Our journey started as a women's public speaking organisation in January 2018 in
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, called Leading Women. Since then, our community has grown and expanded our scope of work to include; events, workshops, trainings and most recently, our blog and forum.
Our mission stays the same:
Empower Women's Voices
the power of women's voices
Hey, I’m Cat and I’m the founder of Leading Women! A couple of months before starting Leading Women, I was teaching public speaking to two classes of Vietnamese children. Through this course, I began to understand the power public speaking can give to people, especially women.
Most of my students were girls aged 11 - 13 and were inevitably going through one of the most awkward stages of puberty. They entered the course as intelligent but shy and self-aware girls. Yet they came every Saturday and Sunday to give a speech to a class of strangers on topics like gender inequality and the education of women.
Teaching Girls to Speak
I was surprised to see how outspoken and informed my students were becoming. With each class, their own personalities and opinions started coming through as I presented questions and challenges to them. We worked on conflict, body language and the importance of using your voice to convey emotion and confidence.
They were motivated to come to class because of the extra-curricular points for school and university application, but by the end of the course, we had all realised this class meant much more.
Public speaking gave these young women a voice. It gave them a platform and an outlet to express their views and passions. It taught them to have confidence speaking up and that they would be rewarded for doing so. What I loved the most, was to see the students encouraging and supporting each other when they had doubts of fears.
Teaching public speaking gave me the mission to help all women have the opportunity to speak and have a space to share their voice. So Leading Women was created!
A space for women's voices
It began with an idea for an informal public speaking night for women. I wanted to give women a chance to practice speaking publicly and for the audience to be inspired by seeing more women as leaders. There are many events where we can see professional women speak, but this was about giving all women a place, no matter your background or knowledge. All people deserve to have their voice heard.
The plan, to my surprise, was a success! We had over 500 people sign up to the event and many women who wanted to speak. It seemed that women had been waiting for a place to speak up, and this was it.
women leading women
Not only were the speakers fantastic and wonderfully diverse in age, culture and background, the audience became fully engaged in the speeches and discussions. We ended the event with an audience participation session, which is now a permanent part of the events. Many of the audience members talked about being too shy to sign up to speak but had been motivated by the speakers on the night, to tell their story. That’s the magical thing about speaking up; it benefits everyone! The speaker gets a huge rush of adrenaline and an amazing sense of release from delivering their stories, and the audience is inspired and encouraged to speak up for themselves.
Women’s voices are particularly powerful because they have been silenced for so long. One voice can inspire a thousand others.
We continue our mission to empower all women’s voices through working with women’s education organisations to provide free public speaking teacher training courses to help pass on these skills. If you’d like to work together, please contact us. If you’d like to read more about what we do, click here, or check our events here.