If you are wondering what it is that I talk about when I travel around corrupting folks from the stage, or if you’d like to invite me to speak at your event and want a better idea of what I talk about, this is for you!
Whether from the page or the stage, I’m addicted to telling stories. I’ve delivered way more than a hundred keynotes to audiences from 3 (I was related to two of them too!) to 7,000 (I don’t think I was related to anyone). I typically custom frame a talk to fit the audience, but I know that folks like to have a clearer idea of the subjects I talk about and my approach. So below is my best attempt to pigeon hole the talk I typically give.
If you are interested in inviting me to speak, email email@example.com.
What the heck I’m talking about
Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy
America now imports twice as much food as it did a decade ago. What does this increased reliance on imported food mean for the people around the globe who produce our food? On his four-continent farming adventure, Kelsey worked alongside the farmers who grow coffee for Starbucks in Colombia but haven’t heard of Starbucks, met and freed a slave in Ivory Coast, and hung out with the farmers responsible for 2/3rds of the apple juice on American shelves. Kelsey shows how our eating habits impact the lives of the people who produce our food, touching on topics such as workers’ rights, global food insecurity, fair trade, slavery, and immigration. Kelsey does not argue for or against the globalization of food, but personalizes it by observing the hope and opportunity, and sometimes the lack thereof, which the global food economy gives to the world’s poorest producers.
Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes
When journalist and traveler Kelsey Timmerman wanted to know where his clothes came from and who made them, he began a journey that would take him from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back again. WHERE AM I WEARING? intimately describes the connection between impoverished garment workers’ standards of living and the all-American material lifestyle. By introducing audiences to the human element of globalization—the factory workers, their names, their families, and their way of life—Kelsey bridges the gap between global producers and consumers.
Going Glocal: Searching for Community in a Globalized World
We are all connected, from what we wear to what we eat. Kelsey explores the global connection we have with global farmers and factory workers, and argues that while we need to be responsible consumers, we are more than just consumers. Our skills, passions, experiences, trials, and tribulations, uniquely positions each of us to produce a positive impact on people and planet. Believing that with great opportunity comes great responsibility, Kelsey encourages audiences to become active local and global citizens.
Opportunity & Exploitation in the Global Economy
A Honduran garment worker risked his life and left his young daughters to seek opportunity in the United States. But isn’t the garment factory an opportunity? A college-aged Ghanan is trapped on a cocoa farm as a slave in Ivory Coast where he says he’s treated worse than a donkey. But did he choose this slavery? Kelsey challenges audiences to see the complexities of our global economy, and encourages them to fully exploit their opportunities to make a positive impact.
The Facing Project: Building Community Through Storytelling (co-presented with J.R. Jamison)
Stories bind us. They connect us to our past and guide the narrative of our future. In a world connected more than ever before, the hallmarks of community—newspaper memberships, voter turnouts, community organizations—have all been in decline for decades. Many of us have lost sight of our community and our stories. To reunite the two, Kelsey Timmerman and J.R. Jamison co-founded The Facing Project to re-connect people through stories to strengthen their communities. From homelessness to human trafficking to autism to dyslexia and more, The Facing Project is in communities across the U.S. to combine the passions of writers, artists, educators, students, nonprofits, and business leaders to build community and learn from the stories of their neighbors.