the things that you want," he said. "You're actually helping (inspire) other people, and I think it would combat some of the mental health issues that we're facing."
Nemtin said he's encouraged to see more and more young people doing just that. However, he's also hoping these ideas spill over into the world of business. During his keynote address, Nemtin emphasized that having happy, healthy and thriving companies is impossible without happy, healthy and thriving employees.
The key is to eliminate fear, or at least convince people that fear of failure is holding them back. Nemtin said fear and failure are natural parts of creating and pursuing a bucket list. It's just about taking that first step.
"It's hard to grow and learn about yourself if you don't push yourself to a point where you fail, because you're staying insde your confort zone and you konw it, so you don't grow," he explained. "I just htink failure is a gerat thing."
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Oct. 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- HDI, the leading organization dedicated to elevating service and support across the enterprise, today announces its 2019 keynote lineup for HDI Conference & Expo. Five influential keynote speakers – including Robert Van Winkle (professionally known as Vanilla Ice); digital strategy expert Amber Mac; Ben Nemtin from MTV’s hit show “The Buried Life”; leadership expert Mark Sanborn; and executive coach Libby Gill – will headline the event to educate and inspire today’s technical service and support leaders.
HDI Conference & Expo will take place April 9-12, 2019 in Orlando, FL. For more information and to register, please visit: hdiconference.com/
“Each year, HDI strives to present attendees with the latest trends, strategies and technology in the industry, as well as promote passion and career development within their professions,” said Joy Sobhani, Group Event Director, HDI. “The industry is evolving, and this year’s keynote lineup is comprised of a unique set of individuals who will provide the HDI audience with unparalleled insights based on a range of unique experiences.”
The full HDI 2019 keynote lineup includes:
Stop, Collaborate & Listen: Vanilla Ice’s Ultimate Evolution
Presented by: Robert Van Winkle, Hip Hop Artist and Television Host
Winkle, known professionally as Vanilla Ice, is an American rapper, extreme athlete and home improvement TV personality. After surviving a suicide attempt, Ice was inspired to change his musical style and lifestyle. As a successful real estate entrepreneur and a remodeling expert, Vanilla Ice began hosting “The Vanilla Ice Project” on the DIY Network and published a book called “Vanilla Ice Project—Real Estate Guide” about succeeding in the real estate market. In his up-close and personal keynote, Ice will discuss his evolution and how he was able to take lessons learned from one career and thrive in another. Attendees will explore how he transformed from one of the hottest stars in the 90’s to a real estate entrepreneur and remodeling expert.
Relentless Adaptation: Best Practices for Today’s Digital Economy
Presented by: Amber Mac, Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author and Recognized Expert in Digital Strategy
Mac started her career in San Francisco and Boston during the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and has since been at the forefront of reporting on and participating in digital innovation. She is a regular business host and expert for Fast Company, CNN, Bloomberg TV and CBS due to her keen insight towards the continually evolving fabric of the social web and was recently hired to serve as an entrepreneur advisor on a new reality pilot called “Dream Funded: Let the Crowd Decide.” In her keynote, Mac will explain how many of the smart companies that are prized for “innovation” are actually just masters of “adaptation.” She will provide strategies for knowing when to adjust, when to speed up, and when to capitalize in our fast-forward economy.
5 Steps to Make the Impossible Possible
Presented by: Ben Nemtin, Member of MTV’s hit show “The Buried Life” and Bestselling Author
Nemtin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?” and the star of the MTV show “The Buried Life.” He has been featured by major media outlets including The Today Show, CNN, Inc., ABC, CBS and more. In his compelling keynote, Nemtin will describe how “The Buried Life” grew from 100 impossible dreams scribbled on a piece of paper into a global movement of millions. He will provide insight into how to demystify daunting tasks and turn dreams into projects by creating a digestible pathway to success. His message of radical possibility combined with his ‘5 Steps to Make the Impossible Possible’ will leave attendees not only inspired, but also equipped to tackle the seemingly insurmountable.
