Michel Neray – Founder of MoMondays Shares h...

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I’ve been speaking professionally for almost as long as I’ve been working professionally. Back in the early 1990’s, I was giving presentations to educate the business world about ‘The World Wide Web’. (Yes, I’m that old.) Then in 1995, I launched a dotcom — the world’s first online searchable directory of creative professionals — and I toured art and design colleges North America to show students and alums how to make friends with the Internet.

I kept getting invited back, so I guess I was doing something right, but it wasn’t until I spoke at a conference for immigrants that my perception of the power of public speaking changed.

Completely.

Near the end of my talk, after realizing my “personal branding” presentation wouldn’t resonate with this audience (as immigrants probably don’t face the kind of personal branding challenges I talk about in my presentation) I had to think of what was I going to tell them that could be useful?

So I told them how my father grew up as a Jew in Iran and how he joined the French foreign legion in Egypt to escape the anti-Semitism and discrimination. I told them how my mother in France was captured by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz for a year had to walk the 3-day death march in the mountains of Poland, how they both met in an elevator in Paris, (that this is when I realized the importance of a good elevator pitch). How they decided to come to Canada, to give their children the life and opportunity that they never had – and never would have – in their own countries.

If I was trying to maintain any sense of professionalism, I had clearly lost it by this point. I got emotional. Everyone seemed to be getting emotional.

When I was done, a solidly built African woman came over to me. Her face was wet with tears. In broken English I could hear her mutter: ‘thank you, I hope in 30 years my children will say the same thing about me.’

I came home, still filled with emotion, knowing that somehow I had made a real difference in people’s lives. Now when I think about to that day, I realize that was the day I became a ‘motivational’ speaker.

From the beginning of time, stories are how we have passed on our values, made sense of the world and effected change. Today, it’s how we influence our customers, our teams and our audiences. It’s how we sell, inspire, motivate, create change and give hope to sometimes desperate people.

It was also that day that the seeds of momondays were planted.

I believe that more than ever, we just need to put away the business cards and connect authentically, one human being to another. When we do that — when we are just ourselves and share our personal stories of challenge and growth — we have the power to transform lives, starting with our own.

It doesn’t have to feel like a twelve-step program. Nobody has to cry. It doesn’t have to take thousands of dollars and several weekends. No gurus have to be flown in from far-away places.

It seems that momondays has become the modern day campfire, a place where people can gather around, tell stories, have a good time, and open up to a community of people who can identify with them. I view these shows as a place where people can connect and let go, enjoy each others company, understanding that each of us has a history, and whether it’s the good, the bad, or the ugly, we can laugh about it and learn from it.

It’s all encompassed in a beautiful story called life.

Michel Neray – Founder of MoMondays

Lex Jensen shares her start as a Promoter and her ...

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“I started promoting with Live Nation in 2009, Strange Music and their Psychology Tour was the first concert I remember promoting, I remember just wanting to get in for free. Back in the day it was cool to be a promoter; you were part of that IN crowd had all the inside scoop of what was happening in the party scene (before the internet and shit).”

“A year or so later I moved to Wyoming, and I started throwing my own events. There were 4 rappers in town and, 1 of whom is now my husband, and since no one wanted to book out hip hop shows in Casper I figured that doing it myself was the only way to make this shit happen. They (the city of Casper) were so reluctant to have these shows. I guess media just portrays rap/hip-hop as this womanizing/vulgar/alcohol abusive kind of thing so them thinking that it would happen to their lil town in Wyoming probably played a role in that “hostility”.”

“I’ve always viewed [hip hop] as a form of poetry, lyricism is a form of art that many genres can’t really integrate into their music. I mean I will always have a huge appreciation for Beethoven and Mozart but hip hop just has a lot more tangible substance that people can relate to vs. the abstract interpretation that comes with other music like classical and jazz. I started listening to hip hop because of my mom. She loved Eminem and SPM. My father listened to The Grateful Dead and Neil Young, and even though my parents got divorced when I was 3, to this day I can see the influence they had on my musical taste, and I thank them as they gave my something I will have for the rest of my life: the ability to appreciate the beauty in all type of music.”

Lex Jensen — Bookings for The Roxy Theatre & Manager at RhymeSick estimated. 2009

Sound Meditation SF Founder Simona Marie Asinovski...

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“I met Guy (my business partner/brother) on the beach (serendipitously) as I was teaching Yoga in LA, I was so young then — You really know the relationship is amazing when even through all the adversity you can still be creative have fun and be yourself (tried it out not as successfully in LA then moved to the Bay Area and it’s hugely different), and even through all of that still having a huge profound effect on one another.”

“This event is done with so much love…and honestly we (Guy and I) had no idea that this would happen, we’ve always dreamed of something like this but never at this scale. I am damn grateful, still in shock, and will probably always be in amazement and wonder.”

Simona Marie Asinovski –
Organizer of hearts and minds at Sound Meditation SF est. 2015

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