Meet the Characters
RICH HOPKINS (Broomfield, Colorado) is no stranger to painful moments in life. The Iowa native’s first career was door-to-door sales, despite a birth defect in his left leg that hindered his ability to walk. Thanks to the unwavering support of his dedicated wife and six children, Rich built a successful career as a professional speaker, author and speech coach. Embracing a “win anyway” mindset, Rich’s publications include: “Speak & Deliver,” “Go Ahead and Laugh: A Serious Guide to Speaking with Humor” and “Win, Place & Show.”
ROBERT MACKENZIE (Santa Monica, CA.) was diagnosed with incurable heart disease twelve years ago. However, after giving up on his future, he turned loss into a win and became a successful architect and developer. MacKenzie is also an actor and public speaker whose heartfelt and humorous talks empower audiences to overcome loss, adversity and crisis.
DR. KATHERINE MORRISON (Boston, MA) was a postdoctoral research associate and public health researcher at the Wellesley Centers for Women from 2002-2007. Today, she dedicates her career to exploring the impact of violence against women in communities of color and finding methods for preventing violence against women. Dr. Morrison has been the recipient of several honors including the Malcolm J. Dantzler award from the South Carolina Public Health Association and the American Public Health Association’s Delta Omega award for outstanding research. She is a native of Cleveland, OH.
MARTIN PRESSE (Toronto, Canada) is President and CEO of Booya Seminars Inc. Martin has been speaking and entertaining professionally since 2004. He began his professional speaking career as a Comedy Stage Hypnotist. From there he became a motivational speaker and speaking coach, helping others achieve their goal of becoming influential and successful speakers. Martin travels across North America presenting keynote speeches and hosting seminars about public speaking, teaching audiences to become “Booya Speakers” – communicating with Passion, Purpose and Commitment. He is the author of “The Booya Guide to Great Public Speaking – How To Speak and Present Like the Pro’s.”
LASHUNDA RUNDLES (Dallas, Texas) grew up in a small Texas town. As a young girl, she was terrified of public speaking but her mother, determined to hone her skills to develop poise and presence, steered Lashunda into making public appearances regularly. In her senior year of high school, LaShunda was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. Since then, she has struggled with numerous physical challenges associated with this unpredictable disease. Today, LaShunda is a public speaker and Gospel singer. She lives in Dallas with her teenage son Dennis and is a member of the Friendship West Baptist Church and the North Texas Lupus Foundation, where she works to raise awareness about the illness. Through her company MaXXimum, she trains people on communications techniques and relationship management.
CHARLIE WILSON (State College, PA) is an emeritus retiree from the faculty of Penn State. He is an active member of six Toastmasters International clubs, achieving Distinguished Toastmaster, serving as District 13 Governor twice and reaching the finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking. He is also very active in community theater, having been in 78 productions over the past 14 years. He lives happily with his high school sweetheart, Caroline, with whom he reconnected online, 50 years after their courtship in high school.