The Power of Stories Told by Women (Summit Speeches by Carol Cox & Diane Diaz): Podcast Ep. 220

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In this episode, we’re sharing the opening remarks from our recent Brave. Bold. Beyond. Live Virtual Summit.

Listen in for not only the content but also the structure of our speeches. What elements do you notice?

Our emcee Amber Hawley kicked off the event and then our lead speaking coach Diane Diaz opened with her speech on how as women we’ve studied our absence and how that has affected our confidence.

I then picked up on this thread and talked about the importance of stories told by women, why as women we silence ourselves, and what we can do to change this.

You can also watch the opening speeches:

Our event was inspiring, motivating, and empowering for the hundreds of women who attended.

Here’s what attendees said:

“This is by far the best online event I have attended: intimate, engaging and special. The speakers were riveting, their stories compelling. Thank you to all the women who worked so hard to create this day of empathy and strength to make us all stronger. WOW!”

“This is my first summit and so amazing. I feel super motivated and understood.”

“I love the diversity of age, background, speaking and life experience.”

“Kudos to all of you for putting together this ambitious program, and to your speakers for sharing their vulnerable stories. This is helping me get real with myself in new ways.”

A huge and heartfelt thank you to our team, speakers, panelists, summit speaking coaches, and volunteers who made this event happen!

Enrollment is now open for our Thought Leader Academy! Get all the details and join us at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/.

 

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox, joined in this episode 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 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/220

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

Connect on LinkedIn:

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Transcript:

220-SYB-Power-of-stories-told-by-women.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

220-SYB-Power-of-stories-told-by-women.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
Hear our speeches on the power of stories told by women from our recent Brave Bold Beyond live virtual summit 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 TV 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 and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. This is your host, Carol Cox. In this episode, I’m sharing the opening remarks from our recent Brave Bold Beyond live virtual summit. So as you listen, listen not only for the content and it’s about the power of stories told by women, but also listen for the structure of our speeches. What elements do you notice? And so think about the opening, the closing, the different elements throughout the speeches for our event.

Carol Cox:
Our emcee Amber Hawley kicked us off. And then our lead speaking coach, Diane Diaz, opened with her speech on how as women we’ve studied our absence and how that has affected our confidence. I then picked up on this thread and talked about the importance of stories told by women, why, as women, we silence ourselves and what we can do to change this.

Carol Cox:
Our event was so incredibly inspiring, motivating and empowering for the hundreds of women who attended. I said on the day of the summit that I wish I could do the summit every single day. Well, that would be kind of exhausting, but maybe once a week, because it was so inspiring and empowering to bring these women together, not only our speakers and our panelists and our speaking coaches, but all the women who were in the chat in the audience and giving back so much love and so much support to our speakers. Here’s what attendees said. They said things like, this is by far the best online event I’ve attended, intimate, engaging and special. The speakers were riveting. Their stories were compelling. This is my first summit and so amazing. I feel super motivated and understood. Another woman said, I love the diversity of ages, backgrounds, speaking and life experience. And then others said things like, kudos to all of you for putting together this ambitious program into your speakers for sharing their vulnerable stories. This is helping me get real with myself in new ways. And that’s exactly what we saw from the women in the chat, was as our speakers were sharing their personal stories and their bigger messages and bigger ideas, so many women in the chat were saying things like, I feel seen, I feel understood, I feel validated. I understand now that what I may have experienced I’m not alone in this. And that really was the power of our event.

Carol Cox:
In addition to showcasing the framework that we use with our clients to create their signature talks, whether it’s signature talks for brand awareness and lead generation or signature talks for TED style talks and keynotes, is that our speakers showcased the framework and the process that we use. Our summit speaking coaches worked closely with them to do that, and the kind of feedback that they got on their talks that they were flawless, that every word meant something, that they could see the journey that the speaker was taking the audience on.

