Text: "Pitch 101" with a collage of photos

>> Hi there everybody think you so much for joining us this evening. I will go ahead and get started right away. We are going to be talking about the pitch competition. And before we start I do want to let you know that there is audio available, and captioning. You can click on the button that says CC, or you can have the stream text link open to show the full page of the transcript. That will be posted in the chat very soon. If you have any questions or want to raise your hand, feel free, we will be looking at the chat box and the Q&A section. If there is any questions that I plan to discuss throughout the webinar I will answer those later in time. But feel free any time to type any chat or Q&A, via the boxes in your zoom. I am Chanel Bonheyo. The director of youth programs at the NAD and the pitch program is one of the competitions we oversee. And this is under the NAD youth programs. So I am sure you are wondering how your state organization or associations can participate and host one of these pitch competitions. Before you send the rep to the NAD by annual conferences. Next slide please? Alrighty. So before I dive into the details I do want to talk a little bit about myself and tell you why I love the pitch competition so much. I’m a former Miss Deaf America I was a contestant in the winter and this was back in 2012 so that was now 10 years ago. This experience was astonishing. For me. I never knew about the NAD conference at that time in my life. I didn’t know there was a biennial conference at all. And back in 2012 I think I was 21, 20, 21, 22. Maryland Association of the Deaf asked me if I wanted to participate in the Miss Deaf America competition and they informed me of having a local competition. And I was intrigued. When I was growing up I always loved the Miss America competitions on television but I never knew that there was a Miss Deaf America competition I could participate in myself so MDAD offered me the opportunity to participate in Miss Deaf America I knew I couldn’t say no, or would never let myself accept the decision so I became a contestant and I went to the NAD biennial conference and I didn’t know what to expect when I was there. There was a competition and I knew there would be other folks from different states who I would be competing with, but when it was time to go to the conference I was really blown away by this community. There were so many workshops. And there was a Council of representative meetings every evening. There was the college bowl, that I had never even heard of as well. I loved it so much. I think there were about 2000 people there at the time from all over the US, and of different walks of life to be in the same environment. With these bustling crowds going from workshop to workshop. As I mentioned I did win Miss Deaf America and it gave me a sense of responsibility, responsibility to give back to thank Maryland for giving me this opportunity to win such a title. So because of this experience, I was crowned for a two-year commitment to the NAD community and to serve in various ways . Once I did – I sort of came back again to MDAD. I was a board member with MDAD and I was able to recruit more Deaf youth to participate in these competitions and to spend their time with MDAD. So that is why I am so passionate about having state organizations host these local competitions, so that more Deaf youths can have the same experience I did. This helps to recruit more youth to want to commit to your state organization so that is really what the goal of the webinar is today. Maybe you have heard of the pitch competition before, used to be called the youth ambassadors program or YAP and before that it was Miss Deaf America so we have had three iterations of it so far. There may be more in the future. Really pitch is actually a placeholder. We are working on finding a new name for this competition that feels like it better fits our current community and competition. the competition format is pretty much the same but we are rebranding. So if you have ideas of what it should be called or things you feel need to be associated with it, please let us know. We plan to be announcing the renaming of this competition at the Chicago conference in two years. And… This slide says why, in big letters so this is me asking you about your self. Why are you joining us this evening? the first option is you want your state organization to host a competition in the future. The second is you want Deaf youth to participate in the state organization, locally. Number three I don’t know. and number four is I have another reason. And I will be putting up a poll now on your screen. now we are showing the results. Looks like the majority of you are interested in attracting more Deaf youth to your organizations and will definitely talk plenty about that tonight. You are in the right place. For those of you who have other reasons for joining tonight, feel free to let us know via chat, or the Q&A box. You really looking forward to getting to know you all. Next slide please? Now I am going to give you my 32nd pitch on what the pitch competition is. I am just kidding. I’m going to give you a quick summary of what the competition is in a nutshell. It is a competition where Deaf youth can come up with a new idea or they want to make a new product, or they see an issue in the community and they want to solve the problem. So we would be investing money in their ideas. Folks must be of ages 18 to 30. They must be Deaf or hard of hearing, deaf blind, Deaf plus, late deafened or deaf disabled. The competition happens July one through six the next biennial NAD conference of July 1 through July 6 are the most important dates and I will be showing the timeline before the conference happens as well. Another way to describe this competition is to compare it to shark tank. You may also be familiar with Gallaudet University’s bison tank. RIT also hosts the next big idea competition. NBI. So those competitions, shark tank is a TV show, is a great way to help you visualize what this competition looks like. Most of these approaches will have a panel of judges and the judges will watch all of