Helping manage stress on the local and international stage
Coaching on the international stage wasn’t what Keisha Allen-Smith had in mind when she joined the Berkeley Institute as its director of staff development and instruction.
But stress – and Covid-19 – propelled her in that direction.
Ms Allen-Smith is the featured speaker in Speaker Con 2020, a virtual two-day conference that starts today.
It’s the latest step on a path she started when she began researching how stress management tools might enhance the workshops she gave to teachers.
“Teaching is a very stressful job and so along the way I started to go out on a limb and, instead of just creating workshops on teaching and learning, I began to research stress management and the effects of trauma and stress on the brain and body and then look at ways to help teachers with their self-care and maintaining their wellbeing,” she said.
Based on that success she began offering workshops to parents and businesses having discovered through her research that 89 per cent of working adults suffered from stress, and that “high levels” experienced burnout, insomnia and depression.
“Because of this need, and my own level of stress that I was experiencing, I began to go deeper and deeper into researching stress, trauma and self-care,” Ms Allen-Smith said. “And so now what I basically do is I empower, equip and enlighten people to manage their stress to increase their energy levels and improve their physical, spiritual, mental and emotional wellbeing.”
Pleased with what she was accomplishing locally, in 2019 she set a goal of presenting on a global scale and was thrilled when invited to speak at a conference the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development had organised for March of this year, in Los Angeles, California.
“But Covid cancelled it so it was like the opportunity was lost,” Ms Allen-Smith said, adding that despite the disappointment she remained focused.
“And so during shelter in place I continued to work on my workshops and my offerings but I also began to present in the virtual space – both for work and IAC and other companies and agencies that were asking me to present virtually.”
On Facebook she found communities that offered further opportunities such as the Black Speakers Network Summit last month.
Having an interactive presentation was likely a huge part of her appeal to international conferences, Ms Allen-Smith said.
“I believe the topic that I’m speaking on also sets me apart because, not only do I talk about stress but, I break it down to an energetic level looking at its impact on the brain and the body and then looking at our own practices.”
She continued: “I kind of make it personal. I allow people to do a self-assessment of their own energy and [help them] understand that when we talk about self-care it’s not just about our physical wellbeing it also encompasses our mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing and at the same time I offer strategies and solutions – things they can readily use in their lives to help boost their energy level and reduce their stress.”
The response has been extremely positive, she said. Hearing what veteran speakers from around the world have thought of her presentations has been particularly heartening.
“The feedback I continually get is that everybody needs to hear this, that it was an excellent presentation, very engaging,” she said. “So the feedback has been promising and, like I said, from that first international opportunity I’ve had other people reach out to me via Facebook or LinkedIn to ask me to present on their platforms as well.”
The success led to last month’s launch of Love and Light Empowerment, the business Ms Allen-Smith developed to help others improve their stress management and self-care. Her plan is to offer webinars and online courses, beginning in December. Four signature courses in the line-up give attention to trauma stress, burnout and resilience, self-care, mindfulness and mindset.
Calm, her Career and Life Management programme, is aimed specifically at corporate clients.
“They can be self-paced; people can do them in their own time,” Ms Allen-Smith said. “I’ll also continue to offer my master classes or sessions – they can be held in person or virtually – which we offer for corporate wellness sessions, we offer them to sports clubs, to any groups of people or even individual coaching sessions.”
On November 19 she will speak at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Conference and also moderate the Inter Agency Committee for Children & Families’ Compassionate Care Conference.
“Things are just manifesting,” she said. “Long-term I definitely want to continue speaking in the local and global community because I’m very passionate about helping people to manage their stress and just improve their overall wellbeing.
“The times are becoming more and more stressful. We know stress is the number one source for illness and so, if we’re not living a life of ease, then we manifest disease in our life and it shows up physically and mentally. I’m just very passionate about helping people to live a life of ease.”
Connect with Keisha Allen-Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook @Keisha Allen-Smith and on Instagram @loveandlightempowerment. To register for Speaker Con 2020 visit speakercon2020.com