Carol Cox:
That didn’t happen by accident. That happened because of the training and the coaching that we provided to our speakers. And this is the same exact thing you can get by working with us in our Thought Leader Academy. Enrollment is now open. We start on April 20th, 2021, so it’s coming up very, very soon. In our Thought Leader Academy, you work with us for four months. We have weekly Zoom calls as a group and then you have the option to add one on one coaching calls on top of that. And during those four months, you’ll work on your thought leadership message and project, your signature talk, your visibility and revenue plan, and your delivery and confidence. It is an incredible program. The women who went through it, we just wrapped up in early March with that cohort who just graduated, said that it was the best coaching program that they have ever gone through as an entrepreneur. And what an incredible testimonial that is. You can get all of the details, including pricing, the different tiers that we offer, all the details on the Zoom calls by going to speakingyourbrand.com/academy, again, speakingyourbrand.com/academy and go there now because enrollment is going to be closing very soon, depending on when you’re listening to this. So, again, go to speakingyourbrand.com/academy. Now, let’s get on with the show!

Amber Hawley:
All right, everyone, I would like to officially welcome you again to the Brave Bold Beyond Virtual Summit put on by Speaking Your Brand. Speaking Your Brand is so amazing because it’s been their mission ever since Carol started this, the podcast in the business so many years ago to really uplift women’s voices. And I know for her it’s so important that we have a diversity of voices. And I think that we are all a little tired of seeing the same voices out there all the time. Am I right? I feel I’m right. I’m going to pretend that I heard you. I feel that I can feel your energy talking back to me. So I would love to hear it. I also feel that the speakers can hear you clapping even though they can’t hear you clapping. You give us virtual claps in the chat, of course, but feel free to get the energy out there. We are feeling it. Even though we cannot see you, we feel your energy. And so we thank you for that, because you being here is what makes this an amazing event. Yes, it’s the great talks. It’s the great coaches. It’s all of the support of Carol and Diane. But really, without you, we wouldn’t have this. So we’re so excited you’re here. Thank you for taking the time, because I know we’ve got a lot going on these days, but we are so glad that you are here. So now I have the pleasure of introducing one of my favorite people. She is proof that wonderful things come in small packages. She is a personal brand strategist and speaking coach at Speaking Your Brand. She probably needs no introduction. But honestly, her whole career has been about uplifting people and helping them clarify and get their voice out there. So she is one of the most supportive, intelligent and funny people I know. But like I said, in a very tiny package, she’s my favorite little teeny. And I would like to welcome the amazing Diane Diaz.

Diane Diaz:
Hi, Amber. I’m laughing, as you’re saying, tiny, because thinking about all my tiny problems as I set things up today,

Amber Hawley:
I know you and I commiserate on opposite ends since I’m five eleven. Like, I feel like all furniture is made for tiny people and you feel the opposite. So I think we understand each other’s pain.

Diane Diaz:
Absolutely. You can picture me getting clothes out of my washing machine with my feet sticking up.

Amber Hawley:
That one’s going to get me through all the all the slow times every time I throw my back out, bending over. And I think of you doing that. I love it. I love that. But the other thing people might not know is Diane is also my dance partner. She she loves a good virtual like by yourself in your room. So throughout the day, I know she’s going to join me and dance, but but thank you again, Diane. I’m so excited to be here.

Diane Diaz:
Thank you, Amber. So I wanted to kick things off and share a little bit with you about why I’m excited to be here today. First, let me ask you a question. Have you ever read something and it really just hit you over the head like a ton of bricks? Well, this happened to me recently. Carol had asked me to put together some opening remarks, and I was sort of thinking, you know, what do I want to say? And I was kind of waiting for inspiration to come because I kind of like to have inspiration before I work on these sorts of things. And I was killing time one afternoon and I thought, well, let me pick up a book that I haven’t read in a while and kind of pick up where I left off. And you should know I’m reading ten books at any given time. I don’t know why I do that, but I’m always at some point in the process of about ten books, some on my Kindle, some is audio books, some is hard copy books. And I keep my hard copy books on my my coffee table. So it’s sitting on my sofa. And I picked up a book that was actually given to me by Carol Cox and I opened it up to where I left off. And this book is right here and it’s by Gloria Steinem and it’s called The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off.

