Meet 5 contributors from Present Yourself: The Book

There is no one right way to speak.

Hearing how others get started, develop their voices, overcome fear, and build their speaking practice is inspiring. One person’s story may resonate with you more than another’s.

This belief is a fundamental driver in so much of what we do.

It’s why we’ve created a community of speakers to connect with each other. It’s why we started our Speaker Stories event series. And, it’s why there will be over a dozen voices featured in Present Yourself: The Book.

The book contributors are a mix of the guest speakers from our 8-week Present Yourself online course and new voices from our community.

Each person will bring a different perspective to Present Yourself: The Book. They’ll focus on a specific aspect of speaking–from finding your why to handling anxiety to the importance of visibility. 

Here’s a quick introduction to 5 of those guest contributors:

Kat Vellos

Speaker, facilitator, and author of the book, We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships, Kat Vellos is a trusted expert on the power of cultivating meaningful friendships in your personal and professional life. Her writing is read in over 100 countries and she’s been interviewed by The New York Times, NPR, Communication Arts, The Good Life Project, and many more.

On why she joined Present Yourself: The Book

“I’m excited to be a part of this project because I love the work that Women Talk Design does to elevate the voices of women and nonbinary folks in design.”

On what she’s contributing

“The essay I contributed to the book is about the importance of involving your community in your process as you bring your message to the world, whether your message takes the form of a book, a talk, a workshop, or something else!”

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Sara Wachter-Boettcher is a leadership coach, author, and speaker dedicated to changing design and tech for good. She’s the CEO of Active Voice, a training and coaching company that helps content and UX professionals step into their power, speak up for justice, and build more courageous leadership practices in their organizations. She is the author of three books: Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech, Design for Real Life (with Eric Meyer), and Content Everywhere, and she’s spoken on hundreds of stages around the world. 

On why she joined Present Yourself: The Book

“I’ve been a huge fan of Women Talk Design since day one—because I know what it’s like to go to an event and not see a single person on stage who looks like me, or to be the only woman speaker in a lineup. It’s lonely and demoralizing—and we all deserve better.” 

“I am proud that Women Talk Design is both advocating for the industry to change the voices it elevates, and offering support and encouragement to such a wildly diverse set of new speakers.”

On what she’s contributing

“My contribution to Present Yourself is a topic I am deeply passionate about: talking about hard things. That might mean tackling “political” topics, like equity, and it might mean opening up about personal experiences that were difficult or even traumatic. I’ve done both—and I have never regretted it. But I have learned some things about how to do it in a way that respects my own needs, boundaries, and safety. I hope to share some of that wisdom with the world.”

Paola Mariselli

Paola Mariselli is a public speaker on topics of design, leadership, and career development. For almost 10 years, whether online or in-person, in English or Spanish, Paola has now shared knowledge with 6,000+ live audiences at 40+ events around the world. From keynotes and panels to fireside chats and Q&As, Paola draws from her unique background and extensive experience to deliver insights filled with rich storytelling and actionable takeaways.

On why she joined Present Yourself: The Book

“There’s so much power in hearing ideas, stories, and perspectives that we can all relate to and learn from. Unfortunately, we don’t hear enough voices, particularly from women and nonbinary folks. I love that this book and WTD aim to change that, and I’m excited to be a part of it!”

On what she’s contributing

“Once all the prep work is done, it’s all about the actual speaking engagement. This is when it really matters that you show up authentically and embrace your unique presence. This is what my contribution to the book centers around. I will be sharing about my own experiences being a multilingual and multicultural public speaker, key takeaways, and lessons learned.”

Margot Bloomstein

Margot Bloomstein is one of the most prominent voices in the content strategy industry. She is the author of Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge the Trust Gap and Content Strategy at Work: Real-World Stories to Strengthen Every Interactive Project. As a speaker and strategic adviser, she has worked with marketing teams in a range of organizations over the past two decades. Margot teaches in the content strategy graduate program at FH Joanneum University in Graz, Austria, and lectures around the world about brand-driven content strategy and designing for trust.

On why she joined Present Yourself: The Book

“I’m thrilled that the book brings together the experiences of so many people, so many different speakers who bring diverse perspectives to how we pitch, structure, present, and promote our talks. Good speakers use storytelling to solve their audiences’ problems. By offering such a cornucopia of anecdotes and examples, this project offers a comprehensive array of solutions to speakers’ needs.”

“By investing in a resource to help speakers share their knowledge, you’re investing in the future of our community itself.”

On what she’s contributing

“I’ll address the challenges of how to structure a talk to catch attention, hook hearts, and engage minds. Big problems every speaker needs to address.”

Meena Kothandaraman

With 30+ years of experience, Meena Kothandaraman has consulted to emphasize the strategic value and positioning of qualitative research in the design of product, space and service. Meena is fascinated by the complexity of human behavior, and integrates human stories and anecdotes into mainstream processes. She is a founding member of twig+fish, a research and strategy practice based in Boston, MA, that espouses these research beliefs. Meena is also a key Lecturer in the Bentley University Human Factors and Information Design (HFID) graduate program. She has openly shared her experience as a WOC as part of the curriculum she has constructed.

On why she joined Present Yourself: The Book

“I have been a lone WOC voice in qualitative research and want to invite the perspectives of so many that turn the box on its side to present a different angle to know information. We need more diversity in those who listen and recount stories, as well as those who share their stories.”

I meet countless people in the field of user experience who want to do more to increase the diversity of our field – some who actively are doing things to make that difference, and some who don’t know how to. If you fall into the second category – back this book, and have it be a vehicle to invite people of all backgrounds onto the stage. Use this as a way to help them build their confidence that their perspectives, however basic or advanced, are welcome!”

On what she’s contributing

My book contribution is all about identifying your “why” – and really gaining an understanding of the level in which you hope to engage your audience when you present. I speak from personal experience as I distinctly remember exactly what formed my own “why” at my first presentation.”

These are just a few of the voices from Present Yourself: The Book. We look forward to introducing you to all 12 guest contributors as we get closer to the book’s release. If you want to follow along, sign up here.

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