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Robin Roberts inspires attendees of Chamber of Commerce dinner

By Leah Fleischel, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: May 09 2014 12:14:58 AM CDT
Updated On: May 09 2014 09:59:26 AM CDT
Robin Roberts, keynote speaker at Reading Chamber of Commerce dinner
REDING, Pa. -

Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC's Good Morning America, was welcomed to the Santander Performing Arts Center by a choir of Reading School District students dressed in red and black, singing Pharrell’s hit song “Happy.”

Scott Gruber, chairman of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, tipped his black hat that resembled Pharrell’s as he turned the program over to Roberts.

"I have to say, I've never been introduced like that," said Roberts, the keynote speaker for the chamber's 101st dinner, themed "Picture of Success."

Roberts' speech focused on the path she has taken throughout her life and lessons she has learned along the way. She constantly related everything she said back to business.

"Proximity is power," were some of the first words of advice that Roberts had for the audience. 

She said being in the right place at the right time can help individuals take control of their success and is essential in setting people up for the next steps.

Roberts also told the audience to "dream big and focus small."

She acknowledged that many business leaders have big dreams of the impact their companies could have, but need to focus on specific goals in order to take the steps to make the dreams a reality.

The talk quickly took a turn from business and career to Robert's battle with cancer, which began in 2007. 

Though Roberts is an advocate for early detection of breast cancer, she said she was hesitant to go public with her disease until her mother helped change her mind by telling her to "make your mess your message."

Roberts encouraged the audience to not only share their gifts with others, but also their challenges to help ease others' struggles.

Though not on the agenda for her speech, Roberts said she felt it was important to conclude her visit by opening the floor to questions from the audience. 

The audience asked for recognition of other cancer survivors in the hall and also asked for advice on how people could be most useful to loved ones dealing with cancer.

Following the speech, event sponsors were recognized and businesses were lauded for their efforts and growth within the past year.