BDA CEO Talks "Secret Millionaire" Filming Experience
Last Sunday, Jay Deutsch, CEO and co-founder of top 50 distributor BDA Inc., appeared on the latest episode of ABC's "Secret Millionaire." The show is themed around millionaires going undercover and working with charity causes that are personally meaningful to them. Each episode features a millionaire who, after about a week's time working undercover with the charities, reveals his or her real identity and makes donations from his or her own funds to each of the charities featured on the episode.
Deutsch participated in the show in honor of Susan Brockert, a friend and long-time BDA employee who was murdered through domestic violence in 2011, while at a company's retreat in Hawaii. Eradicating domestic violence has since become one of the main charitable causes of BDA, which has added domestic violence initiatives to its BDA Cares charity.
Over the course of the episode, Deutsch worked with three Phoenix-area charities: Cup O'Karma, Heart for the City and A Stepping Stone Foundation. Each of the charities either deals with domestic violence directly or with issues immediately related, such as poverty and childcare. As of 8/14/13, the full episode is watchable for free on Hulu.com, which you can see by clicking here.
Below, Deutsch talks about his experiences and what he learned filming the episode.
Promo Marketing: How long did you film for?
Jay Deutsch: We filmed for six days, and they captured over 100 hours of footage that had to be cut down to just 42 minutes. There was so much of the experience that was not shown, including much of the actual volunteer work and even additional donations that were made outside of the check presentations. It was the entire week that has resulted in truly meaningful, lifelong connections with those incredible people pouring their hearts and souls into their community. It's incredible to see how amazingly selfless all of them are.
PM: How were you able to handle participating/filming this episode so well emotionally? Or did you just hide it well? Just watching at home was exhausting and emotionally overwhelming. Everyone's stories were so powerful and touching, my stomach was in knots and I was near tears for a good part of the show. How did you deal with the stress?
JD: And here I thought I came off as a big crybaby! It was definitely a very emotional experience, but every step of the way I knew I was doing it for Susan. During the open mic night with the Cup O'Karma team, I was an emotional wreck. I kept thinking about Susan and what she must have been going through, as well as all of these incredible women who have faced unspeakable tragedies due to domestic violence. I learned more about domestic violence in that discussion than I ever thought possible. Being in that community and spending time in the haven Cup O'Karma creates for victims holds immeasurable power. They always say strength in numbers, but these women, when banded together, are unstoppable.
PM: What do you think was the most important thing you learned about domestic violence during filming, and why?
JD: Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting one in every four women. It can take shape in many forms and can happen to anyone. It's important that we learn how to recognize signs of domestic violence and take steps to prevent it. You saw on the show that one of the women discussed was able to get out of her situation. Unfortunately she accepted her husband back and, three months later, he murdered her. We need to be educating boys that it is never okay to lay a hand on a woman, and empowering women to stand up for themselves. Working together as a team, we can eradicate this epidemic.
PM: A portion of the episode focuses on poverty and its effect on raising children and families overall. Did you learn anything surprising about how poverty affects families and raising children?
JD: What I've come to find is that you are a product of your environment. Heart for the City surrounds at-risk youth with caring role models to look up to who provide support, hope and the motivation to be successful. It's important we provide the youth of our nation and future generations with the education, love and encouragement to become quality people and productive citizens, regardless of their background.