Diane Diaz:
Well, I love that. That’s my kind of book. Now, the subtitle, I should tell you thoughts on life, love and rebellion. Well, feminism with a little dose of rebellion, I can stand that. That’s nice. So totally my cup of tea. So I opened up this book to where I left off about halfway through and I read this little collection of quotes and then I read one quote that really hit me. So let me read it to you. It says, No wonder studies show that women’s intellectual self-esteem tends to go down with every year of higher education. We’ve been studying our own absents. Let me let that sink in for a minute and let me repeat that. We’ve been studying our own absents. Well. I want to tell you that quote hit me right between the eyes when I read that it was like mind blown. Thank you, Gloria Steinem. Suddenly, everything that I have experienced in my educational career, my professional career, my life, all of it suddenly made sense to me. After high school, I got my bachelor’s degree in marketing. And then I worked for about 10 years. I went back to school and I got my MBA. So by all accounts, I’m considered someone who is highly educated. I’m the first one of my family to get an advanced degree.

Diane Diaz:
And after graduate school, I worked for about 10 years in the land development industry as a marketing director. So here I am, highly educated, got all the degrees, doing all the career things you’re supposed to do, checking all the boxes. But why did I constantly have this sort of nagging self-esteem issue, sort of this imposter syndrome? And I know many of you have probably dealt with that. Why was I feeling like a fraud? And like someone I often felt like someone would come and knock on my door and say, we’re onto you, Diane. We know you don’t know what you’re doing. I felt that way a lot. Why did I have that lack of confidence? Why was I afraid to ask for a promotion or ask for a raise? What was that about? Well, after reading this quote and Gloria Steinem book, I got it throughout all of my education and all of my career, I saw very few women in leadership positions, very few women in positions of power and decision making. Think about the history that we’re taught. Just going back to elementary school, grade school, college, all of it. Think about the history we’re taught is largely absent of women. And even if there are women, it’s just a few. The companies that we studied when I was an undergraduate and graduate school, mostly led by men, most of the textbooks and yes, we used physical textbooks back then.

Diane Diaz:
Those were mostly written by men. Most of my professors, the speakers that would come and speak to us when I was in college and frankly, the politicians that I learned about and that I voted for men, men, men, all men. Now, there were some women, if I’m being honest, there were, but they were few and far between and even in roles that I could aspire to. There was a lot of competition because there were very few roles and frankly, really no path to get there. Now, I know that I’m not alone in this, I know this is this relates to all of us, all of us have been studying our own absence. And it’s not true just for women. Think about if you’re black, brown, Asian, LGBTQ or any other group. We’ve all been studying our own absence. That lack of confidence and that imposter syndrome, whatever you want to call it, is caused by that absence and it is widespread. Now, I hear about this a lot from so many women that I know, friends, colleagues, acquaintances. It is clear that from a young age when you don’t see someone who looks like you in positions of power, in positions of leadership, it impacts what you think about yourself and your own abilities. When we see women in positions of power, we believe we can be in those positions, too, it’s when we see women using their voices to change the narrative, when we see them in positions of power, leadership roles, leading companies, leading our country.

Diane Diaz:
That’s when we have more confidence to go after what we want, change the narrative and serve as role models for other generations of women and women, younger women coming up behind us. It’s this visibility that leads us to this confidence to share a bigger message with the world. Now, it wasn’t until years later in my career, surrounded by more and more women who were taking on leadership roles, speaking up in meetings, taking on more challenging positions and projects and starting their own businesses, that I began to feel a spark in myself, that I, too, could do those things. Working with speaking your brand clients for a few years now and seeing their growth and the growth that they’ve experienced as they’ve honed their thought leadership message and put that out into the world, has inspired me to seeing speakers on our virtual stage at the summit last year. And I know the ones I’m going to see on the stage this year and working with the speakers this year and also the women in our Thought Leader Academy shows me and makes it clear how important women’s voices are to building confidence in all women. Hearing these women’s voices helps me to find my voice, and then it makes my confidence in myself and my abilities much stronger.

