Empowering Women for Public Speaking

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By Maiko Schaffrath. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Lauren Currie is the founder of UPFRONT, an organization that aims to put women in the spotlight and boost their confidence, visibility, and power. What was just an avenue for people to be on a stage in front of an audience turned into a global community of women from all walks of life, and that’s what UPFRONT.

Initially starting out as a product design engineering student, Lauren learned about service design which is what is now considered as design thinking or customer experience design. Shortly after finishing her education, she co-founded Snook, Scotland’s first service design for social change agency. With their focus on the public sector, they were able to implement and optimize service design for sectors like the government, health, and education.

After studying in Hyper Island to get her MA in Digital Experience Design, she then went on to work for Good Lab, a think tank for social innovation. After her time in Good Lab, she built NOBL, which was focused on organizational change, culture design, and the like. All this time, Lauren had also been building UPFRONT, which has now become her full-time job.

Now, what made her want to create UPFRONT? She says it was borne from the lack of diversity of conference speakers, majority of whom are white middle class men. After learning just how many people were actually interested in being on stage but were also too afraid to do it, she realized she could help give these people the chance to do so. She did exactly this and was met with astounding results.

As much as Lauren would like UPFRONT to cater to both men and women, their main and sole focus for now is women. She shares the three truths they base their work upon, and she also shares what men can do to help uplift the women in their homes, workplaces, communities, governments, and more. Speaking of government, if Lauren were Prime Minister, education and policy & laws would be the two main areas where she would begin making a change in.

Getting down to the thick of things, Lauren talks more about UPFRONT and the global community they’ve built called Bonds that is a perfect offering not just for individuals but for companies as well. She’s currently working on a Bond for neurodivergent women and hopes to create Bonds for BIPOC women, women with long-term conditions, and more.

In ten years, Lauren hopes that UPFRONT will become a household name and just like what Brené Brown has done for vulnerability, Lauren hopes to do the same for building up women’s confidence.

Lauren’s key lessons and quotes from this episode were:

  • “We want to change confidence, not women.” (17:19)
  • “You are a result of your environment, and that truth, for many women who go through the Bonds, is completely transformative. It's the first time in their life that they have realized, understood, and accepted, ‘The problem does not lie with me.’” (18:21)
  • “I must bring other women with me. I must amplify women who have less privileges than me, and I must do all of this work in a way that is building ladders around myself.” (19:53)
  • “There's very much a focus on the collective power of community and networks, as I mentioned earlier, to try and make there be more equality within women ourselves.” (20:07)
  • “Confidence is a result of our environment. Women are not born feeling less than.” (23:33)
  • “We need policies and laws to change, so that they are policies that are designed with entire populations in mind.” (30:50)

In this episode, we also talked about:

  • How Lauren came across service design during her studies in product design (2:02)
  • Lauren’s experience and lessons from working wit
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