Thursday Evening Opening Banquet
The Talents of Young People!
The opening program will include a parade of flags for all areas represented by the USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum (including MD-60), and will feature the inspirational and entertaining talents of young adults associated with the National Speech and Debate Association and other performing arts.
Motivational Speaker, “Possible Thinking” Business Consultant, Guinness World Record Holder – www.JessicaCox.com
Jessica is recognized internationally as an inspirational keynote speaker. Born without arms, Jessica now flies airplanes, drives cars, and otherwise lives a normal life using her feet as others use their hands. She holds the title of the first person without arms to earn a black belt in ATA Martial Arts and the Guinness World Record for being the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot’s certificate. Convinced that the way we think has a greater impact on our lives than our physical constraints, Jessica chose to pursue a degree in psychology at the University of Arizona. Since then she has traveled to 26 countries on six continents sharing her inspirational message.
Published in 2015, Disarm Your Limits is Jessica’s first book. It chronicles Jessica’s story to live without prosthetic arms using her feet as other people use their hands. Using a simple aviation metaphor, she gives insight into how people struggling with courage, determination, and creativity can overcome their challenges. Her “formula for flight” is how Jessica achieved her greatest triumph: unrepentant regard and self-acceptance for herself as a whole person.
Jessica established Rightfooted Foundation International (a 501(c)(c) nonprofit) in 2017 to further her advocacy for children with limb differences and other disabilities around the world.
Right Footed, the Documentary, chronicles Jessica’s life. Throughout a difficult childhood filled with bullying and heartache, Jessica fought for dignity and independence. She now works as a mentor to children with disabilities and their families in the USA and abroad, helping them overcome their situations just as her mentor once helped her. It is a story about the power of inspiration and mentorship and about how everyone — those with visible disabilities and those without — can find the strength within themselves. After more than 50 film festivals around the world, Right Footed won 14 major awards including Best Social Impact at the Hollywood International Film Festival. It was also shown on National Geographic in more than 80 countries. For more visit www.rightfootedmovie.com.
International President Douglas X. Alexander
Douglas X. Alexander, from Brooklyn, New York, USA, was elected to serve as international president of Lions Clubs International at the association’s 103rd International Convention, June 25 through 29, 2021.
President Alexander is a retired vice president for J.P. Morgan Chase Bank.
A member of the Brooklyn Bedford Stuyvesant Lions Club since 1984, he has held many offices within the association, including club president, zone chair, region chair, vice district governor, district governor, cabinet secretary, cabinet treasurer, DGE group leader and international director. He also served as a Lions Eye Bank transporter, a member of the District and Multiple District PDG Association, a trustee of the New York State and Bermuda Lions Foundation, and was appointed as the Lions representative to UNICEF-New York from 2012-2014. He has served on the USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum Planning and Host Committees and has been a presenter at several USA/Canada Forums.
In recognition of his service to the association, he has received numerous awards including the club Lion of the Year, Club President’s Award, the Robert J. Uplinger Service Award, several District Governor Appreciation Awards, and the Multiple District Membership Growth Award. He is also the recipient of numerous International President’s Certificates of Appreciation, seven International President’s Awards and the Ambassador of Good Will Award, the highest honor the association bestows upon its members. He is a Dr. Franklin G. Mason Fellow, a W. P. Woods Fellow and a progressive Melvin Jones Fellow.
In addition to his Lions activities, President Alexander is active in numerous professional and community organizations. He has served as chairperson of the advisory board for the New York Urban League and as a board member of the St. Francis DeSales School for the Deaf. He is also a recipient of the Congressional Record Award.
President Alexander has two daughters, and his partner in service, Shabiki Cazabon, is a Lion and a Progressive Melvin Jones Fellow.
Born in Australia and now residing in Vancouver, Michelle Ray is a keynote speaker, author and thought leader and renowned for her expertise on leadership, accountability, resilience, change and building outstanding cultures. She has worked with hundreds of leaders and their teams in diverse organizations (including two previous USA Canada Lions Leadership Forums), not-for-profit groups, private and public enterprises, as well as an array of association events around the world. Her style has been described as dynamic, fun refreshing, uplifting with a common-sense message.
As an in-demand business conference speaker for more than 25 years, Michelle has earned the Certified Speaking Professional as well as the Certified Virtual Presenter designations, held by less than 1,500 people worldwide. Michelle is the author of Lead Yourself First! Indispensable Lessons in Business & in Life and has appeared as a guest on numerous TV and current affairs programs. Her next book, Leading in Real Time, How to Drive Success in a Radically Changing World will be released his coming September.