News Published: Sep 10, 2012 - 9:03:59 AM


Gian-Paul Gonzalez all in for Connecticut Executive Choice Award

By National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter


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Gian-Paul Gonzalez
PLANTSVILLE, CT - Gian-Paul Gonzalez, recognized in 2011 as having inspired the New York Giants to victory with his “All In” speech, will now bring his message to Connecticut. Named this year’s 2012 Connecticut Executive Choice Awards keynote speaker, Gonzalez will challenge guests and honorees to tackle life all-in, risking anything and betting on everything.

Gonzales, 28, a high school teacher in Union City, N.J., was asked to lead a chapel service for members of the New York Giants team the night before the team’s Christmas Eve 2011 game against the New York Jets. There was little hope then, the team would make it to the playoffs.

To illustrate the concept of commitment Gonzalez handed each football player a gaming chip, instructing them to initial their own chip. He then shared with them a poker term for when a player commits every chip he has to one hand of the game.

“We are faced with decisions every day at which time we can decide to be fully committed, or all in,” says Gonzalez, a former All-American forward, who passed up a professional basketball contract to continue his work with at-risk youth. “I said to the players, ‘I want you to fully commit to being all in on something.’”

Gonzalez went on to urge players to fully commit to anything they take on, whether as a father, husband, son or even, a football player. The rest is history. The team went on to win every game, up to and including Super Bowl XLVI, where they beat the New England Patriots 21-17.

Gonzalez, who founded 4-One, a faith-based non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring inner-city youth, considers motivating his students to be as gratifying as encouraging an NFL team.

“After speaking with the Giants, I gave my students the same speech,” recounts Gonzalez, also head basketball coach for The King’s College in New York City. “Now, when I ask one of my students if he has done his homework, he responds by pulling out his poker chip and saying, ‘I’m all in, Mr. G!’ and for me, that’s just like winning the Super Bowl.”

Gonzalez will speak Sept. 27 at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter’s, second annual Connecticut Executive Choice Awards, an event designed to honor business leaders throughout Greater Hartford and Greater New Haven. The Connecticut Executive Choice Awards honors Connecticut professionals making significant contributions to business, civic and cultural betterment of our community.

This year’s honorees include David Doebler, president and general manager of NBC Connecticut; Charles Firlotte, president and CEO, Aquarion Water Company; and Chandler Howard, president and CEO, Liberty Bank. Todd Piro, reporter and anchor for NBC Connecticut, will serve as emcee.

The Connecticut Executive Choice Awards will take place Thursday, Sept. 27, at 6 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club, located in Plantsville. The event includes a cocktail reception and dinner. Proceeds benefit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter.

The Connecticut Executive Choice Awards recognizes and honors exceptional professionals making significant contributions to the business, civic or cultural betterment of our community. Previous honorees include: Paul McCraven of First Niagara Financial Group, Jim Torgerson of UIL Holdings and The United Illuminating Company and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman.

The Aqua Turf Club is located at 556 Mulberry Street in Plantsville. For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Meg Staubley at 860.913.2550, ext. 52524, or by email at meganne.staubley@nmss.org.

To learn more about multiple sclerosis and the many ways to get involved, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.




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