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The psychology of story-sharing with Ian Forrester CEO of Emotional AI company, DAIVID

It was a sunny day in June when I first heard about People Like Us. I was at a trendy matcha bar in Spitafields meeting with my friends Kevani Aboagye from Word on The Curb and Abbey Wong, one of the other directors from Voice ESEA.

Kevani said “I’m speaking at this thing. It’s called People Like Us. Have you heard of it?”

“No,” we both said.

“It’s a non-profit that has ten people share stories at events,” he said. He whipped out his phone to show us their website, then turned and looked at me. “You should apply. You’d be good for it.”

I was intrigued, I said “yeah cool, I will” and me being the overly proactive person that I am, submitted my application the next day.

I didn’t think anything about it for a few months, but then one day I saw Kevani’s pictures from the event. I’d tried to get tickets but they were sold out, and it made me really want to go to the next one. I figured it must be good if everyone was going.

Spoiler alert- I was wrong. It didn’t end up being good. It ended up being life-changing.

Some more time passed when one day I got an email from Sheeraz Gulsher. I found out I’d been selected as one of the speakers for their next event at Lord’s Cricket Ground with the England x Wales Cricket Board. How did I feel? I apply for a lot of stuff, and I get some of it, but this really felt like a huge opportunity. I was excited and surprised, but mostly I was just really really happy. I imagine it was easier to see my smile from Outer Space than it was to see the Great Wall of China that day.

To kick off, Sheeraz set up a meeting with everyone. I missed the first one because I had a last-minute work emergency. Do you know what Sheerazdid? He called me personally to check in and gave me the benefit of the doubt- without ever having met me. He took the time to get to know me and my interests and set me up with a mentor he thought I would get along with.

Who was that mentor? Danielle Restivo, The Head of Internal Communications at Google Cloud for all of EMEA (Europe, The Middle East, and Africa) and a kick-ass certified Life Coach.

From the first five minutes of meeting Danielle, I knew we’d get along. We both loved poetry and Star Wars, and something about our energies just matched. In the months leading up to the event, she helped me shape my story and encouraged me to read my poetry to a crowd for the first time (which you can read here).

She was kind while being constructive, and she was creative without being distracting. She set an example for me on how to lead and mentor other people in a way that makes them feel good.