Six-time EMMY® Award winner Shawne Duperon is hosting Authentic Leadership Day on May 14 as a fundraiser to raise awareness and proceeds for Project: Forgive. The live event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Dearborn, MI at Henry Ford Community College and air through PBS’ Detroit Public Television and online through a dedicated live stream.
Duperon, an award-winning media coach, will lead a team of special guests including Federal Judge Damon J. Keith, Gary Weinstein, Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley, Terry Bean, and best-selling authors Marilyn Suttle, Lisa Mininni and Teresa de Grosbois. Attendees will expand their leadership skills in building authentic relationships, growing organic and intuitive influence, embracing cultural differences, and resolving and forgiving challenges in business.
The Project: Forgive documentary was born out of the need for a new conversation on forgiveness. Duperon, who is passionate about the topic of forgiveness, wondered how in the face of disturbing life events, economic downturn, death, divorce, sickness and other tragedy, one can find the courage to forgive and form a new meaning and realm of possibility. Project: Forgive goes deeper into this topic and will include stories of courageous forgiveness from celebrities, thought leaders, and people whose stories have yet to be told.
The film was inspired by an interesting turn of events in Duperon’s own life. A few years ago, a man named Gary Weinstein received news that his wife Judy and their children, twelve-year-old Alex and nine-year-old Sam were hit by a drunk driver and did not survive. Weinstein was a family friend of Duperon, their children had gone to the same school, and Weinstein’s wife Judy had been a business coach to Duperon and her husband. What’s more, it happened that the drunk driver, Tom Wellinger, turned out to be yet another of Duperon’s family friends.
From Duperon’s perspective, a major conflict ensued with regard to Wellinger. On one hand, he is a drunk driver who took a family she cared deeply about. On the other hand, Wellinger is a loving and kind man and family friend who made a horrific mistake. A dilemma and a movie were created in that very moment.
The ability to hold two very different perceptions at the same moment is where the breakthroughs lie. Weinstein’s ability to forgive Wellinger inspired Duperon and her team to examine what she describes as an internal emotional maturity that according to her, the planet has not yet experienced. Project: Forgive explores how to host conflicting thoughts and emotions at the same time, allowing for such breakthroughs and transformation regardless of the circumstance.
The film takes a profound look at stories of forgiveness from the forgiver and from the forgiven, stories of success, and stories still in progress. Each of these stories will uncover the power of true forgiveness. Duperon’s goal is to cause conversations of forgiveness that lesson political, racial, gender, and sexual orientation tensions that divide cultures.
Duperon created the possibility of a movement toward global forgiveness through an initial Kickstarter.com campaign. The campaign’s five-minute video went viral and was viewed by tens of thousands across the globe, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and country artist Naomi Judd, who now both endorse the project. The goal to raise $100,000 in seed money was reached, and the film was begun.
The filmmaker originally sought investors to fund the remainder of the proceeds for the movie. As the film and forgiveness movement progressed, it became apparent to Duperon that a non-profit should be created to not only finish the film, but also to create an organization that continues to spread the message of forgiveness; thus, the Project: Forgive Foundation was created. It is a non-partisan and non-religious organization, encompassing all belief systems that promote community harmony as well as tolerance of different belief systems through conversations of acceptance and forgiveness.
The film is now approximately 50% complete. Through fundraising, philanthropic giving and corporate sponsorship, the film is progressing toward completion. Once the film is finished, the work of the non-profit will continue to advance the education and promotion of forgiveness while eliminating prejudice and discrimination.
Duperon has been in the TV business and media industry for over 20 years, is a six-time EMMY® Award winning media coach, and has taught thousands how to communicate as leaders in business. She has interviewed many recent U.S. presidents and has filmed hundreds of celebrities including Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby, Yo Yo Ma, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. She has been featured in major media outlets including, CNN, ABC, “Inc. Magazine,” and “USA Today” to name a few. This PhD candidate in gossip used the concept of gossip theory to make the film’s five-minute video go viral. Her personal passion is forgiveness, as evidenced by her movement on global forgiveness and creating Project: Forgive.
To learn more about Project: Forgive and how you can get involved in the movement, click here.
Authentic Leadership Day
May 14, 2014, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET
Registration begins at 9 a.m.
Henry Ford Community College, Main Campus
5101 Evergreen Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48128
*Concurrent live online stream will also be available
TICKETS: $37 for live event gatherings (Michigan, Chicago and Calgary), $7 for online live stream. For more information and to purchase tickets or make donations, click here.