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Interview with Usha Penumuchi
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Usha Penumuchi acts as a mentor and coach, working with people via the media of tailor-made training programmes and workshops to build their confidence and self-esteem.
Known as an internationally renowned speaker and training and development consultant has proved crucial and invaluable to her organisation; Dare to Dream which was set up with the desire to succeed and achieve greatness. In this interview Usha talks of her achievements, charitable spirit and going forward with her vision.
Tell us about Dare to Dream, what are its aims and objectives?
Dare to Dream was conceived in 2008 when I was part of the women’s issue network for the Ministry of Justice Home office. I attended a winning women’s conference and at that event there was a jet banner with the sub title Dare to Dream, it was a light bulb moment and I knew that that would be my company’s name. I guess at that time Dare to Dream was ‘born.’ In October 2009 I started my company Dare to Dream as it was clear that I was an “inspirational speaker” not motivational, as one can influence another to do something – motivation is from within oneself.
How did your idea go from idea - to a company?
I have a charity and I used to do a lot of speaking for it which developed my public speaking. I enjoyed watching lives being changed by a word, and the word with authenticity and passion bears weight. I had an arranged marriage that did not work and my confidence was dwindled to nothing. I began my journey of building my confidence one step at a time as a single mum, and now I not only speak with power and confidence but I teach others how to move out of their comfort zone and be the BEST they can be.
When was the last time you did something to help out in the community?
I am also the founder of a charity wowministries, we currently help orphanages in the Philippines and I want to extend that to the women and widows in India, Kenya and around d the world. The ministry helps single mums and anyone who has a need - our strap line is “Meeting Needs Changing lives” and many lives have been changed. I am also now going to be part of the Sara Charlton Charitable foundation, helping victims of domestic abuse, and will take the message of zero tolerance into schools.
So tell us who is Usha? You coach, aid people in the media by building their self-confidence and corporate challenges. What’s made you so strong?
I think realising who I am, in the context of knowing my strengths and weaknesses. I am a woman of faith and a strong spiritual being. I tell people including my daughter that confidence is from within, yes externally when we wear a dazzling dress that adds to confidence, but when you have a bad hair day, or when things just feel bad it is all about the inner strength of knowing who you are.
I am not advocating that confidence is built in a day, not for me or anyone but the journey of re-building who you are with the right mentors and people around you does help and make a difference.
You started Dare to Dream in October 2009, so this month is your company’s official 2nd birthday. How has the company grown since formally launching in June this year?
Yes it was soft launched in 2009 and in 2012 it was formally launched, and had a good turnout. People had heard of Dare to Dream and who I was I think for the nature of my work, people need to hear me to then promote what I do. Word of Mouth is the most powerful marketing tool; it’s definitely worked for me [smiles].
What would you tell someone who wants to be a motivational speaker or a mentor in their desired field? Where do they start? Where should they go?
When I first started reaching out to networks and businesses and telling them about Dare to Dream, there was a lot of responses – people were saying things like “there are hundreds of motivational speakers what makes you different”? etc. So I would advise people who want to do what I do, to know who THEY ARE, to value themselves, and have integrity when they speak. It is also important to have new material, to be different in delivery, have values and most importantly to ensure that their character matches their skills.
What have been the highs and lows of starting your own independent company?
The highs are many in as much as meeting some amazing people through networking, and I now have become somewhat a queen in networking, as well as my talks that have changed lives. The Lows are having financial security; I would have made sure I got investors, sponsors and partners on board from the onset. Money is needed to start a business but being a single mum and getting my ‘House in order’ is a priority. I have had to look for external funding for my events in the form of sponsors etc to help to get the business to take off.
What can we look forward to from you and your company in the future?
Wow, it really is such exciting times. I want to be able to do more talks, work with associations and speak with integrity and passion to as many people as I can. I want to start a training academy not only in this country but overseas and make Dare to Dream a reality for people. I also want to raise awareness of the charity which I run and be a voice of the voiceless.
Join Usha Penumuchi on 3rd November 2012 alongside four of the UK’s high-performance business coaches as they share with you the Keys to Success!
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