Friday, July 15th 2022, Immigrant Women in Business - IWB had a women empowerment and networking event called “Women’s empowerment, Social impact, Diversity, Equity and Entrepreneurship” at Toronto City Hall. Life changing! My first 60 seconds of public speaking in person in Canada.
And there were others who had the chance to have their first 60 seconds of sharing their message publicly.
Svetlana Rutnikova, one of the hosts and founder of IWB, had exuberant energy that she passed on to all she spoke to. She treated all those present like her own friends and family members, inviting with a big smile, great humour and open heart to connect with each other, support each other and share.
I missed events in person! This has been the second in person event for women I’ve been at since pandemic started and the third in person big event of the year I’ve had the chance to join.
The first event I went to was on June 25th in Toronto, “Fearless Women’s Summit” organized by One Woman, founded by Sharla Brown. It was an intimate and inspiring gathering of women and few men from various parts of the world with a beautiful surprise from Neema Children’s Choir who represented the best, beautiful and the inspiring for children in Uganda who need help.
I found part of what is possible for the world when women are empowered and the realities of too many women today whose stories we don’t hear because they are silenced or not powerful enough. Or simply because they choose to contribute without bragging publicly.
The second event was a traditional Romanian themed one, the first in person gathering of the Romanian community in Ontario with traditional costumes and folk music and family and friends fun organized by The Romanian Cultural Association - Hamilton.
I found what fulfils me - the essence of life. And I was aware of what I always had - all that my soul needed.
This Romanian gathering made my family enjoy life to the fullest. I’ve seen for the first time what is needed for me and dear ones to find love and joy in all we do: community, support, hearts united. My heart cried both when listening to the Canadian anthem and the Romanian anthem - my soul is with both peoples because they all welcome me every time I live or visit.
The third event, by IWB, that I loved had a much more powerful and different vibe for me. It was like a dream coming true.
I found the next step on my journey.
Ever since I decided in 2020 to live my own story, I started living a life of synchronicity and flow.
In 2021 I wanted to follow the entrepreneurship path with something of my own, using my own gifts and learning to discover them and my own brand through Personal Brand Accelerator group program by Alina Mihai life has been on a roll.
Through her I found Lauri Smith, the CEO and Intuitive Speaking and Leadership Coach of Voice Matters LLC who became my next coach and first coach in speaking and leadership. Through her Compelling Speaker Program she helped me open my soul, expression, and energy as a speaker.
After graduating from this group program I was yearning to go out on live stages because I felt ready for another level of speaking. Because I’ve been part of a mastermind group with Roy Coughlan, one of the top podcasters in the world and host of The Speaking Podcast, he recommended one of his guests, Sean Tyler Foley, and that’s how I found my next coach.
Thanks to Sean Tyler Foley and his friend Michael Harris I got to be a top guest on podcasts and levelled up my public speaking career.
But until Friday, July 15th, I never took the mic at an in person event in Canada as an English professional speaker.
My public speaking experience with a mic has been in Romanian only as I’ve had recitals in childhood and in the adulthood I joined a public debate on homeschooling organized by the Romanian Ministry of Education.
So when Jacqueline Dixon, Svetlana Ratnikova and Maria Carolina Ojeda invited participants to share in 60 sec to talk about their business or themselves, encouraging and acknowledging everyone - with or without experience...
…I let others go.I said to myself I don’t need that. I’ve trained myself enough and others should have the opportunity. But I saw the diversity of messages and sharings. This was not about speaking. This was about inspiring, connecting, loving each other and feeling the support from all those present.
Yet, I didn’t listen deeply to what I was called for and why I was there.
It took a push: a Romanian woman and entrepreneur stepped up to speak - it was just me and her from Romania.
Then the lady from Iran who worked in IT for another company.
Then I asked for inner guidance.
A clear image appeared in my field of awareness and messaged me: "You have to go."
I took a breath... and went, my heart beating ready to leave my chest. I closed my eyes to calm down.
One of the co-hosts (Maria Carolina Ojeda) saw me and hugged me in silence encouraging me. I hugged back happily.
I was crying inside and asking for support. I went down in my heart remembering every meditation I did in a speaker program plus my heart imagery practice.
Jacqueline Dixon asked me:
“Are you ready?”
“I’m not! (But I’ll go anyway.)”
I took the mic.
Spoke while looking at the audience, at one person, then another person, connecting and talking. I left them with a message.
I broke the ice. I did it. My first time speaking in public, in person, in Canada as a public speaker, as ME.
Somebody remembers that moment. Looking forward to build more with everyone I connected with there.
I met amazing people: leaders of organizations that bring change, a new Romanian friend and many other immigrants that inspire, empower, build and contribute to the community, not just their own family.
Grateful for all my supporters out there!
Grateful for IWB and the amazing co-hosts that were my strongholds and the pillars for all of us in the room, the cheerleaders, motivators, with loving hearts and sheer joy, mixed with gratitude and humbleness.
Those 60 seconds changed my life because I connected like crazy with the women I found and we already started helping each other and building relationships together.Today, Monday, July 18th 2022, I heard from Svetlana what I wanted to hear for decades.