A Great Acceptance Speech Example from Bruce Phipps
by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Executive speech coach.
Every year I help the American Payroll Association’s Man and Woman of the Year prepare their speech to be delivered at the APA national convention called Congress.
The Man and Woman of the Year deliver an eight minute speech the year after they are named. When you have to deliver a short speech every word counts.
Even if this is not a position they would have asked to be thrust into, they have become role models to the over 21,000 APA members. The audience size listening to their presentations are 2,000 people.
It is appropriate to say “thank you”, share an overview of your career, acknowledge mentor and supporters, tell of your involvement in the association, and anything amusing as it relates to your career.
Please notice how I recommend you write your speech. Down the page one sentence or thought at a time. This is easier to “internalize” your presentation as you get it “into your body”. When you take your notes to the lectern it is easier to glance down and not read.
Take it away Bruce…
“It has been my distinguished honor to have been your 2011 Payroll Man of the Year.
Words cannot possibly describe the incredible year I have experienced.
Like many of you, Payroll was not my initial career choice.
My first job was a bank teller for a small bank in the community where I lived.
In 1975, newly graduated from High School, and not knowing what I wanted to do with my life it seemed to be my best option.
The job afforded me steady employment and spending money.
The bank taught me the importance of good Customer Service and Positive Client interaction.
My year at the bank helped me develop a keen sense for numbers.
One of my customers asked “Bruce would you be interested in a position in the payroll department in our company.”
When I discovered it would include an increase in salary my enthusiasm grew.
The year was 1976 and my new career in payroll had officially begun.
My supervisor taught me the fundamentals of payroll and gave me the responsibility of paying 600 employees.
Back then payroll was nothing more than Hours times’ rate less taxes to arrive at net pay. Nothing complex about creating a payroll check just simple math.
For 36 years this profession has been very rewarding both professionally and personally. During my career I have worked for many companies in very diverse industries.
They include Walworth Valve Manufacturing, Devereux Foundation, Pep Boys, QVC and my current employer Einstein Healthcare Network.
I strongly believe that working in many diverse industries has been an asset that has made me very attractive to the companies that I have worked for.
At many of the companies I have established an in-house training program for the payroll team to further their knowledge of the payroll profession.
My second payroll job at Walworth Valve positively changed my life in payroll and my future. Karl Dudley a senior accountant became my mentor and was a great influence.
We became close friends and at lunch had long discussions about my career path.
Karl encouraged me to go back to school and earn my degree. He helped me through the accounting classes that I dreaded.
It was his encouragement that got me through night school.
He helped me understand how the payroll entries interfaced into the general ledger and
how important account reconciliations were along with all of the other aspects of payroll.
Most importantly he taught me to be inquisitive and to ask questions about why processes needed to be done a certain way. Karl gave me the great understanding about how we in payroll affected other departments in the company.
How fortunate that Karl took me under his wing, instilled pride in my work, and dedication to help others.
Without his guidance and patience I would never have been able to give back so much to the profession that we all love.
Without his help many years ago I would not have learned the importance of
Paying It Forward!!!!!!
Thinking back to when I was a child I would never have thought ….
“I’ll be a payroll professional”.
Like several of my uncles I wanted to be a Police Officer.
I am so glad the Payroll opportunity worked out, the likely hood of getting shot is slim to none. (PAUSE)
Until preparing these remarks I never realized the similarity between the two professions. In both professions you need:
Excellent customer services skills
You are always in the public eye
And having a tough skin to deal with those not so pleasant phone calls or visits from unhappy customers.
In 1988 I attended my first APA Congress in San Francisco, CA.
Not only are APA Congress’ a fantastic place for networking with other Payroll professionals, sometimes you are lucky enough to find Cupid … (PAUSE)
In 1987 at the first meeting of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter I met Marilyn.
We became good friends and payroll colleagues. We reached out to each other when we had a question regarding a payroll issue. Our telephone conversations about payroll eventually led to romance.
In 1993 we became a couple and have been together ever since.
In 2001 we decided to make if official and get married.
One of our other common interests is the love of Corvettes.
We belong to the C5/C6 Registry Corvette Club that has events across the country.
We were looking for unconventional wedding ideas, and our friends from Virginia Beach suggested “Why don’t you get married at the Rolex 24-hour race in Daytona Beach.?”
Many club members attended the wedding including the Corvette Racing team drivers.
Two of our friends wore tuxedos, and our good friends Lynn and Kurt Kennedy stood for us as Matron of Honor and Best Man.
The ceremony took place behind the Daytona Superstretch grandstand. The wedding song was the roar of high-performance engines in the background. After the traditional first kiss, we hopped in our ’98 Corvette convertible and rode around the Daytona International Speedway for the ‘parade lap’ before the Rolex 24-hour race began.
Some would say we have, “A Payroll Marriage That’s Built for Speed”. (PAUSE)
If you were to ask Marilyn, what are Bruce’s greatest assets? She would tell you
“Volunteerism and Mentoring other payroll professionals.”
The committees that I volunteer for are too numerous to list.
(HOLD UP BADGE)
As we celebrate APA’s 30th anniversary, the profession in which we work is far more complex than Rate times’ hours’ equals net pay. Much has changed in my 36 years.
Our profession would not command the respect it does had it not been for the great leadership in the APA and the thousands of volunteers and dedicated members like you.
Thank you Dan Maddux, The APA Leadership and the APA staff for your vision to grow the APA to what it is today.
Special thanks to special friends. You have inspired me over the years to be involved:
The long list includes: Jane Holmes, Irene Chapman, Dennis Danilewcz, Karen Salemi, Linda Obertin, Ron Moser and Kathy Santhouse.
Thank you Marilyn you are my rock, my partner and the LOVE of my life.
Without your unwavering support for me I would not be THE 2011 APA Payroll MAN OF THE YEAR.
Like so many have said before me.
You won’t ever regret it.
You will receive so much more than you give
GO… PAY IT FORWARD”
* * * * *
Congratulations Bruce. You looked great on iMag and the standing ovation proved you connected with your audience. Proud to be your speech coach…Patricia Fripp
An extended article on
accepting an award was printed in Furniture World