The Fred Factor 2.0: New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results
Presented by: Mark Sanborn, Bestselling Author and Leadership Expert
Sanborn is the president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea lab for leadership development. He has written and co-authored eight books and is the author of more than two dozen videos and audio training programs on leadership, change, teamwork and customer service. His book, “The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary,” was on the New York Times, Business Week and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Drawing from his work with top leaders and organizations, Sanborn will describe the why, what and how of taking any job, product or service up a notch. He will delve into how to replace money with imagination, build and keep better relationships, and rejuvenate purpose and passion to have more fun and success at work.
HOPE THEORY: How Belief, Behavior, and Accountability Drive High Performance
Presented by: Libby Gill, Executive Coach, Brand Strategist and Bestselling Author
After nearly twenty years in senior leadership roles at media giants Universal, Sony and Turner Broadcasting, Gill is now CEO of executive coaching and consulting firm Libby Gill & Company. She delivers keynote addresses, custom training programs and executive coaching for companies desiring to create a culture of risk-taking, innovation and bold leadership. Her proven “Clarify, Simplify & Execute” process inspires people to increase levels of hopefulness in the workplace by maximizing their “Leadership DNA,” building high-passion/high-performance teams and increasing employee engagement through authentic connections. In her dynamic keynote, Gill will share the scientific data, as well as her own research, on hope theory and its impact on the workplace. She will demonstrate why hope is one of the most significant and overlooked elements of successful leadership and corporate culture.
Former MTV star, Ben Nemtin, is engaged!
After rising to fame on The Buried Life -- which followed he and his besties as they worked their way through their bucket lists -- the former reality star has now ticked off falling in love from his list and is preparing to wed Michelle Zauzig.
Nemtin, 34, popped the question under the famous Moab, Utah, arch on Saturday morning and only ET got all the details behind the stunning photos which captured the joyous moment.
"I knew the very first time I saw Michelle that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her," the Canadian author told ET. "I am so happy to have finally made that official. The day turned out perfectly -- and I'm pretty sure she said, ‘Yes,’ but I honestly barely remember anything!"
"I didn't write anything ahead of time, I just spoke from the heart,” he continued. “You only get this opportunity once and I didn't want to rush through it, so I was very conscious about making it as long as possible. I told her I knew I wanted to be with her from the moment I met her and that I wanted to have a family with her and grow old with her. I told her she's my person. It was a really special moment."
While the proposal turned out perfectly, the couple’s engagement photographer, Logan Davidson, told ET the gorgeous moment was almost thwarted by rental car issues preventing the couple from commencing the hike by their planned start time of 6 a.m.
Nemtin then arranged for Davidson to pick up the couple, telling Zauzig he was hiring a videographer to capture their hike. Thanks to Nemtin having done the same thing for previous events and occasions, Zauzig didn’t get suspicious.
As the big moment went down, around 30 other hikers gave the lovebirds space and remained silent, then erupted into cheers and applause as soon as the two embraced. Nemtin presented his love with a gorgeous 2-carat diamond, reclaimed from a 1920 broach and set in a vintage ring of the same era that he found from France -- Zauzig's favorite country.
The inspirational speaker then cracked open a bottle of bubbles he had hidden in his backpack, to celebrate with Zauzig, who works for the non-profit, Giving Back Fund, which helps celebrities and athletes like Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Magic Johnson, set up and run charities.
The pair met 3-and-a-half years ago at a house party in Venice Beach, California.
Congrats to the happy couple!
(KUTV) -- "The Buried Life" TV show and epic bucket list road trip were sparked because Ben Nemtin was suffering from depression.
He hopes that people will start having more healthy and productive conversations about mental health and break the stigma around it.
Nemtin says going through hard times is just a part of being human.
"There will be trials and tribulations, and when you go through that down, that's ok. Just talk about it," he said.
He suggests reaching out to people when you are going through that "down" time. They might end up needing you at another time.
"That'd the kind of world we want to create--connectiveness and compassion. Because we're humans. We're going to go through these ups and downs." he said.
