The aim of the Own Your Strengths theme is for speakers to encourage self-confidence and to urge students to embrace their individuality. Some speakers have a personal message for students who are often at an age where they can be navigating difficult social or identity issues and trying to figure out where they fit into the world. Whether it’s about embracing their accent or ethnicity or challenging the status quo on gender expectations, this is a great talk for a speaker who wants to help students see past their identity, backgrounds or circumstances as a barrier to their potential or success.
Adwoa Aboah, Supermodel, Activist and Founder, Gurls Talk
The Supermodel, Activist and Founder of Gurls Talk, Adwoa Aboah, gave a tour of schools in the UK to speak to students about her inspiring story and provide a further opportunity for a conversation around mental health and wellbeing. Adwoa shared her personal journey with mental health and opened up about what helped her recover from a difficult period in her life. In a further workshop in partnership with Tally Fosh, a qualified psychotherapist, Adwoa and Tally encouraged students to discuss their views on emotional health and wellbeing. Students greatly enjoyed Adwoa’s talks, one student remarked, “It was a privilege to hear her journey and to continue to be encouraged to have open discussions with others, even if the topics may seem difficult to speak about.” Through her talks, Adwoa drew attention to her charity, Gurls Talk, which is a completely open platform on which anyone and everyone can share their experiences in a safe, judgement-free space.
Recommended outline for an own your strengths talk
- Share your journey so far; how has your thinking changed over time about your own identity and confidence?
- Students can feel they are starting on the back foot if they don’t fit into the imagined idea of success or the ones you see in magazines or on TV. How can they overcome this ‘imposter syndrome’?
- Have there been moments that have triggered epiphanies or realisations on this subject in your career or personal life?
- What useful advice or mentorship have you received? Was there anyone you looked up to or whom you continue to reference when you’re feeling less confident?
- What change do you want to see for the next generation when it comes to this issue?