Key Takeaways from our February Chapter Event

Did you CATCH all the great takeaways from our February meeting?!

Our dynamic speaker, Dan Thurmon, CSP CPAE, current NSA President

What a meeting this was! When you have the opportunity to not only experience a great speaker in action AND get a chance to go behind the scenes to discuss the practice of being a great speaker, that is special and exactly what Dan Thurmon, CSP, CPAE, did for our February meeting. 

Ron Karr, CSP (NSA NYC and NSA National Past President) opened our meeting by celebrating and honoring those who have shown up as leaders, not only in the world but also for our NSA Chapter as Past Presidents. 

Ron Karr, CSP, hosted our meeting & celebrated our Past Presidents.

He said, “The audience only cares if it applies to them.” So how do we as speakers apply that to our approach to create impact? Well, that is what the Past Presidents did as they each shared the themes of their presidency and takeaways from their experiences. 

Connections, Raising the Bar, Fun, Community, and Collaboration were just some of the words they used to illustrate the impact the NSA NYC Chapter has on all of our daily lives. 

Ron finished with a call to be engaged: We need everyone to be part of the flavor of this organization.


NSA NYC President Sylvie Di Giusto, CSP & Dan Thurmon, CSP CPAE

Dan Thurmon – National NSA President – spoke about peak performance on the stage and in the workplace.

It has been 25 years since Dan first came to the NSA and he keeps showing up! It was a special treat for our chapter indeed. 

He started out by asking us… “Could you imagine if…?”… and then he did it: He came running onto the stage, did a couple (not just one, a couple) gymnastic flips and landed in the lap of the audience in the front row (gently of course)!

As Dan pointed out; “There is no turning back once you commit to success. I am not asking you to do flips on stage, but what are you willing to do, to be successful?”

He shared his Venn-diagram: W A C intersecting circles

  • Willingness – Whatever it takes to be successful
  • Ability – The knowledge we need to execute and reach our goals
  • Capacity – What is our bandwidth 

Like Ron, Dan reminded us that our story, our passion, and topic is only relevant if it applies to the audience perspective! It is about solving their problem, not just helping them be interested in our topic. What tools do we have to do so? It might not be flips and juggling, but we have something. 

So how do you grab the audience’s attention? Dan told us how at 12 years old, he drew a circle in the sand to create a stage at the Renaissance festival and learned how to grab the attention of the people passing by. His point: study how to engage an audience and be authentic on the stage. What is the best version of you? 

As Dan was doing his famous handstand, he reminded us that it takes effort to be a great speaker, that it is about constantly balancing and interacting with the uncertainty. 

Dan demonstrating the act of balancing!

Like his book, Off Balance On Purpose, he reminded us that balance is not what you get, it is what you DO. 

Dan had some important lessons for all of us. As a kid, he had been watching a juggler perform, all day long. When the juggler asked Dan if he wanted to learn, what Dan heard was, “You can do this!!!” And as we all saw… he knows how to do this! And he still practices every day. 1000 throws. Back to practicing people!!

He made a beautiful point of our purpose as speakers: we bridge the gap so that people can recognize the strength within themselves. He called it a transfer of ownership. 

As Dan was juggling and adding more balls, he showed us how growth is about learning a new pattern. When we add more, the objectives interact differently with each other. The pattern changes and that is what we have to constantly learn to do in life, in business, and especially in the speaking business. 

Dan demonstrated focus by juggling 5 balls!

We have to practice and notice the pattern. It doesn’t work until we struggle through the practice to make it our own. That is the difference between those who can and those who cannot. It is how many times they were willing to pick the ball back up after dropping it.

Some key points to remember: 

Focus means to keep looking up (especially when you juggle, but it applies to life and business too)

  • It is not about great catches, it is about better throws (this also applies to both juggling and business).
  • If you know what you are going for…. one goal, one dream…. Ask, how do I get there?
  • Make those actions consistent day after day after day.
  • Your calendar today is not your business today – it is what you did 6 months ago that is showing up now. 
  • Make sure you are both working in the business and on the business.
  • Put processes and strategies in place that keep you focused to reduce overwhelm.
  • If we take on more, to expand the capacity, we actually have to slow down, not speed up. It is in the spaces between our thoughts that we find the solutions.
  • Elevate our thinking to the next higher level.
  • Manage your thinking – it is how we manage our lives and businesses

Dan’s perspective that today is a special day because our lives are intersecting and he wants to give us everything he’s got, is a reminder to all of us to show up fully, open-hearted and present. 

