This past weekend, I had the honor of being inducted into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame!
I took some time to reflect on what led me to this career milestone…
Seventeen years ago, I walked into an auditorium to listen to a speech given by the then-President of the National Speakers Association, Scott Friedman. He talked about a career called “professional speaking.” Hand on heart, I had never heard of such a thing!
But, I walked out of that auditorium inspired and unexpectedly drawn to this profession.
Up to that point, I had spent most of my career as a Fortune 100 executive. But then, three years earlier, I had taken a very big professional risk when I left the safety of the corporate world to start my own executive coaching business. Could I take on more risk and attempt success at speaking professionally, while growing my coaching business, too?
I decided to go “all in” and give it a shot.
To start, I did what determined, aspiring speakers do: I got clear on the topics I wanted to speak about, based on my passions – leadership & branding and how the two work together. I hired a great professional speaking coach to help me develop a powerful keynote. I prepared marketing materials and began to share with potential corporate clients that I could speak at conferences, conventions, and business gatherings.
Month by month, year by year, speaking engagements rolled in, which was great, but I just kept focusing on raising my own bar. I attended speaking conventions in the U.S., Australia, and Asia because I wanted to learn from the best.
Fast forward to today and I’ve been fortunate to deliver keynotes across six continents (haven’t cracked Antarctica yet…) with audience members from 100+ nationalities.
I assure you I didn’t set out to win speaking awards! I was simply striving to be the best I could be and deliver outstanding experiences and value to audiences. Thank you to so many wonderful clients and audience members who have placed their faith in me as a speaker all these years.
It is such an honor to join the ranks of fellow HoF speakers who have also met the criteria for this distinction:
“The Speaker Hall of Fame is designed to find and put the spotlight on people who demonstrate the exemplary. These people have committed within themselves to the everyday disciplines that lead to mastery. They constantly refine and develop their ways to communicate so others may be enriched. They are raised up so that others might see what excellence looks like in action. And they themselves are encouraged to continue to be great role models, sources of inspiration, points of reference and diverse images of excellence for us all. They are leading lights in our profession. All winners are determined by a selection panel of highly regarded peers against a range of criteria, which they are required to rate highly on every criterion.”
This is clearly a milestone in my career, but it’s definitely not the end! I will continue to innovate and create to motivate and inspire audiences globally, for years to come. (You can’t get rid of me that easily … ha). I look forward to continuing to connect with audiences worldwide, whether virtually or in person (or in an auditorium, just like where this all started 😉)!