the competitors and vote who is going to win and they will have first, second and third places where the contestants. There are some complexities here and I will describe those a little bit later. Next slide? like I said, folks can be ages 18 to 30 to participate. Some more criteria is a need to have graduated from high school or have an equivalent GED certificate. They need to be Deaf and hard of hearing like I said and once folks apply we will be running a background check for the individuals applying. And the application is an online form. They will answer some questions. Describe their idea what moves them and what is driving them for this and a video essay. This is where they will be able to describe more about their idea. And we recommend that folks use the format of VIS. And if you see here on this screen, this is our pitch competition logo. The first image is a blue target bull’s-eye. And that stands for visibility. That means someone has identified a problem. The second icon is a pink lightning bolt and this is for innovation. So once the issue has been identified, innovation must happen to solve the problem. Thirdly, there is a green circle swirl and this stands for sustainability. So again a problem is identified, there is an idea to solve it, and to maintain that stability after the problem has been eradicated. So this is how they are going to be applying for the competition. The VIS format is a suggestion. It is not required. There will be lots of time where the contestants can get some feedback from different judges and folks who are involved in this program, so that by the time they arrived to the NAD conference they are more than ready to have a fully fleshed out presentation. This is an important part of the process. So now you have a little bit of an idea of what the pitch competition looks like, what our logo means and the format of VIS. so now we are going to show a video of the most recent contestants from the most recent competition. >> Hi everyone I am Jessica Willoughby . I grew up in the Midwest. But now I live in Frederick Maryland. So my business platform is to set up a website for Deaf K-12 students to go on the website and develop the written grammar and English, but all through American sign language. >> Hello there my name is Nicholas Kelly. I am from Victor New York. And my business idea is called sign speak. This is automatic ASL translation through an avatar, to allow for more smooth communication for Deaf people anytime anywhere. >> Hello everyone I am DiMarco Pittman I’m from Atlanta Georgia. DIBS is about community networking and mentorship >> Hi there. My name is Jacob felt Martinez. You can call me Jake, for short. I am coming from Denver Colorado and I have come with a platform called ASL X .org and our goal is to collect all of the vlogs that have come from the Deaf community that provide education for our Deaf youth so that we have one easy database for all of these videos. >> Hi everyone I am Keith Banks. I am from Orlando Florida. My platform is hashtag strength through accessibility. This is for people all over America who have had experiences of not having accessibility even through drive-through experiences at restaurants. >> Hello my name is Samantha Moore. I am from Tucson Arizona and my business is called Deaf eco-shop, it’s an online market place for Deaf owned businesses. >> Chanel Bonheyo: and there we have it. We saw all the six contestants. They have a number of different ideas in terms of going to the conference and being ready. That was the beginning of the conference for that week. And I will share a little bit more about… The contestants and their experiences and the rounds. So before they got to the NAD conference I mentioned about the application process and following VIS as a foundation. So there are individuals who mentor with these contestants and they also have a mentor during the week of the conference. So we also have a retreat right before the NAD conference typically it is usually in the same area of the conference in the same state or nearby where the conference is held. So usually have about may be a two day retreat, where there’s also workshops that are held by business entrepreneurs, where they have a chance to network with them, and also be able to practice what they are actually going to be presenting. So there’s opportunities for them to network and also learn from potential investors, during their retreat, prior to the conference. So they have their confidence built before getting there. During the NAD conference there is a competition rounds. The rounds are all scored, and they count towards the final evening. So the competition is quite complex, just thinking about the final night, and where they actually go to the pitch competition. Everyone is partaking in their pitch competition but these points actually are based on all of their participants during the week at NAD. Round one we are in the hot seat. So it is the interview process and where the contestants have an opportunity to have private interviews with the judges. They have a chance to go into more detail about their platform, who they are, how they are going to be investing in the Deaf community as a result of that and we also have observers. So are judges who are holding the private interviews, we also have more judges, who are not a part of the interview, who are actually secret judges. They have the opportunity to observe during the week in terms of how the contestants are showing up, how they are performing, how they are socializing with others so they are kind of incognito. So that all counts toward round one. And a new exciting thing that we actually did this past summer is what we did was an exhibit hall. So all the contestants have the opportunity to pitch their ideas during the exhibit halls. So the audience basically who want to know more in depth about these ideas can go to the exhibit hall and me to these contestants instead of waiting until the final night. They can grab some opportunities before that. So there are some tokens that are also given out when they need them in the exhibit hall to say, I like that idea or that’s actually a good idea. And where they can actually