Diane Diaz:
The Brave Bold Beyond summit and the work that we do at speaking your brand and in our Thought Leader Academy have been game changers not just for me, but for the women in those groups and the women that we work with. And I know that it’s because I can see that women aren’t absent. So I hope that today, while you watch the women on the stage speaking and sharing their stories, that you will see yourself in these women and that you’ll see that you, too, could have a bigger voice, a bigger message and a bigger impact. I hope that you’ll be called to be more present and to not be absent. Let’s make it our mission, let’s all of us make it our mission to model thought leadership model, having a bigger voice and a bigger message and taking up more space so that we can model this for women from all walks of life, all genders, all age groups, careers, industries and more. Let’s not be absent. Let’s be brave, bold beyond. Thank you. OK. And now speaking of brave, bold and beyond, I would like to welcome to the stage our leader and the founder of your brand and the person who gave me this book, Carol Cox. Come on up, Carol.

Carol Cox:
Hi, Diane. So nice to see you today on our summit day. It’s so great to be here. That was fantastic, Diane. You know, what’s so funny is that we both have been working on our speeches this week and we have not been talking about our content with each other yet. They are so well aligned, which I guess should not be that surprising. This is what we live and breathe and work every single day.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. Yes, absolutely. And as we know, you and I kind of share a brain.

Carol Cox:
So we Voxer each other and we’ll literally be thinking the same thing at the same time. Well, thank you so much for that powerful speech. And we will see you much more throughout the day.

Carol Cox:
Before I kick things off with my opening remarks, I do want to say some thank yous here first. Thank you to our incredible team of women. This day would not be possible without them. Of course, you just met Diane Diaz, our lead speaking coach. And I also want to give it up for Amber Hawley, emcee this time and our emcee for our last summit. She has done an amazing job already so far today. And I can’t wait for the rest of the day. She’s going to keep us energized, but also like to thank Solita Roberts-Goodwin, our executive assistant, for all of the logistics and email communications and keeping us focused and sane for the past couple of months. Also huge. Thank you to Anamarie Franscisco, our marketing coordinator. All the social media posts, all the emails that you see going out our thanks to her. She’s been handling a lot of my Instagram stories, so and she’s done a fantastic job on that. Kelly Lamano is our project manager for the summit. She has kept all the gears turning in Asana and making sure that everything got done what it needed to get done. So huge shout out to Kelly.

Carol Cox:
Sara Neal is our graphic designer. She’s responsible for these fantastic graphics that you see. She is really an expert in her craft. And I thank you so much for making our summit graphics look great and big and bold. And then Kaela Whitaker, she’s our stage manager today at the summit and she does special projects as well for us, Speaking Your Brand. So thank you so much to our team.

Carol Cox:
And then I also want to thank, of course, everyone that you’re going to see on screen today, our co-host Diane, our emcee Amber. Our panelists and our twelve women speakers, our speaking coaches who have been working with our speakers so closely for the past almost eight weeks. And the panelists that you’ll hear from today. And I want to tell you a little bit about the speaker preparation process.

Carol Cox:
Back in January, we put out a call for applications for speakers to submit, and this was open to anyone. They didn’t have to be Speaking Your Brand clients, they never some of them have never even heard of Speaking Your Brand, but had been recommended by a speaker or recommended by someone who knew us. So everyone submitted their applications. Our speaker selection committee reviewed them all. It was very competitive. We had so many great applications, so many powerful women who had powerful stories to tell. We managed to narrow it down to 12 speakers. So you’ll hear from today.

Carol Cox:
And I am so grateful with the diversity that we received with our applications and the diversity that we’re able to share with you today. Diversity in races, ethnicities, backgrounds, topics as well as ages. We have a nineteen year old college student all the way from women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. And I am so proud of that because really our mission here at Speaking Your Brand is to amplify and champion diverse women’s voices. And that’s why we’re here today. And this is why we put on the Brave Bold Beyond live virtual summit and make it free for you to attend our summit.

