A year filled with new connections and a year of change…


With the risk of sounding trite, I really have to say what a profound year it has been.

A year filled with new connections to clients known, new connections with new clients, a year of change, and another year of filling people up rhythmically from the inside out. As we continue to meander through this level 5 grand rapid that is our world economy, here are some highlights of 2011 that illuminate my heart.

Earlier this year, I entered Google’s world. I facilitated an incredible event with Google’s talent team; participants were leaders representing 25,000 Googlers across the globe. The work these leaders were about to do would have a trickle effect throughout the company; needless to say, it was a pivotal event. We had the honor of implementing our opening and closing (“bookend”) sessions which had the critical role of establishing the right tone to ignite everyone into action. Awesome!

After entering their world, I was whisked away to my home continent, landing in beautiful Kenya to launch Google’s Sub-Saharan Africa division. I had the pleasure of working with their innovative training and development team, and the content was basically all about the learning. My Google audience was incredibly diverse, pulling from Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Angola and Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda. An amazing tapestry of cultures stood before me! They were focused on the massive emerging market in Africa (1 billion people with 450 million mobile phones). We were all energized in an extraordinary way and, once again, I was able to ignite these Googlers into action.

Each of my clients is so unique and incredible that I could blog on forever. But I’d like to mention my work with Wells Fargo as this was especially important due to the obvious state of the banking industry recently. I really wanted to make an impact. I participated in five different regional events for one division; my intent was to prove that building teams and inspiring people within each vertical industry can be achieved with success.

I embraced my new buzzword: Emotional ROI. If you emotionally shift just a small percentage of people in a room, the ripple effects that they are going to have by being energized, self motivated, and inspired by what they’ve gone through are massive. Their shifts are going to in turn have ripple effects and shifts inside and outside the organization—and, in the big picture, effect the entire population as a whole.

Another incredible happening to really end Drum Cafe’s year with a bang and start the New Year all jazzed is our recent launch of a new Interactive Keynote program together with Dr. Bob Nelson on Ubuntu—the concept Nelson Mandela coined, referring to collaboration and teamwork around a unity of purpose. And we had a really successful event with Cartus in Denver, CO.

And last, but definitely not least, I began creating my book which is being co-authored with the incredibly talented Deborah Pardes. It has a life of its own, but does not have a title as of yet. It will tell the story of how the guy who was about to quit his career at an insurance company was saved by the skin of his drum; the woman who was brought to tears by discovering her sense of rhythm on the table of a boardroom one Tuesday morning; and will pick up where the CEO of a major oil company left off, after he stripped off his shirt and tie to dance in front of hundreds of his employees. As you can see, a book of many synopses that expose us for who we truly are—energized and spirited humans fundamentally connected with ourselves and each other, only disconnected by the social and cultural boundaries impressed upon us.

So as I look forward into 2012 and dream a future I most desire, it rests on making a difference in people’s lives, energizing them, motivating them to align and engage; it’s about waking people up, getting them to look up and pay attention. I dream of bringing drumming and rhythm to many more of these amazing people in businesses, associations and schools throughout the world.

Happy Holidays!

Natalie Spiro

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