Contributed by Marina Byezhanova, an EO Canada Bridge member in Montreal and the founder of Brand of a Leader, a personal branding agency that builds and scales the personal brands of entrepreneurs who inspire and make an impact.
In October 2021, after months of anticipation, I was finally sitting in San Diego in a room of 30 entrepreneurs, who gathered both in person and virtually to spend five full days learning how to become world-class public speakers.
I felt both exhilarated and nervous at the same time. I had been waiting to work on my public speaking skills, but this was so intimidating. Would I be asked to do improv speaking in front of others? Was I going to embarrass myself? Was I ready to do this?
I was at Global Speakers Academy, the newest addition to EO’s executive education programme offering. GSA launched in the spring of 2021 with the first cohort gathering in Miami, Florida. I was eager to apply for the programme as soon as I heard about it, but the pandemic made travel from Canada challenging, and I was keen to attend in person. Begrudgingly, I waited for the borders to fully re-open and for my opportunity to participate.
Once the first cohort completed their GSA training in March of 2021, EO’s social media exploded—experience shares about #EOGSA2021 were FOMO-inducing and solidified my desire to be a part of the next cohort. I applied in the summer, was accepted, and thus my journey began.
In true EO style, we were pushed out of our comfort zones, exposed to so much learning that it felt akin to drinking from a firehose, and felt challenged every step of the way. But we also felt supported every step of the way. What space can possibly feel safer than a room of EOers cheering each other on, practicing, learning and growing together? Talk about “instimacy”—we had it from the moment we stepped into the room.