Alicia Dara is a nationally recognized speech and presentation coach based in Seattle, Washington. She works to help CEOs, VPS, Executive Directors and even Presidential candidates to break through their blocks and find their ‘Power Voice‘ which she has coined as, “The clearest, strongest, most confident way of expressing yourself so you can get seen, heard and noticed at work.” And while she helps leaders of all kinds connect with their inner voice and gain confidence, she is particularly passionate about helping women to push back again workplace sexism. Today Dara is continuing to work with a broad swath of corporate clients and also beginning to write her first book.
Dara’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
Women are facing serious obstacles on their career path: sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia that can leave them feeling undervalued and downright invisible. Yet the women I work with are intelligent, accomplished, and incredibly hard-working, and they deserve to be seen and heard. My background as a singer means I’ve always been in touch with my Power Voice, and I recognize the difference it makes. My work as a feminist activist means I understand the power of women’s voices speaking out, individually and collectively.
When I started to teach Power Voice speech, presentation, and communication techniques to my clients, I saw that they had huge breakthroughs in their work performance and recognition. I also saw that when women find their Power Voice they can work collectively to push back on the forces that seek to oppress them in the workplace. I want all women to know this power.
How do you define success?
I believe that success should always be defined by the individual in terms of her personal priorities and values. That said, I recognize the importance of collective success for women as we work to achieve political, social and economic parity. For myself I know that financial success holds no value without the strong sense of purpose I feel in my work with women, and the ways I see it manifest in their successes.
Tell us about your biggest success to date.
My biggest successes come from breakthrough moments when clients realize that they’re much more powerful than they previously believed. Working with a group of over 2,000 women from around the world during a Microsoft event last year was a high point, as so many of them still write to tell me the extraordinary things they’re doing with their Power Voices.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
As a solo business owner I am the strategy, marketing, financial ops, and client-serving force of my business, which takes a ton of time that I’d rather spend with clients. Up until this point scaling has come from working with large groups of women, which I’m able to do through my corporate clients. Like all solopreneurs I’m working on a “big break” moment where I can create something that appeals to a much larger audience. This is why I’m currently working on my first book, but I’d also like to do an episodic TV show where I can showcase the work I do with women and their many extraordinary accomplishments.
Who is your most important role model?
My role models are the extraordinary clients that I get to work with. Aside from that I’m inspired by the Power Women of music like Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, and Janet Jackson, all of whom overcame tremendous obstacles to become legends.