The Journey from Settling to Speaking Up with Kelly Lopez: Podcast Ep. 330

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Have you ever felt so passionate about something that you experienced and the lessons you learned from it that you thought to yourself “others need to hear about this?” 

If you’ve ever thought something like this, then you’ll want to hear this conversation with our guest Kelly Lopez. 

Kelly is a graduate of our Thought Leader Academy and in this continuation of our Use Your Voice series, she talked with our Lead Speaking Coach Diane Diaz about:

  • Her story of going from settling, personally and professionally, to being intentional about her life and work
  • Why she almost said no to a huge speaking opportunity and what changed her mind
  • How she manages imposter syndrome when speaking
  • What inspires her to continue to use her voice to speak about her passions
  • Why she feels her voice matters in her male dominated industry
  • What prompted her to join the Thought Leader Academy
  • The reason she believes it’s imperative that more women use their voices 

This episode is part of our Use Your Voice series.

About My Guest: Kelly Lopez is the Executive Vice President, Enterprise Services at Scout Sourcing, a woman-owned nationwide sourcing and distribution company providing sustainable paper, raw materials, and packaging solutions to Fortune 500 companies. Kelly is responsible for the strategy and execution of emerging product and service categories at Scout Sourcing. Prior to joining Scout Sourcing, Kelly was Vice President of HealthCare Sales at RR Donnelley. While at RRD, she held both operational and sales leadership roles providing print and marketing solutions to Fortune 500 companies. Kelly’s experience spans almost every facet of life from her career in corporate America climbing the ladder in a male-dominated industry and mentoring emerging professionals to her personal journey of navigating through divorce, life as a working mom, running a blended family of 8, and fostering support for events and organizations in her local community. She has a degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida.

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. This episode is hosted by our lead speaking coach Diane Diaz. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories, voices, and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com

Links:

Show notes at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/330 

Discover your Speaker Archetype by taking our free quiz at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/quiz/

Join our Thought Leader Academy: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/ 

Connect on LinkedIn:

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330-SYB-Kelly-Lopez.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

330-SYB-Kelly-Lopez.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
We're continuing our series on using your voice, this time with one of our thought leader Academy grads, Kelly Lopez, On how she went from settling to speaking up on this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast.

Carol Cox:
More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses, running for office and speaking up for what matters. With my background as a political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience.

Carol Cox:
Hi there and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I'm your host, Carol Cox. We're continuing the series that we've been doing all around, using your voice with our guests who are here to inspire you to do the same. And I have heard from listeners how much they've been enjoying this series. Last week we had on Dr. Nicole Rochester and she shared her journey to being a TEDx speaker and entrepreneur from an experience that she had the week before that we had Kelly Schermerhorn on, who talked about feeling worthy enough to have a voice. This week I am pleased to bring on Kelly Lopez, who is one of our thought Leader Academy graduates.

Carol Cox:
She is sharing how she went from settling to speaking up. Our lead speaking coach Diane Diaz interviewed Kelly for this episode because Diane and Kelly worked together on her signature talk one on one. When Kelly went through the Thought Leader Academy last year. So you're going to hear Diane and Kelly talk about Kelly's story of going from settling both personally and professionally to being intentional about her life and work. Why Kelly almost said no to a huge speaking opportunity and what changed her mind. How she manages imposter syndrome when speaking, why she feels her voice matters in her male dominated industry, why she decided to join the Thought Leader Academy, and the reason she believes it's imperative that more women. Yes, you use their voices. If you're interested in joining our Thought Leader Academy, you can get all of the details about speaking your brand.com/academy. Again, that's speaking your brand.com/academy in the Thought Leader Academy. We work with you closely to develop your thought leadership message and framework and to create your signature talk. Again, you can get all the details of speaking your brand.com/academy. Now let's get on with the show.

Diane Diaz:
Hi Kelly. Welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. Thank you. It's so good to be on here today. I am so excited to talk to you. So for our audience, Kelly was part of our Thought Leader Academy. But before we get into all of that, and that's how we came, I came to know Kelly and her work and what she does and what she speaks about. But Kelly, if you would take a few minutes and just tell our audience who you are, what you do in your business and kind of what you're all about. Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Kelly Lopez. I'm the executive vice president of a company called Scout Sourcing.

