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"Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another"
Yolanda Speaks, LLC was created by Yolanda Fairell Pourciau after working years in human services organizations and witnessing the need for healing and transformation for herself, her co-workers, and the systems they worked under. On her own journey for healing Yolanda discovered (true story) a tape by Joseph Campell, where he challenged his audiences to "follow their bliss." Specifically, he challenged them to discover what they would do for free? What came up for Yolanda over and over, "I'd speak and teach! Out of that contemplation came the seeds of Yolanda Speaks. For the last thirty years Yolanda has been following her bliss—inspiring, uplifting and challenging audiences. This work gives her joy!
When we asked audiences about Yolanda’s style, the resounding responses:
Yolanda is deep, funny, smart, passionate. Yolanda has presence. Yolanda is intense. Yolanda is captivating – a great story teller. We Agree!
Yolanda Speaks' approach to diversity and inclusion centers on gaining mastery in emotional intelligence, especially the foundational competency of self-awareness. In Overcoming Barriers to Workplace Inclusion: Managing Human Biases, examination of one's own identities, social conditioning and values around human differences, is central to the training. The Hurt Series, near and dear to Yolanda, is also founded on the principles of connecting with the self as a prerequisite to gaining deeper empathy for the collective historical journey of African American women.
Yolanda’s work is greatly influenced by over twenty five years of practicing mindfulness meditation and yoga. From her first introduction to meditation and yoga, Yolanda felt resonance with these practices. Yolanda was initially trained to meditate through Shamabhala International where she belonged to a sangha in Tallahassee for a decade. While involved in Shamabhala, Yolanda experienced several meditation retreats including a seven-day weektun, in which she experienced days of silence. This turned out to be a transformative experience. (Ask her about when you see her.) After a decade with Shamabhala, Yolanda moved her meditation practice home, where she maintains a quiet room. Yolanda’s trainings and speeches always include some small practice of stillness or grounding.
When Yolanda first began speaking and training, she was also an adjunct professor of sociology. The following courses continue to influence her work: Race and Minority Relations; The Sociology of Work; The Culture of Human Organizations; Social Problems; and Human Sexuality
Yolanda is greatly influenced by the lives and works of: Harriet Tubman, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, Sri Ramana, Deepak Chopra
"Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box" - Deepak Chopra