get tokens from individuals interested and bonus points and count toward their tallies. We also count how many, the most tokens for each individual. So again, they don’t have to wait until the final night. Rounds two and three both are the final pitches of the night. We do have the contestants where individuals will sit and listen, but instead we have changed that around a little bit to have more engagement where the contestants have the opportunity to network, to meet folks in the audience again who are possibly the ones to invest in them. We also have various Deaf leaders in the audience where they can actually share ways that could show as mentorship to where they can change, or engage with other stakeholders within the audience. So they have the opportunity to interact with stakeholders, Deaf leaders and various other deaf community members. Then we have our top finalists, and they will present their vision platform. Round three is a little bit unique in and of itself. It is, we start with, a final approach so where we actually start with the full presentations, we get their ideas within five minutes. Once that is over, we then move forward to round three, B, if you will. They have the 30 second pitch where the audience and everyone else is fully listening and engaging to that pitch and they say yes that is what I would like. This is what I want. The audience then goes ahead and votes before we announce the winner to the audience so they have the opportunity to vote, and that tallies toward their final score. Then we announce who has been for second and third. I did want to take time to acknowledge this past summer we hosted the pitch competition format and all of the contestants did have the chance to give the presentation and we do recognize that we get some feedback, and we did have contestants, who not all of them really had the chance to be in the top four. Not all of them have the opportunity to present. So that format, in terms of the number of applicants, and how many presented we did revise that. So our packets are available online. And it’s not something that is a one and done. If there are any revisions that need to be made in terms of the number of contestants, that will impact our format decision so we do want to make sure that we communicate that to the community if any changes do occur. Next slide please? Here we have it. This is the competition rounds that happen at NAD but what can you be doing that here we have a competition timeline. So until fall of 2023, where the applications are available I want to encourage each and every one of you throughout the year to host your state association conferences. Use those moments to have your own local pitch competitions. And the reason why that is important is those who win the local state associations whether that is a couple of folks or a slew of folks, you can send them as representatives to NAD. We do have a whole full year to plan for next year’s biennial national conference. So I do want to encourage each and every one of you to host those competitions, host the conferences where we can attract more folks to be a part. Next fall, again, if you see the format is a little bit different but we have the application in the fall again you will fill that out following the VIS approach and once we receive your application we will take a look at that, review it. If it meets all of the criteria. And your idea is a green light we will inform you that you are welcome to continue with the pitch competition. You will then be provided mentors to give you some feedback regarding your PowerPoint and your final presentation. So you will have that before you go to the retreat, before the conference. The retreat, we have a lot of workshops in professional development that’s opportunities that are availableon the network experiences to uptick your confidence there at the conference. Sometimes youth may not have had the experience to go to the NAD conference but this is a great way to get your break into the NAD conference you never know who you could actually meet or who you would liaise with their at the conference, so we do want to encourage you to have that opportunity that the retreat is kind of like a quick pop up right before you get over to the NAD conference and there at the NAD conference 2024 you have rounds one, two, three. So this is the timeline from now until NAD 2024. Next slide please? So here we have it. Reasons why contestants should actually be a part of this competition. Here are some of the benefits. One, enhancing your presentation skills. You will not just have one person you are presenting to, but you have a slew of opportunities to present to a myriad of different people, different ages, different stakeholders again, so your presentation skills will uptick within a heartbeat. Secondly, engaging in network opportunities, part of the pitch competition is that we put you in a spot where you have the opportunity to network, not just alone, but the entire week you will meet a whole number of Deaf professionals in these locations, professional development at the retreat but also during the week of the NAD conference you have different tracks and workshops and I encourage our contestants and youth to go if this is something that piques your interest, then attend. And going to the NAD conference is just an astounding and astonishing experience. So I do encourage you all to build those skills. Working with NAD you will be able to develop more teamwork and collaboration skills and transforming into an effective advocate not just for yourself but for your community at large. We have a long way to go. And each person brings something to the table and where you can actually advocate for our community for change. Your ideas are innovative but they are also potentially becoming action. They are actually potentially becoming reality. So those ideas actually benefit not just your self but the Deaf community at large and being committed to making an impact. Most importantly, , you also realize that you will learn more about your state organization. You have the opportunity to actually see if you send them off to NAD you actually realize while this is what is