Preparing Young Leaders: Workshops on Leadership Development and Public Speaking

During my Young Leadership and Public Speaking workshop as part of the Legacy International Professional Fellows Outbound Cultural Exchange Program to Algeria, I worked with a group of 18 young adults on leadership development, communications styles, and public speaking skills. It was an interactive, all-day workshop with hands-on learning – something that is rare in Algerian cultural. Algerian students are accustomed to the lecture teaching format of learning where there is little participation. However, these young leaders were eager to learn and participate in the workshop to gain valuable, practical skills in their efforts to become better leaders in a civil society.

The participants took part in team-building activities and group assignments that often pushed them outside of their comfort zone. They challenged their ideas about leadership and how best to express those ideas.

For their final activity, each group had to come up with a project or association that would help their Algerian civil society. The goal was to work together as a team, display varying leadership styles and then each one of them had to speak about at least one aspect of the project.

The first group had three people who started the day by saying they were too shy to speak in public. One participant was so shy she was in tears when given the assignment. But we repeated our mantra for the day – “I am fearless. I am honest. I am creative” – and with that in mind, the group went through various leadership development and public speaking exercises. The videos below are the result of two of the group’s work from our day together.

Group number one showed the most improvement over the course of the day.

 

Group number two showed the most confidence and creativity.

 

I am proud of all the participants. Many walked in the door on their day off as shy leaders who and lacked confidence. They walked out accomplished leaders ready to take on their community and contribute in a major way to their civil society. This is the kind of cultural exchange Legacy International is known for. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to contribute in my own small way.

On a side note, the workshop was such a success the group wanted more. We talked abut ways we could all stay in touch. The young leaders decided they would use social media to continue to engage and connect. They have committed to setting up a Facebook Group and Google Hangout where we can continue to work together. I’ve given each of them “homework” that they must complete by the end of next month. They each have to book one speaking engagement at a local association or club and invite someone else to come speak at their association or club. Becuase public speaking opportunities are so rare, I’ve challenged these young leaders to not wait for the opportunity to present itself but to create the opportunities where they can speak. To become a good public speaker, you must speak publically. I can’t wait to see what this group of young leaders come up with.

Special thanks to Legacy International and their sponsor, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the opportunity to share my social engagement best practices, training and knowledge with the Algerian Pro Fellows. Let’s keep the conversation going!

UPDATE! I recently heard from two of my young leaders. Dallel GUIR wrote, “Thank you for that day it was amazing.” Dallel wrote. 

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She followed it up with these hashtags, #Fearless #Creative #Dreamer Those are her hashtags, not mine. However, that was our mantras for the day so I co-sign.

Then I got an email from one of the participants. Excuse the typos and broken English. Instead, focus on the sentiment. It took a lot to email me this. I’m so very proud.

“Good morning, So i’m one of the lucky persons to meet you and to be a mumber in «Youth Leadership and Public SpeakinAlgeria» to be your student for a day.
I was shy and couldn’t express my feeling, from that day i started to think differently i really want to change to be confident optimistic and crazy in the same time i want to do new things and things which were hard for me.
Something great and special happened to me today and i want to share it with you,
Before i meet you i had to do a homework and send it to my teacher,but because i was a kind of lazy person i left it that because i was negative i was just telling my self that i can’t do it i can’t understand this module but after the training when i arrived home i was thinking that i have to start now i have to do something and i started this homework and in the same day i sent it to my teacher it was 11pm.
I was happy.then 3 days after he sent me a mail and told me«congratulations good job»
Today, we had a corse with him and after a GOOD MORNING he said who is (amrouni amina) then i sad it is me he sad reallly i was glad to see your unswers it was a pleasure for me to read it, he said that i was the only one from 7 persons who did the right job and said that he will give me a complet mark even if i don’t work well.
I know it is just a simple thing or maybe nothing but trust me i’m glad and happy because this special module is my only key of success in the situation in where i am.
To conlude,sorrrry for wasting your time by writing a lot but i just wanted to let you know how much you helped me and thank you soooo much ,
I hope i will recive something from you and everything new which can happen to me i will tell you about it because I AM FEARLESS,CREATIVE AND HONEST.”

That was our mantra for the day… I AM Fearless, Creative and Honest. These young people… WHEW! They blow me away. They opened up and let me pour into them and then they gave the joy right back to me. I’m going to get a tissue now. There’s some sort of water coming from my eyes.

#SocialEntrepreneur #LegacyIntl #ProFellows #LegacyInAlgeria

Storytelling in Algeria: We are more alike than unalike

You think we are all different. You think our struggles are unique. Then you travel the world and you are reminded of the beautiful and powerful poem, Human Family, by Maya Angelou. In that poem, she teaches us that we are all people, and we are so much more alike than different. This has been made even more apparent this week during my trip to Algeria.

