By Mimi Brown, NSA Michigan President, AMP Up Success!
When I was five years old, I hosted my own live television show. Sitting in the middle of my living room, I’d set the scene with my notebook, microphone, and camera set-up. The microphone was usually a hairbrush and my camera looked more like a living room lampshade. Nonetheless, it was my time to shine. The Mimi house rules stated if you entered the front door and wanted to proceed to the rest of the house, you had to be guest on my show. I would prepare interesting and insightful questions in order to get the latest gossip.
My parents would often tell me that I had the gift of gab and could connect with anyone. They helped cultivate and elevate my dream—using words to shape my world–even if I didn’t know exactly what that meant. I had no clue that I would be preparing for an even larger life role. I wouldn’t have guessed that my embracing something that came naturally would turn into my main thing. I reflect on this memory because without it, I wouldn’t be stepping into one of the most important roles I’ve ever held. By tapping into my natural talent and gifts, embracing them, honing and honoring them, I have prepared myself to lead in a big way.
I started my journey with National Speakers Association in March of 2011. It happened by a chance encounter with a family friend. During a family get-together, I mentioned to Mom’s friend Gerry that I wanted to explore speaking. His advice was simple: “Mimi, I’ve got the perfect suggestion for you. You should join Toastmasters International and attend a National Speakers Association meeting.” Within weeks I attended my first Toastmasters meeting. I enjoyed the experience but still felt something was missing. I wanted to play at a higher level. Using Google, I found out all I could about the Michigan chapter of the National Speakers Association. My excitement grew as I scoured its website and read about its mission and vision. They were speaking to my heart and soul. I knew that I needed to get connected to this group. My dream depended on it.
To my surprise, there was a meeting coming up in just two weeks. The only problem was, I was scheduled to work that day. I NEVER got Saturdays off. Instantly, I was discouraged. There were more barriers: transportation and money. My 1995 Nissan had a hole in the floorboard. With a glare, Dad warned, “Mimi, if you don’t keep your windows down you’ll die of carbon monoxide poisoning.” Driving 45 minutes from Detroit to Ann Arbor was out of the question. Next: money. Making $13 per hour made a $50 meeting fee pretty steep. Would this meeting be worth working four hours? The idea of attending seemed even more daunting.
The only way to conquer a daunting situation is faith. So, keeping the faith is what I did. The heavens opened and the stars aligned. The schedule changed at work, my then-boyfriend, now my husband, offered to drive me to Ann Arbor and paid for my ticket to attend.
On a bright crisp Saturday morning in March, I approached the Holiday Inn Ann Arbor and entered a room filled with warm and friendly faces. One attendee looked at me and said, “Welcome home.” Yes, this felt like home. Grabbing a seat right up front to ensure I wouldn’t miss a thing, I held my breath. The speaker seemed to glide onto the stage. I couldn’t have chosen a better meeting to attend. I was witnessing a master in action–Glenna Salisbury, CSP, CPAE.
Glenna is a legend in NSA, a Hall of Fame speaker, a past national president of NSA, and a Cavett Award Recipient. Her words about following your passion touched me to my core. During the hot-seat section of her session, Glenna offered suggestions to improve my story and then said, “You have a ton of talent. You will go far.”
These words of praise from a Hall of Fame speaker elevated my spirit and further ignited my passion around speaking. During lunch, I told then-President, Eleni Kelakos, “I have a dream to be a professional speaker one day. I hope I have what it takes.” Surprised, Eleni said, “After seeing you speak during the hot seat, you DO have what it takes. You have a lot of talent.” She reminded me that talent wasn’t enough. I needed to develop my craft. Eleni elevated me beyond what I thought possible, especially when later she mentioned that she could see me as Chapter President. She instilled faith in me when I didn’t have it in myself.
So many people have helped me ELEVATE.
- My parents elevated me by allowing me to host my talk show and pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.
- Gerry elevated me by introducing me to Toastmasters and NSA.
- Glenna elevated me by helping me to identify my talent for speaking.
- Eleni elevated me to believe that I would one day be President of NSA Michigan.
- Breeda Miller has embodied the finest principles of leadership as she helped prepare me for the duties as your President.
That is what this year is all about for NSA Michigan: ELEVATION.
As a board we have charged ourselves with ways to ELEVATE:
- ELEVATE the speaking industry in Michigan.
- ELEVATE the Michigan chapter to reach greater heights.
- ELEVATE each member to reach their full potential in their life and business.
I’m beyond thrilled to serve as President of NSA Michigan for the 2019-2020 year.
Allow me to challenge you: Where could ELEVATE take you?
About the Author
Mimi Brown works with organizations to AMP UP the volume in their lives and business by empowering people to lead with their magnetic presence. With over ten years of leadership training experience, Mimi knows how to rock a platform, connect with a crowd, and have people laughing while learning.
Mimi’s honors include being an Elite 40 Under 40, & a contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. She is President of NSA Michigan.
On weekends, Mimi can be found creating yummy meals with hubby, Mr. Brown, & bribing her cats with treats in exchange for snuggles