Carol Cox:
Our speaking coaches have done an incredible job helping to prepare our speakers, helping them craft their talks, which are going to hear today. Our speakers have been working on their ten minute TED style talks. So it’s their personal story that leads into their bigger idea, their bigger message. It’s not easy to get a message down into ten minutes, but they have done so. And you’re going to hear those today. And then we also have a panel coming up on building your thought leadership platform with some of our graduates from our Thought Leader Academy. And then I also want to make sure to thank our volunteers. These are Speaking Your Brand clients who have been generous enough to donate their time today to volunteer. You’re going to see them in the chat.

Carol Cox:
You’ll also see them in our breakout sessions. Moderating these breakout sessions are knew we didn’t have a chance to do them last time. This time you have a chance to come on video and audio as well as in the chat to talk with our speakers and our speaking coaches. You get to ask them questions about their topic, about their process of writing, their speech, anything that you like to talk about. You’re going to be able to do that in the breakout sessions. That will happen at the end of each theme. And we have four themes running through today. And so you’re going to hear about those as we go on.

Carol Cox:
Now, let me tell you a little bit more about Speaking Your Brand and what it is that we do and why this is so meaningful to me, along with what Diane mentioned here, is Speaking Your Brand, our mission is to empower women to tell the stories that need to be told, whether it’s their personal stories, business stories, stories about their community, whether there are stories from when they were five years old, 15 years old. Twenty five years old. Forty five years old. Sixty five years old. All of those stories matter. We are feminists who understand intersectionality. We believe that black lives matter. We support Asian-Americans against hate. We support the LGBTQ community. We are here because we believe in democracy and we believe in equal rights for all.

Carol Cox:
And when we share women’s stories, this helps to also create our humanity and our connection with each other. When Diane told me that she was reading the book and then and we chatted a little bit about this last week and she mentioned this, the title again to me, which is the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. And of course, I love that because one of the questions we ask our clients when they’re thinking about their thought leadership message is what pisses you off, what ticks you off, what gets you fired up.

Carol Cox:
So I would love for you to answer in the chat right now. What ticks you off with something that you get on your soapbox about and you’re just ready to rant and rave about it because, you know, things could be better, things can be different, things could be better for more people. Well, I’ll tell you something that pissed me off. And this happened election night 2020. So just a few months ago. And of course, I’ve been pissed off really since 2016. But it came to a head on election night 2020. I was actually standing right here in this exact same setup. I was doing political analysis on TV, which I’ve done for the past 15 years. Usually I go into the new studio this time because of COVID, I was here with my comfy pants on my comfy shoes doing it via Skype, and I was on a panel like I’ve done many, many, many times before.

Carol Cox:
And we had done a few segments already and the election results were coming in, but no decisions have been made yet. It was still relatively early in the evening. So this panel had been coming on for a few times and we were back on the air and then my Republican counterpart on the Democratic side, my Republican counterpart, started going on and on about how the election was being stolen and there was widespread voter fraud. And he was really using very angry and divisive rhetoric. And this was unusual. I never had encountered this on a TV news segment and political analysis that I had been doing for so long. And so he was going on and on. And usually when we are on panels, we know how about how much time we should take and then we round robin to each person because we’re respectful of the time. But he was not he was just going on and on and no one was stopping him. The anchor in the newsroom wasn’t stopping him. And I’m on screen looking at this and the thoughts go through my mind of someone has to stop this. This is not appropriate for television and what we’re supposed to be doing here. So and some and part of me was like, well, it’s up to them, to the new studio to handle this. That’s their program.

Carol Cox:
And I thought for another couple of seconds and I said, no, it’s actually up to me. So I said it’s exactly what I did. Excuse me, I’m going to have to interrupt here. This is exactly the divisive, angry rhetoric that has gotten our country to where it is today. We are here to do election analysis, not to spout conspiracy theories. And then I said a few more things and try to get us back on track. And I heard from women after that who found me on Facebook, who look me up on Twitter and thanked me for interrupting and thanked me for making sure that my voice was heard. And this is the reason why I still do political analysis after all these years, because I want a woman’s voice on television talking about politics.

