The DERRICK Interview

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 5, 2014 

Derrick Hayes, a special-education aide at Jordan High School, is an author, motivational speaker, blogger, app developer and consultant who uses his DERRICK Interview as a quick way to gain deep insight into his clients.

They can use the interview as a way to promote themselves and spread their message. He asks seven questions based on each letter of his first name:

• D is for Dream. What is your dream, goal or what have you achieved?

• E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

• R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that make you unique or stand out?

• R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

• I is for Individual. Who is one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

• C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

• K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

Some of the famous people Hayes has given a DERRICK Interview to are civil rights leader Benjamin Chavis Jr., comedian Rodney Perry, journalist George Curry, inventor and former NBA player Jonathan Bender and boxer Roy Jones Jr.

As an example here, Hayes provided a DERRICK Interview with himself:

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

"My dream is to use my God given motivational abilities to empower and inspire minds all over the world one word at a time.

"As an author, I realized how powerful a book could be when I went on to sell over 4,000 copies of my first book, 'Derricknyms: From A to Z,' and even selling some to celebrities such as comedian/actor Mike Epps and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker. My next goal is to publish my future book entitled '1 Word Is All It Takes to Build Your Brand' in 2014 and help others make a difference or make up their differences one word at a time.

"Becoming a motivational speaker is something that I never thought I would do, but I was asked to do it. Since 1992 I have spoken to schools, colleges, churches and organizations, and my main goal I want to accomplish from this platform is to help individuals and companies learn how to maximize their resources and build relationships.

"My friend Ty Howard once said, 'If you don't feed your audience, someone else will.' This encouraged me to start writing daily quotes and paved the way for my Motivation To Your Mobile app that is a free download on Android and iPhones. Motivation To Your Mobile gives each subscriber an original quote to start their day."

E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

"At Tennessee State University, I received a B.A. in business administration. As a freshman in college along with a friend we started Hot Dog Heaven out of our dorm room. This experience gave me confidence that I could always make money with my own ideas. The things that Hot Dog Heaven taught me that I still use today are that, if you try, you can succeed, hard work pays off, and people will support your dream.

"As a senior in college, I realized that some of the students that started school with me the first year did not get to graduate with you for different reasons. With that in mind, I proposed an idea to help students who have good grades but just don't have the means to pay for their education. The concept is now "The Wall of Excellence Scholarship and Development Fund" that has helped raise over $500,000. The Wall of Excellence taught me to always look for ways to give back."

R is for Resources. What resources do you bring to the table that make you unique or stand out?

"One thing that makes me different is that I care about the success of others and provide them with opportunities to get exposure that they will help them in the long run.

"Two of the opportunities that I provide for others are Guest Blogging Opportunities and Today's Honoree. On my Encouragement Speaker blog, some of the topics that others can blog about and get exposure for are 'Give Words Of Encouragement To Your Industry,' 'Welcome To My City,' 'College Shout Out,' 'The Importance of Building Relationships' and any topic that has an encouragement foundation.

"I realized there was a need to reward others while they are still alive. The thought of giving back is what inspired Today's Honoree. Today's Honoree gives people a chance to nominate or be nominated for a daily award by their peers. It doesn't matter how big or small you are or how much or less money you have, each Today's Honoree has to be nominated by someone other than themselves. If you know a hometown hero, entrepreneur, co-worker, family member or friend that is deserving of recognition, please nominate them for Today's Honoree at"

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

"I realized I was ready for whatever would come my way in 2003. My life had hit rock bottom. My ex-wife and the mother of my children said she no longer wanted to be with me. I wanted to start over so I moved from Alabama to Georgia.

"Mind you, I had limited money, no job and no place to stay. A childhood friend said I could sleep on his floor until I could get back on my feet. It was my first Friday night in a new city, and my friend asked me to go out and dance. I refused at first, but I later realized I needed to get out for some air.

"I asked an attractive young lady name Kim to dance, and we grooved until the lights came on for us to go. We exchanged numbers. I never expected to meet someone so nice so quickly. Even crazier thing is that she lived 90 miles away. I was thinking about how my life had changed and I said, 'Whoa.' I looked into the Bible and I saw the word 'woe.' I also wanted to see how the dictionary defined woe. Woe means trials or tribulations. In life, a woe to you might be a job loss and to another it might be a broken relationship.