Kelly Lopez:
And we are a woman owned sustainable paper and packaging company. So we supply raw materials and finished goods into Fortune 500 companies.

Diane Diaz:
I believe that you told me you did something else before you got into that. Yes.

Kelly Lopez:
Yes. For about 20 years I worked for a Fortune 500 company that specialized in print and communications. So I've always worked in the enterprise world with business to business sales and large companies. But this this recent foray, I was there for 20 years. I left about two years ago, and it's been a breath of fresh air. I'm doing operations, I'm doing strategy, I'm doing procurement, I'm doing supply chain, I'm doing sales. So it's a really fun change.

Diane Diaz:
What prompted you to want to make that change? And I know you shared a little bit with me about that, but what, you know, being at a company for 20 years and then making a change like that is significant. So what was the impetus for that change?

Kelly Lopez:
It's funny because I probably would have been with that company forever until I retired, but I was actually approached by by this company that I'm with now, Scout sourcing. I'd never really thought about leaving my other position. I had what I would have considered my dream job, as, you know, vice president of sales of a of a major company. But but I was approached and I really called time out and said, well, if I'm going to change jobs, let me really think about what I want to do. And and it really ignited so much fire within me and every aspect of my life from my health, from my family, from my career. And I would say completely recharged me. And I started fresh. And it's been it's been a fun change that.

Diane Diaz:
Is so much fun. And I think maybe it also, if you can correct me if I'm wrong, it may also have spurred you to want to use your voice and start speaking. So tell me a little bit about because again, for our listeners, Kelly was part of our Thought Leader Academy. So she's a graduate of our Thought Leader Academy. What was your experience with speaking? Had you spoken before and what sort of prompted you to join the Thought Leader Academy? What were you looking for with regard to speaking and using your voice?

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, so I was actually. Had minored in public speaking in college, and I've always enjoyed it, but I never really had a forum to do it in my previous position. So I spoke to groups from, you know, from a sales leadership perspective or from an industry perspective at large meetings and always liked it. But when I changed jobs, it really opened up the door to things to be discussed that I didn't have an opportunity to discuss before. So one of those that I feel passionate about talking about is women owned businesses and supplier diversity. So I speak a lot about that as well as sustainability. You know, I think there's some real avenues there where where there's some information that's just not being shared. And when I changed jobs, I was shocked at all the amazing opportunity that really exists in those two avenues between supplier diversity and sustainability. And even the fact that I became unsettled in my in my personal life as well, that I thought, wow, this is really cool, that this should be something that that people talk about more often. And that prompted me to sign up for the Thought Leader Academy.

Diane Diaz:
Well, okay, so you mentioned that unsettled Kelly. So let's talk a little bit more about that, because I think our our audience would love to know I know a little bit more about this, but I think if you can share, what do you mean by that and what was unsettled and what did that pull up in you that you were like, oh, I need to address this and I need to do something with this?

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, well, I mean, a lot of it was my career change. And really the realization when I was pondering this new position that I had really just settled in my old job, I was I was happy. I knew what I was doing. I'd been there for a while. I liked my job. But really the realization that, you know, I may have been going through the motions in some aspects and and part of that was, you know, where I was now wasn't the healthiest. I weighed a lot more than I weighed. Now. I was stressed out. You know, it was just an overall realization that, oh, my gosh, I'm just walking through the motions every day in my life. And so, you know, a lot of times people have a health diagnosis or something that happens to their family change or something that causes them to say, wake up and say, this is my life. I'm going to live it the way I want to. And luckily, I didn't have anything like that. It was just the realization that, you know, am where I am and there's a major opportunity to change things and become unsettled as I guess the best way to put it and really stop settling for whatever's handed to me and figure out exactly what I want to go after in life and and do it.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, I love that story because I know that because I came to one of your talks that you gave here locally in central Florida where we both live. And I know that that unsettled concept became part of the story that you told for your talk. I think you do a nice job of merging sort of the professional with the personal, because we're not just the one thing, we're all the things. Right. Professional, personal, all of that. And that's our story. So your talk incorporates both aspects of you. What kind of feedback have you gotten since giving that talk, and how has it made you feel about kind of opening up and using your voice in that way?

