SPEAKING

 

There is no one kind of successful person. You can be the kind of success you want to be, and you can have a powerful career that sustains you — the real you.

Here’s the truth: success takes skill — it’s not an inherent gift. And it’s not the exclusive provenance of extroverts or the carefree.

Built on her decade of experience as a “hermit entrepreneur,” a lifelong struggle with anxiety and an inability to fit into most workplaces, over 120 interviews and graduate work on work life redesign, Morra Aarons-Mele shares skills, effective strategies, and real stories from people who’ve been there, and thrived by defining their own rules. She tackles the sometimes thorny emotions that accompany a big career, and helps audiences create a plan for success that feels great.

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Praise for Morra Aarons-Mele

Morra Aarons-Mele was one of five inspiring female entrepreneurs who contributed to our International Women’s Day Celebration. She spoke about fear and self-doubt and how women can push those feelings aside to be fearless, successful and professional. Morra’s transparency and authenticity left attendees feeling confident and inspired!
— Courtney Nagle, Verizon, International Women's Day Celebration 2018
Morra Aarons-Mele brought inspiring and highly practical life skills to the student entrepreneurs in Brown University’s Breakthrough Lab. To build a professional personal brand, she described essential concepts and tools to cultivate an intentional digital presence that lasts beyond the successes or failures of their ventures. Morra’s unique perspective on being an introvert in a realm that reveres extroverts was a welcome relief to many. She left our aspiring students empowered, but also with permission to feel comfortable in their own skin as they navigate the complex world of entrepreneurship.
— Liz Malone, Program Manager of Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University - ‎Brown University and Jason Harry PhD, Associate Professor of the Practice School of Engineering Breakthrough Lab (B-Lab)
Morra Aarons-Mele gave a powerful speech about self-confidence and what it means to be a woman working in a professional field given the barriers that are still present today. She spoke about the importance of inclusivity of all needed in order to overcome these barriers and her focus on mental health which many attendees identified as a highlight of the day. Morra did not hesitate to address the important subjects which really mattered to the audience while also serving as an inspiration for all of us to pursue our goals.
— Ayesha Ali, Co-Director of University of Toronto Rotman School of Commerce Women’s Leadership Conference 2016-2017
Thank you SO much for an excellent program last night!  We’ve heard nothing but wonderful feedback from audience members as well—they felt heard, they learned something, and they were in a room with their niche! Your book really spoke to everyone, and gave them the bias to action our attendees love. The mix of personal story and practical recommendations made for an evening that was both educational and entertaining. It felt like our favorite vibe: listening in on a nerdy cocktail party conversation between two great minds.
— Marisa Levine, Director, INFORUM at the Commonwealth Club of California
Morra’s amazing Alt Summit keynote brought many in the audience to tears (in a good way). She provided a welcome antidote to the often overwhelming “rah-rah” tales of successful entrepreneurship typically found at social media conferences, and provided attendees with practical takeaways to embrace their messy emotions, use social media their way, and become confident hermit entrepreneurs!
— Laurie Smithwick, Alt Summit


Praise for Morra Aarons-Mele’s Podcast, Hiding in the Bathroom

Tackling all the big issues, from dealing with Imposter Syndrome to how to handle a difficult boss, podcaster Morra Aarons-Mele’s revolving door of power women is a treasure trove of practical advice to help you get ahead at work, as told by some of the best in the game.
— Elle Magazine
 
 


Speaking Highlights

October 16, 2018: NPR How I Built This Summit, San Francisco

July 17, 2018: MITX InfluenceHer Week

February 27, 2018: Keynote at Alt Summit

January 17, 2018: At  92Y for a talk on How Ambitious Introverts Can Own Their Career

November 14, 2017: An Introvert's Roadmap to Getting Out There at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco: watch or listen here.

