We Couldn’t Have Done It Without You

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I can’t wait to click “Send” this week!

 

We have multiple major milestones (how’s that for alliteration?) to celebrate, and I truly mean “WE.” How, you ask?

 

For starters, most of you know I’m a big supporter of The Adoption Center whose mission is to help older children in foster care find their forever families (i.e. get adopted before they age out of the system and are all alone in the world!)

 

Well, Thursday night was the Adoption Center’s 50th Anniversary fundraiser gala, with special guest Jon Dorenbos – America’s Got Talent finalist and world-class magician, former Philadelphia Eagles long snapper, AND former foster kid himself.

 

If you’ve attended one of my trainings or heard my Speaking to Influence podcast, you know we talk a lot about the skill of being able to get right to the point when necessary. Dorenbos proved to be a master of that too!

 

Check out his 30-second greeting to all of you:

 

 

 

It was a perfect event. Hundreds upon hundreds of people (including many of YOU!) came out to show their support, share their foster care and/or adoption stories, and spread the word to help ensure even more children find permanent, loving homes.

 

Better yet, if you missed out on the event but still want to show your support, you can go to https://adopt.org/donate-today to contribute to an incredibly heart-centered cause. (Click the link NOW to open it up so you can easily go back to it later if needed!)

 

As follow-up to the evening, the next day some colleagues and I joined up with students and staff at the Hope Partnership for Education , an independent middle school and adult education center in north Philadelphia for a community partnership day and school beautification project celebrating their 20th anniversary too.

 

A school should be more than a building – it should inspire curiosity, creativity and joy. Hope Partnership’s mission is to create a future of equity, compassion and joy by offering quality, holistic, and accessible education to their learning community. In that spirit, we built planters to add flowers to the front entrance, painted classrooms, and even got to paint a mural around the gym.

 

 

One of the most beautiful moments of the day had more to do with semi-organized chaos than coordinated planning.

 

To commemorate the event, everyone got a t-shirt with the school logo on the front, and a picture of “The Tree of Hope” on the back, which one of the students had submitted to an earlier art competition (and won):

 

 

But what made the moment extra special is that throughout the day, the kids were grabbing markers and signing their names on each other’s t-shirts, year-book style. What’s special about that?

 

We all struggled through the “Covid era,” but these kids suffered more than most through it all. As the principal explained, the conditions created by Covid-19 weren’t just challenging, frustrating or annoying for them… they created wave after wave of compounded trauma for this community.

 

For them, school isn’t just a place for learning. For many, it’s their community, it’s their source of meals, it’s their safe space, their refuge and more. When you’re spending all your time just trying to meet basic human needs, simple pleasures like joy and fun go out the window.

 

That’s why signing each other’s t-shirts was so symbolic: it represented a day of pure joy, beauty, fun, creation, and goodness that they all wanted to cement in their memories. Each time they wear their shirts and see the names of their friends, they’ll remember the day they smiled ear to ear, wrapped in a short-sleeved cotton “hug,” and ideally will relive the joy they felt together that day.

 

 

I loved being a part of that. I bet you would have too. If you want to learn more, check out Hope Partnership for Education to see how you can make a donation or otherwise get involved.

 

But there’s even more to celebrate!

 

This week the Speaking to Influence podcast – specifically Episode 105 with Cindy Lewis, CFO at Coho Partners – ranked a whopping #38 in the Apple Podcasts Top 200 business/management podcasts!

 

 

(Whether you listen to your podcasts on Apple/iTunes or other platforms, go here to find the platform of your choice.)

 

That’s a huge honor and accomplishment, and I know I have YOU to thank; without listeners, it never would have happened!

 

Also coming to you from the ICYMI desk (that’s “In Case You Missed It” for anyone who doesn’t speak Gen Z text lingo), here are a few more great “listens” for you:

 

First, last week’s live stream on The Brain-based Science of Communication with Dr. Ali Atkison was terrific! Although LinkedIn had some technical glitches with the video, we were prepared – we were simultaneously broadcasting it on YouTube Live, and THAT recording is picture-perfect! You can watch it here.

 

Second, I had a blast talking with Pete Mockaitis on his podcast, “How To Be Awesome At Your Job.” In the few days since that episode aired, I’ve had dozens of people reach out to me on LinkedIn to tell me what communication nuggets they’re already putting into practice to be more persuasive and influential.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, one of the nuggets everyone reports as a key “A-Ha moment” is how to say their name. It’s a concept that I first talked about in my TEDxPenn talk, “Want To Sound Like a Leader? Start by Saying Your Name Right.”

 

 

It’s a constant reminder for me that small details make a massive difference in so many ways – after nearly eight years, it’s still relevant: that talk has nearly 6.7 Million views, (another incredible milestone to celebrate), and people still contact me regularly after stumbling upon it when searching YouTube for leadership communication resources.

 

Haven’t seen it yet? Watch it here.

 

We’ll resume next week with a new STI episode, but in the meantime, have a very happy, healthy and blessed Memorial Day. Once again, THANK YOU!

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