Taking Action: It’s No Secret for this Millionaire

August 12, 2013

On Sunday I had the honor of attending a viewing party for Secret Millionaire at BDA, a branded merchandise agency best known for inventing the modern-day bobble head (and a Barokas Communications client). As one of this season’s secret millionaires, BDA CEO Jay Deutsch was selected by ABC to go undercover into a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona. If you didn’t catch the show, the program leads up to a big reveal in which Jay must disclose his true identity and mission: making generous donations to the people and organizations that touched his heart throughout the journey.

One of the organizations profiled during the segment was Cup O’Karma, a community cafe in Mesa, AZ that provides housing, workplace development and job training for victims of domestic violence. The program is run by MonaLou Callery, an incredibly inspiring woman and domestic violence survivor. Throughout the segment, ABC profiled the far reaching impact of domestic violence – it was eye opening to learn that one in four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. And unfortunately, it’s estimated that approximately 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault each year.


Cup O’Karma’s work was especially close to the heart of Jay and his BDA family, as their co-worker, Susan Brockert, became a victim of domestic violence on a company trip to Hawaii two years ago. In Jay’s own words in Entrepreneur Magazine, “No company or CEO can prepare for the kind of tragedy I found myself faced with…”

MonaLou’s escape from domestic violence and Susan’s tragic story illustrate how inspiration can come out of heartbreak. For the team at BDA, this means telling Susan’s story to help end the vicious cycle of domestic abuse. The BDA team turned its grief over Susan’s death into the driving force behind Susan’s Rock, a branch of the BDA Cares Foundation dedicated to the prevention of violence against women and children.

The Secret Millionaire segment also profiled a youth outreach program called Heart for the City, an organization focused on the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of children and poor families living in inner city communities. A comment made by one of the organization’s volunteers perfectly summed up the theme of the evening – “Don’t be a person of words, be a person of action.”

As the CEO of a successful 29-year old business, it wouldn’t be hard to guess that Jay is a millionaire. Thanks to ABC, it’s his kindness, generosity and courage to take action that are no longer a secret.

-Karli (KO)

To learn more about domestic violence awareness and prevention, visit the BDA Cares Foundation at http://bdacares.org/

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