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CY Wakeman
Business Speakers, Keynote, Professional Development

Speaker Spotlight: Cy Wakeman’s Secret Weapon Helps Leaders Find Greatness

Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, New York Times bestselling author and Global Guru’s 2023 World’s #1 Leadership Guru, recognized for her reality-based approach to leadership.

Backed by over 25 years of unparalleled experience partnering with top brands spanning all industries, Wakeman’s philosophy offers a modern approach to leadership development in which employees and managers alike can deliver better results with less drama, higher engagement without entitlement and more happiness in even the most challenging workplace realities. 

Leading with compassion

From a young age, it was obvious to Wakeman that suffering was optional and so often self-imposed, and she felt a strong calling to help people understand how their minds work so they would be played by their own egos less. She believes that if only people could stop believing everything they think and instead meet those thoughts with inquiry, we all could find the peace we’re seeking. Her heart’s passion is helping others by teaching what she feels is simple and true.  

Friends and colleagues alike describe Wakeman as a unique mix of adventurous, kind, generous and introverted—a homebody who loves to travel the world and take on incredible challenges. At work she’s an innovator, disrupter and soother of minds who mentors and develops others. She approaches every day and task—both personal and professional—with an open mind and heart full of curiosity and compassion.

The goal of building a business with sustainable value based on her research and content to continue serving clients long after she’s gone governs every aspect of Wakeman’s life. She constantly strives to prepare future generations for success as she plans her next contributions to society. Above all, Wakeman wants people in her life to feel well-loved and to know they are enough and are supported whole-heartedly at all times.    

Empowering leaders in the workplace

Wakeman knows a leader can’t take others where they haven’t gone themselves in evolutionary terms. You can lead people whose jobs you may not know but you cannot lead people with a self you do not know. She lives by the rules that it’s vital for leaders to do their evolutionary inner work and applies that principle to her everyday life as well. Through her work as a dubbed “secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace and the world place,” Wakeman empowers leaders to love their teams up while calling them up to greatness.

With her keen insight that modern leaders manage the energy of people not the work of people, she’s helped hundreds of clients who want to focus on their circumstances and put energy into why they can’t succeed in the given circumstances, showing them the key is focusing energy on how we could achieve the desired results.  

Deeply passionate about balancing engagement and accountability in the workplace, focusing on how engagement without accountability creates entitlement and accountability without engagement creates hardship, Wakeman is committed to promoting her clients’ evolution. An ardent champion for individual evolution, Wakeman focuses on people’s personal development so they can move through messy parts of life with lots of love and skill.

Creating a powerhouse brand

Wakeman’s Reality-Based Leadership newsletter, which often goes viral within organizations, reaches over 30,000 raving fans who discuss and apply her modern leadership techniques each and every week with their teams. Her client list includes Google, Meta, Viacom, NBC Universal, Keurig Dr. Pepper, NASA, Pfizer, CVS, Johns Hopkins, Stanford Medicine, Bank of America, among others.

As a highly sought-after conference headliner, Wakeman holds a certified speaking professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association, and her avid fanbase online has surpassed 250,000 followers. 

She has published four best-selling books, the latest of which is Life’s Messy, Live Happy: Things Don’t Have to Be Perfect for You to Be Content. Wakeman shares her latest leadership insights on the Reality-Based Leadership podcast, where she offers practical ways to modernize how leaders evolve their teams beyond the challenges they face

Some of Wakeman’s most memorable and proud career milestones include handpicking and mentoring a team of professionals that have grown into known experts in the leadership field and her research and work in questioning conventional wisdom in HR and leadership, helping many to rethink how we do business and redesigning the world of work. 

Wakeman has also created a business model that moved her organization beyond the “hustle culture” to an emphasis on valuing well-being and the ability to produce record results with a small staff while team members still enjoy their lives and each other.

These days, Wakeman lives happily on the beach in the beautiful and magical Baja—Baja California Sur in Mexico.  A mom to four adult sons and two incredible women who joined her family, she’s also an avid hiker and a lover of poetry. She rarely passes up the chance to go sailing, snorkeling or scuba diving. Wakeman and her family have summited Kilimanjaro, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and she’s currently training for an ascent to Everest Base Camp.  

Learn more about Wakeman and the topics she speaks on, see clips of her former speaking engagements and inquire about booking her for your next event by visiting her speaker info page.

dreamy brunette woman holding ipad

Speak Up and Stand Out: 5 Personal Brand Examples for Speakers

Between social media and the internet, it’s easier than ever to connect with others. But with access to so many people, how do you set yourself apart from others, especially as a speaker. Enter—the personal brand.

A personal brand or personal brand statement is a short description that highlights your particular skills, experience and personality. You use it as a way to differentiate yourself from other speakers while showing potential clients what you have to offer.

Let’s dive into the art of personal branding by analyzing personal branding examples from five well-known speakers.

Personal branding for speakers: What is it?

Before we look at personal brand statement examples, it’s helpful to understand what it is and why you need one.