Nemtin didn't use to talk about his depression because he was ashamed of it.
"Now I talk about, and I can see the impact that it has right away," he said.
Additional web exclusives:
What Ben Nemtin learned from crossing items off his bucket list
Special moments Ben Nemtin experienced on "The Buried Life"
(KUTV) -- While Ben Nemtin was on a two-week road trip with his friends, they found that many people wanted to help them cross items off their bucket list.
"We connected with them and they felt they were part of the journey. And then the same thing happened for us," he said. "When we helped other people, we were able to step into someone else's life in a moment that means so much to them and you immediately connect with them."
They still have relationships with the people they met, even more than 10 years later.
One special moment Nemtin remembers is a girl they helped get a bionic arm.
She was born without a hand, and her friends were trying to get one for her--and it caught the attention of "The Buried Life" stars.
"We are able to connect with a company that makes bionic arms. They donated the arm, and we surprised her and then followed her as she started to use the hand for the first time," he recalled.
They have stayed in touch with her since then, and Nemtin recently ran into her while speaking at Bowling Green University.
She is studying social work so she can work in a homeless shelter.
"She's doing that because of this experience of us helping her. She wants to give back," he said.
"There's something really powerful, not just in doing what you love, but also helping other people. Because the ripple effect that creates is exponential and you'll never know what the impact is," Nemtin said.
Nemtin also got a lot of support from his parents about this epic roadtrip--even though they weren't exactly aware of what he was doing.
"I didn't really tell them," he laughed.
They only knew he was going on a trip with friends.
But when they reportedly saw it on the news, "they were super supportive."
(KUTV) -- Ben Nemtin and his friends learned a lot while crossing items off of their "The Buried Life" bucket list--some of them seemingly impossible items.
"Just goes to show it's really about your mindset and your belief in yourself and the things that you really want to do," Nemtin said.
For Nemtin, the lessons he learned from the experience morphed into a mindset and mantra for life.
"You need to be passionate about what you're doing, or you will not have the energy to succeed," he said.
Nemtin and the other "The Buried Life" stars wrote a book, "What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?" to help spread their message, which was recently revised and re-released.
"We all got triggered by something that made us think we want to do something. And so we thought, 'How can we trigger people?" Nemtin said.
So they asked people what they wanted to do before they died, and got thousands of responses.
They compiled some of their favorites, and had artists turn them into life.
Ultimately, Nemtin wants people to think about their own bucket list and what they want to accomplish, and not be afraid of having "audacious" goals.
"It's about setting the bar high. You know, shoot for the moon, you land in the stars, and then just keep doing it," he said.
SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to commencement speeches being delivered across the nation this month and next, graduating students want less pomp, more circumstance.
They want humor, humility and an easy-to-read roadmap to future success.
And they don’t care if the speaker has a college degree.
The late Apple founder Steve Jobs didn't have a college diploma. Nor did novelist Kurt Vonnegut, or actor Jim Carrey, each of whom delivered graduation addresses that are still being watched online years after they were delivered.
And a speaker's fame, or the venue, doesn't seem to make a difference in whether or not a commencement speech endures. Thousands have watched actor Will Ferrell’s speech at the University of Southern California, but few still hearken to the advice given by musician Billy Joel at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
And Chief Justice John Roberts' memorable graduation speech wasn't delivered at an Ivy League school but before a class of ninth-graders in a small town in New Hampshire.
Even paying big bucks to the speaker doesn’t seem to affect whether a speech will have legs.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani reportedly was paid $75,000 for a commencement speech at High Point University in 2005 that, 13 years later, has fewer than 200 views on YouTube.
Jobs' address the same year has been viewed more than 29 million times.
With no surefire recipe for a commencement address that goes viral, colleges and universities are gambling when they choose a speaker, sometimes more than a year in advance. (Temple University might wish it could rescind Bill Cosby's 2007 commencement speech as easily as many colleges and universities have rescinded his honorary degrees following his sexual-assault conviction.)
But when you look at the most memorable speeches, three qualities stand out, both speakers and speechwriters say.
