Outspoken turns one!


We'd like to take a moment to reflect and share some thoughts as we celebrate our first year in business. Below is a message from each of the co-founders. Thank you for your continued support and interest in our agency!

From Tori:

One of our speakers, Brian Bordainick, met with Caitie and I (Tara was in Halifax) before we officially launched a year ago and asked if we were sure we wanted to do this. If we were sure we were ready to go through the stress, the heartache, the isolation, the commitment to take the reins and the responsibility involved with owning and running your own business. Admittedly, I second guessed myself, not my team, in this moment. Not because I didn’t believe we could do it—I'd helped with a startup before. But because I knew how successful he had been and how passionate he was about his own business and how hard it was when that business had recently failed. I didn’t want to ever experience that failure and emotion.

But rather than stopping before we started, I took a deep breath and embraced that pressure and decided I couldn’t let the risk stop me from the reward. We had made the promise to be committed to each other, and I was going to help see that through. Not only because we wanted to be successful, but also because we wanted to ensure the success of our speakers—our friends and our inspirations for being in this industry (Brian included).

I would say this first year of business has flown by and I can’t believe it, but retrospectively, I absolutely can remember the seconds, minutes, hours of daily focus put into making this first year count. I couldn’t imagine what it would’ve been like 21 months ago when I left the last agency or 12 months ago when we started this one if I had decided to leave this industry. It’s molded me as an individual and I can’t thank everyone enough for pushing me and my co-founders to our limits and allowing me to be a part of this experience. I’ve been so lucky to have met some of the smartest, most impassioned, inspiring people—both before and after this agency began. And the two at the top of that list are my co-founders.

So to my co-founders, even if I don’t say it everyday, I love you. To our dear partner and friend, Dave, you’re the Bosley to our Angels and the best pain in the ass to have around. Thank you for being our biggest cheerleader. To our speakers, keep being the best version of you—you are our inspiration. And to everyone who has supported us, worked with us, and believed in us, we couldn’t have gotten through the first year without you. Thank you isn’t enough, but it’ll have to do for now.

From Tara:

In January 2015, I packed up my (rather large) apartment in Halifax, Nova Scotia and stuffed my belongings into a tiny studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  I had visited New York City for the first time back in the Fall of 2014.  I took a meeting, which turned into a job offer, and as with most of my major life decisions - I impulsively accepted.  Luckily, I had some nudging from our speaker, Dev Aujla, earlier that week.  We were discussing the idea of my moving to New York prior to any job offer, and I asked him “but what do I do with all of my stuff in Halifax?”.  His response was, “You get rid of it.  It’s just stuff.  Who cares?  Just move here!.”  So that’s what I did.  I got my TN Visa, and just moved there.  

Even from my very first day at that job, working with Tori and Caitie just felt right.  Apart from us all having similar senses of humor, our work styles and sensibilities just seemed to click.  Over time, we all realized that our personal and professional moral codes truly aligned - but, we weren’t able to adequately exercise our values within our present jobs.  And that’s how the idea of Outspoken was born.  Three best friends who wanted better for themselves, the industry and the world.  

This past year has only solidified the unshakeable bond that we share.  We fight, we talk, we laugh, we cry (I cry the most), and we have so much fun working together.  Our speakers and clients sense that we can truly be ourselves and do our best work.  We are punching above our weight class, but we are mighty and up for the challenge.  Having the legendary speaker’s agent, Dave Twombly, join our team has only made us that much stronger.  I could not be prouder of all that we’ve accomplished this past year, and of the exceptional roster of speakers that we get to represent.  I consider myself a very lucky person to work with such gifted event planners who want to boldly educate and make a difference.  And I’m most grateful that I get to wake up every morning, and work with my two best friends.  

Thank you to everyone who has been an ally, a friend, and a supporter in Outspoken’s first year.  We cherish you. 

From Caitie:

Starting a business is hard. Everyone says it, and everyone who has done it, knows it’s true. Starting a business knowing you have a mountainous challenge to overcome before you can serve your first client, may to some seem downright reckless. And finally, starting a business that involves taking on huge challenges right out of the gate, with two of your closest friends as partners, might be seen by some as the biggest risk of all. And the truth is, in many cases it is. Our relationships are the most important things we have in life, and you put those on the line when you charter into the unknown territory of starting a company.

But as we learned, and as I knew in my gut when we first started on this journey, the “trifecta” that is the co-founders of Outspoken were, are, and always will be a force to be reckoned with. When the finish line was out of view, and the challenges seemed insurmountable, our loyalty to each other and our shared dream fossilized. When one of us needed support, the others were there to give it. The individual talents and abilities that we each bring to the table are diverse and strikingly complimentary. My weaknesses are covered by my partners' strengths. But above all, it is our shared passion for what we are building, the messages we are helping to spread, and our unwavering belief in each other that makes me so proud every single day to call these two women my co-founders.

Although today marks the official first birthday of Outspoken, the path that led us to our launch date began much earlier and was, in retrospect, the best possible journey we could ask for. It enabled us to build trusted relationships in our industry and garner countless advocates for Outspoken along the way. Most importantly, it brought us together and also led us to our dear friend, Dave “Proff” Twombly, who was Outspoken’s first champion, and is now our partner and colleague.

Through the support and loyalty from our talented speakers, industry comrades, friends and, of course, our families, we found outside affirmation that we were doing the right thing. And for that we are eternally grateful. Through the support of my co-founders, Tori and Tara, and our partner, Dave, I have daily affirmation that I am doing the right thing. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Visionary Videos: Jesse Israel & The Big Quiet

Not our normal speaker video, check out new exclusive Jesse Israel's recent Big Quiet mass meditation at the World Trade Observatory in NYC and the unique experience of mindful meditation in one of the world's busiest cities and most recognizable buildings.