I was invited to be a part of the Legacy International Professional Fellows Program U.S. Delegation to Algeria.

“The Professional Fellows Program brings together emerging leaders from around the world who are working in the legislative process and governance, civic engagement, NGO management, economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, and journalism arenas with American counterparts from across the country. The Professional Fellows Program establishes structured interaction among American and international participants aimed at developing sustained professional ties and lasting partnerships” – US State Department.

Legacy International is dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide and have been an excellent client and partner in my role as a social entrepreneur.

I worked with the Legacy Algerian Pro Fellows when they were in America on their inbound exchange program. We did workshops on storytelling pitching story ideas. Now, I am part of the Legacy International outbound cultural exchange program to learn from and share with NGOs in Algiers and Oran. The week concludes with the delegates conducting workshops and roundtable discussions to provide skills to continue to build their civil society and to help them grow their NGO or Association. However, before the week wraps up I wanted to share today’s experiences. It proved to be an amazing day of storytelling and cultural exchange.

We started the day meeting with two Oran “Associations” or what we would call in the U.S. nonprofit organizations. Our first stop was to Les NOMADES Algériens where we learned about the challenges and strategies of a newly formed Association in Oran.

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It was interesting to learn how the group used art and visual storytelling – amazing photos and compelling video – to communicate complex issues around their mission to help disenfranchised children in Oran. They found that when you are trying to raise awareness and promote advocacy in the fight for children’s mental health, education or to improve their living conditions, using visuals helps tell the story. While they are still a new Association, NOMADES has compelling content that is sure to catch the eye of funders, grantors, volunteers and participants. I always encourage nonprofits in America to approach their storytelling the same way – to use compelling visuals to tell your story and mission in a provocative and heart – warming way. It appears good, visual storytelling is a universal concept.

The other organization, Femmes Algériennes Revendiquant leurs Droits, is a well established NGO/Association in Oran. They are doing impressive and impactful work in the fight for women’s rights.


They not only use special events and medical and legal assistance to help the women of Oran – sometimes at great risk to themselves – they too use visual storytelling to communicate their mission and outreach services. While they use traditional communication tactics to include flyers, posters, banners and printed material, it is their visual storytelling that is making the most impact. With an all female crew and production team, FARD is producing a series of documentaries to raise awareness about the specific and unique challenges in the fight for women’s human rights in Oran. These rights include everything from stopping violence against women, equality in employment and education, to the type of clothing women should be required to wear or the places women should go in public. We also spoke to a young woman who felt grateful but removed from FARD. This is not unlike the many young women in the U.S. who say they feel removed from the feminist movement or NOW organization.

Fighting for women and children rights are causes of great concern in Algeria and the also in America. This is not surprising. Women’s rights are human rights. When you empower women, you empower the world. While the nuances of women’s rights advocacy may change from region to region, we are all still in the same human rights fight together. Children are our future. Making sure youth are well cared for is the concern of everyone across the globe.

Through all of this, great storytelling remains a powerful communication tool that can play on the heart strings of the public and call about the real change needed in communities across the globe.

As a professional storyteller, this has been an enlightening and empowering day of learning and sharing. I am only half-way through my Legacy International U.S. Delegation to Algeria but what I know for sure is:

“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” – Maya Angelou

5 Tips For Your Crowdfunding Pitch

3Thinking about starting a crowdfunding campaign? Maybe you want to raise money for an upcoming project. Or, maybe your client needs to fund a worthy cause. Whether it’s raising money for your next CD project or a fundraiser to send a group of students abroad to study, there are a few things you should consider before you launch a crowdfunding campaign. One of the most important things to consider is the crowdfunding pitch. It’s the story behind what you are doing and why anyone would want to give to your cause. I’ve been working on a small crowdfunding campaign that is going to lead to a larger, capital campaign. Here are things I’ve learned along the way and five things to consider when beginning your crowdfunding campaign.

Any crowdfunding campaign starts with the pitch. Your crowdfunding campaign pitch is your first point of contact with potential donors. For your pitch to be effective it’s crucial to plan and include all the elements that make a compelling story.

A Crowdfunding Pitch Needs To Include:

  1. The Backstory – What is the campaign? Why will people care? Why will they donate? Talk about where the crowdfunding efforts will go and how it will help you or your cause. Show your passion, explain the impact of your campaign or explain about the people who will benefit from it.
  2. A Thought Provoking Video – Video clips give visitors a better idea of your project — they can see you or your project in action and not clicking through a series of static images. Do you have assets such as photos, powerpoint slides or digital images that can be assembled into a compelling video? If so, you’re halfway there.
  3. What You Are Raising Money For – Be specific and include your funding goal. Also include a breakdown of where the money is going and the purpose it will serve.
  4. When Will Your Project Take Place – Set a deadline, this creates a sense of urgency.
  5. How People Can Get involved – Have a multi-level donation stream offering. What will people get if they donate $1000, $50 right on down to a $25 donation? Beyond just donating money, what else can people do to help you? Outline any perks you have created.