Essentially, a personal brand statement is a public pitch that lets other people know who you are, what you do, why you do it and why you’re the best option to do it. As a speaker, a personal brand helps establish you as an expert in your industry or on your speaking topic.

In many ways, a personal brand statement is kind of like an extremely short version of your resume. It shows potential clients or collaborators your experience and skills.

But unlike a resume, a personal brand is all about showing off your unique personality in addition to that experience and skill set.

Why do you need a personal brand as a speaker?

Speakers need to have a strong personal brand if they hope to have success as a professional speaker. Your personal brand makes it easier for the right clients to find you. When you’re connected with the right audience, your speech becomes more impactful.

Additionally, a captive and invigorated audience is more likely to recommend you to their network for future speaking engagements.

3 benefits of personal branding for speakers

There are three main benefits to personal branding for speakers:

Memorability matters

A strong personal brand creates a lasting impression for your audience. Using a distinct brand is the first step to helping listeners remember your message long after your presentation. If you’re memorable, it’s more likely that event organizers and attendees will recall your expertise and unique style.

Unlock opportunities that fit your passions

You want to speak to audiences that share your passions and excitement for a topic. A vegetarian speaker, for example, might not be the best option to deliver the keynote at a beef industry event.

Your personal brand can help you find and connect with the right audiences. You can infuse personality and passion into your branding statement to show off who you are and who you like to work with. In turn, potential clients who see your brand will know right away if you’d be a good fit for their event.

Build trust and credibility with audiences

A consistent and authentic personal brand fosters trust and credibility among your audience. When people recognize your brand and associate it with reliable expertise, they are more likely to engage with your content, recommend you to others and view you as a trusted authority in your field.

How to build a personal brand

In a speaking career, crafting a unique personal brand is vital for making a lasting impact. Creating your brand includes showcasing your expertise and personality to stand out from other speakers. Let’s look at the best way to build your brand.

1. Decide on the tone and purpose of your brand

Defining the tone and purpose of your brand is essential to success as a speaker. The tone you set for your brand helps you find and resonate with potential clients and audiences. Meanwhile, the purpose of your brand can help you create speeches that serve lasting impact.

2. Write a brand statement

Your personal brand statement is generally one or two sentences that describe your brand. You should aim to include your experience, who you speak to and your personality, including values or beliefs.

3. Use your branding consistently

A good brand can become an unrecognizable brand if you don’t stick to your branding. Using different tones, color schemes or messages across marketing materials or speeches could leave you with an unremarkable brand.

Instead, plan to keep your branding consistent across all channels. For example, if you use the color blue and green on your website, stick to those colors on social media posts and in your on-stage marketing.

Best practices when establishing your personal brand

It might feel a little difficult to create a personal brand from scratch. Luckily, there are a few best practices you can follow when designing your brand.

Your personal speaker brand should highlight your:

  • Unique story and point of view: What set you on the path to becoming a speaker or got you where you are in your career or life?
  • Skills: What skills do you have that make you the right speaker for your topic?
  • Values and passions: Why do you speak on the topics you do? What do you stand for?
  • Authenticity and personality: Let people see who you are!

Personal brand examples from 5 top motivational speakers

Still need some inspiration for your personal brand? We gathered personal branding examples from these five speakers to show how to make a brand that resonates with audiences.

1. Anthony O’Neal

Anthony O’Neal is a financial motivational speaker who helps audiences get out of debt and build wealth. His brand is all about being a family and team. Additionally, he regularly references his faith to help him connect with like-minded audiences.

When you go to his website, the first thing you see is a tagline: Calling all wealth builders: Welcome home! This immediately puts O’Neal on your team as a mentor and supporter.

2. Michelle Poler

Michelle Poler uses humor to help audiences let go of fear and embrace growth. When you visit her website or social profiles, you’re hit with two things: movement and bright colors. All of Poler’s photos and stills from her videos show her in movement, which underscores her message of letting go of the known and jumping into the unknown. In addition, her bright color scheme encourages audiences to be authentic and bold.

3. Kevin Karschnik

Where many motivational speakers use bold color schemes and expressive language, Kevin Karschnik takes a different approach. Karschnik’s brand shows off a clean, professional look and gets right to the point: Kevin will help inspire audiences to meet their potential with actionable steps they can use right away.

Focusing on how audiences can use his methods right away helps set Karschnik apart from other speakers, especially because he specializes in speaking to corporate or leadership audiences.

4. Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden’s tagline and personal brand statement is: “New York Times bestselling author and Hall of Fame Speaker Rory Vaden helps small business owners to grow their reputation and their revenue.”

As far as personal branding examples go, Vaden nails it. This short and to-the-point description tells you everything you need to know about Vaden as a speaker:

  • He’s got experience and the credentials to back it up.
  • He works with small-business owners.
  • He helps his audience increase their brand reach and their profits.

5. Nataly Kogan

Motivational speaker Nataly Kogan’s brand is bright, loud and positive. The first line of her website encourages readers that they’re awesome humans who don’t need to struggle or “tough it out.” Right away when you see Kogan’s branding, you know her speeches will be positive, uplighting and lighthearted.

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