General, Inspiration /

3 Powerful Presentations from 2016

As another new year is almost upon us, I’m reminded of three powerful presentations that I was fortunate to attend in 2016 with lessons to carry forward into 2017.

The national SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) and CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) conferences always have high caliber keynote speakers, and 2016 was no exception with Ben Casnocha and Amy Cuddy. Then at its local signature event in November, CREW St. Louis brought in national speaker AmyK. All three were dynamic, had great stories to tell and gave key takeaways to help others in their career development.


At the SMPS conference in August, Ben Casnocha, co-author of “The Start-Up of You,” gave a motivating speech about being the CEO of your own brand and staying in an entrepreneurial mindset. Casnocha believes entrepreneurs are “the people who actually do something about their problems.” He talked about training your mind to be in permanent beta mode, where you don’t consider a product (or yourself) ever finished. He also suggests having an “ABZ plan” — what you’re doing now, what transferable skills or relationships you have if you want to change your plan and what’s the worst case scenario, which just by knowing helps you be more comfortable taking risk. To help avoid the knowing-doing gap, where you don’t understand how to convert knowledge into action, he says to consider having money pre-committed for taking action (i.e., I’m going to spend XX dollars per year in case an opportunity arises to take action).



At the national CREW convention in October, I was able to see Amy Cuddy, author of “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” and associate professor at Harvard Business Review. Cuddy talked about presence, or “being attuned to or able to access and express your authentic best self.” She says that power cultivates presence, and one of the ways to help improve your presence is posture. Before facing a challenge, she suggests preparing with big poses, then presenting with good, open posture, being mindful of it throughout the day as well as others’ postures. Cuddy has done extensive research on body language and has one of the most popular TED talks of all time, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” She concluded her presentation with a quote from Maya Angelou: “Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances.”

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The third inspiring presentation was given by AmyK, author of “The Secrets Leaders Keep,” at the local CREW St. Louis program (held at Bissinger’s with great night views) in November. She discussed four common secrets of leaders: “imposter syndrome, self-criticism fixation, letting go of your ‘hood and the comparison condition.” She said that a lot of leaders think they are not good enough and that it’s important to take your power back.

In 2017, I look forward to continuing to be motivated and inspired by others. Happy New Year, everyone!






Michelle Yates