Once all the elements for the pitch are addressed, then you much decide one of the most important details, which crowdfunding site to use.

Crowdfunding Sites– There are several crowdfunding sites. Each has their own pros and cons. Research the ones that will best suit your campaign and don’t be shy about asking others what has worked for them. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Then when you are ready to roll out share, share, and share some more.

Need help getting your crowdfunding campaign started? I’m here to help!

Telling Our OWN Story: Creating A Positive Image of Black Women

For All Your Media Needs
For Your Media Needs

Are you tired of seeing black women portrayed negatively in the media? I know I am! In an effort to combat that image, Danielle Ricks Productions and RixStar Studios have joined forces to create our first offerings for R&R MediaWorks. We are pleased to roll out two joint ventures that will focus on debunking the negative images of black women in the media and instead, tell the true story of who we black women are as dynamic, powerful, vulnerable, caring, professional women of color.

Our first offering is and EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for Denise J. Hart. She is a speaker, author, trainer and coach extraordinaire. Click on the YouTube video to hear her story.

 

Coming soon!

The Things Black Women Are Tired Of Hearing, a web series that takes a look at the lives, minds and psyche of women of color. Click on the YouTube video to check out the trailer and sign up to get notices so you will be the first to know when the web series hits the Internet!

 

Interested in hiring R&R MediaWorks to tell your story?

We are here to service your digital media, video production, photography and film needs. We are dedicated to making sure all of our clients, regardless of race or gender are promoted in the most positive light. R&R MediaWorks for YOU!

Image Makers: A Video Production Teaching Moment

Recently I spoke to a group of local area students on how to prepare for a video production shoot.  My presentation was part of Women in Film and Video’s (WIFV) Image Makers Program.  The program is WIFV’s community outreach initiative for metro area high school students. It was created in 1997 to teach local youth about film and video production while also helping deserving nonprofit organizations.  During their time in the program, the Image Makers participants learn how to interface with clients, brainstorm, write, produce and direct a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) for broadcast distribution. These PSAs are made for up to three deserving nonprofit organizations each year.  

My colleague and friend, Yolanda Arrington, a board member for WIFV asked me to come back for a return visit to speak to the students.  In preparation for their upcoming field shoot, I shared with the students some tips for preparing for a field production shoot.

 

The Image Makers Program is operated through the tireless volunteer efforts of WIFV members. These professionals lend their time and ability each Saturday morning for up to 10 weeks.  Yolanda spoke to me about her role in the program and the process for selecting students for the 2011 program.


See the WIFV You Tube Channel for previously produced PSAs and check back later for the 2011 upcoming PSA productions. 

 

Internet Gains on Television as Public’s Main News Source

I have to admit, I check my newspaper apps (which seems like an oxymoron) upon rising each day. If I find a national news story particularly interesting, I’ll head to the Internet long before I turn on the TV. I even turn to a TV station’s website long before I actually watch the news on TV. So, where do you get most of your national news from and what does this say about broadcast news?

Amplify’d from people-press.org

The internet is slowly closing in on television as Americans’ main source of national and international news. Currently, 41% say they get most of their news about national and international news from the internet, which is little changed over the past two years but up 17 points since 2007. Television remains the most widely used source for national and international news – 66% of Americans say it is their main source of news – but that is down from 74% three years ago and 82% as recently as 2002.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 1-5, 2010 among 1,500 adults reached on cell phones and landlines, finds that more people continue to cite the internet than newspapers as their main source of news, reflecting both the growth of the internet, and the gradual decline in newspaper readership (from 34% in 2007 to 31% now). The proportion citing radio as their main source of national and international news has remained relatively stable in recent years; currently, 16% say it is their main source.

An analysis of how different generations are getting their news suggests that these trends are likely to continue. In 2010, for the first time, the internet has surpassed television as the main source of national and international news for people younger than 30. Since 2007, the number of 18 to 29 year olds citing the internet as their main source has nearly doubled, from 34% to 65%. Over this period, the number of young people citing television as their main news source has dropped from 68% to 52%.

Among those 30 to 49, the internet is on track to equal, or perhaps surpass, television as the main source of national and international news within the next few years. Currently, 48% say the internet is their main source – up 16 points from 2007 – and 63% cite television – down eight points.

Read more at people-press.org