If the path connecting left-brain and right-brain is a toll road, magician and speaker Joe M. Turner must have been born with a pre-paid unlimited E-Z Pass. His professional experiences have taken him on a winding path through the arts, sciences, education, and corporate America, only to propel him to a burgeoning career in the corporate speaking and entertainment industry and appearances on Good Morning America, Nightline, and CNN Headline News.
So how does one go from “physics major” to “musical theatre performer” to “junior executive on the rise,” only to leave it all behind for the strange allure of a deck of cards?
“By the age of four, other kids were playing kickball outside. I was walking through the curtains in the den pretending to be Johnny Carson,” says Joe. “That could have been an early clue that this kid might have some issues.”
“I was always a kid with eclectic interests and talents,” he says, “but I guess one particularly obvious left-brain, right-brain example happened during the summer after my sophomore year at Mississippi State.”
“I received an undergraduate fellowship in nuclear physics at Oak Ridge (TN) National Laboratory. My apartment was across the street from the local playhouse, which was producing Peter Pan. I auditioned, filled in as a rehearsal pianist, and ultimately found myself conducting the show. Some nights I’d take orchestral parts to the lab and transpose them during breaks. That summer changed my life. I did other research, including some work on the Gamma Ray Observatory with my astrophysics professor, but the performing bug had bitten hard and stayed with me throughout college.”
So where does the magic come into all of this?
“Magic was a childhood interest,” Joe continues. “As a kid, I even made some money doing neighborhood birthday parties… but I never considered it my career goal. I thought I would be a physics teacher until I became an actor. I ended up taking a job at a global consulting firm’s Atlanta office so that I could be near a city with a thriving theatre community. I didn’t think about magic again until I was working with the kids at my church and needed something to engage their attention.”
“I resumed studying sleight-of-hand, and when I performed at my first corporate event my eyes were opened and I saw how powerful it was for adults and professionals. I had never recognized magic as the great tool it is, both for entertainment and for communication.”
As his family grew, Joe left consulting to become a vice president at Bank of America. But when a re-organization would have forced a move to Charlotte, Joe decided to stay in the Atlanta area and turn his revitalized hobby into a fulltime career. That was over eight years ago.
Today, Joe is a popular entertainer and speaker at corporate events, private parties, and church events (Upward, etc.) – not just in Atlanta, but around the country. In addition to his amazing sleight-of-hand and crowd-pleasing stage shows, he delivers keynotes on change management, memory improvement, and “doing the impossible” in your organization. In a nod to his ambicranial personality, in some shows Joe combines magic, music, and mathematics by performing amazing mental calculations while playing a classical piano piece!
Joe M. Turner has turned his multiple talents into a truly unique career. Don’t miss an opportunity to meet and enjoy this local professional – keep an eye on his web site (www.turnermagic.com) or connect with him on his Facebook fan page.
Keep an eye out for “Midsummer Magic 2009,” Joe’s annual benefit show at the Dallas Theater. This year’s show supports the Paulding County School Foundation. The show is July 11 at 7:00pm; all seats are $12 and tickets are on sale now at the box office or online at www.turnermagic.com
Coming Next Month