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, it was unbelievable. I mean, I spoke to a relatively small group of Central Florida business leaders, and I was just blown away by the feedback that came. You know, I had 2 to 3 people that reached out to me that said it changed their life. And that was really a huge impact to me because I thought, oh, my gosh, I can't believe, you know, just by me sharing the things that I have. And I haven't really done anything extraordinary, you know, But it just goes to show there's a huge, a huge void. And the things that we're going through that I think other people need to hear about because it can relate to your life and it can have a profound impact on it. So it's been it's been really cool and eye opening. And it's also been inspiring to me because I always hear I love to hear other people's stories. I like to hear other people's challenges. And I think we should all be using our voice more.

Diane Diaz:
Absolutely. I'm glad that you said that, because I think I think that's the thing that the point that we try to make in thought Leader Academy, Right. Is incorporating your personal story into your message, even if it is a business message, your personal story, some element of it, and using your voice in that way can inspire so many people. So here you are giving this talk to a group of business people, but it's about your personal journey and you made such an impact on them. And so then you never know what one person's voice can do for someone else who's listening and hearing that message.

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, it's true. And I think, you know, we've we've all probably read books where it's impacted us and we've said, Oh, that's really cool. But it always seems like, well, that's a really famous person. Or well, of course, you know, you kind of you release it and say, Oh, well, yeah, but she had this opportunity or he did that. But when you hear just a normal person, you know what I would consider us, there's normal people in the community and you really see the complexities of the things that they've gone through. It makes you really. Late to it and realized, well, gosh, if they made that change, you know, and they're so happy and they've achieved these amazing things, what is it that I want? You know, and how can I tackle what I want in order to get there?

Diane Diaz:
Then in thinking about that, you know, obviously now you're this very accomplished and, you know, out there speaking person in your industry and just in business in general. But if you think back to maybe when at that time where you were settling for this other job or even before that, what was your sense of using your voice? Did you feel like you had a voice or you maybe you were afraid to use it? How were you feeling about not just speaking itself, but just speaking up and then speaking about things? Yeah, I.

Kelly Lopez:
Mean, I could probably say it just never really occurred to me. It just never occurred to me of anything that that I did. I did speak to two groups from an industry perspective, and I always enjoyed it. But but I never really thought about an effort to speak and to speak up. But when it comes down to it, I had a lot of amazing male leaders that I worked for and throughout my career, and they were, you know, surely trailblazers that female business leaders throughout the the US and the world. But I didn't know any of them. You know, personally I didn't I didn't really have that within my organization. And I think we have a really big opportunity right now because there are a lot of us now, there's a lot of strong female business leaders, and I think we really owe it to the next generation of leaders to really show up and speak up and so that the next generation of female leaders will have that, you know, have that to look to. And and it'll be an easier path for them than it was for us.

Diane Diaz:
Oh, absolutely. And I think I think also getting that, you know, you spoke and then you get that feedback that you impacted someone's life. It was life changing for them. That message that you shared, that obviously has an effect on them, but it also has an effect on you as a speaker that you want to then do that more because you realizing that it actually does change someone.

Kelly Lopez:
Mean Absolutely It is. It definitely makes you want to speak up more because you think, Oh my gosh, you see the changes in some of the people around you based on, you know, an impact that you may have had on their life. And that is really rewarding, probably the most rewarding thing in the world to see other people achieve things, other people just happy, you know, with what they're doing and proud of themselves. I mean, I've seen a lot of changes of the people that and I'm not saying that I had a part in it, but when when I see changes of the people that are around me that I hope had an impact, too, it's really exciting because you really see, you know, their whole face light up. You see the excitement, you see, you know, this whole part that you didn't see before. And I think that is really impactful. You know, I didn't have a lot of female leaders in my previous position to my current position. Our CEO is a female, the founder of the company. Just an amazing inspiration. And I think, you know, just seeing her as inspired me to do it and seeing the impact I've had on others is inspired me as well.

Diane Diaz:
You kind of answered my next question, which was, has there been a shift in your role in the industry and how you see yourself and maybe how other people see you? Have you sensed anything around that? I mean, obviously you're seeing yourself more in a leadership role.

