On this International Women’s Day, be Phenomenal

Maya Angelou on International Women's Day

On this International Women’s Day, I want to share a poem that so many of us can relate to:
Phenomenal Woman – a poem by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
*Photo courtesy Huffington Post

Announcing SHANNON SKINNER LIVE radio on VoiceAmerica

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new radio show, SHANNON SKINNER LIVE on VoiceAmerica Women’s Channel (World Talk Radio), starting Tuesday, June 2 at 7pm EST.


Hosted by Shannon Skinner, SHANNON SKINNER LIVE is a weekly lifestyle show that uncovers the stories and solutions to living an extraordinary life and making this world a better place. Each week features experts, change-makers and visionaries from around the world. We talk about subjects you won’t hear anywhere else! Shannon’s gift is unlocking hearts and opening minds, which she has become known for as host of her own popular television show and online platform, ExtraordinaryWomenTV.com, the ultimate online life-guidance resource for women. When you live your best life, you are changing the world. So tune-in every Tuesday at  7 PM EST/4 PM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Women’s Channel, listen with a new pair of ears, and turn inspiration into action.

I am looking for guests. If you are an expert, change-maker or activist (women and men), whose mission is to make this world a better place, please drop me an email at info@ShannonSkinner.com.



This International Women’s Day, be thankful for the UN

On this International Women’s Day, I am thankful for the United Nations and its important work around the globe. The United Nations, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, touches the lives of every woman – and in every aspect of her life.


I recently had the privilege of visiting the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the world’s capital of peace. The UN is located in the magnificent Palais des Nations, a marvel of architecture situated on a sprawling property with a breathtaking view of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Much peace-making and humanitarian history has been made there and if you’ve never been, put it on your love list.

This visit not only opened my eyes, it is changing the course of my life.

“The United Nations has an impact on everyone on the planet, from the time we get up to the time we go to bed, for both women and men,” says Corinne Momal-Vanian, Director, Information Service and Spokesperson for United Nations Geneva. “From health, to the world of work, to mobile phones, to patents.”

The UN has a key role in ensuring women’s rights are protected and promoted, as well as ending discrimination against women. Though the education of girls in underdeveloped countries has been a major area of focus, in recent years, there has been an interesting shift in priorities. According to Momal-Vanian, in the last 10-15 years, the UN has made great progress with the education of girls, particularly at the primary school level. “We’re near parity at primary school, which is huge progress because that’s the basis for everything.”


(Corinne Momal-Vanian, pictured in her office at the UN Geneva)

While progress has been made in education, there are now greater challenges ahead in other areas.

Maternal health is now one of the biggest areas of work of the UN, with the World Health Organization and UNICEF, a few of the many organizations that are part of the UN family. And for good reason. “Death in childbirth and death during pregnancy is at an unacceptable level,” adds Momal-Vanian.

The numbers are bleak. According to the World Health Organization, 1,000 women die every day of the consequences of pregnancy and childbirth, including severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders and unsafe abortions.

While maternal health is a top priority, according to Momal-Vanian, ending discrimination and protecting women’s rights in general, is also one of its biggest challenges. In her view, we need to be firmer with countries’ commitments to ending discrimination against women.

And so, this International Women’s Day, let’s not only celebrate the advancement and protection of our rights, let’s do our bit to help stop women all over the world from dying during childbirth and pregnancy.

Lastly, the United Nations in Geneva is holding a number events throughout the year to mark its 70th anniversary. For more information, visit the UN website and Geneva Tourism.

Shannon Skinner is an award-winning inspirational speaker, writer, and host and producer of the television and online series www.ExtraordinaryWomenTV.com.

Classical Guitarist Liona Boyd on Reinventing Herself

I grew up watching classical guitarist Liona Boyd’s television performances and being in awe of her talent and beauty. So when the opportunity to interview one of the finest guitar players in the world, I felt I already knew her. But of course, there was much to learn.