going on this is what my state organization does and does not do and it really impacts your experience. Just even myself with MDAD, there was so much more that I had to learn about the Maryland state organization, just as a member and being involved, I became more grateful for what they were doing on my behalf and that’s really important for youth to experience. Next slide please? This competition again, it, you will gain so much. The ultimate goal is we want to elevate young professionals. Us older people, I would say again, we need folks that will replace us. So elevating young professionals, increasing Deaf owned businesses and products, seeing more of that. Building our ecosystem and also building the bridge between the youth and NAD. And again another one of our ultimate goals is gaining understanding of what exactly is NAD and your state organization. And lastly, invest in Deaf youth, again the poll that I recently asked wheel said we wanted to increase the number of Deaf youth in the organization that is one way that we can actually track more youth to our organization forgive them an opportunity to go over to NAD and participate in this competition within the state organization it will then lead them to the national level. Again, this is a great way to invest in our youth. Next slide please? Alright I have been in my role for a few years now is the director of youth programs and I have seen some repeating discussions and common statements. The people think that Deaf youth are not interested and there is not a lot of volunteers happening with our youth generation and that they are not interested. And wondering what is in it for me is a common trend. Of course the youth want to know what they are going to get from us if they spend their time serving us. So we have to think of that kind of idea what is the trade-off. So we can have an equal trade with the younger generation. This is a huge opportunity for you to gain the numbers of Deaf members you have in your organization even if just a few people join your local pitch competition they most likely will be able to pull in their friends and family to come watch. And those audience members may be curious about the organization and become a member, and so on and so forth, but the ripple effect. So this is the most important note that I have for you is that you are the key player, and seeing rising numbers in your youth membership. I have been pointing at all of you for a very long time this evening, but you may be wondering how to host one of these competitions. There are two ways. You can have a more formal competition or more casual informal one. The most important thing is that there’s really no requirements here. We don’t have any rules that you need to follow our format that we will be using for the biennial conference. Do whatever fits your community and your organization. However you feel will most attract your local Deaf youth that is totally fine and there is no need to spend a bunch of money to host a big event for this project. So, you can follow our competition format if you so please. You can follow our three rounds. We are happy to give you a packet to guide you through the more formal process that we have created. If your local organizational conference plans to have anything dedicated to the pitch competition or to a socializing event this is a great opportunity to pour in more Deaf youth it could also be a standalone event. It doesn’t have to be associated with the conference. Or instead of following our competition three round format you can also use a shark tank approach that will have a panel of judges that will ask questions to folks after the presentation is done, and so that they can sort of convince the panelists why they should quote unquote invest in their project. And then at the end there will be a vote on who wins or you can do a first, second, third. You can send all the top three to the NAD. There’s really no limit on how many people you want to represent your association. You can send as many as you want. Four during your local conference maybe you will have an exhibit hall. This will be a great opportunity for folks who are contestants to have their own booths or their own stand and talk to people about their ideas. And anybody who goes to your conference can get a token. And then at the end of the exhibit hall demo there will be buckets for each contestant and folks will put their tokens to vote. One of the main drivers really of associations to host a formal event is so folks can charge for admission and the money can go to the funds that will help the youth go to the NAD biennial conference or just to help your association complete some other goals. That money can reflect a lot for your organization of course. Next slide? Now informal you don’t have to host an event with an audience. It can be an internal private process. It can just be done with your officers, or your board members or you can pick some special guest to be the judges. Maybe for example you are just going to ask for some video submissions about why they think the project is the best, and why they should be chosen. Then your officers can view all of the videos and vote on who they like the best for that’s totally fine. That is an idea. You can also have a zoom… Meeting to watch all of the interviews happen and have everyone present. That is another idea to have it on zoom. You can also Hearst in person really it is up to you. Zoom would be a great option because there would be no site fee, and that would help the organization save money. So really the interview panel or the zoom event is another way to do the shark tank idea online. Menu can also do a 30 second or 60 seconds speed dating event with the judges, whoever you choose from your area and then the contestants will have 30 seconds or 60 seconds to very quickly convince the judges to vote for the project. So that is another idea. To just do some quick speed dating. Then the judges at the end of the evening will vote on who the best contestant is. There are really many different ideas and many different ways you can have an informal style pitch competition. And these are just some ideas. There’s also many ways