An inspirational day with Michelle Obama

Interview with Jessica Dumas

by Joel Parent of JPC (Joel Parent Consulting)

You recently introduced Michelle Obama at an event in Winnipeg, how did this all come about?
Original plans of Michele‘s visit was scheduled for November, at that time I would’ve been chairperson of the Winnipeg chamber and the special opportunity to introduce her would’ve been obvious as chairperson. But she came in September which meant Scott Sissons was still the chair person. But he got to introduce Barack in April, so between him and Loren Remillard our CEO, they graced me the opportunity!

How did you prepare for an event like this? Were you nervous?
I was more excited than nervous. I’ve spoke many times and really enjoy speaking in front of a crowd. Preparation for this event was different in the way that the chamber drafted the presentation and it had to be approved by Michelle‘s event crew.

I practiced the script several times because I wanted to have most of it memorized but was thankful I could bring the notes on the stage with me. With all of the practice that I’ve had speaking, my level of nervousness was real low. It was still there a tiny bit, but it was low.

Did you get a chance to personally meet Michelle? What was that like?
I got to meet Michelle twice! The first time was behind the stage, moments before we went up, and second when I got to take a photo with her at the VIP event. 

The first time was like seeing an angel, she really is larger than life, in the way that her aura and energy is strong and loving. She’s very tall and so graceful. She came toward me with her arms out for a hug and said “Hi Jessica!!” I felt like a little girl!

Were you surprised by anything Michelle said?
I wasn’t surprised, I was pleased. Her presentation was so open, so relatable, as a woman I could connect to many of the things she talked about, except for of course presidency and living in the White House. Haha. She could be a friend! And I wish every woman I know could have been there. 

What was your favorite takeaway from Mrs Obama’s comments?
I loved how she confidently expressed “I’m Michelle Obama!” In a way that “Ya, I know who I am, I am a powerful woman and you should know that too!” Something I truly believe in is that when we allow ourselves to shine in our own power, it allows others around us to shine in their own power. 

My Sweetheart often says to me “who are you?” And makes me respond, “I am Jessica Dumas.” And it always makes me shy. Hearing Michelle feel so proud saying her name so confidently makes me feel more confident to say In my own strength and power “I’m Jessica Dumas!”

Were you inspired by anything at the event? How do you plan to use that inspiration?
Michelle Obama is today’s Princess Diana. A strong beautiful woman using her platform and power for good. And yet she says she is just like everybody else. We all have the power to do good things, say good things, be a good person. And whether our platform is big or small, we have the power to do something. I plan to keep that message with me forever. 

How can people get in touch with you to use your public speaking/hosting skills?
They can go check out my public speaking service page right here.

Author: Jessica Dumas

Follow me on Twitter @ Facilitator, Indigenous Advisor

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