Internal Speech

NYU medical center’s employee milestone speech a team effort by top-rank executives

History presented in flashbacks, including institutional milestones, both raises and lightens the tone—and heightens the interest—of the annual employee recognition ceremony at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

If you’re looking for a way to spike interest in your next employee service recognition ceremony, you would do well to look at a speech given by Dean and CEO Robert Grossman and his team of senior executives at the Langone Medical Center in honor of employees who in late 2010 celebrated their 25, 30, 35 and 40-year anniversaries at the medical center.

Grossman was joined by Steve Abramson, senior vice president and vice dean for education, Vivian Lee, senior vice president and vice dean for science, and Kim Glassman, senior vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer, on the podium.

Each officer delivered a resume of the leading news events in l985, l980, 1975, and l970 before handing out awards to employees who started at Langone in each of these years. The resume included the notable achievements in clinical and research medicine at the Langone Medical Center, also in each of those four years.

Anchoring the recital of memorable facts for each year were reminders to the audience of the average annual salary and the price of a gallon of gas that year. But the achievements of researchers and clinicians at Langone figured heavily into the historical record delivered by each senior executive.

Langone’s pivotal role in developing the pioneering method of melanoma detection and the first vaccine against Hepatitis B, and NYU’s role in establishing one of the first designated national cancer centers were the highlights of these historical institutional memories.

This series of short speeches did its work well, There was no orotund, empty bombast, no insincere speechifying. And yet, each speech, fact-laden as it was, moved quickly, made the necessary points and blessedly spared its employee audience the boredom, the horror, of hearing perfunctory, pseudo-eloquent praises of themselves spun out to intolerable lengths.

For that achievement alone, this speech deserved to win Best Internal Speech in the 2011 Ragan Employee Communications Awards.

To top it off, the speakers spoke plain English. The absence of irrelevant rhetorical flourishes distinguished this speech above all others in this category.

Speech-givers: Robert Grossman, Steve Abramson, Vivian Lee, Kim Glassman
Speechwriter: Lori Donaghy 

To view the winning work please click here.


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