When Boyd first set out to create a career as a guitar player, she was met with many obstacles. In fact, she was told she would never make it as a woman in the guitar world, one that was a male-dominated industry.

Did she ever prove the naysayers wrong.

Over the course of her glamorous career, Boyd has performed for world leaders, and kings and queens. She has recorded 23 albums — many have gone “Gold” and “Platinum” — and has received numerous awards, including five Junos.

She has also worked with symphony orchestras such as The Boston Pops, and recorded with Sir Andrew Davis and the English Chamber Orchestra, Yo Yo Ma, Georges Zamfir and Michael Kamen. Breaking with classical tradition, she toured with Gordon Lightfoot and Tracy Chapman, and recorded with Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, David Gilmore and Roger Whittaker.

In my interview with Boyd, we chat about her glamorous life and her latest album entitled Return to Canada With Love, an ambitious project that features guest performances by many celebrities such as Olivia Newton-John, Jann Arden, Dan Hill, Serena Ryder and even Chris Hadfield.

But at the heart of it, this is a story about reinvention.

Boyd was diagnosed with focal dystonia, a neurological condition that causes involuntary muscular contractions and abnormal postures. She was told she would never play guitar again. On that note, Boyd began the journey of reinventing herself.

“It was the biggest blessing in my life, says Boyd. “Sometimes you think it’s a tragedy when something bad happens to you. But I was able to turn it around, and open up a whole new chapter called singing and songwriting, which I would never have done.”

I invite you to watch my full interview with “The First Lady of the Guitar,” Liona Boyd, who speaks with passion about her success, love and how learning the art of singing and songwriting is changing her life.

Interview: Urban Native Girl blogger, Lisa Charleyboy, on empowering Canada’s Aboriginals [video]

One of the things I love the most about interviewing extraordinary women is uncovering the moment or event that put them on their path, leading to the point where they are today. In some cases, it was a turning-point event in their lives. For others, their journey began as a deep creative desire at an early age.

For Lisa Charleyboy, a Toronto-based Aboriginal writer and blogger who is dedicated to inspiring and empowering other young Aboriginal people to follow their dreams, it was at the age of 10 when she picked up a copy of Vogue magazine that created a deep love of writing and fashion. At 17 years of age, she made a decision to follow her dream. So left her home in Abbotsford, B.C. and headed across the country to Toronto, to begin her studies in fashion communication.

It was while studying writing at York University that she discovered a deep passion for something that touched her even more deeply: her Indigenous roots — and that connection to culture. In 2007, Lisa blended all her passions and launched her popular blog, Urban Native Girl,  (now called Urban Native Magazine), covering pop-culture with an Indigenous twist. Her new magazine is in the beta stage and most certainly looks promising.

Charleyboy has taken an active role in the community, having served as a board member for Association for the Native Development of Visual and Performing Arts (ANDVPA), the Young Indigenous Professionals, and now the Director of Communications for the Aboriginal Professionals of Canada (APAC). She has also been invited to give talks at Harvard University and to Aboriginal Women Entrepreneurs, and has become a regular writer/contributor and guest in the media.

To discover more about this inspiring young woman and what she is doing to empower Aboriginal Canadians, I invite you to watch my interview with Lisa Charleyboy on Extraordinary Women TV:

Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner airs Mondays at 7pm ET on Rogers TV Cable 10 & 63 in Toronto/Scarborough. View it online at ExtraordinaryWomenTV.com.



Extraordinary Women TV announces media sponsorship of 85Broads-Toronto’s “Women & Philanthropy” event, in partnership with Plan Canada

Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner



For Immediate Release

Shannon Skinner’s Extraordinary Women TV partners with 85 Broads-Toronto
Women & Philanthropy fundraising event, in partnership with Plan Canada

TORONTO, Oct. 19, 2012 – Shannon Skinner’s Extraordinary Women TV is pleased to announce it is the media sponsor of  Women & Philanthropy, a fundraising event hosted by 85 Broads – Toronto Chapter and in partnership with Plan Canada. It is taking place Nov. 13, 2012 in Toronto and proceeds will go to two girls the chapter sponsors through Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl initiative.