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I think just being asked to speak more in industry events or industry groups is great. I mean, I think once people know, Oh, okay, well, she has spoken or she's done a talk at a certain event, it puts you in a little bit different category. And I'm getting asked to speak a lot more. And, you know, my professional knowledge hasn't changed that much. It's just the fact that I'm out there a little bit more, I'm more visible. And so it's gotten a lot more opportunities for me to speak to larger groups.

Diane Diaz:
I love that. Kelly So it's not just the confidence it's building in you, but maybe the confidence that other people have in the fact that you can speak on a specific topic and really deliver the goods to the audience, right? Yep. That's great. So I know that you spoke at an industry conference recently and I believe your talk was about sustainability in that specific industry. So how did you feel about going into that talk, like when you first got asked to give the talk and then once you said, okay, I'm definitely going to speak here and use my voice and talk about maybe a topic that people in your industry know they need to pay attention to, but maybe they aren't necessarily that receptive to yet. Was there any hesitation on your part or any concern, or what were you feeling about having a voice in that in that space? Yeah.

Kelly Lopez:
Mean thought it was an important topic that needed to be shared. So I was the keynote at a conference of industrial manufacturers that was focused on sustainability. And so when I was first approached, I had the, Oh my gosh, that's a lot of. People, you know, when you're talking about over a thousand people, that was the biggest group I've I've talked to. So at first I was thinking I almost said no immediately because it was such a big group and I hadn't done it. But it was a topic I know well. It's something that it's my world. I live it every day. It's something that needs to be discussed. And thankfully, Diane, you helped me prepare for it. So that was key, you know, and walking through and making sure that I had, you know, I was prepared for it was a key. So once I really sat down and prepared for it, it was super different than the first time they called me, that's for sure.

Diane Diaz:
I know that it's nerve wracking to speak in front of a large group like that once you deliver at the talk. I guess my first question would be what kind of feedback did you get? But secondly, how did you feel after using your voice on a really big platform like that?

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, I mean, I would say surprisingly so. I wasn't nervous. Once I prepared, I was more settled and I knew the topic was important and I knew it was going to be good. I was probably more nervous speaking to a smaller group about a lot of personal details than I was the industry knowledge that I shared. You know, it was it was great. And I received a lot of really good feedback following the conference. Had a lot of folks come up to me after and have connected with them since then. And so it's been very refreshing to know that I've I've not only had the opportunity to speak to smaller groups about more personal topics like not being settled, but also from an industry perspective. And that's something that the Thought Leadership Academy has been so key in just helping me prepare. Once you're prepared, it's really easy to talk to anybody, but it's a matter of making sure that your thoughts are lined up and you're not a you're not a Rambler.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. Yes. Well, and especially in front of a large group like that, you really want your point to be clear, your message to be clear and really capture them because it's a, you know, a large I agree that it is harder. It is for me as well to talk to a smaller group. I'd much rather talk to a bigger group. It feels less, maybe less personal, you know, in your space or something. I'm not sure. But but you do have to have a very clear message in order to make an impact on them. And so I would imagine that also your audience for that talk and that the industry in general is very male dominated as well. Is that the case?

Kelly Lopez:
Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. With industrial manufacturing and most manufacturing in general is a very male dominated field. Yeah.

Diane Diaz:
So as a woman then, what are your thoughts on really taking a stand in that space and being visible, having a voice, using your voice, speaking about something that you're passionate about?

Kelly Lopez:
I think it's so important and it's important for the for the next generation of female leaders. When you're in a room conference and there there's a ton of folks in there. And, you know, it's a lot of it's a lot of men in the industry. But when you look at STEM and and what's coming out, it's a lot of females that are very interested in it. So being able to stand there on the stage and deliver a message, you know, you're really setting in motion an opportunity for the next generation of female leaders to recognize and be accepted, you know, in the industry.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. Yes. I love that. And especially we do have other clients who are in STEM fields. And it's a similar sort of feeling that it's just, you know, being sort of a role model for other women coming up behind you. Yeah. And also sharing your point of view on the topic that you that you're passionate about and that idea of sustainability, which is something that is very important right now.

