Oh my! This week’s Patient Speaker’s Workshop that was sponsored by the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA) was incredible and priceless. I hope AAFA is feeling the love today. On Monday, I blogged about hitting the road, “Patient Speaker’s Workshop Here I Come!”, Now I’m home and even more inspired about advocating for food allergy, lung health and clean healthy air issues! I learned many golden nuggets of information (see below) and as a bonus, I was able to meet Colette Martin, Lisa Giuriceo and Leti Oliver–all who I have met through the internet but not face to face!
please note: Yummy Earth Candies were served up–the perfect food allergy savvy touch!
You might already know Colette Martin of blogsite Learning to Eat Allergy-Free and author of, “Learning to Bake Allergy-Free”. Most all, Colette is an impressive lady who was ten times more brilliant than I ever imagined. I wish I lived in her community just so we could enjoy a glass of wine on the weekends. She had great feedback and ideas during the workshop as we learned together in the same breakout session–she was one of those stand out kind of gals.
Just as fun, was finally meeting Lisa Giuriceo, who worked amazingly hard on getting food allergen safe (including Gluten Free) donations to various food banks supporting the trauma caused by Hurricane Sandy. I mentioned her work in my blog, Hurricane Sandy, Kudos to Food Allergy Community. We also learned that this Sunday, December 9th, Lisa and her daughter will be on Radio Disney to raise awareness about food allergies (1560AM in NYC). If you live in the area and are up at 6am..please tune in! Leti Olivier is a food allergy Mom extraordinaire, who is a past chair of the BJ Hom Memorial Walk that I’ve seen on facebook. We got to know each other better over dinner and then during our lovely 5am shuttle ride to the airport. It was wonderful to connect with such a great woman, who was so intelligent and comes to Reno a few times a year-I can’t wait to hang out with her!
Best of all, was what I learned at this conference. My biggest take away was that to be better advocates, for anything in life, we need to be comfortable and able to tell our story. Interestingly enough, MY story, may actually be your story or someone else’s experience. I learned that what resonates to you and lights your fire for change IS your story. For example, hearing that a child died of an asthma attack in your community touched you so deeply that you are now working for clean air causes. You do not have a first hand experience of that death, but you are now committed to not seeing it happen again. Our focus was learning how to tell our story to make a difference using skills that will guide us to delivering our story authentically and effectively…to the media, groups or legislators.
The workshop was led by John Capecci of Capecci Communications and Timothy Cage of Timothy Cage Communication Training –two communication experts extraordinaire! We left the workshop with our new communications bible in hand, Living Proof-Telling Your Story to Make a Difference (Essentials Skills for Advocates and Spokespersons). I already started reading the book and it is well written, offers worksheets to help organize thoughts and has enjoyed praise from our beloved Lee Woodruff (love her books and blog–now there is a story to hear)!
I truly appreciated AAFA’s progressive belief that if advocates and staff know how to communicate their story, key messages and call to action, the impact of our hard work will be doubled. I think back to the various times I’ve testified and/or advocated and realized I could have shared my information more efficiently and with bigger impact. I feel like I’ve been let in on a secret and now I will be able to make a larger difference!
Thank you AAFA for providing me with this wonderful learning experience. I am even more inspired as we work on school access to stock epinephrine legislation and now have a better idea of how I will continue my work for clean healthy air in Nevada!!!