Forrest Tuff is an award-winning speaker, author, filmmaker, and television producer. He is the founder and CEO of One Vision Productions, a multimedia production, and branding agency that is recognized as one of Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.
A Certified Business & Master Life Coach, he was named one of Atlanta’s 500 Most Powerful Leaders and the 89th Accredited Speaker in the world by Toastmasters International.
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This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by on pay Atlanta’s new standard in payroll. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:24] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a fun one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor on pay. Without them, we could not be sharing these important stories today on the Atlanta Business Radio. We have forced tough with one Vision Productions. Welcome Forrest.
Forrest Tuff: [00:00:43] Hey, how are you doing, Lee? Glad to be here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:45] Well, I am excited to be talking with you. Please tell us a little bit about one vision How are you serving, folks?
Forrest Tuff: [00:00:52] So we’re doing good out here. We’re basically a multimedia and branding agency. We provide video production, aerial drone services. We hope to branch a company with writing services. We also have photography and graphic design, so those are some of the areas that we cover.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:09] So what’s your back story? How did you get involved in production?
Forrest Tuff: [00:01:13] You know, I grew up in the church, my father was a pastor and I was part of the media team as a young kid. You know, I was and services. This before we had members. Fast forward, I finished college and I’m now trying to figure out what I want to do and I find myself. Going right back to the media production, so in 2004, I started a business and it just so happened to be in that field. That’s kind of the long and short of it.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:39] So then when you started serving, folks, did you were you working primarily with other churches or did this kind of get into business or individuals?
Forrest Tuff: [00:01:48] Yeah, to be honest with you, I worked only with a couple of churches. It started out. I was doing a lot in the entertainment field, music videos, weddings, birthday parties. And as time progressed, we started to work with more corporations and government agencies. So now that’s pretty much solely who we work with businesses. And in the government and the sector of government. And so with that, that’s kind of where we’ve changed over now the past decade.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:16] Now, as part of your work, you chose to get involved with Toastmasters. What was the thinking behind that?
Forrest Tuff: [00:02:24] Well, you know, also I’m a filmmaker, and as I started to do things, I started to get requests to come out and speak. And, you know, being in my field, I was a behind the scenes person, and I just didn’t feel comfortable standing up in front of a group of people having conversations about what I did one on one, I was OK and I found out about Toastmasters. It was a program that would help me to become a better speaker in a public arena. So that’s how I joined the organization and that’s why I joined the organization.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:53] So now what was it like going to those first meetings where you know, you were behind the scenes person and now they’re kind of pushing you up to the stage?
Forrest Tuff: [00:03:03] You know, it’s it’s great because Toastmasters is in a club setting. One minute you’re feeling like, Oh, this is going to be the worst thing ever. But when you walk in the club and you realize that everyone is on the same journey and they’re all rooting for you, it’s a really laid back environment. You know, it’s very organized and structured in terms of teaching you different skills as a speaker, but everyone’s very supportive. So it took away the inhibition or the apprehension I had when I first went and I was actually pretty comfortable my first time.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:32] And then for the people who aren’t familiar, can you kind of walk through what a Toastmasters meeting looks like?
Forrest Tuff: [00:03:39] So you go into a meeting and they run through the business, they have a hierarchy set up. There’s a president, vice president, sergeant at arms. They have all these different officers who run different parts of the meeting. And so when they start the meeting, they’ll have speakers. They’ll have someone to do a joke philosophy. They also have this thing called table topics where you do impromptu speaking, but also with the speaking. They have a portion, a better listening where you get evaluation and feedback. And this is one of the best parts of the program because the feedback is always supportive. It’s never there to tear you down. They listen to you and they give you constructive criticism on how you can become a better speaker without letting you know how bad you are when you first come. And that’s my case. But it’s just a great environment, and I would encourage anybody who’s interested in public speaking to start with Toastmasters.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:32] So now when you started going to Toastmasters, how quickly were you starting to feel really confident and confident and start pursuing speaking as you know, another one of the things services you offer?
