welcome to my world
What’s Your Speaker DNA?
Sometimes the apple doesn’t
fall far from the family tree.
Why did you become a
speaker? Why are you
passionate about your
topic? Obviously, you
were blessed with the
gift of gab. So, is it
possible that DNA mapped your path in
life before you were born?
When Manny Medrano, JD, took
the main stage at the 2008 NSA
Convention in New York City, he
described an event that happened two
generations before he was born, which
became the fuel for his relentless drive
to become a top lawyer, a TV broadcaster and a professional speaker.
Adrian Davis, a business strategist
and trusted adviser for executives of
mid- to large-sized business-to-busi-
ness organizations, is another keynote
speaker who “inherited” his drive. He
shares a powerful, yet poignant, story
about one of his last conversations with
his grandmother while sitting beside her
deathbed. In this treasured moment, he
asked her about her proudest accomplishments in life. In a frail, trembling
voice, she predictably praised her children and grandchildren for developing into determined, principled and
successful adults. But then she caught
Davis off guard with some new information about her past business venture.
He listened intently as she regaled
him with a tale of a small restaurant
that she had once owned in Jamaica
that stood behind a police station. It
never grew into a big business, but
it thrived due to its loyal clientele.
Although Davis was surprised to learn
about his grandmother’s passion for
business, it was clear that he derived
his work ethic from her. It’s part of
In another example, is it a sheer
coincidence that UK speaker Sean
Weafer, known as the “Rebel in a
Business Suit,” is descended from three
rabble rousers? His family tree includes
Peter de Wafree, who was listed as a
“king’s enemy”—which was considered a good thing in Ireland; Lionel
Think of a person, living
or dead, who has greatly
influenced you, such as
a parent, grandparent,
guardian or early mentor.
Identify this person’s specific quality, skill or character trait that you admire
the most. Is there an anecdote that illustrates how
this quality permeates
his business or personal
life? If so, jot it down.
Does this specific charac-
teristic or quality relate to
your own life? If so, how?
Repeat Steps 1– 3 by iden-
tifying another influential
person in your life.
Review the information on
your worksheet. By combining the traits of these
two people, do you have
new insights about who
you are, and why and how
you do what you do?
Weave your findings into
your signature story.