When Jobs took the podium at Stanford University in 2005, he told the graduates and their families he was just going to tell them three stories. "That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories."
Then, as promised, he told stories that were simple, but to many people, unforgettable.
The first was about dropping out of college, but then going on to take a calligraphy course that would influence the design of Apple products. The second was about getting fired from Apple, and the third was about being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He closed with four surprising words borrowed from The Whole Earth Catalogue: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
That speech was among the ones that stand out for Ben Nemtin, star of the MTV reality show "The Buried Life," whose parents, sister and girlfriend came to see him deliver the commencement speech at the University of Utah on May 3.
Like Jobs, Nemtin crafted his speech, "Conquering the Impossible," around a story: how he, along with three friends, built a wildly successful endeavor out of failure.
Nemtin had a scholarship to a college in Canada, but dropped out because of crippling anxiety. But with his friends, he devised an unusual bucket list — one that was not just about things they wanted to do before they die, but how they could help others achieve things on their list.
And yes, along with playing basketball at the White House with President Barack Obama, and having a beer with Prince Harry, giving a commencement speech was on Nemtin's bucket list; No. 67, to be precise. But it was a task he took seriously, writing the speech over several months and rehearsing it for friends.
"This was a great challenge because I knew the potential for impact was high," Nemtin said. "This is a pivotal and memorable moment in students' lives and I really wanted to play a positive role in shaping their next steps. My goal was to make every word intentional and have resonance."
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.
'All the barriers were down'
David Green, a speechwriter in New Jersey and owner of the communications firm UnCommon Knowledge, also lauds Jobs' speech, as well as another speech that wasn't delivered at a commencement, but is similar in tone and goal. That one was delivered by the late Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch and is known as "The Last Lecture." It's an example of the effect an exemplary speech, honestly delivered, can have on the listeners.
"It was so raw, so accessible, all the barriers were down," Green said. "To be able to be witness to that kind of speech, that kind of presentation, is incredibly powerful. The students in that room will remember that speech their entire lives. People probably made decisions about their life based on what he said."
Pausch's 76-minute-long lecture was eventually turned into a book, which is the happy fate of many other successful speeches. Vonnegut's "If This Isn't Nice, What Is?" is largely a compilation of graduation speeches, to include those given at Rice University in Texas, Agnes Scott College in Georgia and Syracuse University in New York.
So was J.K. Rowling's speech at Harvard University, which became a book called "Very Good Lives," and the late David Foster Wallace's speech at Kenyon University in Ohio, which became "This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life."
Wallace's remarks, dubbed “the Everlasting Speech” at Kenyon on the 10th anniversary of its delivery, in many ways set the bar for what a commencement speech can do, elevating its task from inspiring graduates and keeping their families awake during a lengthy ceremony, to providing long-term publicity for the school and advice for future generations.
“The proliferation of the speech in multiple forms has had a collateral effect for Kenyon, amplifying the college’s name in quarters where it might not otherwise be heard,” the preface to an article in a Kenyon alumni bulletin said.
Elizabeth Lopatto, the author of that article, was a Kenyon junior at the time of the speech, but she was at the ceremony to see friends graduate. Now a science editor living in Oakland, California, Lopatto said the speech had an “ambivalent mix of uplifting and soul-crushing moments” that drew the audience in.
“Typically, commencement crowds are pretty bored and sleeping, hoping the thing will be short, but this one seemed to have people riveted.”
But the speech also endures because of its inherent poignancy that came with Wallace's suicide three years after the speech. This is a quality both Jobs' and Pausch's speeches contained because of their illness.
The importance of humility
Green, the speechwriter in New Jersey, said the best graduation speakers say things that are unexpected, like Jobs advising Stanford graduates to be foolish or David McCullough Jr., son of the famous historian, telling graduates of Wellesley High School in Massachusetts, "You are not special." (That speech also returned later as a book, "You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements.")
But not every word has to surprise, and even some famous commencement speeches let some platitudes sidle in. In fact, Wallace said in his Kenyon College speech, “in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance.”
