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Let’s Talk Leadership with O’Dell Bizzell

SPC Programs & Events

By Fred Arnold

O’Dell Bizzell took the stage at St. Petersburg College’s Seminole Campus Digitorium to speak on leadership, motivation, and success.

Living through the ups and downs, a father who sugar coated nothing, and a family of his own, O’Dell Bizzell’s passionate voice gave SPC Students a motivational boost. His crescendos, his poetic words, and his ability to make the audience crack a smile created a recipe for a good show; however, it all came down to one thing: how to lead.

“Take your life to the next level,” he said, “be a rebel to mediocrity.”

Bizzell had dreams. Dreams of being a big time MBA star, the next Michael Jordan. He played basketball, not as a hobby but as a way of life. One day he told his dad the plans he made for the future, and instead of support, his dad said, “Well make sure you have a plan B.” That was not hateful; that was wisdom. Those words stuck with Bizzell throughout his career as a jail worker, as an entrepreneur, and as a public speaker. Those words stuck with him until he found his success.

“Formal education makes you a living,” Bizzell said, “informal education makes you a fortune.”

To O’Dell Bizzell, education matters. Academic, physical, book smarts, and street smarts; they all come together to form the recipe to fortune. Success to Bizzell is about asking quality questions, your humor, and your story. It is passion. It is prosperity.

“Identify what you are good at,” he continued on, rallying the digitorium, “then identify the opportunities.”

The students enjoyed Bizzell’s energy and his way with words. He interacted with the audience, he was clear and to the point, and he showed a practiced use of humor that could be admired.

“It was a great speech,” one Professor proclaimed as she shook Bizzell’s hand during the book signing after the lecture. People lined up for his autograph and a chance to speak to him personally.

One thing that lent to Bizzell’s success was his want to know his audience. Before the start, he stood at the doors and shook most people’s hands. He introduced himself with a confident air and a smile.  This personal gesture helped the audience gauge the speaker, and at the same time, it helped Bizzell with his nerves.

“I like getting to know the people before I speak to them,” he said. “It makes the anxiety go away and helps me focus.”

O’Dell Bizzell will possibly return to one of the other SPC campuses later this year, so if you didn’t get the chance to hear him speak, don’t miss out on the next opportunity.

Read more from Fred Arnold, click here.​

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