Anthony Shaw is just minutes away from speaking at the Woburn Business Association’s (WBA) “Secrets of Success” dinner. A crowd of approximately 250 people wait patiently in the Crowne Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom for the Salem, NH native to come up on stage to speak about the success of NuPath’s Job Camp class.
In passing, someone asks Shaw as he’s sitting down, “How are you feeling? You don’t seem nervous.”
With a smirk, he only says two words, “I’m fine.”
Maybe because this is not his first rodeo in the realm of public speaking.
Last month, he stood in front of over 300 people at NuPath’s Fourth Annual Celebration. A portrait of calm and concentration, Shaw gave a stirring speech about Job Camp, a class that he and volunteer Bill Strazzullo, an accomplished financial consultant, have run for going on five years.
“Tony’s growth since we began teaching the class has been immense,” Strazzullo said, cracking a smile. “He’s grown more comfortable with each passing class…and it’s translated into a program that continues to get men and women at NuPath meaningful employment in the community.”
A graduate of film school, Shaw began his working career in the unlikeliest of places – an office supply store, selling cell phones. He joked to the crowd, “It’s not exactly what a film school graduate dreams about when starting their career.”
He soon found out about NuPath through a family friend and was hired to work at NuPath’s Journey Productions, a microbusiness where Shaw could use his filming and video editing knowledge. Eventually, he saw the opening for an Employment Coordinator and was soon promoted to his current post.
“It was ironic in a way that a guy like myself who had trouble finding a job would now be responsible for helping other people find jobs in the community,” he says with an inquisitive look. “I wondered how I was going to be able to do it.”
Then, one Friday afternoon, Strazzullo put Shaw in charge of running the class. “Oh no sir, I said…I’m just a wallflower. I don’t speak in front of large crowds,” he jokes to the crowd at the WBA. “Ironic, isn’t it?”
Since that class, he has been part of an employment team that has kept over 90% of Job Camp graduates employed in various jobs all over eastern Massachusetts. Lisa Carriere, one of Tony’s colleagues, is most impressed with how he carries himself every day.
“He is a soft-spoken guy but don’t let that fool you,” she says with a smirk. “Tony is one of the hardest working people I know…and his dedication to finding people careers is second-to-none.”
Perhaps it’s because of the real-world experience Shaw brings to Job Camp. He was once in the student’s shoes – trying to build a resume, perfecting his job interviewing skills and filling out applications.
Today, he and Strazzullo meet every Friday afternoon, from October to June, to pass down these same skills to a group of men and women who want meaningful careers in the community.
“It is no longer a class,” he said to the crowd. “These are job seekers planning for their future.”
He received a rousing ovation when finished with his speech and received plenty of acclaim from his colleagues and friends.
“Being in front of a crowd like this can be intimidating for someone relatively new to public speaking,” said Dan Lannan, NuPath’s Senior Vice President of Program Operations. “Tony handled it so well and did a great job.”
Ashly Perkins, a close friend of Shaw’s, echoed that sentiment saying, “I’m really proud of him for going up there and representing an organization like NuPath the way that he did – with grace, class and confidence.”
Tyler Gates, host of “The Woburn Spotlight”, was introduced to NuPath at Job Camp graduation back in June and spoke glowingly of Shaw’s speech.
“It was an unforgettable experience to witness (Job Camp Graduation) for myself,” he said. “Tony’s speech was a great success story that everyone here and the city of Woburn can feel good about.”
Dan Harrison, NuPath’s President and CEO, was also on hand to witness Shaw speak and had nothing but glowing praise as the two met later in the evening.
“It’s been a treat to watch you grow not only as a person, but as now an ambassador to Job Camp,” he said with a smile. “I’m so proud of you for giving the men and women in our programs the skills needed to go out and live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.”
Today, Shaw is the star actor of a real-life program that continues to evolve every year with a new, supporting cast of job seekers. Together, they can begin to write the script that serves as a foundation for a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.