to do a formal pitch competition. We are happy to help you on a one-on-one basis figure out what works best for your association, but the big picture here is to give an opportunity for your Deaf youth to be able to be involved and to see what your association is all about. That is really the key and hoping that your association can be a really key player in their life and in their growth and development as they become adults. Next slide? Now what is in it for you? Why should you send youth to the conference? It can be very costly of course. So this is, we really recommend that you establish a financial agreement with your representative. One example that I have from a previous situation is that really from my experience when I was missed Deaf America and I went to the conference to compete I had to fund raise on my own to sort out all of the monies for lodging and meals and admission and everything. As well as some of the wardrobe. Miss Deaf America required a lot of custom changes and of course the pitch competition does not require that so that’s another big Pro about us not having Miss Deaf America anymore but some youth may not be able to find any appropriate business clothing in the closet so they may have to fund raise for that as well. Some agreements may be that they are going to pay back the funds if they lose. Excuse me. They will pay back the funds if they lose the competition. And if they win, that is a motivator for them to work a little bit harder to try to win, and to not have to pay back the money to the Association. If your association really is tight on funds and feels it’s not possible or smart in terms of your budget to do so please contact us. We are happy to come up with ideas. It’s also possible to have a partnership with another organization to find more monies to do so. We really encourage commitment and expectations from the contestants. If the contestants go to the conference and have a wonderful time and come back and do not find any motivation to pursue their project, we would of course not want to see this. We would want to see their ideas come to fruition regardless of the result so we really hope to see continued motivation and support from the Association to encourage them to see the project to fruition. So we are hoping you all have conversations with those contestants to ensure this energy. They are also representing your organization, your association. So they will often be asked which state organization are you from. And that’s a huge benefit for you. You are going to get some promo and some visibility for that. Self-esteem for the Deaf youth is going to be exponential they are going to have so much newfound confidence and will find some new to them values and when they come back they will have a new perspective and I’m sure will be very thankful to your organization. This will be also a huge opportunity for professional growth. When they come back they are also going to bring these newfound skills that they learned during different workshops and sessions and spread them across the organization. Next slide? So like I said, there’s going to be many examples of ripple effect here. When they come back to us, to our community… You may not see the money back immediately, but really the return on investment is community-based and not money based here. So when they come back, you know I really encourage that the association make sure that they feel that they did a good job and this was an important part of the Association. And this framework is called WIN. Wanted important and needed so we want them to feel the win-win opportunity that they are winners regardless of the result of the competition. And that the Association is winning by having them as a member. So you will get to know them a little bit more throughout the process as well and that is a great win-win. You are going to learn about their goals. You are going to learn about their interests. And you may even find interest on making sure that their vision is represented in the organization to attract them to become a board member. You know there is a famous quote, treat others the way that they want to be treated. It is really the same thing. We will give them this big opportunity and they will return the favor. I know that it can be thankless work to commit so much to recruiting Deaf youth and sometimes seeing the ROI can be tough but the more we can that we will see the Deaf youth coming back home to our organizations. That is really what I had to say tonight. I am looking forward to hearing any of your comments or questions. We still have about 20 minutes. So give me what you got. What are your questions? I think there is a quiet audience. Please let me know if you have any questions, or if any part of the presentation was unclear. You can type your question in the chat. You can also raise your hand, and when we see our hand raised, we are going to be able to transfer you to a panelist so you can turn your camera on and we can see you signing in ASL. Going once… Going twice… . Three times. All right. Thank you so much for joining us. And thank you for spending your precious Wednesday with us. We hope to see some local competitions happening in your association and again I will say, please let me know if you have any questions, or if you want to brainstorm some ideas for what fits your community best, and we can’t wait to see who your representatives are in Chicago in two years. Thank you so much. Good night.

How can your state association or organization get involved with the NAD’s Pitch Competition? Chanel Bonheyo, NAD Director of Youth Programs, will share ideas on how you can set up your own Pitch competition to send winners to the NAD’s Pitch Competition at its biennial conference. Pitch 101 will also share strategies on youth retention in your state association or organization. This free webinar welcomes anyone and is geared towards state association and organization presidents, conference chairs, and youth program directors.

DATE: Wednesday, November 9th, 2022, 8 – 9 PM EST
No CEUs will be offered for this webinar
This is a free webinar that requires registration.


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