Kelly Lopez:
So and I think a lot of times it's the confidence that we have in ourselves to do it. So, you know, throughout the course of of this, even though some industries are more male dominated, I don't necessarily feel like it's for any other reason than females felt like, oh, wow, I'm the only female here. Or, you know, we do it to ourselves. And so I think sometimes, you know, having the confidence to speak up and stand there on a stage or use your voice a little bit more, it really just sends a sign of to other females that, hey, this is this is this is good. You know, we should feel comfortable within ourselves in order to do this.

Diane Diaz:
You obviously got very good feedback on it. So then that kind of reinforces that like, Oh, I'm going to do this more. Yeah, absolutely. I'm just curious, too, though, because you I mean, you obviously have a experience speaking not just since the Thought Leader Academy, but even before that you've spoken. Have you ever had any negative feedback or anything that caused you to not want to use your voice? Has have you ever experienced anything like that? Yeah.

Kelly Lopez:
I mean, I feel like, you know, a lot of times we as as females think we are really hard on ourselves. And I think, you know, not I have never received the feedback, but it's more so probably the feedback I give myself, you know, coming off their the confidence that, you know, I should have done this or I should have prepared better, you know, I should have gone through this process. I feel like we are probably tougher critics on ourselves than anyone else would be. You know, I think just being more prepared and making sure that the message comes through in the talks has been such an important part of that confidence that you know that you're. Are delivering a very succinct, easy to understand, exciting, relatable message. And I think that helps so much just with the confidence level that you'll do it again. So I think if I've ever I talked a lot before and I never really received negative feedback, but I was pretty hard on myself. Did I connect? Did I get this? Or I should have said this? So having that preparation has been has been really key.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, I think preparation is super important. And, and then that kind of speaks to the next thing, which is imposter syndrome or even just fear around speaking. When I saw you speak, you come across very confident. So if you are nervous, it does not show at all. And I did not only did I attend Kelly's talk here locally, but I also saw the video of her speaking at the conference where you talked about sustainability. You if you are nervous, it doesn't show. But I'm just wondering, do you deal with any feelings of like imposter syndrome or just, you know, confidence kind of waning? And if you do, how do you manage that before you speak?

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah. I mean, I feel like everybody probably has a sense of that before they talk. You know, I mean, I would say I definitely have you know, when first asked, although it's something I jumped on and I'm sure I appeared very confident when I agreed to do it, you know, afterwards, it's like, what did I do? You know, why did I do that? So am I the right person for this? Am I qualified enough? I mean, I feel like we ask ourselves all those questions and, you know, but I think preparation is that's how you get over it is just preparation. And then sometimes you just have to do it. I mean, sometimes you just have to say, this is what I wanted to do. I'm prepared for this and I'm just go and do it. And what's the worst thing that could happen? You know, maybe I'm not the best speaker ever, you know, Definitely I'm not that. So, hey, you know, what's the worst that can happen after that?

Diane Diaz:
Yes. You know, that's that's funny that you mentioned that is just, you know, like do it anyway. And what's the worst that could happen? Because I maybe mistakenly have signed up to do a five minute comedy set in January. Yeah, I know. With a group of other women here locally. So I figured, you know, if I bomb, I'm not trying to be a professional comedian. So if I bomb, who cares? It's just then I'll just not do it again. So what's the worst that can happen?

Carol Cox:
I love that.

Kelly Lopez:
I mean, and you have to send me the information because definitely I'm coming. Well, I.

Diane Diaz:
Will. I do need a big support group there, so I will send you that.

Kelly Lopez:
Yes, I'll be there. But I love that. I mean, you know, a lot of times, you know, I was speaking to some other folks and I got asked the question of how do you get over that? I feel like that confidence or that, you know, that questioning and want to put myself out out there more. But I just don't you know, I just I'm not sure. And you just have to do it. You know, sometimes you just have to say, if this is what you want to do, then you have to do it. And if it's not what you want to do, then stop saying you want to do it, you know? I mean, it's that simple. You know, if it's something you want to do, you just sometimes you got to push yourself to do it and it gets easier and you do it again and again. And then all of a sudden it's it's no big deal.

