Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
What an honor and privilege to be here with you today. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by my Grandmother, Pattie L. Smith. She had no money, no wealth and was not deemed to be prestigious in our community, yet, she showed me the importance of living a life with dignity, respect and the power of influential leadership. She taught me the importance of leadership and how leadership can open doors for you when you don’t have money and wealth. From her leadership influence on me, I have committed to being an influential leader in my community. I believe in leadership because I have seen how leaders have flourished when leadership is executed with precision, vision and determination. While I do believe that we are all innate leaders, I believe all leadership must be developed. This is why I created an organization entitled Heights of Greatness Leadership Institute (HGLI) to help people become influential leaders and inspired public speakers. Leadership must be developed in order for it to be impactful. I agree with my Mentor, Dr. John C. Maxwell who taught me that “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I realized that without developed leadership, we only have experiences. I am on a mission to help people develop their leadership because experience shapes our leadership until our leadership is developed to shape our experiences. I am focused on developing, inspiring and empowering influential leaders that will create experiences for the masses that will transform the world.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
All of us have had challenges in our lives, and my challenges have been no different from others. I have had the challenge of believing in myself and my innate ability to do what God has called me to do in life. Self-doubt is the number one enemy that stops progress. The negative inner conversations that one has with oneself creates an analysis of paralysis and will arrest us from reaching the apex of our destiny. I have had to overcome the challenge of believing that I could not be a leader, a speaker or an entrepreneur. I allowed other people to put that seed of doubt in my mind for years. In doing so, I missed many opportunities to excel in my field of endeavor. Contrary to what my grandmother taught me, I allowed negative talk within myself to keep me from accepting speaking opportunities and leadership positions. To overcome this challenge, I had remember what my grandmother used to always tell me that “Greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world.” When I realized that I had innate leadership in me and that leadership needed to be developed to create better experiences for my life, I started believing in myself and my leadership ability and started seeking out leadership Mentors such as Dr. John C. Maxwell, Motivational Speaker Les Brown and the Honorable Charles Barron, President and CEO of Dynamics of Leadership. I have overcome self-doubt with influential leadership clout.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I help people become influential leaders and profound public speakers. While there are many leaders in the world, the question becomes how influential are those leaders. Influential leadership is based on innate characteristics within oneself that once developed and employed will bring into one’s life opportunities and experiences that will leave an indelible impact on the lives of those with whom they come in contact. As an influential leader, I focus on developing that unique leadership characteristic within each person. No matter how great one’s product may be, if the person selling the product does not have leadership influence, the product will not be sold. Steve Jobs is well-known not just for the product he created, but the leadership influence he displayed when he sold his product. The way a dentist is able to help people smile by shaping their teeth, I am able to work with people to shape their leadership for income, impact and value. Coupled with helping people have influential leadership comes with one having the ability to move, inspire and empower people through public speaking. So I specialize in helping people not just become confident public speakers, but influential public speakers. In my coaching with leaders, I share with them that event coordinators, audiences, and the likes will forgive you as a public speaker for being mistaken on facts or being nervous, but they will never forgive you for being “boring.” With my coaching, I show leaders how to slay the stage with leadership influence.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
The best advice I have for your readers is to invest in yourself by attaching yourself to mentors who are leading in your field of endeavor. I love leadership. I think leadership. I live leadership. Because I love, think and live leadership, I needed to attach myself with people who do what I love with excellence. Thus, I connected with Dr. John C. Maxwell and became part of his leadership program to influence other leaders. I knew that in order to become an influential leader, I needed to motivate the masses, so, I attached myself to one of the greatest motivational speakers on the planet, the infamous Les Brown.
Moreover, to discover my speaking style, personality and ability, I attached myself to the Honorable Charles Barron on how to captivate people when giving keynote addresses and interviews to prestigious and august interviewers and magazines such the one I am doing today.
To be successful, I needed to have a third person give me honest guidance on how to perfect my craft. I strongly believe that my success as an influential leader in my community and my industry is largely due to me investing in myself with people who have proven track records of success in leadership and public speaking. While these programs were significantly priced, they were well worth the investment in myself to have the impact and value I have had on the lives of people. You can never see the big picture when you’re in the frame. Mentorship!
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success to me is not defined by wealth, money, stocks or bonds. Success for me is leadership influence. I ask myself this question after every speech, workshop and keynote address I give, “Have I had an impact and given value to the people whom I have just touched?” If I have done what I set out to do, then I have been successful in serving as an influential leader. Further, my success is not based on changing thousands of lives at one time, but transforming, inspiring and empowering one life at a time. While I enjoy, and have had the honor of speaking to hundreds and thousands of people, my greatest joy and success is providing leadership and public speaking coaching to the one leader who wants to leave an indelible impact on the lives of people they touch either with their leadership, public speaking or the product they sell. This is true success for me. Seeing people thrive in their divine destiny through their innate God-given leadership traits and development is what defines success for me. Knowing that I have given and departed value in people truly defines success for me.
What’s next for you?
The next step for me in my leadership and speaking career is to provide leadership and public speaking training, through Heights of Greatness Leadership Institute and V. Jesse Smith Enterprises, to over 250,000 men, women and children in 2023. I just believe that everything rises and falls on leadership and when leadership and public speaking are properly developed, they will be influential on the lives of people who are in fact touched by them. This is why I am focusing on working with leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, youth, managers, coordinators and directors to become influential leaders and impactful public speakers in 2023. It’s time that we move away from just being leaders, but that we become influential leaders and pacesetters that will dominate and outmaneuver every naysayer and player-hater.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
If people want to become influential leaders and transforming public speakers, or they want to know more about V. Jesse Smith Enterprises or HGLI, they can go to our website at www.vjessesmithspeaks.com, www.hgli.org, email us at [email protected], or call us at 661-992-9052.