"One day, I was thinking how I could reinvent my life, so I wrote down the word 'woe' on a piece of paper. As the document spoke to me, it revealed that woe now meant WOE as in Word Of Encouragement. From there, I received this slogan: "Before you leave work or go to sleep tonight, give someone a WOE, a Word Of Encouragement."

"I shared my concept of WOE with Kim, and we decided that before we end our conversation each night someone had to give a WOE. Whenever I'm down, I just think about WOE and it lifts me up. This keeps me ready."

I is for Individual. Who is at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

"My father, James Hayes Jr., is 81 years old and is still making it happen. My dad retired from the military with a master's degree in education and went on to retire from a school system (in Illinois) as a teacher. Jimmy, as some call him, served 12 years as alderman in the city of Urbana, Ill. His hobbies include singing in the chorale and making honey from his beehives.

"The greatest accomplishment I witnessed was when the stock market crashed, he said, 'I already knew it was going to happen. I did not lose anything. Why? He watches the stock market on TV like I watch ESPN. If you ever visit Urbana, Ill., you will get to see the James H. Hayes Apartment Homes that are named after him."

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

"One major challenge that I had to overcome in business was a lack of financing. Early on, I thought the only way to get publicity was to pay for it. I researched publicity opportunities and I found websites like, and that send subscribers free publicity leads.

"Today on Facebook, my nickname is Headlines because I learned how to creatively get my name in the news. I have been quoted in blogs over 100 times, including twice and As a contributing author, I have been included in over 10 books and I have had my flyer for free included in gift bags at over 100 events in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Sweden."

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

"The keys to success that I will leave you with are the ones that are the basis for my upcoming book '1 Word Is All It Takes To Build Your Brand.'

"Life itself breaks things down to me in terms of words. The first key to success is to Find Your Word. Look at what you do or are good at and try to simplify it in one word. My word is Encouragement. If you can pinpoint exactly who and what you are, it allows you to focus on what you need to do.

"The second key to success is to Speak Your Word. Write down why this is your word and turn it into an affirmation that you can use to speak life into your dream. Write this statement on a piece of paper that you can keep with you or near you at all times.

"The third key to success is to Activate Your Word. Pull out a piece of paper and write down what your word inspires you to write. The ideas that pour out in this brainstorming session will be phenomenal.

"Give it a chance and don't limit yourself. Many have discovered for the first time that they could write poems, stories, quotes and even novels. Some will even come up with ideas for articles that could produce future books or movies.

"The fourth key to success is to Brand Your Word. Take some of the ideas that you have brainstormed and give them a title. When I wanted to describe myself when I marketed my workshops, I used my word and called myself the Encouragement Speaker. Each article or concept that you bring to life has value, and, with the right brand, there is no limit to how far you can go with it.

"The fifth key to success is to Share Your Word. If you like to write short pieces like quotes, a good idea is to open up a Twitter or Facebook account and share your ideas with your friends or followers. If you are a long-distance writer, a blog with WordPress or Blogger would be a good idea, and if making videos to empower others is your cup of tea, give YouTube or TubeMogul a try.

"The sixth key to success is to Keep Your Word. It is known that it takes at least 21 days for a habit to become permanent in your life. Several attempts may be necessary for others to believe in you enough to make you a part of their day. Keep sharing your insight day after day, and you may soon become the expert that others see you as.

"The seventh key to success is to Live Your Word. Once you learn to keep your word, it will become a part of your lifestyle where you wake up and Live Your Word. When this happens, you will have a brand that can stand because '1Word Is All It Takes To Build Your Brand.'

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

"On March 24, 2014, I will be speaking in Clarion, Pa., at Clarion University during their Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Series to help inspire students to continue 'Building Relationships in College and Out.'

Derrick Hayes, an alumnus of Tennessee State University, is available for small and large meetings, church events, academic speaking engagements and workshops. Contact him through his website,, email him at, or call him at 706-615-1662.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service