October 25, 2017: Morra at The Riveter in Seattle for An Evening Out for Ambitious Introverts, a networking event for those of us who hate networking. Tickets are available here: Riveter Tickets

October 23, 2017: Podcasting and the New Radio at Brown University

October 19, 2017: Come out to Belmont Books and see Morra discuss Hiding in the Bathroom

October 18, 2017: Join Morra Aarons-Mele and Women@Forbes for the #BossMovesBookClub to discuss Morra's new book "Hiding in the Bathroom." Panelists include Rhonesha Byng, Ashley Ford, Katherine Goldstein and Cali Yost. There will be champagne, 20% off all Rebecca Minkoff items, and books will be available for sale. You can get tickets here >> Forbes Book Club

October 5, 2017An Evening Out for Ambitious Introverts with Sacha Pfeiffer and Amy Spurling

September 27, 2017: Hiding in the Bathroom LA Book Release and Conversation

September 27, 2017: Morra is speaking at USC about her new book, Hiding in the Bathroom 

September 26, 2017: Morra will be doing a Reddit AMA

May 27, 2017: Brown University Commencement Forum on Women and Entrepreneurship. Watch here!

May 9, 2017Workshop at Mom2.0 Summit "A New Vision of Entrepreneurship."

March 4 2017: Keynote at University of Toronto Rotman Commerce Women's Leadership Symposium

February 24, 2017Branding workshop at Harvard Kennedy School

BlogHer 2017: Morra spoke on "How to Smash the Patriarchy

April 29: Morra spoke at the Mom2.0 Summit on Building Partnerships with Influencers

April 4: Morra led a workshop at Mashable NYC: "Establishing Your Personal Brand" for the 92Y Women in Power Fellowship

April 1: USC Public Diplomacy Conference

March 21: Morra discussed "The Entrepreneur Within" at the Women's Accelerator in Los Angeles. 

March 1: Branding workshop at USC's Annenberg School for graduate students in entrepreneurship and media.

October 22: Back at the Council on Foreign Relations in DC to talk about Using Social Media to Develop Your Professional Presence

June 16: Morra spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations about Using Social Media to Develop Your Professional Presence

May 30: Morra spoke in New York at Moms+Social Good with the United Nations' Charles Radcliffe on activism and parenthood in the global context

Why did Morra pause public speaking in Q1 2015? http://josephinemele.com/ ...but she'll be back!

Nov. 6: Morra taught the biannual workshop “Using Social Media to Launch Your Campaign or Organization” at Harvard Kennedy School

Oct. 12: Morra spoke at PRSA International Conference on Building Brand Affinity Through Partnerships 

July 25-26Morra celebrated "10x10" at BlogHer (watch her talk) and spoke on "How to Join a Non Profit Board"

July 10: Morra spoke at the Bridge Conference on Engaging Gen Y moms and their kids in cause marketing. 

June 11: Boston area leaders, the Mayor and Governor Patrick held "Clearing the Path," a meeting to advance Massachusetts’ Competitive Position in the global economy by closing the Gender Wage Gap &
increasing the number of Women on Boards of Directors.

May 16: Morra and her husband Nicco Mele discussed the "Promise and Perils of the Internet" at Harvard Kennedy School IdeaSpHERE

May 1-3: Morra spoke at the Mom2.0 Conference

April 24: Morra hosted "Succeeding as an Independent Consultant" career workshop at Harvard Kennedy School

April 9: Morra chaired an event at the World Bank Spring Meetings for IPPF: "The Scorecard Revisited, Monitoring and Evaluating the Reproductive Health Action Plan"

March 18: Morra presented at the #GivingTuesday Summit in DC

March 10: Morra spoke at SXSW on “Multiplatform Strategies for Making Good Happen”

March 6, 2014: Morra taught at Google for the Autism Investment Conference Entrepreneurial Bootcamp

March 5, 2014: Morra was a panelist at the Rialto Women’s Luncheon “If Women in White Aren’t in the Picture, They’re Not in the Picture”

February 27, 2014: Morra taught the biannual workshop “Using Social Media to Launch Your Campaign or Organization” at Harvard Kennedy School

 
 

SPEAKING TOPIC: An Introvert’s Guide to Surviving Networking, Social Media, and “Getting Out There”

You meet the best people hiding in the bathroom.

Do you hide in the bathroom at professional events? You’re not alone, and even better, you may be doing something great for your career.

The modern workplace is a challenge for introverts, those of us with anxiety, or anyone who needs a little more control over the place, pace and space in which they work.  Morra provides a practical and skills based guide to navigate our crazy world of "success" and overwhelming messages like

“Be fearless.”

“Network your way to the top.”

"Never eat lunch alone."

“Always say yes. “

“Just get out there!”

