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This article was prepared for the
April 25, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Hooked on Inspiration
<B>Ted Fattoross found his calling in high school.
He wasn’t a student at the time, but rather was running the family
disposable paper and plastics business. He went to a career day at
St. Joseph’s High School in West New York to speak to youngsters about
what it is like to run a three-generation business. Somewhere along
the line he "ripped up the agenda" and began to deliver an
impromptu motivational talk on following inspiration.
The students were mesmerized. He was hooked. Inspirational speaking
would be his life.
But first, he had to extricate himself from T.A. Fattoross Paper
a Hoboken-based business in which 15 out of 52 employees were family.
The business had been sold, but he had signed a contract to run it
for three years. Over the strident objections of his father, he quit.
Soon after, he began to suffer anxiety attacks, but pressed on, giving
motivational talks to corporate audiences and schoolchildren. Ten
years into his new career, Fattoross says he gives 300 talks or
sessions a year.
Fattoross delivers the keynote speech, "Mission Possible —
Managing Multiple Projects, Deadlines, and Bosses," on Friday,
April 27, at an all-day Administrative Professionals Day event
by Mercer County College at the Hyatt in Princeton. Also presenting
are Ozana Castellano on communications, Primrose Reeves
on assertiveness, Mary Jo Abbondanza on wellbeing, and Edward
Kucharski on financial freedom. Cost: $129. Call 609-586-9446.
A resident of Hackensack, Fattoross attended St. Michael’s College
in Vermont and St. Peter’s College in Jersey City before joining the
family business, where he worked for 17 years.
Among his current projects is a plan to create a combination adult
retreat, year-round camp for inner city youth, hospice, and shelter
for abused animals in or around Colts Neck. A fundraising effort,
with a goal of $5 million, is slated to begin on July 1. While his
family originally was opposed to his plan to work as a motivational
speaker, they are now reconciled, and both parents are on his advisory
board for this project.
Fattoross has no formal training, and says "training is for
He says he learned everything he needs to know about motivational
speaking from his mother. "She had three rules," he says.
"Always be yourself; always be yourself; and expect some people
not to like you."
Following this advice, and no doubt drawing upon a substantial innate
gift for engaging an audience, Fattoross has built up an impressive
list of credits, including work with dozens of Fortune 1000 companies,
including American Express, Cisco Systems, AT&T, Merck, GE Capital,
Lucent, Ford, and Bell Atlantic.
His advice runs to sayings, some a little cryptic — "Be a
pig, not a chicken," but most obvious — "Don’t get
you’ll lose your edge." And while some of his platitudes could
be debated — "Report all the news, the bad news first,"
others are largely beyond argument — "Every day above ground
is a good one. Believe it."
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