What a ride the last few years have been. Ignite Excellence Inc. is now in its 12th year of business; we have spoken on five continents to 100’s of clients and audiences ranging from entrepreneurs to fortune 500 companies in over a dozen industries. It’s been exciting and evolutionary. Whether we are talking to clients about a problem to be solved or an opportunity to act on – it always comes back to how we influentially communicate.
Allow me to share with you some of the highlights and enhancements we gained to benefit your influential communication experience.
Between 2010 and 2013, my husband and I made one of our boldest personal and professional career decisions. As a person who speaks on: ‘Explore your Edgeness™ — the intersection of discovery & potential’, we did just that. We embarked on a journey of exploring an enhanced version of ourselves. My husband quit his leadership position, and I reorganized the training division of Ignite Excellence. We sold most of what we owned and travelled to Africa to interview women leaders for a pioneering platform we produce called WisdomExchangeTV.com. The goal of this program is to provide an educational resource to inspire African women to learn, lead and succeed in life, business, and community.
Wisdom Exchange TV (www.wisdomexchangetv.com) is a self-funded initiative. My husband and I work side by side, – talk about the importance of influential communications. Wisdom Exchange TV is watched in 77 countries and growing. Regardless of where we place our backpacks, every two weeks we launch a new interview featuring a pioneering trailblazer for the world to learn and be inspired from. This is a free site, which we encourage you to visit and share.
One of my proudest moments came in March 2014 while being acknowledged at the World of Difference Awards for contributing to the economic empowerment of women by The International Alliance for Women. It wasn’t the award itself that spurred pride, it was when my name was called and the dozen or so African women who were also receiving an acknowledgment made the chanting “lalalalalalala” call of celebration. I believe that sound is one of the first noises African children learn how to make. Throughout our African travels, we heard it often during various celebrations and ceremonies of achievement for others. Now, it was my turn to be humbled by their chant.
Through Ignite Excellence Foundation (renamed YouMeWe Foundation, May 2017) (youmewefoundation.org) we have provided tertiary education scholarships for 26 inspiring African women. These women along with the pioneering African women leaders we’ve interviewed for Wisdom Exchange TV, continue to inspire me to not only focus on speaking, training and coaching influential communications but also to evolve philosophies around the importance of partnerships, how to gain them, and how to nurture them.
Perhaps even more significant, by listening to over 70 African women from 13 countries share their leadership insights and achievements, I was most awe-inspired by their motivation. Each woman we interviewed contributed to her community, country and/or continent as a matter of course. Their pursuit of contribution was unanimous. I began to feel my deep desire to contribute to the betterment of all.
I believe every experience leads you to the next opportunity if you are paying attention. As these conversations with African women unfolded, and as we travelled from country to country observing human behaviour, my self-reflection crystalized my purpose. The time was now to take my expertise and experience and evolve it into how we as individuals and corporations can contribute now to have the most positive impact on those around us. This is the birth of ‘conscious contributions.’A a philosophy that goes beyond having consciousness and contributing to include evaluating the impact you make and the reality that our good intentions may often cause more harm than good.
Travelling through many developing countries, and even walking the streets in my home city of Toronto, we’ve learned if you ask the right questions, of the right people, that our ‘helping’ can be ‘hurting.’ So the question is how can you as an individual or as an organization give a hand-up rather than a handout?
While I continue speaking and training organizations to influentially communicate throughout the business cycle (from networking, sales, persuasive presentations, negotiations, implementation, leadership, and coaching), I’m building the foundation to a more altruistic mandate reignited by African women – the YouMeWe Movement.
The YouMeWe Movement is a compilation of initiatives that focus on individuals and organizations fulfilling their purpose through conscious contributions. I can hear some of my clients now…. “Suzanne, Ignite Excellence has always been strategic and tactical, that is why we have worked with you.” And we still are. Now we also focused on the importance of collaboration internally and externally; How to create partnerships with purpose; how to impact the community all while increase engagement of employees.
- Do you want your teams to collaborate more often?
- Do you want loyal customers who will pay more for your products and/or services?
- Do you want to deeply engage your employees: Millennials, Xers and boomers alike?
- Do you want to knock down walls and build bridges between departments?
- Do want to recruit and retain top employees?
The solution is in the YouMeWe Movement – consciously contributing to the community. This is more than a philosophy, but a real opportunity to elevate communications and collaboration for the betterment of all stakeholders and those that are impacted by them.
To learn more about the Ignite Excellence Inc. Group of Initiatives, the Ignite Conversations – Quarterly News-to-Use will provide updates and insights to learn a new perspective on how to reach your personal and professional potential from backpack (everyday living), to briefcase (business success), to boardroom (leadership) and beyond.
We haven’t changed. We have just evolved. We hope you will join us by continuing to work with us the way you always have, by taking a online-training-academy program, inquiring about our in-class training, seek us out for a keynote, or start a discussion of how to build your team for longevity through conscious and community contributions.
Now back to you. There are several influential communication techniques, insights, and resources in Ignite Conversations. All designed to Ignite your Excellence.
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Suzanne F Stevens CSP*, Cultivates conscious contributions™ and influential communications. Suzanne is an International Speaker, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Host & Co-producer and Chief Edge Optimizer for Ignite Excellence Inc. Group. She is a recipient of The International Women Alliance World of Difference Award 2013 – in education. This acknowledgment recognizes people who make a difference in women’s economic empowerment international. To find out more visit: www.suzannefstevens.com.
Suzanne is one of 60 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) in Canada and is included in the 10%of individuals who have this designation internationally.