Carol Cox:
Well, let me contrast this with election night 2016, four years earlier. I came into the new studio in the afternoon, optimistic, slightly guarded optimism that we were about to elect our first woman president Hillary Clinton. Of course, as the hours went on and the election results came in, it was not looking good. So by 11:00 pm, eleven thirty pm, we were wrapping up in the studio and we were getting ready to tape a segment that was going to air the next day.

Carol Cox:
So I was sitting there at the table with the reporter and he asked me a question and my mind just went blank for the first time. Having done hundreds of these, I lost my voice. I didn’t know what to say. I was in a state of shock, just like so many of us women were the night of that election in 2016. So I felt like eternity was probably just a few seconds. So I said, can we we do that. Luckily it was a taped segment, not live. So we did it again, went home. Kind of slept, kind of didn’t, woke up at six a.m. to do another segment for CTV, Canada’s largest news network. So I sat there, kind of smiled and reassured the watching public that everything was going to be OK. You see, I thought it was my role to reassure, to comfort, to do that emotional labor for everyone, even though inside I knew that this was an utter disaster, that who had gotten elected president and that it was dangerous going forward. And so I had it, but I didn’t have quite the same voice that I had in 2020.

Carol Cox:
So what was the reason for that shift between 2016 and 2020. Yes, it was the political climate. But you know what else was. You. All of you who are Speaking Your Brand clients, our summit speakers from last time, podcast listeners who reach out to me. Those of you who respond to the weekly email newsletters, your bravery, your courage, your vulnerability gave me that voice back that I knew was in there, but that had been subsumed for those years.

Carol Cox:
And I think the reason why it had been up, especially in 2016, was not just because of the political campaign, was because a lot of the women’s organizations that I belong to did what I would call pinkwashing feminism. It was women’s empowerment, but it was a women’s empowerment around conformity, making sure that we were still the comforters and the reassures. Yes, we could be strong and we could be powerful, but we still had a certain gendered role to play. But now, after those four years, seeing all of you has given me my voice back. And that is why vulnerability and courage is so powerful, because it is contagious. As Diane mentioned, throughout history, most of the stories have been written by men and for men. I have a master’s degrees in history. I’ve studied lots of history. I remember as a little girl, I was an avid reader. I would read anything you gave me, whether it was a book, a magazine or even the TV guide. I would sit there and read it and I would always be looking for the girls in the women. In the stories, of course, I found Nancy Drew, devoured all of her novels and then was kind of just left like, OK, well, what else am I going to read? So I went into history and would find some women in history, but they were few and far between and then rather one dimensional, mostly home and hearth.

Carol Cox:
And they didn’t really have the same agency and certainly not the same impact that the men in history did. And so I remember when I was in high school, I learned about feminism and I thought to myself, well, why would we need feminism? Of course I’m equal, I’m strong and I’m smart and I’m fully capable and I’m fully competent as much as these other high school boys that are around me. So for a moment, I was like, why would we need feminism? Of course, we’re all equal.

Carol Cox:
And now I see why we need feminism. Feminism is not about putting women over men. Feminism is about equality, about making sure that we are all seen as humans and as individuals. Really feminism, according to Carol Gilligan, a professor and author, is a great liberation movement. She calls it a liberation movement to liberate democracy from the patriarchy. And that’s why when we see the GOP trying to restrict voting rights in states like Georgia and other states, that they’re trying to what they’re trying to do in addition to restricting voter voting rights and democracy, is they are trying to make sure that patriarchy and white supremacy reign supreme. And I’m not going to let that happen. And I know you’re not going to let that happen either.

Carol Cox:
Why does it matter who tells the stories? Because who tells the stories influences what stories get told and how they are told. And as Shonda Rhimes has said, I love this quote, “It would be nice to feel like we weren’t constantly having every discussion from the perspective of a white male.” Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that men don’t have things to contribute. I’ve read plenty of books and watch movies and TV shows and learn from plenty of men. But there are so many incredible women out there, including you all in the audience, including our summit speakers and our clients who have so many important things to say. And they need that platform. They need that visibility. They need that representation just as much as the men do. And this is getting better. Women like Shonda Rhimes who are creating these TV shows, we have women who are writing more and more business and marketing and finance books, women who are running for office, women who are in positions of leadership, women who are in positions in their business, women like you who are starting and growing your business. So it is happening, but it’s happening slowly. And there is a role that we have that we can do to help make a bigger impact.

