When I received the email from Passages of Canada, I quickly embraced the opportunity to speak on July 30th at the Stories of Ours event organized by Erin Kang at the Centre for Social Innovation – Regent Park, Toronto.
I found interesting Erin’s concept of sharing immigration stories, showing another side of the Canadian society that is not normally portrayed in the mainstream media.
Few days later, I’ve met Erin in a Starbucks. She intended to meet all speakers of her event to get a better idea of their stories, and share with me some useful tips in preparing a story. What she expected to be a 1/2 hour meeting, turned into an hour and 1/2 vivid discussion. 🙂
Before meeting her, I wasn’t clear what part(s) of my immigration story I should capture in my speech. “Check the previous presentations on our website”, she said. And I did, noticing an interesting approach that I haven’t use before: starting by shedding the light on an important moment of the story (sometimes directly in the middle), then linking to other parts of the story. I liked this style, and went head on into writing this way my own story. I was given maximum 10 min. for the speech, so I decided to go along with her recommendations: “Think about what message you want to pass on to the audience. Also, how could you link the part of your story related to your children to your career change?”
The message was pretty clear to me: I wanted my presentation to be an open invitation to participants, to follow their own inner voice. Hmm, the second made me think! After a few trial and error in writing the speech, I did a pretty good job … I think. 🙂 Erin’s feedback was invaluable! She’s such a smart young lady! The video below is what I came out with.
Since it’s such a personal story, I didn’t know what to expect from the audience of more than 70 people, most of them younger than me. Their feedback took me by surprise, many taking the time to thank me for sharing my story. Some even said they recognized themselves in parts of my story, like the lady who went through a similar experience as a child (living away from her father and brother for several years, due to the immigration process).
A lady in her 70’s approached me too, curious about what happened after I lost that job. She was an employment counsellor before retiring, now focusing on several new projects: “I have a feeling that life starts at 70”, she said.
“Oh, and I believed that it starts at 50!”, I replied amused. 🙂
Few days before the event, browsing my two websites (for coaching and art), Erin suggested I should bring in some art for the audience to enjoy during the break. “Great idea, thanks Erin! I’ll bring the photo exhibition “Metaphors” that presents my emotional journey after losing that job.”, I replied. I was also curious to see people’s reaction after hearing the story that inspired that exhibition.
“I love how you tied up your story with your exhibition!”, said a visitor. Many came to see it, reading quietly the text (associated with each picture, reflecting in visual metaphors my emotional turmoil, and the optimistic ending). Great conversations followed, plus an invitation to share this story on a podcast produced by a recent graduated journalist TK Matunda (which I accepted gratefully).
Thanks Erin for giving me this opportunity, it was such a rich experience!!!
I love how one opportunity opens the door to new ones!
Beside being featured in TK’s podcast project, Erin also wrote a great testimonial which helped my application for the Centre for Social Innovation get approved! Yep, I’m a new member of the Centre for Social Innovation! Yeyyyy!!! Some of the projects I have in mind finally found a place to launch them into the world!
Hmm, not bad for an introvert like me to become more visible without pushing or going to networking events. 🙂
How open are you to new opportunities that show up out of the blue?
(part of) My immigration story in a video format, as presented on July 30th: