New PAVE Ambassador – Merri Dee
PAVE is proud to announce that Chicago broadcasting legend Merri Dee is our newest PAVE Ambassador. This past week, Ms. Dee was given the honor of being appointed by IL Governor Quinn as the Human Rights Commissioner!
“When you think that you are all alone and no one understands what you have been through, PAVE is here for you. PAVE offers light, love, direction, guidance and a reason to go on. When you are a PAVE member you have joined a major, national advocacy group of supporters. PAVE advocates for you where you are, on college campuses, in Washington. A PAVE membership is not a card to carry, its an actionable step that you take for yourself – that you genuinely share with others. Do something powerful! Join PAVE now!”
About Merri Dee…
Merri Dee is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and a highly popular panelist, moderator, and professional mentor. As president of MD Communications, she helps organizations develop strategies on media relations, marketing and public relations, community relations, and fundraising. In addition, Merri Dee provides individuals with professional and life coaching assistance.
As a celebrated motivational and keynote speaker, Merri Dee infuses humor and warmth into her real-life stories that inspire individuals and employees to rise above challenges and seize control of their destinies. She has presented to audiences from a few hundred to more than a thousand. Clients for her keynote addresses include companies in the Fortune 100 such as AT&T, Kraft, and Motorola. Merri Dee’s inspirational keynote topics include:
– Communication and Leadership Skills
– Increasing Productivity
– The Will to Survive Fear and Pain
– Successful Fundraising
– Supporting Military Families
– From One Caregiver to Another
– Surviving the Senior Years (Helping Your Seniors Live Their Best Lives)
– Women: Empowered
– Violence Prevention
As an award-winning broadcaster, Merri Dee has been a trailblazer in both radio and television. She has served as a newscaster, talk show host, and staff announcer. Later she served as Director of Community Relations at superstation WGN-TV and as advisor to other Tribune owned TV stations. She has hosted countless parades, telethons, television specials and has served as an emcee and host for a variety of organizations.
For more than 30 years, Merri Dee co-hosted the nationally syndicated “UNCF Annual Evening of Stars,” raising tens of millions of dollars for college scholarships. She leveraged her relationship with the McCormick Foundation to raise more than $31 million for Chicago Children’s Charities. However, her efforts extend beyond raising money. She supports organizations that address critical social issues such as adoption and foster care, violence prevention, education, and women’s issues.
An impassioned advocate for violence prevention, Merri Dee arrives at this issue from personal experience. Many lifelong Chicagoans still remember her heart-wrenching story of being kidnapped at gunpoint, shot, and left for dead by an assailant. Given last rites twice, overcoming paralysis and blindness, Merri Dee survived and became an inspiration to others overcoming various traumas. The account of her ordeal was the subject of several network programs, including 60 Minutes, the Phil Donahue Show, and Oprah.
This life-changing experience led her to being the force behind the Illinois General Assembly’s passage of the nation’s first Victim’s Bill of Rights. Illinois’ legislation has served as the model for similar laws throughout the United States. While Merri Dee continues to speak forcefully about violence prevention, she also provides her expertise to CeaseFire, a highly successful evidence-based national violence prevention organization.
Merri Dee is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Among these are:
– Silver Circle Award, Academy of TV Arts & Sciences
– President’s Award, United Negro College Fund
– Hall of Fame Induction, National Association of Black Journalists
– Adoption Excellence Award, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
– National Women in Film
She has received honorary doctorate degrees from Tougaloo College and Lewis University.
Merri Dee was appointed to serve as an official U.S. Army Ambassador. She was appointed by former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to serve on the Mayor’s Council on Women’s Issues, and by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to The Serve Illinois Commission, a volunteer advocacy delegation. Merri Dee is the Illinois State President of AARP, which has 1.8 million members. Merri Dee has recently been appointed a Commissioner, Ill. Human Rights Commission.