Donald Jerome Driver was born in Houston, Texas on February 2, 1975. He earned his nickname “Quickie” due to his parents running after him around the house and also because of his quick learning skills. Donald is a Super Bowl Champion, Green Bay’s all- time leading receiver, a Dancing with the Stars Champion, AMVETS Humanitarian of the Year and 2013 New York Times Best Selling Author who overcame homelessness and a challenging childhood to succeed in life.
Recently, during my trip to Disneyland where I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2014, I was thrilled to hear Donald speak at our conference. Donald spoke about life, heartache, pain, love, loss and the power of social media. His childhood wasn’t easy, far from it. As a young child he lived out of a U-Haul truck during his early teenage years. He also spent many nights in motel rooms that his mother, Faye, purchased with food stamps for her family. To help support his Mom and siblings, Driver turned to a life of crime which included stealing cars and dealing drugs. As a teenager, Donald was sent to live with his grandmother, Betty Lofton.
In high school, Donald shined as an athlete, lettering four times each in basketball, track, baseball and football. He was a Texas All-State honorable mention in Football where he played defensive back and wide receiver. Donald continued his football career at Alcorn State in Mississippi on an athletic scholarship. He also competed in track where he shined in the high jump and earned all-conference honors during his senior year.
Donald went on to tell us that the best thing he did while at Alcorn State was meeting his future wife, Betina. They married in 2000 and have three children together, a son Cristian, and two daughters, Christina and Charity.
Donald Driver was drafted by the Green Bay Packers during the 1999 NFL Draft. He spent his entire 14-year career in Green Bay where he is Packers all-time leading receiver and Super Bowl Champion. Donald and the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV giving Donald his first Super Bowl ring.
Donald told us that at this time in his career he heard friends talking about Twitter and tweeting. He said he had no idea what that meant and had no interest in social media, until Dancing with the Stars. He started a Twitter account and within 10 weeks had 356K followers. He now has over 1 million. Pretty awesome.
In January of 2012, Donald received a phone call from a producer in Hollywood asking if he would be interested in becoming a contestant during the fourteenth season of Dancing with the Stars. He sat down with his family to discuss this opportunity and had to make a decision within a couple of hours. He was on board but his wife, Betina was not. She didn’t want to leave Dallas and pull the kids out of school to move. His daughter Christina also was not on board. She told her father, “I don’t want you to do it because you will be dancing with another woman.” The only one in the family in Donald’s corner was his eight-year old son, Cristian who said, “Dad, this happens once in a lifetime; you should do it.” After further discussion Betina finally gave her okay and chose to put her husband’s feelings first. Donald was going on Dancing with the Stars. It was great to hear Donald talking to us about shaking his booty on the dance floor and being a Dancing with the Stars Champion.
Donald hosts TV show Inside the Huddle and a weekly radio show with AM 620 WTMJ, Wisconsin’s #1 rated radio station. You can also find his “Quickie” children’s books on the shelf of book stores, inspired by bedtime stories with his three children. Donald’s memoir, Driven: From Homeless to Hero, My Journeys On and Off Lambeau Field, came out in 2013 and all DSMM attendees received a copy of his book which I have read and highly recommend.
We learned that Donald donates his time and efforts to institutions such as Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Special Olympics Wisconsin, and Goodwill Industries. He founded the Donald Driver Foundation which can be found here – donalddriverfoundation.com
Donald went on to ask us why we blog? Was it for attention? His advice: “Not to blog for attention but for a purpose and to stay true to yourself, and follow your dream. Don’t let anyone get you down. Always have faith in yourself”.
I will always remember Donald Driver’s message to us that day. He made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think about my path in life. He is a role model for all young boys and men and such an inspiration to us all.
“We’ve all been blessed with a purpose, what that purpose is, only you know.” You can follow Donald here – @Donald_Driver80