by David Borzo

Don’t let the beautiful smile and the provocative dance moves and videos throw you; don’t let some of the American Idol stories lead you to a wrong conclusion; don’t let her slight stature fool you for even one minute: Paula Abdul is a powerful performer who has used talent, intelligence and – she’s the first to say some luck – to make it to the top.  She is an artist and performer in the classic tradition with a solid grounding and perspective. Her all-question session for the final 2013 SmartTalk Connected Conversations™ was revealing. Along with the special dance work to Paula’s hits by the Des Moines Ballet, it all made for an excellent presentation.

Paula tried to get to it all. Or as much as she could in the two hour program time, but there’s no way to get to the whole Paula Abdul story in one evening; the three months preemie baby weighing two pounds; the San Fernando Valley girl who grew up surrounded by neighbors that later formed the groups Tower of Power and Toto, and a babysitter named Michael Bolton who sang her lullabies; the 17-year-old Paula who lied about her age and became a LA Lakers Girl (on her third audition); the 18 year old who started working as choreographer for the Jackson  family dynasty; the pop idol Paula in her own right with tens of millions of records sold; the Paula who has been choreographer for multiple Hollywood movies and on TV; the producer Paula, the saleswoman, the talent scout, and of course famous American Idol judge…there is just too much to cover.

So put aside the Grammy’s and Emmy’s, take away the star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, accolades and awards and we get down to a fiercely determined and tenacious young teenager who wouldn’t take no for an answer, who constantly threw herself into the unknown. By getting jobs she wasn’t specifically qualified for, she learned how to grow into new roles quickly. This has been an underlining theme of many of the distinguished SmartTalk speakers; it’s not about rejection, it’s about how you handle it. It’s not just how to get a job – it’s about continuing to grow into a new job. It’s all about confidence and taking chances.

It’s like her idol Gene Kelly who over a half century ago recreated the American Movie Musical: Paula has re-created herself dozens of times to fit the opportunities that she was offered.  She’s really an old-fashioned artist who has a great sense of history and respect for the performers that came before her, respect for all her collaborators, and respect for that little boy or girl who starts on the road to greatness with a lot of sweat and courage.  A great story, role model and cap to a successful. 2013 SmartTalk season!

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by David Borzo

The temperature is being turned up for the final 2013 SmartTalk Connected Conversations™ next week with Paula Abdul, the pop idol, dancing star, top–40 diva and of course famous American Idol judge. But long before she became that always interesting and sometimes controversial idol judge, she was a performer at the highest levels of the entertainment business. In fact her talents got an early start in life, taking dance lessons when she was eight. With her idol being dancing icon Gene Kelly Paula was in multiple musical theatre groups and earned scholarships for college. Then, while still a freshman in college, she became a dancer for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers Cheerleading team, and the rest is history. Paula became head cheerleader/choreographer after only a few months with the Lakers, eventually dropping out of college to dance and choreograph full-time.

She was making quite a name for herself, and was then recruited by The Jacksons to choreograph their 1984 “Torture” video, the first in a long list of videos and movies she would choreograph. Then she branched out into singing with her first CD, “Forever Your Girl”, which included the single “Straight Up,” which exploded onto the charts in December 1988. “Straight Up” was a monster hit, and was later ranked on VH1′s 100 Greatest Dance Songs of all time.

The final speaker for the 2013 SmartTalk season, Paula Abdul’s appearance will be different than previous shows; the format will be a largely question and answer, with many questions being sent in by fans on the SmartTalk sites over the last weeks. There will be some surprises and it will undoubtedly be a great evening. Share with your community for this final SmartTalk – tickets are still available!

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Lara Logan Makes An Impact On The Smart Talk Connected Conversations

April 24, 2013

by David Borzo

CBS News reporter and CBS 60 minutes reporter Lara Logan gave a mesmerizing and unscripted talk to a captivated audience at the Des Moines Civic Center.  Her story is a powerful testament to human endurance and fortitude. I don’t like to throw such expansive terms around, but this celebrated journalist provided an extraordinary [...]

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The 2013 Smart Talk Connected Conversations Continues Next Week with Newswoman Lara Logan

April 16, 2013

by David Borzo
The 2013 SmartTalk Connected Conversations™ takes quite a serious turn next week with the highly decorated CBS 60 minutes journalist Lara Logan. Lara has made a name for herself with bold reporting from war zones for more than two decades, holding a prominent spot among the world’s best foreign correspondents.  But it was on [...]

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King Peggy Speaks of Personal Destiny, God and Standing Up For Human Rights

March 13, 2013

by David Borzo

Yes, King Peggy is a woman, and yes there are some other women kings in Africa, but it is a highly unusual situation. We learned at SmartTalk this week about Peggy Bartels of Washington D.C., who accepted her “true path” in life when fate called. By considering God, her ancestors and the great [...]

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“King Peggy?” You Need to Check Out This fascinating Story at The Next SmartTalk Connected Conversations

March 8, 2013

by David Borzo

A certain Peggy Bartels was born in Ghana in 1953. In her early 20’s she moved to the USA and Washington D.C., getting a position in the Ghana embassy. So far so good. But then in 2008 she received a call in the middle of the night from across the world, telling her [...]

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Joan Lunden Is Perseverant Every Morning With Her Strategies for Success

February 23, 2013

by David Borzo

She was our best friend every day on Good Morning America in the ‘80’s and 90’s, and over those nearly 20 years must have interviewed every major celebrity and public figure around. But for the last decade Joan Lunden has been busier than ever with family, writing and her many business interests.  As [...]

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Good Morning Des Moines: Joan Lunden is Next From SmartTalk Connected Conversations!

February 17, 2013

by David Borzo

Most of us probably know Joan Lunden as one of the great hosts of Good Morning America (GMA) from 1980 through 1997. But this famous journalist has several other careers as well, is a working mother of seven, and is a caregiver to her 93 year old mother. With her schedule she undoubtedly [...]

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Doris Roberts Kicks off the 2013 SmartTalk Fighting Ageism with Determination!

January 19, 2013

It’s clear why the Everyone Loves Raymond Star has been in the Business for over 60 years.
by David Borzo 

The 2013 SmartTalk Connected Conversations series was on full display at the Des Moines Civic Center, replete with an enthusiastic opening night crowd, eager sponsors and tasty Hors D’oeuvres. But most importantly Doris Roberts was there, one [...]

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Doris Roberts Kicks off the 2013 SmartTalk!

January 9, 2013

by David Borzo
The Everyone Loves Raymond Star has been in the Business 60 years.

Does everyone Love Doris Roberts? Well, since her early career appearances in 1950’s shows like the Starlight Theatre  to regular spots over the next half century in scores of shows like The Defenders, Mary Tyler Moore and Remington Steele, the public really [...]

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