A sense of humility is a hallmark of the most famous speeches. After describing two fish talking to each other, Wallace insisted “I am not the wise old fish.”
And Jobs began his remarks by confessing, “I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.”
“He was very humble, very self-deprecating, and then he organized his speech brilliantly,” Green said.
The simple and compelling start provided a momentum that built throughout the speech, he added.
“You want to do something right out of the box in your first 60 seconds that whacks people upside the head and they think, ‘Oh, this isn’t what I thought it would be, I better pay attention,’” Green said.
How it all comes together
As important as Wallace's speech was, both to people who have heard it and to Kenyon, Wallace received no compensation. The college doesn’t pay its commencement speakers although it does cover travel expenses, Kenyon spokeswoman Mary Keister said.
A committee comprised of students, faculty and staff work together to select the speaker and the people who will receive honorary degrees a year in advance; that way, Kenyon juniors have input into who they will hear at their graduation ceremony.
The school president makes the final decision from the committee’s recommendation and extends the invitation, Keister said.
The importance of the commencement speaker is evident on Kenyon’s website, which lists speakers back to 1834, 10 years after the school’s founding. The first speaker was Salmon P. Chase, Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of the treasury; this year’s (on May 19) will be Nate Silver, a writer, editor and statistician who founded the website FiveThirtyEight.
The school looks for someone who shares the intellectual curiosity of Kenyon's students, Keister said, but doesn't direct or shape the topic of the speech; that's entirely up to the speaker, as is the length of the speech.
Likewise, a committee of students, faculty and staff helped choose Nemtin, this year's speaker at the University of Utah.
“They focus on finding speakers who are inspiring, are thought leaders in their field, and when possible, have a connection to the university,” spokeswoman Annalisa Purser said.
Nemtin didn’t have a Utah connection — he's from Canada and now lives in California — but his core message of doing what you love and helping others achieve their dreams was a good fit for the school, Purser said.
Like Wallace, who will forever be associated with Kenyon even though he didn't matriculate there, Nemtin has a Utah connection now.
As part of presentation, Nemtin showed graduates and their families a poignant video of a Utah Jazz fan that he helped fulfill a dream. ("We're not crying. Okay, we are," the university tweeted.)
“By doing what you love, you inspire other people to do what they love," Nemtin said in his conclusion. "And that ripple effect goes far beyond what you’ll ever know."
Just like an extraordinary graduation speech.
SALT LAKE CITY — In a sports arena full of college students with newly minted degrees and career aspirations, a best-selling author advised University of Utah graduates not to get so buried in their responsibilities that they forget their dreams.
Ben Nemtin, star of MTV’s “The Buried Life,” told the graduating class of 2018 Thursday that his quest to accomplish items on his bucket list took him to Oprah Winfrey's couch and to the White House to play basketball with former President Barack Obama.
Along the way of what was to be a two-week exercise with some buddies now going on a decade, he learned important life lessons, among them that it's OK to ask for help, he said.
"Asking for help in that time of need comes with no shame because whomever you go to help, you'll want to return the favor when they come to you in their time of need. This the world we want to create, a world of connectedness and compassion," Nemtin said, addressing graduates during the U.'s 149th commencement at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
As much as Nemtin has enjoyed experiences on his bucket list, he told the graduates it had been far more satisfying to help others achieve theirs.
He lifted up the good works of U. students, including one who has created sleeping mats out of discarded grocery store bags, which she gives to people experiencing homelessness.
It should be easy for other U. students to follow suit because there's something about Utahns' nature that they are eager to lend a hand, he said.
Hodan Abdi, a Somalian refugee, who had no formal education until she was resettled in Utah as a child, called on her fellow graduates to use the skills and knowledge gained at the U. to improve the human condition.
Abdi, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with an emphasis in biology, will enter medical school at the University of Minnesota in the fall.