Carol Cox:
We can also look at who are we listening to, what are the books we’re reading, what are the podcasts we’re listening to? Who are the influencers we’re following and making sure that we are selecting women’s voices. We did a challenge last year and we just did the episode podcast episode a couple of weeks ago called Choosing Women’s Voices, because I had found that so many of the books that I was reading, the podcast I was listening to were by men because those were the default. They’re the top ranked. They’re the best sellers are the ones everyone is talking about. So, of course, they seem most in reach, but I believe it’s time to detox from the default. We need to challenge the status quo. We need to seek out and amplify women’s voices, because that’s what’s going to change this feedback loop that keeps putting the same men in positions of popularity and a. And by choosing and being intentional with our choices and choosing women’s voices, we can start to change this. And this is why what we do here is Speaking Your Brand is so incredibly meaningful to us and I know to Diane, to our team and to everyone who’s been a part of it.

Carol Cox:
So what exactly keeps us silent? Diane mentioned this in her talk. Imposter syndrome, perfectionism, people pleasing their role of comforter and pleaser that I played on election night 2016. There’s also shame. There’s vulnerability hangovers. There’s even harassment that comes from external sources as well as the internal silencing that we do, which is the reason for all of this. The patriarchy, the patriarchy wants to keep us silent because they know when we speak up and talk about these important issues, that’s when things are going to start to change. And I know that’s why we are all here today.

Carol Cox:
Here are three things that you can start doing so that we can speak up and that we can find our voices as powerful women. The first thing to do is to use your voice. You’re using your voice, shapes your identity and reinforces your identity. It strengthens your identity. There was an article in Vanity Fair last summer about the actress Viola Davis. And in the article, the reporter wrote, “Not speaking out is unthinkable for Davis. Her voice is her identity, her emancipation.” We create a stronger sense of self. When we use our voice, we understand ourselves better. And then, by extension, those who hear our voice see our humanity there. They see our individual individuality. They see our agency and our power. So using your voice strengthens your identity.

Carol Cox:
The second reason to use your voice is that it brings to light those issues that we care about that otherwise don’t get addressed. Issues like parental leave and child care issues like all of the millions of women who’ve lost their jobs during the COVID pandemic because they’ve had to take care of their children and homeschool them. And so what is going to happen to their careers? What is going to happen to their households and their families and their incomes? And we see some women in Congress talking about it. But if it wasn’t for those women who were in Congress, these issues may not get addressed.

Carol Cox:
We see things like Black Lives Matter, which was started by three women. We see the #MeToo movement, which was originally started about 15 years ago by a black woman and then picked up in 2017 by more and more people. These issues get discussed and get dealt with when women bring them up. And the third reason why it is so important to use our voices is when we do so, we create a community. We know that we’re not alone. It validates our experiences. And this is what happens in our summit. This is what happened our last summit. And I know this is what’s going to happen today. You’re going to hear their speakers share their stories and you’re going to realize you’re not alone. And by extension, they’re going to realize they’re not alone because you are here witnessing them tell their story.

Carol Cox:
I recently watched the new Netflix TV series called Firefly Lane. Anyone watch Firefly Lane? It’s ten episodes. I’m hoping they have a season two. It’s by an author named Kristin Hannah. She’s the one who originally wrote the book. And it’s about these two women as they grow up from high school into their twenties and into their forties. And unfortunately, this is going to be a little bit of a spoiler. So if you haven’t seen it, just pretend that you didn’t hear this. Towards the end of the season, one of the main characters suffers a miscarriage. She goes back on her TV show about two days later. Her TV show is kind of a cross between Oprah and Ellen. And she’s they’re about to do a sponsor giveaway. And there’s women in the audience there. So she starts doing the giveaway and then she stops. She realizes she can’t go on pretending anymore, that everything is OK because it’s not OK. She had just suffered a miscarriage. So she turns to her studio audience and says, have any of you ever had a miscarriage? And the first woman are kind of looking around. And then one of the one woman raises her hand. And then the star, the TV host says, well, this is what happened to me, and all of a sudden the dam breaks, more and more women in the audience raise their hand. They’re given the microphone. They start sharing their stories and they realize they’re not alone. We don’t talk about these issues because men have not wanted to talk about these issues.

