Recap + Reflection: Keynoting in Mexico
Updated: May 13, 2020
Day one In Mexico.
I missed my flight early Tuesday morning so I ended up arriving 4 hours later than expected. But I wasn't too worried because my speech wasn’t until later in the next day. Jose Maria sent me an email with an invitation out to the Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) to speak at their annual “I AM MARKETING” Conference in Mexico. I was ecstatic to see this opportunity.
I love to travel. Getting out of my comfort zone is an important aspect of traveling.
As Zachariah Thompson put it,
"Seeing how other people live their lives undoubtedly changes the way you view your own life. With a sense of wonder, empathy, and purpose you will feel more appreciative of your own life and the opportunities that lay before you. Traveling can make you reexamine your values and lead to a powerful movement into a holistic lifestyle."
This is the second international speaking opportunity that found me and submitted the opportunity through my website.
I want to give a shout out to my good friend Aaron Noble. He’s the CEO of CymbalUX who did an incredible job for my website. He also has a non-profit where he cultivates environments and curriculum to underrepresented youth. A true leader!
This was the letter that I received from Jose Maria who’s the President of the Student council board of Marketing.
Upon arrival I was immediately welcomed with hospitality. Anything that I needed — they would help me get. After settling into my room and collecting my thoughts after a day of travel, I received a WhatsApp Message from Jose about if I wanted to go out and get Tacos with some of the other Student Council Board members.
I love to travel. One of the reasons I love to travel is because of the cultures, history, and perspectives that I am taught.
Two of my most favorite quotes about Travel:
“Broad, wholesome, and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of ones lifetime” - Mark Twain
“Traveling - It leaves you speechless, then it turns you into a storyteller.” - Ibn Battuta
This tattoo of mine in particular illustrates this. The “G” and the globe together makes a “GO” as in Go travel. While getting tacos I was taught so much about the culture and their Magico towns near big cities. I learned about their religion and how there are enough churches in the smaller town of Cholula (next to Puebla) to go to a different each every day of the year. Afterwards we took a stroll around the city. I had my own tour guides. I just sat, listened, and occasionally asked a question!
The following day was Keynote day. I had practiced my talk a few times that morning even though I had given almost the same talk a few month previously in Madrid Spain.
But I was a little nervous prior to the event! Thaddeus Rex, a popular speaker in Indianapolis and Founder of the CEO Coaching Group the iTeam, taught me that nervousness can be a tool for great speakers. It can incentivize us to do a good job and provide a valuable talk. When my brain enters the “fight” or “flight" mode — I can feel how nervousness can quickly become overwhelming if I am not intentional with my thoughts.
But I reassured myself through the validation I’ve received dozens of times previously. And within a few deep breaths -- Faith took in!
This particular Keynote of mine is titled "Embrace your Alien".
I crushed the keynote remembering my all explainer metaphors, stories, and different parts of the talk that I really wanted to emphasize. There was almost 30 minutes of Q/A with students from the audience following my talk. It was really cool and I was very impressed with the questions that were being asked.
I was awarded a few incredible gifts on stage immediately following my talk. Thank you Ana Sofia!!
The campus of Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP was beautiful. It was not more than a mile from where I was staying.
After talking with some students following my talk, I headed back to my room to get out of my suit and enjoy a very peaceful sunset. When I travel, I like to spend time to reflect on my life. I like to identify things to be grateful and acknowledge the serendipitous moments in my life.
The sunsets and staring at the Popocatépetl Volcano gave me that experience.
There is a lot of transparency in my talk. I talk openly about sexual abuse, mental health, depression, anxiety, suicide, drugs, and loneliness.
Later that night we all went out to dinner and I learned a lot more about the culture in Mexico. There are deep stigmas around sexual abuse, mental health, female empowerment, and men being open about how they feel.
Men are often expected to uphold the “Macho-man” stereotype and women are often expected to remain a house wife for their lives.
I had a lot of very brave and intelligent students come up to me and transparently share a lot of intense things that they are dealing with. It’s very hard for them because so many of them feel that they cannot talk openly. They shared how they appreciate the culture in the United States because of how much more accepting it was of mental health and abuse victims.
This showed me a lot of perspective.
I will forever be grateful of trips like these where I am finding myself in conversations of genuine authenticity and transparency. We had a lot of personal conversations about how we each might deal with something and what we’ve learned from our own circumstances. There were very healthy conversations but these conversations would be just the beginning of culture impact for them.
I’m very grateful and thankful for the relationships and friends that I am able to make during these trips! It’s these memories and stories that I collect that I believe are very important in life.
Money, business, clients, and popularity can come and go. But relationships and stories last!
Thank you to José María Saavedra Chimal – President, Vanya Ramírez Tepach – Secretary, Aarón Morales Muñoz – Treasurer, Alessandra Carballido Garza – Events coordinator, and Ana Sofía Chang de la Torre – Students coordinator.
Thank you to UDLAP and the community of Puebla for having me. I will definitely be back!
I loved my week in Mexico but I am excited to get back to my city, Indianapolis!
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