Forrest Tuff: [00:04:47] I started professionally speaking after about two years, being with the organization now, Toastmasters was giving me the skills. It was providing all the training and education to become a better speaker, better leader. But I was very proactive in pursuing a career as a professional speaker once I got involved. I found myself drawn to that side of it, and so I began to actively pursue that side of public speaking. So for me, I think it took about two years before I started to try to get paid speaking jobs.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:20] So now we’re were you speaking about things related to your company or were you speaking as, you know, Fforest, the speaker?
Forrest Tuff: [00:05:28] Well, yes, most of what I do comes from some of my background or training. You know, I was doing working on conferences and entrepreneurship. Also, as I said, I’m a filmmaker, so I was doing workshops and. I’m also a score business minister, so during that time, I would do workshops pro bono as also ways to share information and also get more practice speaking in front of different crowds. So I chose any opportunity I could to speak and get better.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:58] Now, any advice for the person who’s considering a career as a speaker is there like, how do you transition from doing those kind of pro bono works to getting paid to speak?
Forrest Tuff: [00:06:09] Well, I think you have to. Want to do it? First, you have to have the desire to go into it and also look at speaking as a business, which means you have to now start to change how you approach different speaking engagements, how you search for them. And some of the organizations you join. I’ve also joined professional speaking organizations such as the National Speakers Association, because that’s one that focuses more on the business side of speaking. But I would tell you to try to be comfortable in your own skin. That’s the biggest thing. You know, there are so many great public speakers, but you have to find your avenue and find how you’re comfortable and what story you want to share with people.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:54] Now you have an accredited speaker designation. Can you explain to the folks what that is and why it’s important?
Forrest Tuff: [00:07:02] Yes. Well, Toastmasters has been around ninety six years, one of the largest, most amazing organizations for speaking and leadership. They have a program called the accredited speaker designation that’s made for professional speakers. The program has been around since nineteen eighty eighty one, I believe has been around about 40 years, and that program has eighty nine accredited speakers. Currently, I’m the eighty ninth in the world, so that’s just not local or statewide. There are only eighty nine accredited speakers in the world and what you have to do is you have to actually prove yourself as a professional speaker. There’s a lot of work you need to do to submit paperwork, videos and then during Toastmasters International Conference, their annual international conference, you actually present in front of a panel of judges who are accredited speakers. And if you pass the mark, then you’ll given that designation as an accredited speaker.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:00] Now you’ve in the same breath you’ve mentioned speaking in leadership, how do you see the two tied together?
Forrest Tuff: [00:08:09] I think personally, leadership is the way you carry yourself. And also being mindful of what you say. I think Toastmasters gives you the ability to formulate your thoughts and give a presentation that will be received by a broader audience. I think as a leader, you have to be mindful of what you say and to who. And that’s where you’re giving these skills to understand what it means to be a leader and also the ramifications of what you say as a speaker. So for me, leadership. And speaking go hand in hand, because as a speaker, you have to make sure that you’re sending out a message that’s going to uplift the people or something that’s going to be used in a positive manner. And that’s my personal take. It differs for everyone.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:59] So now how did you come come about your kind of leadership philosophy? Is it something that you’ve kind of cobbled together yourself or your from your own kind of life? Or did you have mentors or do you follow a certain other kind of leader prescription?
Forrest Tuff: [00:09:16] My biggest mentor in life was my father. You know, I watched my father’s life. This is a man who I’ve watched daily and his life has been a testament to me of what true leadership is in terms of treating people fair, not judging people caring about the community. So that was my biggest lesson. As far as the leader is concerned, so as I grew up and I became a man, I started to follow under those same principles, those same guidelines. Now, along the way, I’ve met people that are great leaders in different areas and business and philanthropy and other aspects that I was interested in and even great speakers. And so with that, I find myself drawn to people that are leaders in their own right and things that I find myself interested in.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:01] So now recently you’ve been named among Atlanta’s 500 most powerful leaders. How did that award come about?
Forrest Tuff: [00:10:10] Well, I think they’re searching for different people in the community or in Atlanta who are either involved in business philanthropy and they do their background research and they send you an invite to let you know that you’ve been selected or your name has been put in the hat by other leaders in the community. And so that was a great surprise for me because being an Atlanta native and doing so much in the city as far as business, I was happy to hear that because I really do care about the city of Atlanta. I’m Atlanta native born and raised. I moved away for a while but came back. So it’s always important to be recognized in the city or where you really spend your time trying to make a difference.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:53] Now, some of your work is done through coaching, can you talk about why it was important for you to become a certified coach?
