The Short Version:
I’m an author, speaker, and corporate consultant who helps entrepreneurial people communicate successfully because our messages matter. Clear and authentic communication has never been more important. When it comes to communicating about our big ideas, products, and services, we all face the same challenges and fears.
My community is all about working together to overcome the uncertainty that comes with trying to get our messages out to prospects, investors, peers, and more. My goal is to share ways to break the communication process down into manageable steps so we can connect with others, share our gifts, and improve lives.
A bit more background:
I’ve been a freelance writer and journalist since my college days and was able to get work for a number of different outlets in the years before I became a teacher. In 2006, I began a wonderful decade of teaching social sciences–from communication to history–at a handful of colleges and universities in Pittsburgh.
I also started my first blog back in 2009. A couple years later, I was fortunate enough to land a literary agent and get a book deal with a traditional publisher. Technology has changed the publishing world so fast though, and these days I’m excited to work with dozens of authors in the self-publishing space.
In 2015, I left teaching and Pittsburgh for Dallas, Texas to take life as a full-time freelancer to the next level. When I’m not helping corporations with strategic communications, curriculum creation, and organizational development, I love helping individuals and nonprofits share their ideas and passions with their audiences.
My work has appeared in numerous outlets from bookstores and metropolitan newspapers to trade magazines and many popular websites. Along the way I’ve been interviewed by dozens of media outlets across the continent. I love podcasting and doing live radio, and it’s fun to help others prepare for and succeed at media and public appearances as well.
Oh, you want to know who I REALLY am? Let me tell you a story…
I had no idea who I was when I began college. I mean, I knew I was Clay, but what in the world was that supposed to mean? I certainly didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. And I absolutely had no clue then how tinkering with words would come to define my entire existence.
Everything changed one day as I sat on the cool, concrete steps of Manderino Library in southwestern Pennsylvania at California University of Pennsylvania where I spent a few years struggling to find my identity while chasing down a degree in history.
I had just come from a class in 20th Century European Literature and was eager to see what pen marks I would find scratched over our final project of the summer. We had been tasked with finding inspiration from our semester reading list to craft our own original, short story. That was the first real story I ever wrote.
The instructor, a raconteur named Ron Forsythe, had energized and excited me since my freshman year, but he downright inspired me as I progressed into an upperclassman.
While writing that story, I found myself hunched over the kitchen table late one night, feverishly scribbling out words fast as they flowed through my hand. I didn’t want to play videogames or watch TV. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I just wanted to do schoolwork. SCHOOLwork. And it wasn’t even the night before it was due.
So you understand why I didn’t make it back to my house or car but instead perched on the first stoop I could find that warm, spring day, like a pigeon at the park jittery with a mixture of eagerness and anxiety. Whatever Forsythe had written on those pages was going to matter. Never one to coddle student’s feelings, he wrote in red pen. If he took enough interest, your prized submission looked like a bloodbath by the time he completed marking.
I turned the pages and began reading. First came simple hieroglyphs of correction. A missed word here, a spacing error there. Then came some comments, from notes of praise to chides made of ink slashes. I neared the final page, my heart beating more quickly. Turning one more sheet of paper would reveal the final score from a man who once played in the minor leagues for Jackie Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers. I took a breath and revealed the final page.
Forsythe told me it was a good story. He said I had talent. He gave me an A.
The thing about moments that change our lives is that we so often fail to recognize them in the moment. That man changed my life. I became the writer I was born to be. I became a college teacher. All at once I found my identity and purpose.
I’m still writing a ton and have been fortunate to carve out a full-time living built on nothing but words. Communication is my life’s passion.
And that brings us back to you.
Who are you? What do you need? And most importantly, how can I help?
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