His keynote is about change and resilience
A recognized authority on performance and change management, Rene has inspired thousands to stretch, push beyond their limits in spite of their fears and doubt. His story of grit, perseverance, courage, and growth through change has helped thousands overcome their challenges, boost morale and seize the existing opportunities available to them.
His journey started in an isolated and impoverished village in Haiti. As a boy, Rene had the kind of life that would force most to settle for a life of resignation. But, as he often reminds his audiences, challenges and economic hardships don’t define us. They only reveal our character. They only test our will to see how far we can go in through of life.
As a child, several lethal diseases vowed to end his existence. He suffered under the grip of malnutrition, dysentery, cholera and other deadly diseases. He was a frail and sick kid who was too weak to even withstand the strong tropical winds in his village. During the day, he spent his sat on a dirt floor fanning flies off of his face. And at night, he dealt with the mosquitoes.
His father abandoned him before he was even born and never came back to offer any assistance. At the age of only nine months, Rene’s mother left him behind with a neighbor. Though the separation was painful for both, the child and mother, it was necessary. Rene’s mother had to go to Port-Au-Prince to look for a better way to provide for her precious son.
Young Rene survived primarily on breadfruit and the occasional rare fish he caught with a string and a bent hook. Many gave up on him and predicted he would not survive. But he continued to defy logic. The frail and ailing boy built up strength by climbing coconut and mango trees for survival. He refused to give up and accept what was.
At the age of seven, a relative helped Rene rejoined his mother in the City. There, Rene began a new and different uphill battle with poverty. He slept on the floor of a basement shack infested with rats and roaches.
It was also there an American couple of tourists gave him a dime and compassionately patted his head and gently touched his shoulder. That kind of compassion stirred a deep emotional transformation inside the eight-year-boy. A dream was born. “I want to go to America to eat lots of rice and chicken and enjoy a good life.” said Rene. Sure enough that dream came true.
Rene Godefroy’s American Journey
In 1983, at the age of 21, Rene left Haiti. He recalls seating for the first on a posh chair and smelling food on a big Canadian airplane bound for Montreal. Excitement built up! And when he discovered how close he was to America, he decided to find a way to enter this great country.
Rene took the ultimate risk that almost cost him his life. He paid a truck driver to smuggle him into America. He arrived wedged between the rear tires of a tractor-trailer covered with ashes and dust. His personal possessions were five dollars, two shirts and one pair of pants housed in a tattered briefcase. And he didn’t speak any English at all.
Where many would see nothing but overwhelming odds stacked against them, he saw an abundance of opportunity and a chance to live the American dream. But he knew intrinsically that he had to go an extra mile in all his endeavors in order to enjoy the good life that many wish for. In fact, he has been going the extra mile since leaving his village at the age of seven.
Today, Rene energizes, empowers, and inspires audiences worldwide. His unquenchable drive and heroic triumphant story stirs in others laughter, tears, and deep reflections. His can-do attitude gives those who listen to him the permission to dream and achieve the impossible in spite of their challenges.
“Do what you can with what you have if it’s all that you have! Everybody started from the bottom to reach the top. Everybody started with very little or nothing” He tells his audiences.
Today, companies such as AT&T, Aflac, Charles Schwab, and Coca cola are among the many organizations that seek out Rene to help their employees re-fire their work cylinders, embrace change as their good fortune.
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