Diane Diaz:
So yeah, that's, you know, there's that expression, feel the fear and do it anyway. Yeah. So you can be afraid of using your voice, but you can still use your voice. It doesn't mean that you won't be scared. It doesn't mean that you won't have some imposter syndrome. It doesn't mean that afterwards you won't have what Carol and I call a vulnerability hangover. But I think it's important to at least, like you said, push yourself to start to use your voice, because it is through more women using their voice that more women get to use their voice. Right. We start to perpetuate that. That's the norm because, I mean, in reality, there are fewer women speakers, and women typically get paid less to speak. But the more that we speak, then the more that we are out there, the more we become, you know, the model of what is the norm and the more we will be able to push the limit of what we can get paid and get more demand for us using our voice. Right?

Kelly Lopez:
It's true. And I mean, I read somewhere that I think 70% of the people quoted are males, you know? So I read that and I think it was 70% of the people that are quoted in credible news sources or in the media are men. You know, women should be speaking up more because then it makes it more the norm. So you're exactly right with that point. And I feel like it's it definitely sends a message to for the next generation. I try to mentor folks and get involved with female leaders, you know, that are just starting out in their career. I did last week, I did a Zoom call that was with seniors graduating from college, and they were asking about, you know, what they should do in interviewing skills. And I saw every single, you know, every single imposter syndrome question came through. You could tell they were just so nervous. And it's one of those things that, you know, you just have to, you know, suck it up and give that level of confidence and and you're fully prepared. You know, you're fully prepared. You've come from a great school. You're going to get started. It's just a matter of getting over it and making it happen.

Diane Diaz:
Thank you for sharing that, Kelly, because I think that that just illustrates another way that we as women professionals, entrepreneurs can use our voices, is to, you know, obviously talking to a group of college students is a different thing than speaking on a stage. But it's still an important component of a way to use your voice to then inspire other women to use their voice. And I mean, you're right. I remember when I was in college feeling that fear of, you know, what if I say the wrong thing? What if I do the wrong? The thing we learn as we get older and I'm sure you have this as well, is it doesn't matter because we're going to make mistakes. But the mistakes don't matter. They don't you know, everybody's going to make mistakes and using their voice and they're to hopefully you learn from them and then you just correct and then you find a better way to say the thing or a different group that's more receptive or whatever the case may be.

Kelly Lopez:
And I think a lot of times we put ourselves in a category of holding ourselves back, Oh, I could never do that. You know, I heard so many people say, I can't believe you spoke at that. I could never do that, or, Oh, I can't believe you did this. I could never do that. And I think a lot of times we repeat that so many times and then we believe the message. And I think it's really important for the people around you to see you can do that if you want to. I mean, if it's something that you want to do, you absolutely can do it. You know, don't put those beliefs on yourself that are going to limit you because you can do it if it's something that you want to do.

Diane Diaz:
Beautifully said. 100% agree with you. As a former painfully shy person.

Kelly Lopez:
I don't believe that.

Diane Diaz:
Oh, my goodness. I was I just wanted to be invisible. And I think I started coming out of my shell when I was in college because I worked at a grocery store as a cashier where you the requirement was to speak to every customer, even if you were not working on the cashier or on the cash register, even if you were walking down the aisle, you had to speak to customers. And so I had to come out of my shell. But you you can use your voice. You just need to find a way that makes sense for you. And you know, Kelly, like with you, I think you're talking about a topic that you're very passionate about, the the personal stories that you're sharing. You're passionate about those about this idea of not settling, like getting unsettled and then talking about sustainability in your industry. That's something you care about. So when the topic matters to you, do you feel like that gives you even more confidence to speak about it?

Kelly Lopez:
Oh yeah. Mean Absolutely. It's hard. It would be hard to talk about something you're not passionate about because that the audience would see that in a heartbeat, right? The fact that I've been able to speak about those things that literally light the fire inside me have been just amazing because that's what made me push through and say, okay, no, I'm just going to do this because it's a message that needs to be delivered. It's a message that people need to hear. And so when you're passionate about that, it makes it much easier to pull the trigger and say, yes.

Diane Diaz:
Oh, such a great point. So to our listeners, find the topic, whatever that might be, personal, professional that really lights you up, that you're passionate about. And then I guarantee you'll be able to use your voice because it will matter so much to you.

