Black Raider Returns to his Roots for Motivational Speech
Gene McNaughton sat at East High 32 years ago, listening to Dan Clark, a speaker brought to the school as part of the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) initiative.
“That was the first time I’d ever seen a motivational speaker,” McNaughton said. “I was blown away. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
McNaughton plunked down $6 and bought Clarke’s book that day, the first book the East High senior had ever purchased with his own money.
McNaughton, who spent more than a decade helping direct sales, training and leadership roles as Gateway Computers rose to a world leader in the market, readied for a keynote speaking appearance in San Diego three decades after his senior year at East. A friend approached and introduced him to another speaker at that event: Dan Clark.
“Sometimes, life comes full circle,” McNaughton told me. “Dan Clark and I now message one another. We encourage one another. I was able to honor him that day in San Diego by sharing with the crowd how Dan Clark got me started on this 30 years ago.”
McNaughton, the Sioux City native, went home that night and pulled Clark’s book from his shelves. He snapped a picture of it and sent the image to the man who inspired him.
Life circled back again on Saturday morning as McNaughton stood before Ras Vanderloo’s East High Black Raiders basketball team in the media center serving their alma mater.
McNaughton, who has traveled the world speaking to thousands of people, took the time to share his thoughts with Vanderloo’s team, thoughts about goals, work habits and how people are happiest when they’re learning.
by Tim Gallagher