OMG! I was picked to speak in front of 400 people!

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I’ve been selected to give a speech at Women For One at their PNW TruthTeller Tour (an event about women sharing stories) to talk about my experiences that led me to create 365 Meaningful Conversations! The event is Sunday, April 28 at 6-9pm and there will be five featured speakers—check out tickets here! 🎉

This opportunity fell right into my lap—a woman who I’d never met before messaged me on Facebook about my Seattle events and she told me that I should apply to be a speaker for the TruthTeller Tour and I’ll admit, my first thought was, “What story do I have worth sharing to others?” Then, I took a breath and paused—I do have a story that I want to share—it’s messy, authentic and wildly vulnerable.

I submitted my essay an hour later (luckily, because it was the last day before the deadline) and then a few weeks later I got an email that I’d made it to the final round! I talked to Kelly McNelis, who is the founder of Women For One & author of Your Messy Brilliance, and then a few days later I got notified that I’d been selected to speak with four other women out of 140 stories! I feel honored that I’ll get to take the stage and talk openly about my experience with sexual assault leading me to create a business all about creating spaces for people to share vulnerably & authentically through meaningful conversations.

I won’t lie…I’m nervous to speak in front of a crowd sometimes, but especially sharing a narrative that’s been held tightly. But, when Kelly asked me, “Why do you want to share your story?” I couldn’t help but think of the power of the #MeToo Movement—and all the powerful people who have shared their stories with courage. I held sexual assault as a secret for years…and secrets eat away at us in small ways, which led to me feeling sad, disconnected and inauthentic.

I feel called to share my story with others in the hopes that someone hears it and feels less alone, and even perhaps hopeful.

Dealing with sexual assault has been the hardest thing in my life—and it sparked a deep desire in me to create 365 Meaningful Conversations, which I feel grateful to have stumbled into. I gather people together to connect through meaningful conversations about topics we normally ignore in society like gender, privilege, race, grief, self-love, body image, etc—topics that are often shrouded in shame and secrecy. My hopes with these conversations is that people can begin to relate and connect with others’ experiences and feel less alone in their own…a sense of connection. I was silent for years about my sexual assault and felt incredibly lonely in that experience and wonder, what if I’d heard someone’s story of sexual assault—would that have helped me feel less lonely? There is power in numbers. You feel less lonely when you hear that other people share similar thoughts, experiences or even stories.

I’ve hosted now 35 meaningful conversation events (or as I’ve coined them: Heart-to-Hearts) and I’ve been privileged to hear people share their stories of grief, success, trauma, searching for love, finding a dream job, loneliness, feeling lost, heart-break, family strife, life-changing travels…and it all reminds me:

as humans, we are more alike than we are different.

So, my hope with meaningful conversations is that people share their experiences in an authentic, vulnerable way—struggling to date, dealing with social anxiety, not having a family that gets them, getting a health diagnosis—and that people can start to hear other’s stories and that they’ll feel less alone in their own similar experiences. When we share our stories that we often hide with others then that allows our own shame to dissipate—and gives a gift to anyone else who is listening that they are not alone.

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive” - Brene Brown

I’ll be sharing my story—along side four other amazing women, so…if you’re in the Seattle area on Sunday, April 28 at 6-9pm then check out getting tickets to see five women take the stage and share their powerful, raw and vulnerable stories! I believe nervousness and excitement are one in the same—so, I’ll be feeling both as I get to get on stage, speak into a microphone and share my messy self to others! Here’s a quote that resonates with all of this…

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