We all need to find our voice, especially in uncomfortable situations — whether asking for a raise, having a difficult conversation or offering criticism.
The Chamber’s Thrive initiative treated breakfast guests to a master class in the art of communication, offering tips on public speaking, advocating for oneself and navigating difficult conversations during a panel program on May 17, 2022 at Root North Shore in Salem.
Karen Andreas, president and CEO of The Chamber, moderated a panel that featured three experts in their industries: Samanda Morales, CEO and co-founder of Ahora Inc.; Karen Nascembeni, chief operating officer for Bill Hanney’s Live Theaters, including North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly; and Janet Santa Anna, CEO and co-founder of The Resource Connection Inc.
Morales shared her experiences in gaining the confidence that has enabled her to succeed in her professional career. She encouraged guests to “articulate their passions” and “be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
She offered five principles that have assisted her on her professional journey:
1. Understand your value and your professional worth.
2. Be confident. You belong in the room and at the table.
3. Prepare yourself with the skills and expertise that add value and enable you to compete.
4. Be present and visible; network and build relationships.
5. Be kind and respectful to everyone, no matter who they are.
Nascembeni sought to take some of the fear out of public speaking by offering strategies that have served her well in her years in radio, TV and live theater. She stressed the importance of preparation and projecting personality and passion as keys for captivating an audience. Whether speaking to a handful of individuals or hundreds, Nascembeni said knowing your material and your audience are instrumental for being an effective speaker.
Santa Anna, who has 35 years of experience as a certified staffing professional, provided her expertise on handling difficult conversations in the workplace. First and foremost, she said, understand the purpose of the conversation and be prepared to listen. Then, she said, watch for the “Four D’s” that can derail a challenging interaction with an employee or colleague — denial, disruption, deflection and dumping on the boss. Santa Anna also stressed preparation as being integral to a successful exchange.
The panelists also discussed “Imposter Syndrome” — a phenomenon that has been gaining attention in the professional world in recent years — and ways to overcome the feelings associated with it.
Imposter Syndrome is defined as a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing Imposter Syndrome do not believe they deserve their success or luck.
Mary Anne Clancy, co-chair of the Thrive Steering Committee and senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Institution for Savings, highlighted the role of mentors in assisting individuals who lack confidence in their abilities. She said Thrive is launching a Mentorship Program that will address some of the challenges associated with the phenomenon.
Thank you to title sponsor UniCare and presenting sponsor Windover Construction for their support of the breakfast program. Thank you also to Ahora Inc. for sponsoring tickets to allow students from Salem State University’s Bertolon School of Business to attend the breakfast as our guests. And a round of appreciation to Root — a nonprofit social enterprise that helps young adults gain workforce readiness and life skills through food service training and employment — for hosting Thrive in its beautiful venue overlooking the Salem waterfront.