Kelly Lopez:
It's so true. And I was recording a podcast following the conference and it was about a topic that the conference wasn't even about, but we just got on this topic and it became then the subject of the of the podcast, which is about supplier diversity, about women owned businesses. And I think there's that I'm super passionate about that because there's so much connotation that if it's a woman owned business, it must be small or there must not be capable to scale or Oh, that's nice, you have a nice little business. And so I just really saw, you know, since joining Scout sourcing, it's just there's an amazing opportunity to really scale and to really serve big businesses where they might feel like, well, women owned businesses are small by nature. That wouldn't work. And so there was a hole that people weren't talking about, you know, when it came to women owned businesses being big business and large businesses and one that could scale. So that's another one that I've I've jumped on on that. And, you know, it's like as soon as I see, oh, my gosh, there's this opportunity to share information on this that is valuable information that think that that it goes with it too. So it's not just one topic really that you can be passionate about. I mean, everything that I'm speaking about are three completely different things, but I'm passionate about all of them, so it's been good.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, I'm glad that you shared that because I think if we can just sort of sum it up for our audience, then when you're thinking about using your voice, there might be something personal that you're passionate about. So, you know, Kelly's topic is this idea of getting unsettled in your personal life, your professional life, but it's a personal topic for you. And then you have the professional ones of sustainability and then women owned businesses. And these are all things that you're qualified to speak on and use your voice about because you've personally experienced them and you have a point of view to share that matters, that your audience is going to care about that. Matters to you, but that you also see how that connects to other people in your industry and why it's important for the for your industry, for the world at large.

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, it's it's so true. And I mean, I think there's there's so many opportunities of topics that people can speak on that it's it's endless.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. Yes. I'm so glad you said that because I think that's that's sometimes something that comes up is well, don't you know this is what I do, but I'm not really sure what my message is. Well, you know, we can find a message if you have if you care about something, anything, personal, professional, we can figure out a message and it'll be something that matters to you and that will resonate with your audience. Yep. So, Kelly, because, you know, I did tell everybody that you went through our Thought Leader Academy. So you have graduated from the Thought Leader Academy. Tell us a little bit share with our audience. What was your experience like in the Thought Leader Academy? What were you hoping to get from going through that? And then how do you feel it went and what did you walk away with?

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, I mean, I feel like coming into the Thought Leader Academy, we I definitely wanted to refine my message a little bit more. So I knew I was passionate about a lot of different things, the things we just talked about. But I didn't know. Did they tie together or are they separate? I mean, I didn't understand, you know what, you know, how would I talk about these things that are so important and would I have to have different distinct things that I speak about? And so I was just really taking it all in the first couple weeks of the Thought Leader Academy and just hearing from the other folks there, it was great to hear from the other folks and the coaching that was going into it. And what emerged was clarity, you know, with the message that that I'm delivering. And then we honed in on it, you know, towards the end. So I got an amazing experience out of the Thought Leader Academy because it really gave me the clarity that I needed to really define, you know, refine my message.

Diane Diaz:
I'm so glad to hear that. And that's as I said, I think women come into it sometimes with not knowing quite what their message is going to be. And even maybe maybe they have just a tiny idea of, but where will this go? I don't know. So I think that is probably one of the biggest things that happens in the Thought Leader Academy is that clarity and then that clarity then, I mean, obviously for you, it has spurred so many other things and so many other different ways to get your use your voice and get out there and speak.

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah. And I mean, I think initially when I joined, I was thinking, okay, I've been asked to speak about a couple of things and I've turned it down in the past. And so I'd like to say yes more, but don't know exactly how to, you know, what I would do with that. So it was just that confidence in the clarity that came with it. So I've I've said no a couple of times, but it's not, you know, confidence. It was just it wasn't the right event for me. So.

Diane Diaz:
Right. That's why we should be saying no when it's not the right event. Right. It shouldn't be this this issue of, well, I'm scared to use my voice or I don't have the confidence to or what will I even talk about? We should say, yeah, I think say yes and then figure out how to make it work. Right. Unless it's not the right fit for some other reason. But if you even have an inkling. So Kelly, I'm so glad to hear that you took on speaking engagements that you initially like that big one where you thought, oh, I might say no, but I'm glad you didn't. I'm glad you said yes and that you used your voice because what an amazing first of all, your talk was incredible. Thank you. I mean, I don't know anything about sustainability in the realm of manufacturing. However, I found it riveting. So great job to just even a lay audience like me. But you were also speaking to industry people, so I can imagine how impressed they were with your message. So thank you. Great job on that. So I do think it's important to when you have a voice and you want to use it and you have a message, even just an idea for one that you do say yes, even when you might be afraid to say yes.

