V.J. Smith is a professional speaker and published author. He graduated from South Dakota State University in 1978 and spent the decade of the 1980s working for the Allied Signal Aerospace Company in Kansas City. He returned to his alma mater in 1990, working for six years in the SDSU Athletic Department. He was appointed Executive Director of the SDSU Alumni Association in 1996. In January 2007 he left that position to pursue a career in professional speaking. Smith travels the country and makes over 100 speaking appearances a year.
In March 2014, Meeting and Conventions Magazine named V.J. as one of the favorite speakers of meeting planners throughout America.
He is the author of the best-selling book, The Richest Man in Town. The book details Smith’s relationship with a little old man who ran a cash register at a local Walmart. “That guy changed my life,” Smith says.
Smith is a two-time finalist in Toastmasters’ International’s World’s Championship of Public Speaking. He is also the author of, Can You Hear What I See and Jackrabbit Tales.
In November of 2018 V.J. was elected to the State Senate of South Dakota by a landslide vote of 61%!
V.J. is the President of Life’s Great Moments and resides in Brookings, SD.
“The Richest Man in Town”
This talk is based on the life of ‘Marty’, a wonderful man who ran a cash register at Walmart. He was considered rich because he was loved and respected, but most of all, he was content with every aspect of his life, no regrets. Marty’s simple philosophies show what happens when you take the time to be kind and compassionate. All that you give, you get back, and more. Audience members will go on an emotional roller coaster ride…guaranteed.
“Simple Choices, Big Rewards”
We are judged by the choices we make. In our personal lives and our business lives, we are faced with simple choices on how we interact with the people around us. In this talk, the speaker focuses on five major situations we face each day. The audience will laugh and reflect during this one hour rapid-fire session.
“Got Goals?: A Personal Journey”
This is a journey from procrastination to destination. Smith shares his 15 year battle against setting goals. In this inspirational talk, the speaker tells how he found himself at a football game at Notre Dame, eating lobster in Maine, and planting a tree. According to Smith, “Too many of the so-called goal experts have made goal setting cumbersome and set people up for failure. I found my own path.” That simple path, filled with moments of great happiness, was built on the idea of getting better at this thing called life.
“Pants on Fire”
The difference between right and wrong is easy, most kids can figure it out, but it’s the application that is difficult. Using that sage wisdom uttered by a former neighbor, V.J. Smith offers a unique perspective on why it’s often difficult to do the right thing. “Speaking up, taking action and living by your values require courage,“ Smith says. Childhood lessons are the framework for this one hour time of reflection and renewal.
“The Exceptional Employee”
Drawing on his twenty years serving as a supervisor, Smith gives ten qualities associated with exceptional employees. This talk is filled with anecdotes and humorous stories to illustrate key points. Every person in the audience will relate to the various categories in which we are judged in our working lives. People will be able to determine where they are on the Exceptional Scale.
“Replenishing the OhZone”
Do you want to put new life in customer relations? Or, your personal relationships? Successful people and admired leaders share a common trait – they are great listeners. And, they give full attention to the people they encounter in their day-to-day lives. V.J. is a fantastic storyteller and his memorable stories are sure to inspire and motivate about the great difference maker in life – listening.
The Richest Man in Town Buy here
Can You Hear What I See?
“V.J.’s message of kindness and sincerity towards other humans made a strong impression with our staff. His enthusiasm for presenting also set the tone when grabbing the audience’s attention. He was able to win over our staff with his story of a worker from Walmart that connected with everyone who came through his checkout line. Our staff was very touched and inspired by this story! I would highly recommend V. J. for any outing you and your organization might have when you want to be touched by the human spirit.”
Cory Worrell, Superintendent, Boone Central Public Schools
“V.J. Smith’s message is a heartwarming story that will leave a lasting impression on your audience. V.J. spoke to our school staff and everyone was standing and applauding after his speech about Marty, the Walmart worker. His excitement and enthusiasm during his speech connected with our staff. V.J. had our staff laughing and crying during his great message about kindness and just being able to say ‘Thank You.’ I felt everyone in the audience was touched in some way by his great message!”
Ed Stansberry, Impact Aid Consultant, Nebraska Native American Schools
“Barry and Tyler, we thank V.J. again for the awesome message yesterday. I have heard nothing but great things about it. We appreciate it so much! He was awesome! Thank you!”
Mackenzie Spitser, Sales Performance Manager, Farm Bureau Financial Services
“You have quite a story to tell. I have booked speakers throughout the nation. You are excellent, and I’ve heard thousands. I would compare you with some of the best.”
“In my 22½ years in the Marine Corps, I have heard many motivational and inspirational speakers and leaders. I just wanted to let you know I rank you near the top.”
“Your address to our convention was everything we had hoped for and more. You did a great job capturing the audience’s attention and holding them spellbound for the entire presentation. I would certainly recommend you to anyone.”
“Personally, I benefit most from the speaker who speaks from the heart. It’s a message delivered with sincerity but driven by passion. That describes what I heard from you on Friday, as did the rest of the audience. The standing ovation was proof.”
Brookings, South Dakota