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Stand in the Middle of Your Own Miracle

Tamara Hamilton Accredited Speaker award stageIn just over a week, I will stand in the middle of my own miracle. I will stand before fifteen hundred international members and guests at the Toastmasters Convention in Vancouver, Canada and vie to become an Accredited Speaker. It is the highest distinction Toastmasters International bestows upon a professional speaker. For years, I have dreamed of being an Accredited Speaker with Toastmasters International. But, I never took the first step. Year after year, I gazed upon the requirements and told myself a false story. The story was that I was not good enough, not polished enough, not ready to be considered as an Accredited Speaker. After all, there are only sixty-nine in the world as of today.

I got caught up in my own story of inadequacy that I never took that critical first step. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us that “We don’t to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Never mind that I had been a professional speaker in my world of work for thirty years as a leadership trainer and executive coach. This just seemed to be at another level of competence that was beyond my grasp.

toastmasters international logoIn some ways, I was right. My style of speaking in the world of leadership and organization development was one of giving presentations with a professorial style. I had been a professor for over fifteen years. It was a hard habit to break. Being a Toastmaster over nine years has helped me to gain “platform skills,” the precision of using the stage as performance and engaging audiences to be of service to them. It was not about how much I knew and displaying my knowledge and expertise for all to marvel.

It was now about connection and transformation. It was also about inspiration, motivation, and influence. It was about mastery of the spoken word. I begin to ask first, as recommended by my mentor and Accredited Speaker, Dr. Dilip Abayasekara, “What does the audience need from me?” This journey has changed how I prepare and deliver a speech. I have reached a new level of discipline and practice that defines expertise.

accredited speaker logo toastmasters internationalIf you have ever had a dream without a plan, it is no wonder you might feel stuck, like me. Once I decided to pursue this big, audacious goal, I mapped a strategy. But, first, I had to see the vision. I had to see me on the big stage. So, I took a picture last year of me in front of the big jumbotron screen with the Accredited Speaker logo in the background. This picture anchored my vision. I would be on a journey like any (s)hero in a story. I needed help and I reached out. I found many hands reaching back to me to support my journey. When I received less than great reviews on my practice speeches, each critique made the speech stronger, made me more resilient.

I am now almost there: ready to stand in the middle of my own miracle.

Note: The Accredited Speaker finals will have a live feed around the world on August 26, 2017 at 8:30 am Pacific Time.

Speaker on Conflict Analysis Takes a Journey as a White-Haired Graduate Student in the Age of Blackboard

speaker on conflict analysis basks in learning

When I began the out-of-body experience of returning to “school” in January of this year to study conflict and race at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, I had no idea of the wonderment of the journey. At 65, I was filled with the fear of the unknown: what would it be like to be in class with my grandchildren??? Would I remember how to read academically? Could I still write a research paper? What if I am just too slow? In our senior years, the brain cells are not what they used to be.

I remember the first day of the Conflict 600 class and hearing students talk about the reading assignment. I had arrived early for a seat in the front—the old-school way. I had a new spiral notebook and colored pens. Most had laptops and iPADS. They chattered about the syllabus.

“Excuse me.” I summoned the courage to intervene in lightning fast conversation.
“Uh…you already have the syllabus?” Gulp.
“There was an assignment already??” I must have sounded incredulously out of touch. That’s when I realized Blackboard had to become my best friend. Everyone had logged in, downloaded the syllabus, prepared the first assignment, and entered ready to go. I sat in silence as the discussion swirled around me. The invisible dunce cap was a perfect fit.

One student, all of twenty-four years old, sensed my dread and whispered: “Don’t worry. I will help you with Blackboard.” She emailed me articles that escaped me no matter how I searched.

When I missed a class, another shared her notes. For a final group project, my partner was twenty-one and had graduated from my children’s high school. But, our team work was genuine and the result pleased the professor.

The Happy Report after a few short weeks:

The “kids” were amazing! My white hair was an instant magnet. One day I was late, a classmate approached me after class and said: “We get nervous when you are late. You drop such pearls of wisdom every time you speak.” I just melted. All of my fear and angst floated away—even my fear of Blackboard!

As the weeks rolled by, I adapted to the pace of learning. I always felt behind in the reading until I relearned how to read research articles again after forty years. My questions got better and the angst subsided. I went from drowning to floating to swimming through the material by the last week of classes.

The professors treated me like living history. Rich Rubenstein, who wrote books on urban unrest, saw me as a valuable oral historian as I described the nights I watched Watts burn from my back porch. Many times, he would say: “You guys won’t remember this because you weren’t born, but Tamara does!” We would then go into an enchanting dialogue about James Baldwin, the Black Panthers in Los Angeles, and the gentrification occurring in Watts and Crenshaw. The class sat in wide eyed wonder.