The Big Quiet draws entrepreneurs and meditators to group meditations at awe-inspiring spots.

Read the story: https://www.fastcompany.com/videos/list/jVdHZUiT/video/urTTys28/what-its-like-to-meditate-on-top-of-the-world-trade-center

Candid Conversations: Amanda Slavin

With a degree in education and a love for community-building, Amanda Slavin uses her knowledge and experiences for unconventional educational opportunities. As the curator of the founder of CatalystCreativ and Life is Beautiful Festival's IDEAS Series, Amanda knows how to cultivate learning experiences that both excite and inform through engaging speakers. As a speaker herself, Amanda understands the importance of sharing new ideas and engaging with audiences beyond her onstage appearances.

OA: What are you Outspoken about?

AS: I am outspoken about quite a few things! Mainly, I am outspoken about the fact that the advertising industry is shifting, and companies need to embrace and understand true engagement to connect with today’s consumer in an authentic way.  When it comes to internal shifts within the work place, I am outspoken about how work places and culture need to embrace femininity in order to thrive. 

OA: How has your recent work transformed the focus of your content when delivering a speech?

AS: I have always given talks about millennial trends and how that is impacting advertising, but it is much deeper than that regarding today’s consumer, in which we have segmented into millennials and the millennial minded (those who share similar values but are not the same age demographic as millennials).

The more work we do with brands, and test out the methodology of engagement I created during my Masters Year, the more we (at my company CatalystCreativ) see it truly working, and the more I want to share that knowledge with the world.  Since CatalystCreativ focuses on internal and external transformation in companies, I also have become more passionate about speaking about the importance of a feminine workplace and how by embracing femininity, work places can shift to be a space of vulnerability, creativity, and connection to develop more engaging experiences for employees and consumers.   

OA: How do speaking events help your growth?

AS: I have a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, and as a teacher, I absolutely love speaking to audiences.  It helps shape me because it allows for me to develop relationships with people I may not meet otherwise.  It also allows me to learn from audience members and what interests colleagues/potential clients based on their reactions and feedback.

OA: What would you like to see happen more often at events to engage with the audience?

AS: I would really love to see more openness around interactive talks and workshops.  My company CatalystCreativ has created a proprietary internal brand workshop called the Brand Acupuncturist Workshop.  This dives deep with brands to identify “pain points” and come up with solutions that optimize teams and develop creative campaigns, and these workshops provide opportunities for audience members to connect deeply with the facilitator, rather than sitting there passively.

OA: What has been one of the most fulfilling audience experiences at a speaking event and why?

AS: I absolutely loved speaking at The BizBash Event Conference about the work CatalystCreativ has done in regards to impactful experience and millennial trends, the audience was extremely engaged and so many people came up to me after and told me how much they learned from the presentation. 

OA: How can people become more involved with your work, whether that’s CatalystCreativ or your personal interests?

AS: CatalystCreativ has so much to offer when it comes to unique value propositions.  We would love to explore how to work with more brands starting with our internal service offerings and parlaying those offerings into external creative activations.  In terms of my personal interests, I absolutely love to write and facilitate workshops, moderate panels, and participate in conferences even in smaller ways than keynotes, as it allows for me to meet new people and share new ideas.

OA: If you could hear someone give a speech alive or dead, who would it be and why?

AS: Lin-Manuel Miranda.  After seeing him in Hamilton, and reading about him and his story, I am blown away by what he has been able to build for himself, his family, and how he has gone from a teacher in a classroom, to a teacher to the world. 

#ICYMI: Clint Smith for The Atlantic "The Lifelong Learning of Lifelong Inmates"

Lance leans over his desk, his round belly situating his body tightly between the wooden chair and plastic desk—both too small for someone with his girth. A collection of yellow notepad papers, their edges frayed after being torn from their original binding, wrestle alongside one another in his hands. It is a Saturday morning, and the classroom is small, and silent but for the friction of Lance’s papers and the grinding on the pen he bites out of nervous habit. His large fingers fiddle about the loose sheets, verifying that they’re in order as he mutters to himself, quietly reading his story aloud, restless in the anticipation of sharing with his classmates. Lance is often the first person to arrive in class, having rigorously prepared the entire week, perfecting his assignment so as to leave his peers impressed.

In this way, Lance is not so different from students I previously taught as a high-school teacher in Maryland. He is brimming with the sort of intellectual curiosity all teachers hope to see in their students. What is different is that this isn’t a high-school classroom: It’s a state prison in Massachusetts, and Lance is serving the 46th year of his sentence. Continue reading...

Check out more about Clint Smith and his works here.


Rave Reviews: Soon Yu at priMED

“Soon Yu recently spoke at our corporate Sales and Marketing retreat. His energy, enthusiasm, and love of business (and life) was contagious.  Soon immediately had the teams full focus and attention, something that is quite a feat with our team of opinioned and strong personalities.  He proceeded to take us through a fresh and innovative ideation session around our business, strengths, and signature moments which included a breakthrough ideation process. His ability to help our team take a step back from the day to day stress of a growing company and focus on the higher level value that we provide to our customers was refreshing and extremely insightful. I would highly recommend Soon to any business looking for a charismatic, energetic speaker who will energize your team while helping to bring clarity to the key differentiators that help to drive corporate success.”

- priMED Medical Products - January 2017