The New York Giants were all but eliminated from the NFL playoff chase in December 2011 when a world history teacher from a New Jersey high school gave them a motivational speech that changed the team’s collective mindset.
As a result, the Giants turned its season around and defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
That high school teacher, Gian Paul Gonzalez, shared his “all in” philosophy that changed the Giants’ fortunes and has motivated organizations around the world during the co-located 2019 CUNA Technology Council and CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council Conferences in Chicago.
Being “all in” is a personal choice each of us makes to give our best every day, Gonzalez says.
While he has achieved a measure of fame as a result of his all-in message, Gonzalez says its true value is found in what it helps people achieve in everyday life.
“I like to remind my students that fame is something we garner for ourselves, but greatness is something we do for others,” he says.
In his everyday life, Gonzalez founded the Hope + Future Youth Center, which gives kids an alternative to joining gangs. The first night it opened, the center drew five kids. Today, it has more than 1,800 members. “It’s personal for me,” he says.
Credit unions also are personal for Gonzalez. A credit union loan helped his mother move to a safer housing situation when he was growing up. The youth center is close to that location.
“You’re a part of our story,” he says. “You’re about more than numbers. Behind every number is a person: a mother, a son, a daughter. You know a little thing can make a big difference in someone’s life.”
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