5 Years of Adventure – A New Chapter

Hi Everyone!

I feel like I JUST wrote one of these for our three-year, and again for our one-year. Guess what? We are now officially one of the few businesses that make it to FIVE years!

Looking back on the last five years is both exciting and a little sad. Exciting: We’ve done so much. We’ve reached over 25,000 students (and that was at the beginning of 2017!) we’ve expanded to additional locations, added classes, added teachers and friends and partners, worked with incredible clients, started a video series and just started prototyping activity cards. A little sad: We’ve had to pull classes for lower enrollment, we’ve held off on our LA location, we’ve lost a few great teachers and staff to other projects, pulled back from a video series and played a bit too safe with some risk.

If you tiptoe around something, nothing is going to happen. To get change, you gotta make it.

So here we are. Five years in and we’re making some big changes. I was actually really nervous about this – yet was thinking about it for almost a year now. I think that makes this a good change, one that we are ready for.

The Engaging Educator is going to focus on women.

We’ve been woman-owned and operated for years. This year, we debuted an Improv and Communication Skills for Women class, started offering free and low-cost improv workshops for women-centric organizations and groups. Both were and are great. Both aren’t enough.

For those of you who know me, I’m pretty hard-core about women-empowerment. I get really upset when people are anything but neutral or supportive towards women. I get even more upset with girl-on-girl crime – those moments when another woman is mean or rude because of an innate jealousy, or rude for rude’s sake, or those people who ‘are just like that’. It’s not an excuse. None of it is.

I’ve been part of both. I had a partner that made me feel so insignificant by saying I wasn’t funny, that his company’s name was contribution enough in our collaboration. I’ve had people at my coworking space ask me if I was an intern. I still get people thinking my husband is very involved in the business (Not-so-secret-secret: he’s not). I’ve had things mansplained. I also have had females in my life who never once asked how EE was going, all but ignore it and when something good happens and I share to celebrate? Glossed over or ignored.

This is a ‘we can do better’ decision. I know we can offer amazing programs that can help people speak up, find their voice, be a better presenter, communicate effectively, connect like a boss – I know we can lift women up. We have to not only develop these skills in presentation, communication, and social skills, we need to be brave enough to show them. We need to embrace the idea that another woman’s success won’t take away our own. The pie isn’t finite – and we are stronger together. We need to level-up our connection to women-empowerment.

So what does this all mean?

Well, starting in January 2018, all of our public classes that are offered through The Engaging Educator will be women-centric. Our partner classes through The Brooklyn Brainery, Input Lofts and Be Social Change will remain co-ed – and they will also offer women-centric classes. Our private classes will be available as women-centric and co-ed.

What this looks like:

Class adjustments:
Improv and Communication for Women
Presentation Skills for Women
Storytelling for Women
Speak Up for Women
3-Week Improv for Women
Working Out Your Wants (And How To Get Them!)

ALSO! Some New Ideas Coming in 2018:
Interview Skills for Women: Talk the Talk
Networking and Small Talk: Find Your Voice
Be a Badass: Confidence Builder Workshop
Managing Your Team: Women in Leadership Roles
Giving a TED
Learning to be UNhumble: Stop Playing Small

Free Workshops for At-Risk Women and Teens
Free Workshops for Teen Girls
Coaching for Female Entrepreneurs + Side Hustlers
Coaching for Female Progressive Candidates for Office
Coaching for Job Seekers

In the next few months, you’ll see website changes to reflect these new adventures. I am so incredibly excited and grateful for everything and everyone that’s been a part of EE for these past five years. Thanks to the supporters that have continued to lift us up and move us forward. Thanks to the people that broke us down and let us fail forward. Thanks to those with us, those with us in spirit and those who have gone on to other adventures.

In reflecting on this potential decision, I was so worried about losing business. What happens to all the guys who take a class with us? Guys, we love you.

The potential for success and positive change outweigh my concern for failure.

And I gotta remember: Follow the fear.


How Do You Greet Conflict? Our Series

Video series time! How do you greet conflict in your life? Do you avoid it, greet it head on, connect with it? We’re thinking all about conflict in this three-part series and how we can be better in situations that aren’t very fun – unless you are a drama queen. First, we’re going to think about what kind of person we are when we have a moment of conflict in life. Really ask yourself, ‘Self, how do I deal with conflict?’ Now, we aren’t talking about the knock-down, drag-out fights – we’re thinking about the level we have on a semi-regular basis. Everything from disagreements to misunderstandings, how do you connect?

In improv, we can watch and witness first hand HOW people react in conflict. In improv, we can assess and redo situations. In real life? We aren’t able to ‘redo’ things. Reflection is key if we really want to change and grow.