"As students of the University of Utah, we are global citizens. Each one of us has talents and the skills to make a big impact in our communities," said Abdi, who was selected as student speaker and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
U. President Ruth V. Watkins presided over her first graduation as president of the University of Utah. She was appointed the 16th president of the U. on Jan. 18, succeeding President David Pershing, who has retired from the top administrative position.
Watkins told the U.'s 8,568 graduates that when she was a swim teacher, she was far more successful when she got in the water instead of offering instruction from the side of the pool, urging them to enter their respective fields of endeavor wholeheartedly.
"You have received an exceptional education. I hope that you leave here more informed about the world around you and also prepared to be a lifelong learners," Watkins said.
Richard Brown, dean of the College of Engineering, was awarded the university's Rosenblatt Prize, which recognizes, encourages and honors excellence in teaching, research and administrative efforts. Watkins said Brown was honored for his focus on academic excellence, the development of new courses and growth in numbers of degrees awarded by the college. The winner of the prize receives a $40,000 cash award.
The university also honored an outstanding public school teacher, Cindi Dunford, who teaches at James E. Moss Elementary School in the Granite School District.
Honorary doctorate degrees were given to community leader Barbara Lindquist Tanner and retired 3rd District Judge Raymond Sonji Uno.
Tanner is a humanitarian, human rights activist, philanthropist and elementary education alumna of the University of Utah. Uno, a civil rights advocate, was the first ethnic minority judge in Utah’s history.
“These two individuals are incredible examples of dedicated service and leadership, and their unfailing commitment to the university sets them apart as pillars in the community,” Joe Sargetakis, chairman of the board of trustees’ honors committee, said in a prepared statement.
The U's graduating class includes students from 80 countries, all U.S. states and 26 of Utah's 29 counties. The oldest undergraduate degree recipient is 69 while the youngest is 19, the average 26.
The university conferred 9,113 degrees because some graduates earned multiple degrees. More than half are bachelor’s degrees but the university also conferred 2,343 master’s degrees; 703 doctoral degrees; 97 law degrees; 101 medical degrees, 23 dental degrees and 55 pharmacy degrees.
Among students who earned graduate degrees, the average age is 31, with the youngest 21 and the oldest age 63.
The top undergraduate degrees include psychology, communication, economics, biology, nursing, business administration, mechanical engineering, human development and family studies, accounting and computer science. The average undergraduate grade point average is 3.37.
With this year’s commencement ceremony quickly approaching, posters bearing the question “What’s on your bucket list?” have been placed across the University of Utah’s campus. The idea behind this theme takes root in “The Buried Life” movement, an initiative-turned MTV series founded by four college students, one of whom is this year’s commencement speaker, Ben Nemtin.
Nemtin, who will speak on Thursday, May 3, is The New York Times bestselling author of “What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?”
Jonnie Penn, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn and Nemtin were sitting in their parent’s garage wondering how to make an impact and give meaning to life when they came up with the idea for the project.
“We had all of these things we wanted to do and we weren’t doing them,” Nemtin said in a 2015 TEDx talk.
The group decided to draft a bucket list of 100 items.
The namesake of the project is a 19th century poem by Matthew Arnold. The four identified with the plight Arnold discussed in the poem. They felt their hopes and dreams were buried by school and work. The group took a road trip in a borrowed RV, working through their bucket list while helping others do the same.
What started off as a crazy idea ended up reaching a large number of people. “The Buried Life” movement was featured on major news outlets such as CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC News. Throughout the journey, the group was able to cross off items such as “playing basketball with President [Barack] Obama.”
For every item crossed of the bucket list, the four pledged to help another person cross an item off of their own list. From buying a truck for a small business owner to helping a young man search for a kidney donor, the quest for meaning quickly became a daily reality for the four college students.
Students and attendees of this year’s commencement ceremony at the U will have the opportunity to hear about this movement.
In an email, Nemtin said he is “thrilled to have this opportunity.” He stated he feels his message applies to many college students looking for meaning.
“We all need reminders of what is truly important or those things get buried and lost,” Nemtin wrote.