He also gave us his 5 key components of a life Off Balance On Purpose and the foundation for a successful speaking business. 

Life is the interconnectedness of all of them.

Work: The world is constantly changing. Whatever level of success you are achieving, it is precarious, it is about always adapting. Are you asking better questions and engaging with people that you can learn from?

Relationships: Find a way to stay in touch and keep healthy relationships when being on the road a lot. Dan shared how he works with his son and exchanges messages with his family when on the road.  Great relationships don’t happen by accident – we need to communicate with the people in our lives, so they are part of our moments – even on the stage and when we are away.

Health: You cannot call in sick, so take really good care of yourself. Your health feeds into your performance, creativity and the relationships you have.  Attention to yourself elevates how you show up in the world as a speaker.

SpiritWhat are your intentions?

Passions / personal interests:  What is feeding you outside of work? 

Dan Thurmon came back after the break to share how he creates his speeches. 

He showed us his storyboard:  a fold-out storyboard with colorful sticky notes.

  • Build the structure with different colors for each: content/stories/ audience interaction, questions / your special sauce (for Dan it is his physicality) or humor/media (video, audio, pictures)

Dan taught us how to storyboard our presentations!

Be you (don’t try being Dan). Don’t be something different than you but be all of you. You are the secret sauce. To teach your content well – you have to live your content well.

Dan also shared his philosophy of infinite potential. 

You don’t run out of “human disk space” – you run out of interest, focus, energy. Your potential is infinite, and you don’t run out of being able to grow. 

Consider your daily and weekly practices and disciplines: 

  • Weekly video
  • Weekly blog
  • Are you writing and looking for content all the time?
  • Finding stories
  • What are you watching? Other speakers and TED-talks?
  • Journaling – Words are our tool – how can we get better at using language?

A few key points to end with: 

  • You cannot do your best professionally if you do not grow personally
  • Sell them what they want to buy, but give them what they desperately wish for, but would never pay for. 
  • Go deep into the heart, not just the niche.
  • Keep your reality in check – you are not the most interesting person in the room just because you are the one on the stage

Don’t limit yourself to what is comfortable, or you deny yourself what is possible. 

Thank you, Dan Thurmon!

NSA NYC Marketing Director, Jen Slaw, and Speaker Dan Thurmon juggle around NYC President Sylvie DiGiusto!

A thank you to our sponsor:

We thanked and acknowledged Brianna Ferrara, Director of Sales at Serendipity Labs. She shared with us the mission and growth of Serendipity Labs: To curate communities and create flexibility in the way we work. At the rate they are growing she reminded us that they probably have a space in one of the cities we go to when we travel, so to seek them out. 

The whole group with our Book of the Month!

The BOOK of the month was introduced by Tony Chatman, who shared his personal insight of people in high positions, who don’t take care of themselves and as a result sacrifice their health and relationships. He shared that he has made a personal and professional commitment to not end up that way and instead keep himself performance ready at all times. As Tony said; “money without health and relationships, is not success.” With that he turned it over to Marlisa Brown and her book: Getting It The F…. Together. About Fitness, Family, Fun and Finance.

The message we all need: Take care of ourselves so we have something to give.

The reminder for why we have Book Of The Month:

  • Engage with the speaker, with the book (leave an Amazon review) and share it your network

Marlisa took us through her journey and why she wrote the book and asked us to consider this:

  • When something happens that takes you off track, what do you do?
  • The stories of what happens to us – what do we do with them? 
  • She came to a point where she was wondering; how did this happen to me? And then she turned it around by using the tools, that she has used for more than 20,000 patients on herself. Now you can learn them too. 
  • As she reminded us; plan for what you want, so you can live what you dream.

We celebrated the Speaker University Grad-Students with Dean Robyn Hatcher and Assistant Dean Pauline Kehm

A big congrats to the 15 students, who completed the speaker university 2018/2019. It was a joy to see them with their certificates in hand! 


President-Elect Jay Townsend introduced Sunita Bajaj, the Managing Director of Fortis Lux

She shared her perspective: 

  • Being a sponsor for NSA is a partnership.
  • As a partner her goal is to be a resource.
  • As speakers, we are all CEO’s of our own business, what resources do we have and use to support us?

She asked us to take a moment to consider: 

  • Do you feel in control of your life and your business? 
  • Do you feel you have the resources to make the right decisions? 