Tehema Lopez Bunyasi gave me the honorable title of “The Forest Gump of the Class.” I wear it proudly as someone who has lived a full and adventurous life: teaching poetry in a minimum men’s prison, living in a German village for seven years (no military), traveling with female ex-gang members as they taught courses in nontraditional careers for displaced and battered women, to teaching public speaking skills for the Obama White House.

The icing on the cake:

I was humbled when my name was called to receive the James H. Laue Scholarship Endowment. Dr. Laue was a founder of the field of conflict analysis. He stood on the balcony with Dr. King that awful day in April 1968. The recognition fueled my passion to contribute to the field and continue being a speaker on conflict analysis and resolution.

This whole experience remains magical. I am not wondering what I will do when I grow up and graduate. I am basking in the joy of learning and being without the pressure of what’s next?

As the new school year approaches, I look forward to empowering experiences with Blackboard.

Expert Panel Provides Tools for Successfully Navigating Race in the Workplace at Local Conference May 15-16

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The “3D Global Coaching Summit: Dimensions of Diversity Dynamics” Offers Open Discussion and Workshop for HR Representatives, Managers and Business Professionals Alike

WHAT: It’s no secret that race is a confusing and difficult topic for most to discuss and address in the workplace. Award-winning leadership and diversity speaker, Tamara Hamilton of Audacious Coaching, LLC will be creating a safe place to talk about race May 15-16 at the 3D Global Coaching Summit: Dimensions of Diversity Dynamics. The two-day event, led by Hamilton and a panel of experts in this arena, will equip working professionals at all levels – as well as other community members – with a better awareness of the invisible nuances that go unnoticed by the many socio-cultural groups which make up our country’s very diverse melting pot.

Chair of Health and Wellness for the Coalition for Change, Arthuretta Martin and MBTI specialist, Dr. Dennis Slaughter, join Hamilton to lead a case study in tandem with breakout sessions to challenge participants to stand in their own power. Attendees will walk away feeling empowered and confident to employ these newly learned tactics to discuss topics of race with their colleagues, families and friends. Guests attending the event can also receive ICF credit and SHRM recertification credit.

WHO: 3D Global Summit produced by Audacious Coaching, LLC

WHEN: Monday, May 15: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.   

Tuesday, May 16: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m

WHERE: Embassy Suites Dulles Airport – 13341 Woodland Park Drive, Herndon, VA 20171

3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton board room Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

Conference Room Embassy Suites Herndon, Virginia

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Reserve your room for 3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton board room Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

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Spring 2017 3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton board room Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

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Arrive early for the May 15-16 2017 3-d Global Coaching Framework with Tamara Hamilton board room Embassy Suites Herndon, VA

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MORE: Founded in 2012 by Tamara Hamilton, Audacious Coaching, LLC helps organizations address issues of diversity, bullying, and macro-aggression, which many see as the new face of racism. Helping workplaces be safe places, Tamara Hamilton uses inspiration, humor and story telling to help facilitate tough conversations and discuss the un-discussable. The full 3D Global Coaching Summit details and schedule can be found here.

MEDIA Elizabeth Ackerman

CONTACT: Decibel Blue Creative Marketing & PR

Cell: (360) 927-6712 | Office: (480) 894-2583

elizabeth@decibelblue.com

3D Global Coaching Summit: Dimensions of Diversity Dynamics

3-d Global Coaching Summit Dimensions in Diversity

3D Global Coaching Summit: Dimensions of Diversity Dynamics May 15-16, 2017

Its Inaugural run will be during International Coaching Week: May 15-16, 2017.

The first day, Monday is from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. We reconvene for a group dinner at 5:30 pm and an experiential RaceLab session from 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm. RaceLab is required to participate. This is not to be missed!

Tuesday, May 16 runs from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, includes facilitation practice and closing luncheon.

The entire session is 12 contact hours. Coaches can receive ICF credits and human resource professionals can receive SHRM recertification credit.

This is a deep dive into the foundations of race theory, policies, practices, and conflict, and how it shows up in today’s workplace and institutions. Such a foundation will equip participants — especially coaches, HR professionals, therapists, counselors, organizers, educators, leaders, and consultants with a deep awareness of how to talk about race and differences. Participants will learn how to facilitate conversations in this sensitive area and recognize nuances readily grasped by people of color that may elude those from the dominant socio-cultural frames of reference.

  • This groundbreaking session is built upon adult learning theory, organization development, applied behavioral science, leadership coaching, inclusion challenges, and the dimensions of diversity dynamics.
  • In a safe and intensive learning environment, participants will engage in experiential RaceLab activities to expand points of view and to raise awareness of why coaches and human resource professionals sometimes stumble and fumble through conversations and interventions on race and implicit bias.
  • Practice sessions on coaching across lines of racial differences will be demonstrated.
  • Pre-work is required to maximize learning and application of frameworks.
  • Sessions will be in Reston in a location within a short walk of Embassy Suites. Monday night will be an extended day with a group dinner in the Reston Town Center.

RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY

Monday, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm

Program from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm. • Diversity Reception 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm • RaceLab at from 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Registration: Building the Community
  • Setting the Context–Race, Racism, Ethnicity, Immigration: Foundations of Difference
  • Talking about Race in Safe Space
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon Breakout sessions
  • Group dinner: Reston Town Center (Transportation included)
  • Experiential RaceLab session from 8:30 pm to 10:00  pm.  (RaceLab is required to participate. During this segment, participants will experience the impact of race and difference in an innovative game format followed by facilitated small group authentic conversations.)  This is not to be missed!

Tuesday, May 16  9:00 am to 2:00 pm

  • Registration
  • Breakout sessions
  • Closing luncheon

Registration for the Fall 2017, Winter/Spring 2018 sessions will be $2500 and 2.5 days.

The inaugural session is discounted at $995.00 and includes a wealth of take-away resources that can be used immediately.

Registration is capped at 30.

The event will be held at Embassy Suites, Herndon, Virginia
Quick and Easy Reservations for Attendees

RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY!

Learning facilitators are:

Dr. Dennis Slaughter, Harvard Negotiation Program and MBTI Specialist, Milton, MA

Arthuretta Martin, M.S. CFCM, DTM, Trainer, Washington D.C. Metro Area

Guest presenters:

Guest presenters will be pioneers in the early entry of African Americans into corporate management which occurred in the mid-seventies and early eighties. They will share personal stories.

Tamara S. Hamilton, Leadership and Diversity Coach

(Facilitators subject to be expanded depending on enrollment)

RESERVE YOUR SPACE BEFORE APRIL 1, 2017!

Bridging Troubled Waters Through Diversity and Inclusion

Bridging troubled waters diversity and inclusion speaker tamara hamilton

As a professional speaker on diversity and inclusion I am moved to speak.

America needs a group hug right about now. Corporate and universal diversity and inclusion can not be reduced to lip service. With a splintered America becoming a part of a new reality, someone has to step up and offer solutions for bridging troubled waters. I am stepping up and equipped to serve our nation to deal with some tough stuff. Seeing today’s youth with fire in their bellies jolts me back to six hot August nights in 1965 when I was an eyewitness to the Watts Rebellion.

As a thirteen-year-old girl, I saw Watts burn as I stood in my backyard feeling unsafe. As I watch the news this week, I am jolted back to a feeling of fear and hopelessness that engulfed my friends and me. I wondered what would happen to my home, to my life, as embers from the fire floated in front of my face. We lived on 89th and Compton Avenue, and the downtown blocks of Watts on 103rd Street, were lit up like fireworks. Orange, red and yellow flames streaked across the night sky.

The events of 1965 shaped my future.

Those events led me to study race relations and to major in Black Studies at Scripps College. I dove so deep that I spent a semester of my senior year with the Experiment in International Living, studying and working in Ghana. I wanted an international perspective. I found that in a masters’ program in African Studies at Howard University. Little did I know I was being equipped for today.

Over years I facilitated work groups that grappled with race and gender issues. Sensitivity workshops helped educators and students to reach each other’s’ hearts and minds across racial and cultural fault lines. Studying communications management at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California, helped me to develop the language and frameworks for purposeful dialogue.

My unique capacity to engage opposing forces led to the appointment of the Executive Counsel for Leadership and Career Development at the National Education Association. Designing and implementing employee morale initiatives became the focal point of my work.

The fires of Watts still burned inside of me. I am now channeling this burning desire to help figure out this race thing, the what and why, the impact.

Today, I know my purpose in life. I am equipped for the times we are experiencing today.

As a professional speaker and executive coach, I have fire in my belly to help people find their path across the deepening racial divide, especially our students. Today, I help organizations to address issues of diversity and inclusion as well as bullying, and macroaggression, which many see as the new face of racism. I try to help workplaces be safe places by facilitating tough conversations, to discuss the undiscussables. Perhaps the fires came to me early in life so that I would be unafraid to help build a bridge over turbulent waters, to intervene into tough situations, to help those in conflict see “the other.”

We are now swimming in new waters that will call on us to find those islands of grace, to reach across the pond. The key is for us not to drown but to figure out how to wade to safer ground. As I watch Latino, Asian, White, Black, and Native American middle schoolers march through the streets of San Francisco seeking “help,” the fires are burning now in their souls. They will need to swim harder and faster to safer shore.

I want to be lifeguard for them, workplaces, and for our future. Please reach out to me if I can assist your organization, group, corporation, or school to emerge through the often murky waters of diversity and inclusion.