We’ve all heard these refrains before, and for many they induce panic. Even worse, these messages of "success" can prevent ambitious introverts from pursuing their dreams.

Morra provides an inspiring and practical roadmap for achievement-oriented people to tune out the achievement porn, redefine success on their own terms, and manage their time, energy, and pace at work.

SPEAKING TOPIC: The Hermit Entrepreneur — Why Becoming Less Successful Can Set You Free

Morra shares her journey from unhappy overachiever to hermit entrepreneur and provides a method to turn off the drive to perfection and be happy in your daily work.

“I had quit nine jobs, I wasn’t even thirty, and I cried in the bathroom almost every day. It was during my final corporate job, when, under the ubiquitous fluorescent lights, I realized I was allergic to them. They give me migraines. And as long as I had to show up and sit under those lights for ten-plus hours a day simply because I was expected to, I could never be happy.

If you’re driven and ambitious, conventional wisdom holds that you must network a lot. You must be always on. You must hustle and work 24-7. You must “get out there.” You must have a personal brand. You must put business first at all costs.

We’ve all heard these refrains before, and for many they induce panic. Even worse, these messages of success can prevent ambitious introverts from pursuing their dreams. There are too many great entrepreneurs who feel discouraged from starting their businesses because they don’t want to be “out there” all the time.

As an ambitious overachiever and extreme introvert Morra Aarons-Mele may seem like a paradox.  The office politics, hours, pace, networking, team-building, and rules of getting ahead created panic attacks, bouts of serious depression, and painful social anxiety.

And that’s why Morra decided to share her story, to inspire and commiserate with anxious introverts and to wage war against achievement porn and networking culture.

As the owner of a successful business which has worked with President Obama, Hillary Clinton, the United Nations, and many Fortune 50 companies, podcast host and author, Morra provides vital instructions for those who struggle with the  modern workplace and the managers who may be losing some of their best talent simply because they aren’t asking the right questions.

SPEAKING TOPIC: Is Your Workplace Really Diverse? Why Leaders Must Create Emotional Diversity.

Noise canceling headphones don't solve anything.

In the twenty-first century, human capital is the most valuable resource in our economy. As we recognize neurological and emotional diversity in all its forms, workplace culture needs to begin to make room for the Technicolor range of emotion. Although so much has been done (rightly) to promote diversity at work, there’s a giant hole in the understanding of how temperament and emotions play into not just our daily grind at the office, but the very trajectory of success.

Many of us work in environments where we have to sneak into the lactation room or book a fake meeting just to get some alone-time, or wait until we have a major life event like a baby to work from home on a regular basis. We hide in the bathroom if we’re feeling emotional, and would more likely engage in a trust fall with our boss than admit that we have an anxiety disorder.

Think of all the talent companies lose because hermits need more control over their place, pace, and space. When one employee leaves a job, the typical cost of replacement is three months of salary. Think of the cost when a whole slice of the population struggles with the dominant workplace paradigm.

Human capital is the most valuable resource in our economy. As we recognize neurological and emotional diversity in all its forms, workplace culture needs to begin to make room for the Technicolor range of emotion. Although so much has been done (rightly) to promote diversity at work, there’s a giant hole in the understanding of how temperament and emotions play into not just our daily grind at the office, but the very trajectory of success.

Change can start with a simple question: why are my employees wearing headphones at their desk?

SPEAKING TOPIC: Women + Social Media = Power. Harness It for Your Organization.

If there’s one thing we know now: women + social media = power.

Social media isn’t just about “slacktivism.” Change demanded on Twitter has real world impact. And the people who comprise women’s social networks are more than just strangers on the internet — women trust their online friends and followers. They share the most intimate and powerful questions and see to find solutions together. And activism forged online goes far beyond the hashtag, creating lasting change.

How can your organization take the principles of recent digitally inspired social movements and apply them to inspiring positive change and commitment among your stakeholders?

Morra Aarons-Mele has worked with women online since 1999, when she helped Hillary Clinton log on for her first internet chat. Morra has launched online campaigns for President Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Planned Parenthood, the United Nations Foundation, Hillary Clinton for President, and many other leading figures and organizations.

This talk will prove useful for organizations who want to understand how to reach women stakeholders or consumers and how online communities organize.