Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our winner: 'Not just a contest to me'

I'm delighted to announce that Stephanie Benoit is the winner of The Eloquent Woman's 15 Weeks to Step Up Your Speaking contest! She works as a manager in a mental health agency in Florida, but has big dreams for her future. As she put it, "This contest is not just a contest to me. For me, it's a vehicle to get me to the next step of achieving my aspirations," which include becoming an author and launching a women's empowerment conference weekend. But, she says, "I often wonder how it is that I could really help and reach people when I'm afraid to open my mouth." Building up her confidence as a speaker and overcoming that fear is Stephanie's biggest priority. "One-on-one, I'm great at talking, but the thought of speaking to a crowd of people frightens me and I know that I will never be able to make the impact that I desire if I can't put those fears behind me and master this important skill," she says.

Given that fear, her ability to post a video online and submit the entry are impressive, indeed. Stephanie added a quotation to her entry essay that sums up where she is right now: "Until the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change, you'll never change." We'll try to make sure this learning process isn't painful!

In addition to winning a Flip MinoHD Camcorder that will help her send videos to this blog (and practice her speaking), Stephanie will be getting 15 weeks of coaching from me, right on the blog. We'll follow the program outlined here, and I hope you'll follow along and share encouragement and tips with Stephanie as we go forward. We'll begin the coaching in September and conclude it in December.

Please leave a comment to encourage Stephanie in taking this big step! Thanks to her, to our judges, and to all our entrants!

Related: Get your own Flip MinoHD Camcorder