Brad Goes To Sweet Briar

sweet-briar-collegeWell everybody, the big day has come and gone.  Friday was quite the day indeed.   For those of you that do not know I was asked to speak at Sweet Briar College (a girls college) about starting out with topics such as savings, budgeting, student loans, and buying a house.  The event was being held for a local Grapevine group called Virginia Network of Black/African-American Women in Higher Education.  It was a great bunch of ladies!

As far as  being nervous I never really got nervous.  That came as a huge surprise for me but I am pretty sure my public speaking class helped me get over that hump.  We had a nice 45 minute drive through beautiful Virginia mountains and when we arrived I had 30 minutes to set up.

I will admit that as I perused the speaker line up I thought to myself how did I make this list?  haha!  My wife had a good chuckle as we noticed the number of doctors on the list.  Let’s just say I was very honored to have been chosen to speak at the event.  I did not know what to expect as far as the set up was concerned.  In my head I imagined myself on a stage in a classroom with auditorium style seating with a projector screen behind me and a podium in front of me.  When I found the room I realized immediately that this was going to be no sweat.  It was more of a round table type arrangement with tables set up in a square around the room.

To start things off, the projector in my room was broken so someone had to hunt down a projector to set up.  Luckily one of the earlier meetings had gone over by about 15-20 minutes so I had time to set up still.  We were scheduled to start at 2:45 but didn’t get going until about 3:05.  They gave me an additional 15 minutes because of he delay.  So the meeting began…

I got through my introduction and just as I began to talk to the receptive group of ladies about saving their hard-earned dollars, the fire alarm went off due to a kitchen accident…I think.  No, I didn’t pull the alarm, I swear it.  😀  So outside we went for about 20-25 minutes.  It was quite hilarious really but I did get to have some great conversation outside while we basked in the sun of the beautiful Sweet Briar campus.

So with everything that happened I was cut extremely short on time.  Having completed only about 15 minutes of my presentation, and the fire alarm taking up about 25, I had 20 minutes left to cover 45 minutes worth of material.  All and all, I only got to talk about savings and budgeing and we had a very nice discussion towards the end.  The group of ladies were very receptive and interested in the discussion about budgeting.  There were differing opinions and lots of great ideas.  I was very surprised to hear of so many of them that split the finances 50/50 with their spouses.  Different bank accounts and everything.

As I wrapped up my first real public speaking engagement aside from the Financial Peace University classes I lead at my church, I was very pleased with having taken it on.  I wanted to say NO, but didn’t, and because of that I have something else to add to my resume as well as passed a hurdle that had one time scared me to death.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and now I am better for doing it.  It was a good day!

I also signed up to speak at future Grapevine events related to finance…

Have you ever done something that you didn’t want to do or that scared you?  Did you step outside of your comfort zone and are you glad you did?  If you didn’t do you regret passing up the experience and opportunity to do so?  What are your thoughts?

About Brad Chaffee

9 Responses to “Brad Goes To Sweet Briar”

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  1. Dave says:

    Congrats Brad. Thanks for sharing your experience. I know, for many people, public speaking is horrifying. Sounds like you did a great job and added one more thing to your resume. Hope you get some more opportunities like this one.


  2. Karen says:

    This is awesome, Brad! Congrats on taking on a challenge, even if it makes you nervous to begin with.

    I think college age is an especially vulnerable time for people, finance-wise, and I’m sure your advice and topics were something that applied to all of the ladies. (That is pretty funny that it was a group of all women… all the more nerve racking!) Good job on tackling it though… your first speaking engagement is a great accomplishment!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks for all of the support everybody! Sorry it took me so long to show my appreciation, I have been dealing with some other life issues lately which is why I have been MIA. It was great though and I am SO glad I did it. I plan to do more!

  3. Bucksome says:

    Congratulations on this milestone in your life as a Personal Finance expert.

    Mr. Boomer and I also have our finances segregated and have the entire time we’ve been together. We started that way because I was raising kids from my previous marriage and it was easier to keep their expenses separate.

    We plan to bring our finances together eventually now that the kids are grown.

  4. Peacebug says:

    Well done! I will say the one time I stepped out of my little box, my comfort zone, and leapt into the great unknown despite almost everyone in my life telling me not to, was the single greatest move I made for my career. This one move essentially LAUNCHED my career. So I am very, very proud of you!

  5. Ken Kurosawa says:


    Great to hear that you enjoyed your time presenting! It’s a great step in getting your name out there. But more than that, I bet you changed they way some of students think about budgeting and the importance of it for the better.

    More power to you,


  6. Brad:

    Nice going. You did exactly the right thing. I’m not referring to pulling the fire alarm, although that was a great diversion. I’ll have to remember that one. I mean facing the challenge head-on. This used to be scary for you, but now it’s not. And, it will get even easier each time you do it.

    Your plan to stick with it is a good one. Eventually you’ll find that the fear goes away completely and you’ll be able to address any question and handle any discussion from the audience with confidence. It’s what comes with experience.

    If you ever need a little encouragement before you speak, just remember one thing; the reason that you’re up there speaking is because you’re one of the very few that are capable of doing so.


  7. Sean says:

    Congrats Brad! It has been a few years since I took my last public speaking classes, not sure how well I would handle that one. But it sounds like even with all the distractions you did great.

    Any more speaking gigs planned?

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