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I accidentally started to speak professionally 10 years ago. It began with a cold call to a man (Martin Blissett) whom I wanted to help to market the Afro-Caribbean Millennium Centre (ACMC). After a 3 hour meeting and tour, and mention of TV and radio, which prior I had never thought of, he offered me 2 hours to make a difference, and I wanted to use that time to open up the world of business and finance to my peers! I must admit though, he was skeptical of my desire to marry hip-hop and business.
The Financial Style, (which later became the ICE Business Show, before returning to its roots of the Financial Style,) was born. And my volunteering those 2 hours on-air (and many don’t realise that that can be between 6-10 hours off air each week in preparation, research and everything else that goes into it) gave me an unexpected platform, a profile, which lead to me being invited to keynote speak at events, alongside some formidable business people over the years. Honestly, I was quite content with this local exposure which was good for my business!
But one day, I began to hear what my listeners had to say, and so many started to approach me and thank me…for inspiring, for advising, for helping them to change their lives and start businesses, for things that prior to social media I had no idea I had done. I subsequently won the REEBA 2015 Mentor of the Year award, and I really felt a sense of pride and gratitude to know that it was primarily my listeners who took the time to vote for me to win! Of all the things in my life that I have achieved, that award knowing that it had come from a labour of love, has become a defining moment.
So my desire to go national and international was born in wanting to help more people, to spread my love of business and its simplicity to all those with a desire to succeed.
But where was I supposed to start? Funnily enough I met a TV Producer in late 2014 at an airport in Miami, and at the time, I thought – here is my start! And it was in a way, but what I realised was that I had to be ready and frankly I wasn’t. I needed help, support and guidance, to find and be brave enough to share my voice on a bigger stage because frankly it can be really scary! For me the fear is not speaking, I conquered that fear as a child (when my mother advised me that when I was nervous to say my lines in the school play, to look over everyone’s head and focus on what I needed to say – the naked thing never worked for me, plus that’s a little inappropriate for a child). Radio is fantastic for looking over everyone’s heads, because you can’t see any heads! No, my fear was in having something valuable to say, that the world would want to hear!
And after at least a couple of years of trying to figure out how I was going to do this, I somehow managed it within 1 week of becoming a Premier Member of the Women Speakers Association. I have been an Associate member for a while, and honestly I was encouraged by other Premier Members I know, to read the emails and attend the blabs, and all that good stuff: but with a business to run, a radio show to produce and present and life getting in the way at every turn, without understanding the benefits of my input, the commitment seemed too much.
But when I heard that these same Premier members where being invited to speak all over the world, and being paid to do so, I of course through self-interest did at least listen to what they had to say, and considered that having something local would really be great, not just for me, but for other women in the area with voices (and again I know & know of plenty).
To start a local chapter, you have to engage in WSA. This means becoming a Premier Member. So I did, and I have to say I was shocked. The support I was looking for was right there in front of me all along. Within a week, I had spoken with the President of WSA in Canada, connected with nearly 10 women internationally, had a speaker profile on the largest international website for professional speakers, which then turned into profiles on 14 other websites within 24 hours, had access to training materials for crafting new speeches and ensuring the value of my work, and so it is official – I am an international professional speaker who is ready to be seen, booked and paid!
I encourage you to get started too. Register to attend on of our free online exclusive events
Become a member (you can take advantage of the free Associate Membership) to get started if you want to ‘try before you buy’. You too, have a voice that deserves an international stage.