And she shared a matrix that would help us take charge:

  • What is your cash-flow?
  • What are you saving for?
  • How to you organize and plan for your taxation?
  • What is in place in your life and business, if there was a catastrophe?

These questions define your business and your life:

  • What do you feel is your most important asset? The reality is… YOU. Your physical, mental and financial stability is your most important asset.
  • What do you have in place to preserve that asset? 

Fortis Lux is offering 2 complimentary workshops to NSA NYC, to go in depth on these issues and how to get the right resources to take control. Details and venue will come separately in an email so stay tuned. 

Financial insights from Sunita Bajaj of Fortis Lux, our partner.

Then Ron Karr asked Sylvie Di Giusto to take a seat… more like a hot seat! 

Ron asked Sylvie to speak about her vision when she took on the Presidency for NSA NYC for 2018-2019. 

Sylvie’s focus for a year of excellence was:

  • Financial stability; rethinking revenue sources, high ticket value programming and decreasing expenses. 
  • Member benefits.
  • Member experience.

The result you may ask? We went from 10K in profit to 90K and can now look at how to save money for unexpected expenses AND allocate the profit to member benefits and projects such as scholarships to Influence.

Sylvie in the HOT SEAT!

Sylvie also shared her experience as the President of our chapter:

The impact it had on her life?

Friends, the life-long friends she answered. 

The network of people we can reach out to as resources was most valuable for Sylvie.

How has it changed her?

The gift of trust and to give the board-members the trust of letting them run with the project and let them shine and trust that they will do what is best for the chapter and the members. 

What has she learned?

She learned how to delegate. 

She closed by saying that it was so important for her that we have each other’s backs.

She also shared that the interview process is taking place, to find the new board members for the coming year and they are focusing on putting more great content and new programming in place. 

Sylvie also shared that now that we have more money, we can outsource some of the more time-consuming tasks so that board-members don’t have to answer emails about buying tickets and not having access to pass-words, in the middle of the night. That we have to realize we are also an e-commerce site now. 

What is a final comment?

Sylvie’s parting note: “It is such an honor to serve you and this chapter and a joy to be the invisible person in the background, witnessing the success of the programming. Thankful for the opportunity to grow.”

We finished off the meeting with Ron Karr getting his Super Ron Cape. He wears it well. 

Sylvie bestowed Ron with a special gift: He’s not just Ron Karr, he’s SUPER RON!

Upcoming Event Reminders:

Video is the most important currency of this business and now we can learn more:

Video boot camp: Pro tips revealed 

Behind the scenes  April 12-14 in Atlanta GA

Sign up for INFLUENCE by Feb 25th

“Transformation” is the word this year. 


Normal price: $899 – $249 for a limited time (when 12 people sign up by March 8th)

Where we can find meeting-planners for every association among other contacts we might need to grow our business. 

Update from Andrew Tarvin on the Virtual Summit, March 23

You started speaking because you have a message to share – but to share it you need to get business – this summit will help you learn how to do just that.

It is virtual (you can keep your sweatpants on!)

It is action driven, so come prepared to learn and take action. 

Virtual Summit Updates VIRTUALLY by host Andrew Tarvin.

About the Author:

Jeanette Bronée
Performance Strategist, Culture Coach, International Keynote & TEDx Speaker, Author & Founder of Path for Life Inc.

Jeanette helps leaders and companies rethink performance by asking the Right Why™ so they can lead themselves and their people better and achieve sustainable success. She is passionate about creating a Culture of C.A.R.E.™ that integrates tech and humanity so that we can unlock what truly drives performance, engagement and motivation from the inside out.

For the past 15 years, she has coached clients and delivered speeches about how physical health and emotional, social and mental wellbeing affect our performance and prevent stress and burnout. She shows how our mindset affects our self-care habits at work and at home and believes that when we leave our humanity at the door when we go to work, we leave behind our most valuable resource for success. She incorporates her background in integrative nutrition, mindfulness and hypnotherapy as well as leadership and team-development to help people work better by working healthy. In her earlier career in the design and fashion industry, she learned how important it is that we feel safe and nourished in our work-environment, which is why a human-centered environment is essential for peak-performing teams.

Born in Denmark, she believes that a work-culture of care drives “happy performance” and investing in people’s health at work, is the most important foundation for sustainable success, both personal and organizational.

For videos:

Twitter: @jeanettebronee