Forrest Tuff: [00:11:01] So I’ve been a business mentor with score for seven years, and Score is a resource partner through the Small Business Administration. And they offer a pro bono mentoring services for those who are looking to start or sustain a business. And as a business owner myself, this was a great opportunity for me to not only give back, but to continue learning with professionals that have retired or working professionals that have a wealth of knowledge that I may not have but can learn from. So as I have been on that journey mentoring individuals, I find myself drawn to the coaching business. And so last year, I went through a rigorous training of about six months and become and became a certified coach. And as I’m building that aspect of my business, it really focuses on people who are either in the entrepreneurial space or those who are just looking to find more purpose in their life. And that’s how that journey came about for me.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:01] Now, any advice for the business owner out there listening that maybe never had a coach before? Can you share some of kind of the. But maybe how to vet a coach or how to find the right coach for you.
Forrest Tuff: [00:12:16] Well, I think the biggest thing you want to do when finding a coach is make sure that they understand what your goals are. You know, I think oftentimes in coaching you can have a prescribed program, but you want to make sure that you tailor something to that person because everyone has a different need. They have a different outcome, and they also define success differently. So when you’re looking for a coach, make sure you ask those questions. You know, make sure they understand what you want, find out their history or if they have referrals of people they’ve worked with and have had some success. I think as long as you do your due diligence and you have a rapport or you like the person or you feel as if they can help you or their life shows you that they are living the thing that they’re trying to help you do. I think you’ll be all right now.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:04] Can you share a story and maybe you don’t have the name the name, but maybe they came to you, whether it’s through your business, through your coaching, through your speaking. They came to you and had a challenge and they were able to talk with you or work with you, and you are able to help them get to a new level like the most. An example that kind of illustrates the something that was rewarding for you and and and it had a big impact on the person.
Forrest Tuff: [00:13:29] Yes, I had a client that I worked with who had a desire to start a business. And the industry was working with pets, and it was a very unique business and they have been searching. To find someone to help them get to the finish line or to get started, for that matter. And so one of the things that we focused on was the finances, and we also talked about patience, you know, not being too eager. To get started until the foundation was laid for starting the business. Long story short, they were able to save a lot of money. They were able to get the finances they need because of the patients. They were able to open their location and get their business started, and it was a process that took about a year. But that was fulfilling because, number one, it wasn’t a it wasn’t a feel that I was familiar with. But there were things that I knew about the business that had nothing to do with pets. But more about having a facility licenses things of those nature, getting the business started and loans and finance. So when we got to the finish line and we had the grand opening you, it was great to stand there, take a picture with her and just see her facility and just see the satisfaction she had with her dream coming true.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:51] So now for people listening, who is an ideal candidate to work with you at one vision, whether it’s your coaching or whether it’s your production, what is kind of do you have a sweet spot in terms of the ideal customer that works with you?
Forrest Tuff: [00:15:06] Yes. If you are a small business owner or if you have you work for a corporation, the services we provide are really geared towards that. We do a lot of work with, like I say, government, local, state, even federal agencies in terms of providing services for internal videos, marketing packages, even helping with businesses to brand themselves if they have something new that they’re coming out with. So that would be the sweet spot as far as customers are concerned. Now for speaking engagements. You know, I talk with churches, youth groups, you know, conferences, entrepreneurial conferences and also film festivals and workshops. Those are some of the places where I’ve had the most traction as a speaker and been hired to speak.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:57] Well, congratulations on all the success force. If somebody wants to learn more, have more substantive conversation with you or somebody on the team, what’s the website?
Forrest Tuff: [00:16:07] Will visit me personally at four tough that’s fo r r e s t t USF. And you can find any of my social media or any of my other business sites located there. That’s a hub for everything that I do. So for stuff.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:26] Good stuff. Well, thank you again for sharing your story. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Forrest Tuff: [00:16:31] Thank you so much, Leigh. All right.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:32] This is Lee Kantor. We will sail next time on Atlanta Business Radio.