Carol Cox:
But as women, we need to talk about these issues. This is to the core of who we are. And this is why it’s so important for us to use our voices and share our stories with, again, whether it’s about a personal story, a business story or a story in your community, it all matters.

Carol Cox:
And this is what our summer speakers are doing today by sharing their moment with vulnerability and courage. And this is what the women in our Thought Leader Academy did during the four months that they worked together. They started in November and they just graduated in early March. And I am so proud of them. They have launched podcasts. They’ve delivered a talk on a TEDx stage. They have been on numerous podcasts as guests. They’ve gotten speaking opportunities, high profile speaking opportunities that they didn’t think they otherwise would. They’ve gotten paid speaking engagements, including some of them who’ve gotten their first paid speaking engagement. I am so proud of everything that they’ve accomplished and just as important as these tangible results that they received from going through the academy is the voice that they strengthened that clarity and the confidence that they got within themselves. And that came not just from the one on one coaching that we did with them, that came from being in community with each other, from being vulnerable and sharing their stories first and our small group, and then building up the courage to share it with more people.

Carol Cox:
Our Thought Leader Academy is open for enrollment again today, starting April 1st. We start April 20th with our first group call. You are more than welcome to join us. If you feel like this is the place where you want to be at, this resonates, if my message resonates with you, if what you are here today and what you see today is something that you would like to get more involved in, if you know that you want to make a bigger impact, you have a bigger message to share, one that aligns with what you do in your business and with your career, but also is something more. It’s a movement. This is why what we do here is Speaking Your Brand is so special to me because it’s not just the business, it’s a movement. And that’s what our Thought Leader Academy helps you to do.

Carol Cox:
In month one, you work on your thought leadership message and project. In month two, you work on your signature talk, which is for brand awareness and lead generation, as well as a TED style talks similar to the ones that you’ll hear today. And month three, you work on your visibility and revenue plan and then a month for you work on your delivery. So delivery on camera and delivery in person, as well as your confidence and mindset.

Carol Cox:
There are special bonuses if you join early and the program is limited to sixteen women, we keep it small because we like it to be intimate. There are different tiers that you can join at the academy only, there’s academy plus one on one coaching with one of our coaches, including Diane as well as Marie Fiebach who you’ll see later today. And then there is also a tier with the academy plus one on one coaching with me. There’s only two spots for the one on one coaching with me. So if that’s something you’re interested in, definitely go check out the details. Go to speakingyourbrand.com/academy to get all the details and to enroll today.

Carol Cox:
I’d like to close with an excerpt from Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem The Hill We Climb. As you can tell, Diane and I love to read books. Here are some of my favorite parts. “We will not march back to what was the move to where shall be a country that is bruised but whole benevolent but bold, fierce and free. For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only for brave enough to be it.”

Carol Cox:
And that’s what I did this past election night 2020. I found my voice again. I found my authentic voice again. I was brave enough to see it. I was brave enough to be it. Are you ready to join me? Thank you.

Carol Cox:
So are you ready to join me? Are you ready to join us? Enrollment is open for our Thought Leader Academy and this is the best coaching training support program that you can get to work on your thought leadership message and project your signature talk and your speaking and visibility plan. Get all of the details and join us as speakingyourbrand.com/academy. Again speakingyourbrand.com/academy.

Carol Cox:
And a huge thank you to all of our team, speaking coaches, panelists and volunteers who helped us put on this incredible summit. Until next time, thanks for listening!

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