In part two, we’re exploring some different conflict styles – are you confrontational? Do you thrive on drama? Are you a victim queen?

Finally, with part three, we’re thinking about what next. How do you handle the ‘next’ in your conflict style? How can you resolve a difference with a simple Yes, And?

Managing Expectations: Don’t Be Disappointed

Have your expectations not been met? Disappointed a lot? Maybe you aren’t managing or being clear with your expectations. This isn’t about unrealistic expectations – this is about being clear and concise regarding your expectations and communicating this information to the people that you are talking to or expecting things from. We can’t be expected to be mind readers! What ends up happening – miscommunications and errors because of a lack of clarity! Don’t just take our word for it – sit back, relax and let us know what you think!

Be Yourself: Part Three, Make the Choice, Make it Happen

BE YOURSELF! Welcome back for Part Three of Be Yourself: Make the Choice, Make it Happen! You’ve gone through parts one and two, you figured out your three things and you’ve paid attention to the ‘self’ you’ve been putting out there – now what? You have to make the choice to see if you want to work on the self that goes out there, or do you want to keep on keeping on. It’s up to YOU – if you want to put on another persona while you are talking to people, that’s your choice. If you want to start and continue to bring out your best self, start here. As always, sit back, enjoy, and let us know if you have any comments or questions!

Be Yourself: Part Two, Examining What You Put Out

BE YOURSELF! We’re back again with part two of our Be Yourself series – what aspects of you are YOU? We know that you are made up of a million wonderful things – what are the three traits that really make up who you are? And are those things you share with the outside world, or are you hiding things because people might misinterpret it, or you need to be seen in a certain way? We’re thinking about bringing that best self – so sit back, relax and enjoy! Let us know if you have any questions or comments for next week!

Be Yourself: Part One, Discovering Who You Are

Welcome back to another video, and today we’re working on figuring out who we are. Do you behave the same with your friends and your coworkers? Are you having a hard time with the phrase, ‘Be Yourself’? So often we’re told to be ourselves with no way to completely figure out who we are! In this three-part series, we’re going to think about our self-awareness in developing who we are and who we want to be, as well as figuring out that line between how we are perceived and what we put out into the world. As always, please share and send this along to friends and family, and be sure to send us any questions or comments you might have about our video series!

Acing the Interview: Part Three, Reflection + Growth

You did it – did you? Maybe you got the job or the next interview – and maybe you didn’t. Best thing to do now is to reflect on what happened – both how you felt and how you could grow. We tend to skip the reflection part of experiences, and that’s actually the most important part! Nothing matters if you are shooting scatter-shot into the wind. Check out our tips for reflection, and let us know if you have questions!

Interview Skills: Part One

We’re thinking about interview skills in this week’s video with The Engaging Educator #YesAndTube. This is the first of a three part series on interviewing – this week, our focus is on BEFORE the interview.

Have you gone into an interview thinking that your prep started and stopped with looking at the company, or maybe refreshing your resume, or finding something interesting the company is doing? You need to not only warm up your voice before interviews, you should practice answering some of the traditional interview questions that come up! Big pro-tip: The question of greatest strengths and weaknesses is a doozy if you don’t prepare. First, figure out your three strengths and three weaknesses. Then, think about how you can spin your weaknesses into a strength. For example, if a weakness is that you take things personally, the spin could be you care so much about your work and the outcomes of it that you sometimes take things personally, and are working on that balance.

A few questions to think about prior to interviews:
Why do you want this job?
What is this company doing that is exciting or interesting to you?
Why you? Don’t talk about your competition, you are the amazing one – why are you the best for this job?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
How can you spin your weaknesses into strengths?
How does your experience make you the best for this job?
Why do you care?

When you’ve thought about and practiced these answers, also be sure to warm up before your interview! Do some tongue-twisters in the car, call a friend just to talk and warm up your voice, and really think about the words coming out of your mouth!

Do you have any interview tips that work for you? Let us know, and enjoy our micro-tips in this week’s video!

Public Speaking Focus: Breathing Part Two with #YesAndTube

Public speaking need some work? We’ve got you covered! This week, we’re on Part Two of our Breathing Series. So often, we’re not paying attention to our bodies and truly checking in to see what’s happening and how we can be better speaker simply through breathing in a healthy way. If you’ve been thinking about your audience, you should be starting with thinking about yourself! Your personal development plan and public speaking skills can only get stronger if you tap into the power of your voice and develop your self-awareness. Enjoy this continuation of our breathing series where we think further about where our breath support comes from and how to use and strengthen what we have. Miss part one? Check it out here!