He hopes to share with graduates “some of the top things I wish I knew when I was their age.” Among those things are “impossible is possible, failure is a good thing, trust your gut and follow your passion, help others along the way, you will go through hard times, and when you do, you need to talk about it. Don’t keep it inside.”
Barbara Smith, a spokesperson for the U’s president’s office, believes the choice to have Nemtin deliver the address is a result of a shift in the way the commencement ceremony is managed. The shift, according to Smith, took place shortly after former U President David Pershing took office.
“[Pershing] wanted to make [the commencement ceremony] what it truly is, which is a celebration of the students,” Smith said in a phone interview. “It’s the capstone of their experience here at the University of Utah, and he wanted the ceremony to reflect that and to have the celebration fall along the highlights of their experience as opposed to something that they may or may not feel obligated to go to.”
Smith recounted changes in the way the ceremony is run, such as a video projection inside the commencement hall showing a real time feed of graduating students lining up outside. Other changes include the addition of an Instagram picture contest, videos documenting the achievements of honorary degree recipients and the change from a morning commencement ceremony to an evening ceremony.
“It has become a really fun event,” Smith said. “It lacked life before.”
Ben Nemtin was an outstanding student and athlete from Canada - one who went on to play rugby at the university level. By the time he made it there, however, his anxiety and depression started to run his life. After dropping out of school, Nemtin made the decision to surround himself with people who inspire him.
Now, the New York Times best-selling author and star of MTV’s “The Buried Life” pays that favor forward as an inspirational speaker.
The life change started when he and his friends, Jonnie, Duncan, and Dave, had the idea to make a documentary film. They created a complete bucket list, and for everything they completed, they would help total strangers complete an item on their bucket list. Soon they were approached by MTV.
Ben has now traveled the world sharing his stories and teaching people how they can cross items off their bucket lists. The major themes of Nemtin’s speech Monday at Bowling Green State University were that goals can never be too lofty and the impossible is possible.
Nemtin explained six steps essential to making the impossible possible:
1: What’s Important? Determine what is important in your life. What are your dreams, your values, your passions? It is from this that you can create your bucket list.
2: Write your list. This step is simple enough, but Nemtin argues that physically writing it down can turn your intangible dreams into tangible reality.
3: Talk about your list. Communicate your list to others. From there people will be able to help you.
4: Have creative persistence. Failure is inevitable. Don’t let others telling you no stop you. Keep on trying.
5: Be audacious. Nemtin argues that too many people shoot for realistic goals and that not enough people aim beyond. Therefore, there should be more people working to achieve goals that only seem unrealistic.
6: Help others. Helping others will help you accomplish many things. When you help other people, other people, in turn, will want to help you.
The University of Utah today announced that Ben Nemtin, No. 1 New York Times best-selling author and star of MTV’s “The Buried Life,” will deliver the 2018 commencement address on Thursday, May 3, 2018.
Nemtin’s journey began 10 years ago when he and his friends set out on a two-week road trip with a camera and a borrowed RV to complete a list of “100 things to do before you die.” For each item accomplished on their list, they helped a stranger cross something off his or her list.
“Graduation is a gateway with paths leading in every direction,” Nemtin said. “Many struggle answering the question, ‘Where do I go from here?’ I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to speak at the University of Utah’s commencement ceremony and share how I answer that question.”
Nemtin and his friends have completed nearly all 100 items and have encouraged millions to believe that anyone can do anything.
“It’s extremely gratifying when I hear others say they have accomplished something outside their comfort zone because of ‘The Buried Life,’” Nemtin said. “While marking off something on the list is a huge accomplishment personally, helping others fulfill their dreams is equally fulfilling for us, sometimes even more so.”
Nemtin’s bucket list quest has taken him to the White House to play basketball with President Barack Obama to doing a sketch with Will Farrell and even to Oprah Winfrey’s couch. Currently, he is crossing off “make a movie,” with “The Buried Life” feature documentary film set to release this year. From raising over $400,000 for charity to escaping a deserted island,
Nemtin’s bucket list quest has inspired millions to chase their dreams.
