"I just want you to feel better and do better."
As a child I grew up on a farm in Livingston Manor, New York - roughly 115 miles north of Manhattan. My days were spent riding horses, milking cows, driving tractors and doing all your typical farm activities. I was one of five children and took every opportunity I could to escape into the rolling fields and transform myself into a popular Superhero - who at that time was 'The Lone Ranger.” As I got older, my interests expanded beyond our farm's horizon. I was a fairly talented athlete, so like many young boys I dreamed of playing pro sports. I never imagined that one day I would find myself showing top models how to walk a runway or corporate executives how to speak before their board members. Apparently,the passion of a fierce entrepreneurial mother to empower every person she met ran though my veins as well.
My mother was Ophelia DeVore - a civil rights pioneer and founder of one of the first modeling agency and "charm schools" to represent and train people of color in the United States.
After receiving my BA in Sociology and Psychology from Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA - and quickly realizing my chances of becoming a professional athlete were pretty slim - I headed back to New York to become my mother's "right hand" in the family business. At age 25 she promoted me to President of Ophelia DeVore Associates .
But our business was bigger than beauty. We wanted to change perceptions, shift attitudes and plant seeds of self-worth in those who'd been told they were worthless.
I managed the day-to-day operations and also taught classes on Professional Presentation, Vocal Dynamics, Visual Poise and Magic of the Mind - all while working alongside my mother as she continued to push for equality and fair representation for ALL.
Corporations and organizations like Marriott Hotels, U.S. Postal Service, The Veterans Administration and Eli Lilly eventually caught wind of the DeVore courses I was teaching and determined their employees might benefit from “Charm School” - encouraging a more positive work environment and relationship with customers.
Since then I've continued to share DeVore wisdom - training politicians, entertainers and business executives of various industries. And like my mother, it is my life's purpose to help others understand the profound personal and professional effects of feeling good about yourself AND making others feel good about themselves in your presence.
I have been married to my wife and business partner Gayle for 53 years. We have three children and nine grandchildren.
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