Had your experience with public speaking been as scarring and dramatic as mine?

For years, I’ve avoided public speaking like the plague. Why? Because I thought I was scarred for life and would never in a million years stand in front of a microphone again...

Looking back now it still feels as awful as it did back then...

...I'm standing behind a heavy velvet curtain, in the wings of a stage. I can see a portion of the audience, which from this angle looks like a pale, washed-out sea of faces.

My hands are ice cold and shaking, sweat is running down back, my heart is pounding, and I’m nauseous.

The lady who got me into this mess is on stage announcing my name and the poem I’m going to recite.

The poem I’ve never heard of until a few hours before. A poem that has about 10 stanzas. The poem I had to memorize in a few short hours. The poem I have to recite in front of nearly a thousand people.

I am 9 years old. I’m at a Russian summer camp (“pioneer camp” as they were called back then), where you comply with whatever you are told to do, no matter how crazy and unreasonable it sounds.

The lady turns towards me and nods. It’s my cue to step into the spotlight. I take the first step. My legs are shaking so badly I don’t even feel them anymore.

The lady walks off stage and I’m all by myself in front of a microphone, facing the abyss. My mind is racing to locate the first line of the poem. I can barely breathe. I can remember the first three words but not the rest of the first line.

My voice echoes through the microphone. I can hear it cracking. I feel like my voice is no longer mine, like part of it is forever lost somewhere inside the microphone.

Somehow, I finish the first line…and immediately realize I’ve said the wrong words. I am frantically searching my brain for the correct words. Another few seconds pass.

The abyss is getting darker and is closing in on me. My mind stops working entirely. I can’t get another word out.

I turn around and run back off stage, away from the laughing abyss, away from the microphone, away from the breathless terror of public speaking.

Everyone backstage is looking at me. I run outside, tears rushing down my face.

I know I will never be able to go back on stage again…ever!

Fast forward three decades…

I love public speaking! Yes, you heard me right. I absolutely adore public speaking and can’t wait to step on stage and talk.

It didn’t happen overnight though. I had to go through years of trial and error until I was able to deconstruct public speaking and become a confident, compelling, and captivating speaker.

Yes, it was tough at first and I had to “do it scared”. But guess what?

Getting through that fear—through all the struggles and doubts and negative self-talk—and mastering courage to step into that stage is so worth it!

There’s no high like the high of stepping into the spotlight and knowing that you are about to build this amazing intimate connection with your audience. That you are able to move them, to impact them, to engage with them, and to persuade them.

I would love to help you on this journey!

Remember, public speaking is not a talent that only special few possess. It’s a skill, and like any skill it can be taught, learned, internalized, and perfected.

I had to change my entire mindset about what it means to step on stage and speak to an audience. It’s a different way of looking at things, and it works!

You have the power within you to be brilliant. We just need to bring it to the surface.

Fun Facts About Me:

  • My background is in technology, and I've spent years in IT. I’m going to totally “date” myself here but I started as a software developer in the late ‘90s, back when AOL dial-up was all the rave! Within a few years I started my first business, a web development company.
  • I own Nutty Scientists of Houston, the #1 franchise out of all Nutty Scientists franchises in the US. Our goal is to inspire young kids to fall in love with science. Houston kids know me as Professor Proton… because I’m positive!
  • I hold a Master’s in Computer Science and am currently finishing a second Master’s in Communication and Media Technologies. I love formal education a little too much, but as Mark Twain once said, “I have never let schooling interfere with my learning.”
  • I've also studied filmmaking and screenwriting. In 2010, I directed, filmed, and produced a short documentary "African-American Cowboy: The Forgotten Man of the West". It has since been screened at various events around the country.
  • I’ve recently taken on epee fencing, and consider it by far the greatest sport ever. I’ve been trading adrenalin for bruises.
  • I don’t know how to ride a bike…like for real. I mean, I do know how to ride it, but I fall off it. There is clearly no love between bikes and I. But ever being a problem solver, I worked around it by getting myself a trike. Yes, I ride a trike!
  • My favorite food is chocolate, and I cannot live without sweets, not even for a day!
  • I am a fan of Elvis Presley. Yes, I already dressed both of my kids as Elvis for Halloween and named recently adopted twin pups Elvis and Presley.

The Official Bio (a.k.a Me in a Nutshell)

I teach introverted entrepreneurs how to overcome their public speaking fear and transform into confident, compelling, and captivating speakers.

After moving to the US two decades ago with limited English and a crippling fear of public speaking, I built several businesses, taught in a variety of industries, and spoke in front of small and large audiences. I appeared on Fox News and have been featured in numerous publications, including CBS Houston and BizWest Media.

I hold a Master of Science Degree in Computer Science. I am currently completing a Master of Arts Degree in Communications and Media Technologies. I live in Houston with my husband and two sons.

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