As co-founder of “The Buried Life” movement, Nemtin’s message of radical possibility has been featured in major media, including NBC’s “Today” show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC News and more.
“Ben Nemtin boldly sets his fears aside to pursue his dreams and inspires others to do the same,” said Saeed Shihab, vice president of student relations for the Associated Students of the University of Utah. “His speech will empower the class of 2018 to use their education as a launching pad to achieve great things and become outstanding ambassadors of the University of Utah in their professional endeavors.”
General commencement exercises will be held Thursday, May 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Freeform, Disney's young adult television and streaming network, has announced "Movie Night with Karlie Kloss," a six-part series of short-form games and interviews, will premiere on Dec. 28. Taking the ultimate movie night to the next level, the supermodel, tech guru and fashion icon will invite some of her closest friends for an evening of movies, games, baking and fun, all while watching some of the most beloved "movie night" films, including "Dirty Dancing," "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," "Hitch," and "Never Been Kissed," among others.
Guest appearances throughout the series include tennis star Serena Williams, Rachel Bilson ("Nashville"), Burkely Duffield ("Beyond"), ballet dancer Fabrice Calmels, relationship expert Matthew Hussey, Carter Jenkins ("Famous in Love"), Victoria Justice ("The Outcasts"), Peyton List ("BUNK'D"), Ruby Rose ("Orange Is the New Black"), Youtube star Lilly Singh, magician Joel Ward, and supermodels Jourdan Dunn, Kaia Gerber, Ashley Graham, Martha Hunt, Kendall Jenner, Joan Smalls and Amber Valletta.
"Movie Night with Karlie Kloss" will premiere on Thursday, Dec. 28, at 6:30 p.m. EST with guests Jourdan Dunn, Burkely Duffield, Martha Hunt, and Joel Ward. Additional airdates will be announced at a later date.
"Movie Night with Karlie Kloss" is executive produced by Brad Tiemann, Ben Nemtin, Duncan Penn, Dave Lingwood and Jonnie Penn for THEOS, Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner for Hazy Mills, Karlie Kloss for Klossy Productions, Scooter Braun and Penni Thow. Lisa Fletcher serves as showrunner.
The Bucket List Fundraiser Gala hosted by the Prince George Hospice Society is set for September 22. The event is being held at the Prince George Civic Centre with Ben Nemtin of MTV’s The Buried Life as the guest speaker.
The fundraiser gives people a chance to have one of their bucket list goals achieved after they purchase a ticket.
The goals are divided into three categories. “So the A list is like walk the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu that sort of thing, the B list skydiving, white water rafting and then your C’s is likely learning Spanish and that sort of stuff so every week we’re giving away a b and a c wish,” says Donna Flood, executive director.
Flood says there’s still time to get your tickets. “Tickets are $85 a piece or for a table of 10 for $750 and they can go online to Central Interior Tickets at 3540 Opie Crescent and buy them there.”
Viacom’s youth-focused network MTV has slated the music-infused docuseries Dare to Live for a late-August premiere date.
Produced by THEOS and Roush Wagner Company, each half-hour episode of the series will feature renowned videographer Rory Kramer (pictured) and celebrity musicians on a thrill-seeking adventure.
Featured in the series are such artists as The Chainsmokers, Rae Sremmurd, Shawn Mendes, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Krewella, Khalid and Iggy Azalea.
After struggling with depression and overcoming adversity, Kramer chose to celebrate life and establish a career at the intersection of video production, thrill-seeking and music, according to a release from the network.
As a videographer, Kramer has traveled the globe to work with such artists as Justin Bieber, The Chainsmokers, Kanye West, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix, Krewella, as well as others, at major festivals, concerts and music videos.
Dare to Live is scheduled to roll out on Aug. 29 at 11 p.m. ET/PT, with two back-to-back episodes every week on MTV.
The series is directed and executive produced by Adam Vetri. Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn and Jonnie Penn are executive producers for THEOS. Chris Wagner and Jim Roush are executive producers for Roush Wagner Company. Kramer also serves as executive producer.