Alison Weihe won the National Speaker Factor competition in April 2021 at the Annual PSASA Convention. We wanted to interview her and get some background on where her speaking career started and what happened ever since taking home the trophy in April.
Alison said she entered as a Speaker Factor contestant to step through her fear and into courage. She says her topic slightly adapted over time but the central message remained the same: the power of stories to raise human consciousness, the power of stories to connect and the power of stories to change lives.
Alison is a writer and her soon to be published book: “Fearing Less, Finding My Tribes” also made it into her speech:
“I am a writer that speaks and a speaker that writes. My words are an embodiment of my heart and my calling. They are the reason why I get up every morning. Winning this award gave me so much faith and hope that my voice did matter. That the Message was more important than the Messenger. And it allowed me to step into courage, rather than fading into fear. “
Whilst new to the world of speaking, Alison is a born Entrepreneur. A founder and part of a team building up an award-winning manufacturing company, Creative Stone, over the past 23 years, Alison had been the visible face of the company for many years. She had been interviewed on Top Billing and other television programmes, the company had won numerous awards including the Best Stand Award at Decorex JHB in 2007. She had engaged in multiple radio and magazine interviews but this award was different. It symbolised the incredible tribe of speaker friends supporting her journey. It represented the personal courage to start a completely different career when others around her were ‘retiring’. She says: “This trophy is for all the people who believed in me. Who saw something in me, before I could even see it in myself. They have been my wings, they have witnessed my tentative flights, they have been my thermals. They continue to be my learning, my courage in finding my voice. My journey is only just beginning.”
Her speaking career really began with a whisper in her soul. It began three years ago when she attended the Mind Valley Global Summit in Estonia in 2018 with a thousand other people from 53 different countries throughout the world. She says she will never forget the moment when a young Global Visionary called Nicole Gibson walked onto the stage and started sharing her journey about overcoming severe Anorexia and her journey to wholeness. The story cut to the very core of Alison’s soul and she remembered thinking “If I am called to speak, I want to be a speaker like this. I want to move people, to change lives. Nicole Gibson changed my life from a stage.”
Returning from a Second Mind Valley Global Summit immersion in Croatia the following year, Alison wrote a moving poem entitled “Coming Home.” It was all about coming home to make a difference in the land of her birth. The poem was published on the Mind Valley website.
Alison is a storyteller. She told me this story:
“When I returned back home from Mind Valley Croatia in 2019, my dear friend, Joni Peddie, a global expert on Resilience, encouraged me to attend a meeting of the PSASA. I stood shyly at the entrance to the hall. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. I felt as if I was back at Mind Valley, surrounded by so much love and affirmation, with so much to learn. I felt like a sponge, ready to soak in wisdom, to soak in life. I glanced up at the poster behind me. It had the image of a microphone on it with a fire behind it. Nicole Gibson had ignited something in me. A calling, a yearning to be more. I looked up at the banner. There were four hashtags on it. The final one read “COME HOME.”
Alison now says that winning Speaker Factor and being part of the PSASA, has had an enormous impact on her confidence, self-worth and the deep, enduring friendships she has formed over the past two years. Alison was recently asked to speak virtually at a Mind Valley South Africa event. It was a huge honour and steeped in symbolism. She spoke about the Neuroscience of Manifestation. She was finally living her Manifested Calling.
Alison has spoken at Future Females where she shared her journey with young entrepreneurs focusing on “People before Profits.” She was also the main keynote speaker at a recent Women’s Month Event for GROW, a remarkable company specializing in Entrepreneurial Leadership Coaching. Her talk was entitled “Building a Soul Brand.”
Alison likes to dig deep into the very essence of what drives us. Our self-beliefs, our unconscious patterning, our limiting perceptions and how we transcend those. She says “I am living proof that it is never too late to change your life.”
Alison ended our interview with a final story:
“Three years ago, my life was touched by many amazing speakers in all walks of life. But particularly an amazing, young global visionary. Little did I know that three years later, I would be part of the team bringing her training to South Africa. We now have regular meetings with her every fortnight at 6am as she is based in Los Angeles. Her name is Nicole Gibson. She heads up a global movement called LOVE OUT LOUD. She is not yet 30 years old and she was recently on Necker Island where she got extensive funding from the Branson Foundation to head up Start-Up Apprentice, a global venture designed to equip millions of young minds with essential entrepreneurial mindset skills needed for their future working life and to change the face of global education. But more than being a Global Social Entrepreneur who travels the world speaking, she regards herself as an unstoppable Messenger of Love.
Nicole Gibson is powerful beyond measure. She is a force of nature. The other morning I said to her, “Nic, my life is like a movie: I am surrounded by extraordinary visionaries doing extraordinary things. Visionaries in the speaking community both here in South Africa and globally. Visionaries, who are making a difference in Leadership & Entrepreneurship, in Mindset, Education, Resilience, Neuroscience, Disabilities, Gender-Based Violence, Nature Conservation & Futurists. Visionaries across so many different sectors of life and of our Global Consciousness. It is THEY who make my life extraordinary.” She looked at me with her mesmerising blue eyes as she peered into my soul and she said: “That’s what happens when you know you are here to make a difference. That’s what happens when you are here to change the world.”
We are excited to have Alison share more of her stories at various Chapters, events and at the Annual Convention in April 2022.
Written by Yoke Van Dam