[Speaker Night] Charisma: Cultivating Charisma

Michelle Tham: smart, talented, beautiful, with a vision to impact the world, one child at a time. Wouldn’t you like to meet her?

In fact, if you had joined us at last Tuesday’s Dwelling Charisma Speaker Night session, you would have done exactly that. But just in case you missed this one out, don’t kick yourself just yet. (You can read this post first).

Julia started the evening by introducing Michelle, her old friend of over ten years. Julia congratulated her for having recently received the prestigious JCI Top Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) Humanitarian and Voluntary Leadership Award, no mean feat for the lady in her 30s. Michelle started her story of herself by being honest upfront about her relationship with charisma, in particular her initial reaction of discomfort when Julia had invited her down to speak on the topic. “It’s not something I think about,” Michelle said. Yet as she shared her passion for working with special needs children and her effort in caring for and leading her team of staff, Michelle clearly demonstrated a charisma that stemmed from an unwavering integrity to her personal vision, which lit her up as a person.

“I believe each child is special,” she asserted, “and I believe in you [the child] – I believe that you can walk, you can talk, you can do all of these things which the outside world says you can’t.” A self-confessed challenger of the status quo, Michelle makes a lifestyle out of standing for the greater possibilities of each child or staff member she works with. On talking about her team, she questioned, “What if everyone could be excellent? What if everyone had a part of them which was fantastic? This is the point I start from.” Her vision and stand has resulted in a great and inspired team. 

In case you accidentally started believing that Michelle’s life is a bed of roses, she was quick also to acknowledge that failures and challenges were an integral part of her path. For example, her desire to change the way one worked with special needs children; her desire to create a working environment that was exactly what she wanted; an ability to get back on her feet despite setbacks – all these aspects of her were honed in difficult situations which challenged her greatly, where things were not as she wanted. But what most clearly showed through this evening was Michelle’s pro-activeness and sense of responsibility for her life and choices. “None of the places I interviewed at could meet my criteria for the kind of job experience I wanted,” she stated. “But I had the choice to stay and whine about it, or I could create it for myself.” By this point you can probably guess which choice she made.

As you ponder over where your own charisma lies in, the Dwelling team leaves you with this TED video that Michelle screened, which reflects her core principle behind her ability to be a charismatic leader. To find out more about charisma and you, join us at the next Dwelling session (Fireside session) on 3 June, from 7.30-9.30pm.