Kelly Lopez:
Yeah, absolutely. I would 100% agree with that. And and that's one of the things that's been so great about the Thought Leader Academy is, you know, it's not a cookie cutter, you know, canned thing. This is what you do and this is how you do it. But there's so many different key learnings through the weekly trainings or through the portal and the information that's there that really helps you refine. And you can go back to it and look at it again and think about it again. And some of the things just didn't weren't relevant to me at the time. But they have been after. So it's been it's been really good. I'm glad I was exposed to a lot of different things the thought Leader Academy. So I'm I'm not a, you know, a paid speaker by profession. I'm not a coach, you know, that's looking to bolster my business. You know, that's that's not, you know, where where I was looking for the thought leader Academy to provide. Had I been, it would have been great, too. But but it's been a really good experience across the board.

Diane Diaz:
Well, I'm so happy to hear that. That's so I always love hearing from from our clients and what their experience has been since they graduated and what they've been doing. And so with that then, Kelly, what is on the horizon for you as far as using your voice and speaking? Do you do you have any speaking engagements lined up or anything on your bucket? Is that you want to do.

Kelly Lopez:
I have a couple industry events that I'm looking at right now, so I'm refining through. I have a couple podcasts that I'm that I'm on or that I'm coming up on that I'm finalizing, so I'll keep you posted as I, I lock in on them. But, you know, it's nice because it's not, not my profession by nature because, you know, I have a whole profession that I'm going down. So it's nice to to jump in and out, but know that I'm prepared based on the Thought Leadership Academy. So I don't have anything that's that's set to say, okay, I'm speaking at this event tomorrow that I'm trying to plug here today, but but I'll keep you posted.

Diane Diaz:
Okay, Good. And then maybe in the future, a TED talk. I don't know.

Kelly Lopez:
That would be interesting. I have to I have to give that some thought. I would I'd have to give that some thought. I've never thought about doing that. But. But maybe just planted a seed there that.

Diane Diaz:
I might have. Good. Good. Yes. Let's plant that seed. Let's let it grow watered a little bit. See how it feels, See if it sprouts. And then I think. I just think that your story, especially the personal one that you share in some way, could make for a really good TED talk. So just tuck that in your back pocket for later.

Kelly Lopez:
Be Googling, you know, upcoming.

Diane Diaz:
All right, Kelly, Well, before we wrap up, share with our listeners in case they want to get in touch with you, contact you and just, you know, connect. How can they find you? Where can they find you and how can they learn more about what you do and maybe even hire you to speak?

Kelly Lopez:
Oh, hey, that's great. I'm a huge LinkedIn advocate. So LinkedIn is my is my go to. I'm under Kelly Lopez at LinkedIn. So definitely love to connect with you.

Diane Diaz:
Okay, great. Well, Kelly, thank you so much, first of all, for coming through the Thought Leader Academy. We loved having you in the group and thank you for staying connected with speaking your brand. We love hearing everything that you're up to, and I really appreciate you sharing your story and your message and your voice with our audience. So thank you for that. Awesome.

Kelly Lopez:
Well, thank you.

Carol Cox:
Thanks so much to Kelly and Diane for that insightful and powerful conversation. If you would like to join our Thought Leader Academy so you can escape the expert trap and instead step into thought leadership so that you can have a bigger impact on your audience and in your business. You are invited to join our Thought Leader Academy. You can get all of the details of speaking your brand.com/academy, and that's speaking your brand.com/academy. And I'm more than happy to have a Zoom call with you if you would like to talk about your goals and whether the Thought Leader Academy is a great fit for you and you can schedule that call right there from the page. On speaking your brand.com/academy Next week you are going to love the guests that we have and she is a big deal. So you definitely want to stay tuned for that. So make sure to hit, subscribe or follow in your podcast app so you don't miss next week's episode. Until then, thanks for listening.

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