Interview with the co-founder and CEO of the AWE Summit Tulia Lopes
Modern leaders today recognize that lasting success happens when you align passion and knowledge, experience and inner wisdom with a higher purpose. Yet everyone has a different definition of success. What is success? The only person who can answer that question is you. Some may think success is about having a lot of money, being wealthy, having a lot of tangibles and earned degrees. Others will see it as the way you can improve and influence the life of other people. Whatever the answer might be for you, this year the AWE Summit is diving deep into the subject by calling upon some of the most powerful speakers and entrepreneurs in Switzerland to talk about the way they perceive success, driving a meaningful change in their business, in their personal lives and within the communities around them.
German Osorio Photography
We met with one of the founders of the AWE Summit, Tulia Lopes, a mentor in public speaking and leadership, to talk about women empowerment, the importance of assertive communication in today’s world and effective story telling.
Tsitaliya: How did you get the public speaking bug?
Tulia: I joined a Toastmasters club in Barcelona back in 2009. From the very first day in that club I had the feeling that I had “found my tribe”. Toastmasters gave me a profound insight on how by changing the way you communicate you can change your life. I realized that effective and assertive communication is crucial to any leader in the modern world.
I also remember my first speech, it was a mix of excitement and nervousness. I had to do the “Icebreaker” where the objective is to tell your story. It is basically an introduction. I found that an awesome experience because, while working on the speech you catch yourself reassessing your life. You start wondering what do we want people to know about us. You might be surprised suddenly how much you have achieved and what an awesome person you have become.
Later after moving to Zurich I started my own club – Top Notch Toastmasters Zurich (TNT). In the meantime I became a DTM (Distinguished Toastmasters), an award, which comprises communication and leadership. The average of people reaching such award in Europe per annum is only 2%. This award represents to me the major aspects to achieve anything we want in life: 1) clarity 2) planning 3) commitment. It also serves me as a reminder in those days of “doubts”. It is a motivator, if I did it once, I can do it again.
Tsitaliya: Why did you start the AWE Summit?
Tulia: As a public speaker and entrepreneur I have the opportunity to speak at several stages around Europe and Brazil. And, it started concerning me that I don’t see many women on stage! If women want to step up as leaders, want to promote their businesses, want to advance in their career, they have to have a voice. Nowadays it is crucial to any professional to become an assertive communicator. We passively receive an overload of information every single minute. The only messages, which will survive the noise are the ones that sound most clear. The same applies to any professional. And this was the core reason for creating the AWE Summit; a platform to “Give Voice to Women”. All speakers are female, except for the moderator who in the past three events have been male. Why? Just to give it a twist. I asked them to share with us stories about important women in their lives while introducing our speakers. It was fun!
Tsitaliya: You co-founded the AWEsummit only two years ago, but it has gone a long way and you are already so popular among women not only in Switzerland. For two years, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about making business and leading in high heels?
Tulia: First is to have clarity. There are times when you might have doubts. In such moments you should ask yourself “why” you are doing it? If your “why” still makes sense to you, you will find the necessary energy and motivation to keep going. If your “why” got lost somehow, you might have to consider doing something else.
Second is persistence. You have to constantly check and reassess your goals, make sure you are on track. It is quite easy to be distracted with the overload of information we receive. It is quite easy to feel insecure when listening about all the “successful” people out there. Being clear on your “why” will keep you focused and going.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help! Women I must say struggle on that one. We “feel” we shouldn’t ask, as mothers, as professionals or even friends. Guess what? No one knows everything. It is absolutely ok not knowing everything. When you accept that, you create space to expand your knowledge. The ones who believe they know everything, they have stopped learning, and are unbearable to be around with.
Last but not least stop trying to be perfectionist. Perfection doesn’t exist! Period! You can certainly do your best with the resources you have, and that is awesome!
German Osorio Photography
As a public speaker for more than 7 years now and a rich experience as entrepreneur, Tulia Lopes runs several trainings, coaching programs and events to help women become the confident and effective leaders they can be, and “own the stages” life might present to them.
Last May she was one of the finalists in the European-level Toastmasters speech competition in Oporto, Portugal.
The AWE Summit will take place on the 1st of October this year at the Volkshaus. Get your tickets now and save 10% from the normal price with the code: AWESummitZRH16MIH