Speaker adds light to life’s journey

Published Jan 8, 2014 at 6:48 am (Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm)

Info Box: Gloria Dudt

Motivational speaker Gloria Dudt is also a singer and songwriter. Her CD “A Simple Song of Praise” includes songs she has written and arranged.

Gloria is also chairman of the International Ford Retrackable Club featuring the hardtop “Skyliners” produced in the 1957-59 years by the Ford Motor Company. The 43rd Annual IFRC Convention is set for July 2014 in Collinsville, Ill.

The new year continues to be cold and dreary, but with a little optimism and a few vacation plans, we can turn the dark, wintry feeling into rays of sunshine.

Just hours into 2014, January took an upward motion as inspirational speaker Gloria Dudt shared a little timeout with me at a local coffee shop for a much-needed post-holiday break.

She told me how her busy, young adult life had definitely changed. She no longer headed to school to teach young children and had packed away her husband’s family bakery recipes once the bakery closed – many longtime residents of the South Hills will remember the Dudt Bakery, its original location on Cochran Road and bakery outlets in Canonsburg and later in Houston before closing its doors.

I often enjoyed Dudt pastries as a young girl in Canonsburg, asking my mother to order the mouth-watering confections for birthdays and other special occasions. The taste was quite recognizable, very special. Adding to her life’s experiences, Gloria remembers helping her husband David in the bakery for many years. “I decorated cakes, worked in the office and even drove the delivery truck. Our young daughters were right there with us.”

After her granddaughter moved south, Gloria began questioning where life’s path would take her. “What’s in store for me now?” she often thought.

Searching for a new direction a few years back, Gloria attended a luncheon in Washington, sponsored by the nationally-known Christian Women’s Club. The speaker held her interest and motivated her in a way she didn’t expect. Heading home that day, Gloria decided to contact the club’s Stonecroft Ministries and learn about its nondenominational outreach program created to support women in all stages and walks of life.

With prayer and by sharing her own life’s path, she hoped to motivate others by helping women to build a better life for themselves. It wasn’t long before Gloria’s name was added to the national list of speakers reaching across the U.S. Requests came in, often taking her miles away, sometimes to New York, Arizona or Florida.

“My life hasn’t always been easy,” said Gloria. “I wanted to share my personal story with others and how God has wonderfully impacted my life.”

Through her travels, Gloria eventually reached out, often speaking to 50 groups a year inspiring women with her topic, “Cakes Can’t Bounce, But People Can.” Her years of teaching experience provided the background to personalize her talks adding humor, challenges from her life and reminding women that there’s nothing we can’t bounce back from doing.

Recently, Gloria cut back her travel time and began gearing talks to local senior citizens, who, with a little encouragement, can learn to appreciate and enjoy their “golden age.” She also connects well with young people. Although the times are different, every generation goes through trials, struggles and emotional highs and lows.

“As a teen, I was insecure with my six-foot frame as I towered over my friends,” recalls Gloria. “In high heels and the trendy big hair styles of the day, I easily reached seven-feet. My friends called me ‘Tree.’ I finally accepted my height and that there were a lot worse things in life, so I wrote a song, ‘A Girl Named Tree.’ I’m often asked to sing it when I’m speaking, but it’s also on my CD.”

EEN: Gloria shares her inspirational talks at dinners, workshops, seminars, luncheons and special events. She can be reached by calling 724-948-3861 or emailing gloriadudt@gmail.com.

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