We know the process to select a speaker can sometimes be arduous and time-consuming. There are a lot of speakers to choose from. How do you know when you have done enough research to select a speaker?
We sat down with Amy Florian to ask her a few questions about her programs, what motivates her and to get to know her a little better.
We have found that the more you can learn about a speaker, the more it becomes a partnership, and the more you get the outcome you are looking for.
This is why we started the RMA Speaker Spotlight.
1. Tell me about your topic
I teach about all the things that usually make people very uncomfortable because we don’t talk about them in our society. I am an expert in death, loss, grief, aging, and transition. My goal is to take these awkward, uncomfortable times and make them life-giving experiences, to ease the pain and promote support and healing for everyone involved.
2. Why is it so important?
This is critical because we are never taught what to do when there’s a death, divorce, life-limiting diagnosis, dementia, or any of life’s tough transitions. The result? We are not prepared for them. We end up picking up what others have always said or done in these situations and perpetuating the mistakes. In fact, many people assume they are very good at supporting grievers during these times, but that’s only because they don’t know any better. People come away from my sessions with a fresh perspective, concrete language and skills, and the inspiration they need to put them into practice in their own lives.
3. What motivates you to do what you do?
I love what I do. I help people heal and teach them how to help those they love or work with to do the same. I make a difference in businesses and professional contexts, but I also make a difference where it really counts – in families, lives, and relationships. I get to inspire, provide hope, and show a path forward out of the darkness of life’s most challenging moments. Afterwards, the feedback is incredibly gratifying. I make a positive impact on everyone there, and that impact expands outward like ripples in a pond to places I will never know. Overall, I live a very meaningful life!
4. Why did you choose the profession of becoming a keynote speaker?
I didn’t choose the profession of becoming a keynote speaker. I combined my deep passion for inspiring people and helping them heal with my advanced education in my field and the experience of working with over 2000 grieving people. I developed training sessions and workshops that inform, challenge and equip the audience. As groups and individuals heard my teaching, they went back to other organizations and groups and requested that I be brought in there as well. My work exploded organically, and I am now in great demand as a teacher and keynote presenter. In other words, I did not set out to be a “keynote speaker.” I set out to make a difference, and that resulted in keynotes.
5. What is most important to you when it comes to speaking to an audience?
It is most important to me to make a connection to the audience. Because of the nature of my topic, sadness will undoubtedly be generated, but I also make them laugh. I want them to leave feeling understood, hopeful, and inspired to live their lives better as a result of our time together.
6. What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?
I suppose if I had to pick one (or one stream of advice), it would be:
Let go of the externals that we focus so much attention on. Instead, focus on people, including yourself. We are all connected. We all have stories. No one is worth more than anyone else. Be an instrument of healing and love wherever you go, and your life will be rewarding and full.
7. What is your philosophy towards your work?
My philosophy in work is the same as my philosophy in my daily living. Life is short, and everything, everyone, every ability that I have is a temporary gift. While I still have life, I want to use my abilities as fully as I can, love fiercely and unconditionally, and leave the world a better place.
8. What do colleagues say is your best quality?
My heart. I teach from my heart, live from my heart, and love from my heart. I am genuine, and what you see is what you get. My passion comes across and is one of the things people remember after my sessions.
9. Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Many, many people have inspired me in my life. I draw the most inspiration, though, from people who have been through truly awful experiences or multiple losses and tragedies but have not succumbed to despair. These people believe that life is still worth living no matter what, and are determined to find a way to assimilate the loss into their lives. They taught me to create memories out of what can no longer be, and carry those memories with me for the rest of my life. The point is never to forget but to live now enriched by all that has happened and everyone we have loved.
10. How do you stay current?
I work hard to stay current. I rely on my network of colleagues and my professional organization, the Association for Death Education and Counseling. I follow the latest research in all aspects of my field. I continue to facilitate support groups, which challenges me to constantly improve and also provides fresh stories and insights for my sessions. I collect feedback after sessions and take the comments very seriously, tweaking and raising the bar on what I do.
11. What’s your favorite website and why?
Most of my internet use is for what I have to do, like purchasing things I need, or else reading the news, current research, or things that help me stay up to date and informed. However, I do check Facebook every few days because I see pictures of my family and learn more about what’s happening with them. I “friend” very few people beyond my inner circle so that when I do check my page, it’s filled with the people I truly care about.
12. What motivates you and what doesn’t?
I am a pretty self-motivating person. But in order to do what I do, I need to be conscious of self-care. I need time to myself because although I love teaching and being with people, I recharge when I am alone. I need nature – going for walks outside, swimming, gardening, etc. I need my faith and my prayer practice. I need music. I need quiet.
Then, I am motivated by seeing people who are hurting and knowing I can help. That’s what keeps me going, no matter how challenging it gets.
13. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
People always laugh when they find out that my bachelor’s degree is in dairy science! I thought I’d be on a dairy farm the rest of my life. Boy, was I wrong!
They are also surprised to know I am the third of ten children, and that I bake fabulous cinnamon rolls from scratch.
To learn more about Amy and her programs, click here. If you are interested in booking her for an upcoming event, we would be more than happy to set up a call with you and Amy to discuss how she best fits your needs.