2021. We have only just started the year, yet the world still feels very divided, yet united at the same time. I suppose it’s whether you view the preverbal glass as half empty or half full. There has never been more noise in the world. Social media dominates our phone time. News stations pump opposing views 24/7. Everyone has an opinion, which actually isn’t a bad thing. Especially for women, whose voices have been silences for so many generations. With more females taking the stage, and quite frankly stealing the show, our voice finally matters. It has taken us sometime to get here. Not because we didn’t fight to be heard. Not because we didn’t shout from that glass ceiling. But because, society had other priorities on her plate, women were secondary. Until now.
Amidst all the clutter, social media “look at me, I’m great” racket, is a powerful voice that speaks her truth loud and clear. This voice belongs to Jahmeelah Gamble, or Jam as she’s known as. Jam is the founder of Slay The Mic™, a unique coaching program designed to help you speak up and show up with confidence, present to an audience, or simply (or not so simply), reconnect with your voice again.
With a presence like few others I have ever met, Jam enters a room with purpose and invites you to share in her unequivocally positive energy almost immediately. Not only is Jam a well-known speaking coach around the world, she’s a sought out speaker herself. Her client list (just to list a few) includes: UPS Canada, TEDx, ET Canada, financial giants such as TD Canada Trust, RBC, and Scotiabank, Plan Canada, Trillium Health Partners, and schools across North America.
And because we wanted you to start the year off with your authentic and confident voice ready to speak your truth loudly and proudly, we asked Jam five questions that we hope will inspire you to “slay the mic.”
“SINCE LAUNCHING IT IN 2017, I HAVE HELPED OVER 700 PEOPLE TURN THEIR VOICE INTO THEIR ULTIMATE SUPERPOWER.“
1) Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a kick-a$$ public speaker and coach, and how you started Slay The Mic?
Becoming a speaking coach and launching Slay The Mic was never in my game plan. After I started my TV show in 2014, I started to explore event hosting. It was my way of building my credibility and working on using my voice in a different setting. I noticed after speaking engagements, people would come up to me and ask me how I did ‘that’. What they were referring to, was my ability to confidently jump on stage and bring the event to life. I’ve always been a talker so to me, this came naturally. But I never realized that public speaking was something others struggled with and it inspired me to launch Slay The Mic. Since launching it in 2017, I have helped over 700 people turn their voice into their ultimate superpower.
“Especially in this day and age, we are seeing first hand the importance of using our voice for opportunities other than ‘public’.”
2) You often post about how liberating it is when your clients break out of their public speaking shell, whether that be posting on them Instagram or speaking up during a meeting. Why do you think that finding one’s voice is so important?
Simply put, it just is. Your voice is the one thing that makes what you say and how you say it stand out. Especially in this day and age, we are seeing first hand the importance of using our voice for opportunities other than ‘public speaking.’
3) Growing up, like for so many, public speaking terrified me. When I became an entrepreneur and advocate for sex trafficking survivors, if I didn’t speak up, no one would, so I spoke up. And although my confidence levels have increased dramatically since those younger years, I still get nervous when I need to sell myself. What are some tips you can provide our readers to help them find their authentic voices and gain the confidence needed to speak up?
Register for the Slay The Mic Program? *wink,wink*
The best tip I can share is to trust, honour, and believe in the power of your voice. If you’re able to do that, speaking in front of others doesn’t seem that intimidating or impossible to do. In addition to that, use every moment you open your mouth as an opportunity to work on building your confidence. It’s not about perfection, it’s about growth.
“The best tip I can share is to trust, honour, and believe in the power of your voice.“
4) In one of your video posts on Instagram, you talk passionately about teachers who have made a difference in your life growing up. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how they still affect you today?
In grade 9, I met my first Black teacher, Mrs. Barker. She was more than a teacher to me. She felt like a mother figure, a grandmother, and an auntie rolled into one. Without her, I don’t think I would have realized how much I needed to see someone who looked like me in front of the classroom. I always remembered how she made me feel seen, heard, and valued and I made it my mission to pass on the same type of love to my students when I first got into education.
5) As an Asian Canadian, I rarely see myself represented in the public. We have been stereotyped as the nerdy kid with glasses who excels at math. Or lately, we’ve been the outrageously wealthy lead who’s money is their defining character. Needless to say, it’s all disappointing.
Lately, we’ve seen a much needed shift as more people of colour advance to higher professional roles. Having the first Black, Indian woman Vice President in the White House shattered every glass ceiling. And I for one am dancing on the broken glass. Has any of this changed you in anyway, seeing the endless possibilities now? And as a speaker yourself, how did you feel watching poet Amanda Gorman read her incredibly powerful poem?
It absolutely has had an impact on me. When I first saw Michelle Obama in the White House, that’s the moment when I started to believe that we can do, be, and go ANYWHERE. I think we need to also pay attention to the glass that is being shattered in the world of entrepreneurship and even in our workplaces. There are women everywhere who are paving the way for women like myself and future leaders/change makers. As for Amanda Gorman: WHEEEEEWWWW. I am STILL recovering. I remember screaming down my kitchen as I watched her perform, so overwhelmed with pride, I couldn’t even take the words of her poem. It was her delivery, energy, and poise that left a lasting impression on me.
Feeling inspired? I dare you to speak your truth today. Whether that be to speak up in a (virtual) meeting. To share your feelings. Tell someone you ‘love them’. Or sign up for the Slay the Mic program. However you choose to spread your voice, I hope you’ll do it knowing that it is indeed “your superpower“, use it wisely and proudly.