In this episode, we have a conversation with Whistleblower, Author, and Film Festival Founder Michael McCray. We talk about the process of becoming a Whistleblowing Filmmaker, The Clinton Administration, The ACORN 8, Daniel Ellsberg, Ralph Nader, Modern Journalism, Frank Serpico, Chinese Twitter Bots, Jamal Khashoggi. Facebook, Edward Snowden, and much more.
About Michael McCray
In 1995, Michael McCray blew the whistle on $40 million in waste, fraud and abuse at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Clinton Administration. As a result, he became a leading public interest advocate for civil and human rights, including free speech and whistleblower protections. McCray is a 2007 recipient of the "No FEAR Award" in Washington, DC. In addition, he received statewide recognition for outstanding work in peace and social justice in Arkansas. The OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology honored him as an ARKANSAS PEACE & JUSTICE HERO in 2008. Most recently, McCray is a 2021 recipient of the Cliff Robertson Sentinel Award Recipient for his advocacy with the ACORN 8 from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). A former national board delegate for Georgia ACORN, McCray was the spokesman for the ACORN 8, the national board members that blew the whistle on a multi-million dollar embezzlement at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). His breakthrough book RACE, POWER & POLITICS—Memoirs of an ACORN Whistleblower tells the inside story of ACORN. An author, speaker, and public interest advocate, McCray has made numerous media (radio and television) appearances including CNN (Lou Dobbs Tonight) and FOX News (Glenn Beck Show). A highly sought-after public speaker, McCray makes memorable contributions to conferences, events, and conventions that welcome his "tell-it-like-it-is" storytelling style and audience engagement. He combines Fortune 500 corporate experience and public interest advocacy by speaking on motivational topics including whistleblower protection, business ethics, and corporate integrity. McCray co-founded the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW) and served as General Counsel for the Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF), which champions equal employment opportunity. In addition, he is a member of the No FEAR Coalition, which promotes and supported the passage of the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act (No FEAR) of 2002—the first civil rights law of the 21st Century. McCray is also the co-founder of the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival, an annual conference on Capitol Hill. The Whistleblower Summit is the largest gathering of whistleblowers and won a “Best Festival” Award for innovation in Arts, Culture, and Film at Fest Forums (Santa Barbra) in 2019. An alumnus of Georgetown Law, Howard University, American University, and Florida A&M University, McCray has a diverse educational and professional background, including Fortune 500 Corporate experience in marketing at Johnson & Johnson, Personal Products Company, accounting at Honeywell Information Systems, and investment banking at SunTrust Bank. However, McCray pursued his passion for public service and community economic development when he worked for the Federal Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC) Program, a White House Economic Development Initiative for the Clinton Administration. He continued his desire for community empowerment by working for various community and faith-based development organizations, including T.D. Jakes Ministries (i.e., Metroplex Economic Development Corporation). Currently, McCray is a seasoned advertising executive with nearly 15 years of progressive experience in marketing. He learned the business by conducting focus groups, special event management, new business development, and account services at Advantage Communications, Inc. (ACI). Advantage was a pioneering multi-cultural advertising agency in Arkansas, McCray managed local, regional and national accounts like Hope Credit Union and General Motors. Most recently, McCray was a brand manager for The Design Group, where his portfolio included marketing higher education, tourism, hospitality, and small business brands such as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Saracen Casino Resort and Mays, Byrd and O’Guinn Law Firm and the Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission. McCray received a Davey Silver Award for the Hope Credit Union “Better Banking-Better Lives” advertising campaign In 2018. Links:
Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival Website Acorn 8 Race, Power & Politics by Michael McCray (book) Acorn 8 website Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (book) Whistleblower Week All the President’s Men (film) Erin Brockovich (film) Serpico (film) CBS Whistleblower (tv series) The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pengagon Papers (film) A Civil Action (film)
About the MAKE IT Podcast The MAKE IT podcast is a platform for the voice of independent filmmaker. We offer a variety of educational, aspirational, and entertaining content that promotes the success of creatives across the filmmaking community and the film industry. Our Conversations with filmmaking professionals are dedicated to sharing the advice, knowledge, and insights of experienced filmmakers while exploring what it truly means to be an independent creative in the highly competitive world of filmmaking. Each filmmaker conversation is backed by thoughtful research that allows us to uncover the raw, authentic truths behind each filmmaker's journey. Through our Indie Talks, we share our thoughts and perspectives on navigating independent film from the perspective of Advisory and Executive Producers. We discuss topics that are relevant to filmmakers across a wide spectrum of filmmaking perspectives, and we do our best to uncover hidden truths and new developments in the film industry. Our goal is to help filmmakers avoid the pitfalls and obstacles on the business side of film so that their filmmaking creativity can thrive. Our Industry Insights provide bite-sized actionable advice that filmmaking professionals and creatives of all kinds can use to keep their heads up as they continue their filmmaking journeys. With advice sourced from the filmmaking community, we build upon the wisdom of our filmmaking guests to provide our audience with truly aspirational and inspirational content. The Mistakes in the Making series gives our filmmaking friends an opportunity to speak directly to our filmmaking audience to share a specific lesson they've learned through a mistake they've made. We are firm believers that mistakes can be the gateway to success when we open our hearts and minds to learning from them, sharing them, and using them to Be Better.