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James Malinchak uses a table napkin to demonstrate his willingness to serve others.

James Malinchak uses a table napkin to demonstrate his willingness to serve others.

A national audience watched business motivational speaker and self-made millionaire James Malinchak on the hit ABC television show, “Secret Millionaire.” On Tuesday, more than 100 local business and community leaders got to meet Malinchak and learn more about his successful leadership strategies at a free training session at The Center for Rural Development.

“You don’t need a title to be a leader,” Malinchak told the audience. “Everyone is a leader in every area of their life.”

Malinchak, the son of a steelworker and housewife, is a multi-millionaire and one of the most requested and highest paid motivational and business speakers in America. For the last 12 years, the motivational speaker and co-author of the top-selling book, “Chicken Soup for the College Soul,” has been traveling around the world teaching and helping people achieve their personal goals.

“I thought James was quite motivational. For someone who does a lot of public speaking myself, I came away with a lot of good insight that I can potentially put to good use­ ­tomorrow,” said communications expert Dr. Michael Searcy, who teaches at Somerset Community College. “He is really funny, and has some great stories.”

Malinchak appeared on the second season of the “Secret Millionaire” in an episode filmed in Gary, IN., where he lived for a week on welfare-level wages in a rundown neighborhood. While there, he spent time volunteering where his help was needed most, searching for deserving individuals and organizations that were making a real difference in the lives of others.

“James gave examples of real-world lessons in leadership that can be used by young and old alike,” said Elizabeth Burton, director of business development and public relations at The Center.  His message of persistence and perseverance is especially applicable to The Center’s service region in Southern and Eastern Kentucky where we are tackling tough problems like unemployment and low educational attainment.  James’ motto of Add Value, Make a Difference and Enrich Lives (AME) can be used daily to inspire and improve our own lives and the lives of others.”

The free leadership training was presented by The Center for Rural Development and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). A second training session was held April 15 on the campus of Hazard Community and Technical College.