If you think cyber security, you perhaps don’t think powerful Iraqi-Surinamese-Dutch story-telling woman, in her mid-twenties. But that’s before you’ve met Nadia.
She is a human rights lawyer with immeasurable amount of experience, but when I met her it was all wrapped in a polite voice that was slightly too high and a sweet smile that allowed other people to judge her as the girl who is trying hard, ‘but bless her, she doesn’t have what the world needs.’
This is a crime. And it is sad when we live up to stereotypes. Often we live upto the identity people put on and the the snap judgements they make about us become how we speak and behave. Why? Adrenaline is very powerful and it is easy to give in to it rather than control it. Adrenaline was causing Nadia to hide behind lots of information about what she did but not her why. So my job was to uncover her story and to weave it into her company’s story.
Often we feel the story of how we got to where we are is not valid. Sometimes our audiences just need to hear the product – this is true. But unless we are speaking out of our identity the danger is we become like the boring air steward or air stewardess that no one listens to. This is what Nadia had to say about her experiences with me as a coach.
‘Working with Stewart is inspiring, uplifting, fun and just leaves you with LOADS of confidence you never knew you could have! I was so amazed to learn that a few minor changes such as leaning in on certain words or even talking just 10% faster could make such a difference. I find myself thinking about Stew's wise words in every single meeting and every single pitch I do is better because Stew is in my head.
I really feel like I am becoming a storyteller, I stopped using overly-long sentences filled with jargon, even though that goes against my nature as a lawyer. I'm becoming more creative and suddenly find myself telling visual stories, something I was always envious of when I saw other people rocking it. Being coached by Stew is honestly the best thing ever and I can't wait for our next session.’
Derrick A Parsons is a presence in the room – six feet tall (at least), larger than life – and when I met him at the Google for Startups: Black Founder Exchange in North Carolina I was deeply impressed.Read MOre
The first thing I do when I coach people is to get them to tell me their story. I don’t want them pitch it or try to impress me, just tell me the story. You can see people relax, turn off their serious voice and get real. These stories always carry a heart and soul.Read MOre
Dan is scrappy - for as long as I have known him he always has been. He has this glint in his eye and a determination to create something out of an opportunity. That's what makes him a great entrepreneur.Read MOre