Todd Gerelds is author of the book, Woodlawn, a dramatic, powerful, and true story of redemption and reconciliation that occurred in the middle of what many say was the most racially charged and volatile era of Birmingham, Alabama’s history. The miraculous events that Todd witnessed as the young son of Coach Tandy Gerelds—Woodlawn High School’s football coach in the early 70’s—became a major motion picture that played in thousands of theaters across the country. Its message of hope, faith, and God’s incredible power to change lives through love has made a huge impact in our public and private schools, churches, athletic teams, businesses, charity organizations, and many individual lives.
In his book, Todd recounts how he witnessed God’s amazing love transform a team, his dad, a school, and even a city over the following years as he tagged along to practices and games with his father. Though the events unfolded decades ago, the message of grace, love and change that is possible through Jesus brings fresh relevance to today’s culture. Many Christian leaders and pastors believe that God is using this amazingly timely story to do a major work among His people, this country, and even the world. Todd’s talks are driven by the passion he feels about having personally experienced God’s life-changing love and the extraordinary work he believes God accomplishes through every day, ordinary people.
The message of reconciliation and hope inherent in Woodlawn’s story reaches far beyond the football field. It speaks to our individual lives, our families, our churches, our businesses, and our country, calling us to believe that there is a better way to relate, to understand each other, and to unite in our effort work smarter and better together. God has uniquely positioned and gifted Coach Gerelds’ son not only to tell the story, but also to truly equip and enhance other people’s lives in the process.
Through years of training under and playing football for Coach Gerelds (who later became renowned for his ability to develop mediocre teams into State Champions), Todd inherited his dad’s love and skill for coaching. Like his father did, Todd loves to help individuals and groups recognize their gifts, capitalize on their strengths, and most importantly, learn how to relate and work well with others on their team to achieve a greater result. But Todd’s brand of coaching has not occurred on the football field. Instead, it has played out in the professional world, particularly through the diverse, innovative, and competitive medical field. Todd has spent 20 plus years in the medical device, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries helping clinicians and their patients. Serving in diverse capacities as field rep and district manager, national sales trainer and personal counselor and mentor, Todd has poured his life into equipping patients, colleagues, doctors, and friends to live better lives. As a result, he has consistently ranked as a top performer, earning a wide variety of sales awards with two Fortune 500 and 100 companies.
Those who know Todd describe him as possessing an uncanny ability to draw even the most introverted stranger into lively and then deep-hearted conversation. His natural gift of relating and connecting with people of all walks of life has earned him strong recognition as an engaging, informative, and effective keynote speaker for churches, ministries, sports teams, businesses, and at civic and charitable functions, having spoken broadly on topics of leadership, integrity, and talent and character development in both the personal and professional realm. Todd’s Woodlawn book, the current popularity of the accompanying major motion picture, and his passion for coaching, equipping, and uniting, makes Todd’s message powerful and relevant for every organization that needs cohesive, relational teams. Contact Todd Gerelds today to schedule a talk or seminar to maximize your team’s potential and performance level.
Talk Themes and Subject Matter
Woodlawn: The Miraculous and True Story of God’s Great Love
Find healing and hope for our families, churches, businesses, and communities as Todd tells Woodlawn’s miraculous story of reconciliation and redemption from his unique perspective as the head coach’s son during Birmingham, Alabama’s most racially divided years.
--Watch God’s love transform “ordinary” people into extraordinary.
--Marvel at the miraculous often hidden in the mundane.
--Seek lasting heart change through God’s supernatural touch.
--The indispensable Characteristic
Multi-Session, Seminar Topics, Woodlawn and Beyond
Healing the Divide (in our hearts, homes, and communities)
Validation- Where does it come from, how do you get it, how it changes you (Tandy—winning solves everything vs. being loved by God and others; Tony with his dad vs. thug at school with gang; Tony’s girlfriend (Johnny) with Tony vs. her abusive father.)
Identity- Knowing who and whose you are (Tandy, Tony, Hank’s stories) My personal story.
Belief- Why God calls us to it. What is it? What does it look like? How is it different from fantasy thinking? Personal struggle and breakthrough with belief.
Community (Common Unity) What was going on in Birmingham, Woodlawn, our country? What causes feelings of superiority/inferiority? How do we see it today? How does God’s love change our perspective? How would that change our families/businesses, churches?
“Todd Gerelds spoke at our chapel this fall to over 500 students. I received excellent feedback on the presentation. Todd has a great story to share and he does it in a manner that appeals to teens! I want to give him my highest recommendation.” Jay Matthews, Dean of Students, Briarwood Christian School.
“The Tuscumbia Education Foundation was honored to host Todd Gerelds at a recent community wide speaking event. Hearing the inspirational story of Woodlawn directly from its author was truly a special experience. Mr. Gerelds did a phenomenal job engaging our diverse crowd by retelling facts & memories from his childhood, and sharing how God used these events to shape the lives of his family, a football team, and a city.” Mary Cecelia Youngblood, Tuscumbia Education Foundation
“Today I heard Todd Gerelds share...He presented a message of personal sacrificial love & hope based on the example of Christ. He held the attention of the entire team & their coaches. As a former coach and now pastor I appreciated Todd's message of hope and love for others that is only found in and through Jesus Christ.” Ralph Keel, North Alabama Fellowship of Christian Athletes
“I have heard lots of keynote speeches, but that may be the best I’ve ever heard.” Russ Spencer, Anchor, Fox 5 Atlanta, at Salvation Army Youth of the Year Event.
"Todd speaks with the rare combination of conviction, boldness, and gentle compassion. He did an amazing job of capturing everyone in the room and pointing them to a deeper faith in Jesus and toward a deeper obedience of Jesus.
We needed a great speaker for our fundraising event for a brand new ministry. Todd Gerelds did a masterful job of both capturing the audience with the amazing story of Woodlawn High School and of urging the audience to support the ministry at hand."
Jason Dees, Sr. Pastor, Valleydale Church
Todd Gerelds is an amazing man of God, speaker and author. His ability to educate as well as entertain an audience is astounding . His natural charisma and passion engage an audience and keep them wanting more. One of the best speakers I've had the pleasure of hearing.
Michelle Watkins, Major Gifts Manager, The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Area Command