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  • Writer's pictureHannah Rathke

The power of storytelling: Why Kamala Harris' speech resonated with me

This past week we’ve seen how people have been inspired by Kamala Harris’ victory speech. Social media has been flooded with her quotes and photos. I think it’s attributed to not only the magnitude of her making history as the first woman of colour to be elected into her position, but also that her message transcended political divides and spoke to the heart of who we are and the potential of who we can be as human beings.

I had anticipated seeing a lot about the election outcome on social media, however I found the response to Kamala Harris’ victory speech on LinkedIn, a platform predominantly used for professional networking and career development, particularly interesting. I observed that her speech caused a moment on LinkedIn, in which people felt compelled to speak more openly about what resonated or was meaningful to them. This has provided a glimpse into people’s stories beyond their titles. As a content strategist and business writer, I believe that it’s often stories that are memorable and what inspire action.

Kamala did this effectively in her speech. She allowed the audience to not only follow her journey to being elected Vice President but painted the picture of all who helped pave the way before her. She didn’t just share information. She shared an experience. Through story, she transported her audience into the realm of what is possible.

By effectively using story, many of us were able to relate to her messages. My takeaway was that it takes courage to forge new paths and do things people don’t expect or may not have seen from us before. On a personal level, I felt this when I stepped away from a promising corporate consulting career that I had been in for over a decade. I’m fortunate to have two healthy children, but my youngest son had a challenging start and needed more focus and care as baby. When I was ready to return to work, I made the difficult decision not to return to what I had always known. I decided to try a different path by starting my own consulting business. I know this surprised a lot of people who had anticipated I would keep pursuing the course that I was on. Looking back, I realize that going out on my own was an important part of my own story. It helped me assess my own skills, identify how I can serve others and find my own voice. One of the most rewarding things I do now is provide strategic support to help others find their voice, articulate their ideas and stories and use them in a way that will make an impact.

I’ll admit that my work constantly evolves as I learn more about my own strengths and what I can offer. One of my biggest learnings is that we can’t hold ourselves back just because the world hasn’t seen us do something before. Right now, the world needs people who courageously pursue what ignites a spark within them and feels true. We each have the power to write our own story.

So, as Kamala says, “Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction. And see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before”.


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