In 1993, I returned home to NYC from a trip in Ghana, West Africa and was feeling somewhat lost in the world.
I was in my 20s and looked around to find my friends moving along in their lives. They were starting to get married. They had jobs with titles. They were making money, buying homes and having babies.
I had none of these.
What I did have were many seemingly disparate interests in the performing arts and over the next years, I pursued these, creating my own career.
I landed a few dozen big television commercials including a Super Bowl spot; performed at comedy clubs around the city, including Caroline’s on Broadway; got cast in a cameo role on HBO’s Sex & The City; was picked up by David Steinberg who managed Robin Williams and Billy Crystal; and performed my own one-woman show at dozens of theaters.
It was exciting. I had traction. But I sensed there was something more.
Then, on 9/11/2001, in my apartment in lower Manhattan, I woke to the sight of smoke trailing from the World Trade Center outside my bedroom window. A few minutes later, a fireball exploded forward and then… the horrifying, slow motion mushroom-cloud implosion of both towers and life as we knew it.
Two days later, on 9/13/2001, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctor pronounced in a sterile voice that she had three months to live. His hollow tone held little compassion. Everyone in NYC was already reeling from the terror 48 hours before. We were all still in shock.
Life spiraled into a surreal dream. With ground zero smoking outside my bedroom window and my solid family structure crumbling with the imminent loss of my mother, my priorities changed immediately…and irrevocably.
Being famous was no longer as important as contributing and connecting. My Throughline shifted from being about me to being about others. And the one question I kept asking… “How can I help?”
A few weeks later, the person coordinating the National Speakers Association conference contacted me, asking if I could perform on their main platform and deliver a breakout session to help professional speakers craft and deliver outstanding performances…and get their messages out into the world. I said, “Yes.” And my life has never been the same again.
Over time, this decision has led me to speak on some of the world’s largest stages and to coach extraordinary leaders: brilliant entrepreneurs, executives at some of the world’s most recognized brands from Microsoft to Starbucks, experts creating PBS specials, New York Times best selling authors, celebrities, Hollywood film directors, professors, brain scientists, advisors and more.
And so my Throughline is to help you express your genius and guide you with some critical tools you’ll need to get your message out into the world.
The world needs you…not who you think you should be.
The insights you’re keeping hidden are the ones we want to hear.