The event features guest speaker, Rosemary McCarney, president and CEO, Plan Canada, a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries, who will speak about her journey to success, and the evolving relationship between women and philanthropy.

“Both organizations are doing amazing things for the community, for women and girls,” says Shannon Skinner, creator and host, Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner. “I hope this event will inspire more women to get involved in philanthropy.”

The event will be held at La Marquette Restaurant (111 King St. E.) from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., in Toronto.

For more information about ticket sales and event details, visit: 85 Broads-Toronto Chapter.

Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner is a first-of-its-kind web TV talk show that is an inspirational, informative and relevant online resource for women everywhere who want to follow their hearts and dreams. More than 160 one-on-one interviews with successful women from all walks of life — Canadian and international — have been conducted and archived since its inception in Sept. 2010.

85 Broads is a global network of over 30,000 women who are inspired, empowered and connected. The network originated with a group of trailblazing women who worked for Goldman Sachs at 85 Broads Street in New York and now includes members in more than 90 countries, including Canada.

– 30 –

For information, contact:

Shannon Skinner
Creator/Host, Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner
416-576-8809 (cell)

INTERVIEW: Shannon Skinner interviews Pat Mussieux, founder, WealthyWomenLeaders.com (VIDEO)

I have heard it said that most women do not reach their full potential until their fifties. It seems for many women, it takes five decades of living to develop self-confidence or self-worth. It also seems to take that number of years to develop an attitude of not being concerned about what people think of them.

I have also heard it said that until we stop being worried or concerned about what others think of us, we will not become who we can truly be in this world.

The adage “life is a journey” rings true. Our life story unfolds like reading a book: word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, one chapter after another, from start to finish.

When we make a major change in our lives, usually the decision is a culmination of life events and experiences, like reading a story, that brings us to the proverbial aha moment: the one that seems to take a quick snapshot of our entire past and synthesize it with our heart’s desires and vision for the future.

The aha moment that changed Pat Mussieux‘s life and put her on the path of helping women entrepreneurs achieve success was the evening she turned 50. At her 50th birthday party, her two step-children spoke fondly about Pat to family and friends who gathered to celebrate (it was a surprise party). At that point in time, Pat was experiencing an unfulfilled marriage.

Pat Musseiux interview with Shannon Skinner on Extraorinary Women TV, special report

photo credit: Pat Mussieux

Something in her that night shifted.

The woman who previously ran a half-marathon a year and had a range of business skills, made a conscious decision to change her life.

At the age of 50, she began to fully realize her potential. Over the next few years, she divorced, moved across the country, re-established her business, wrote a book, established a relationship with her mother (who was estranged), and traveled around the globe on a private plane.

But, change is not often easy, and the road was a challenging one. She found mentors and harnessed her business skills, and worked on changing her mindset and attitude with new tools and techniques. She transformed her life; creating success and happiness.

When someone transforms their life, it does not go unnoticed. Pat’s friends asked what her secrets were and, once they started to use them in their lives with positive results, the “new” gutsy and determined Pat knew she was on to something. That “something” has helped many other women entrepreneurs create successful businesses.

I caught up with Pat Mussieux at the Ignite ‘n’ Connect event in Toronto. In this on-location interview with Pat, she gives some insights about why many women entrepreneurs do not succeed in business and provides some real solutions – check out the VIDEO (below):

Check out more of Shannon’s interviews at: http://www.ExtraordinaryWomenTV.com

© Shannon Skinner 2012. All rights reserved.


The rise of the woman orator

As I prepare myself for the speaking world, my speaker coach yesterday asked me a simple question: who do you consider the greatest orators?

I rattled off a number of them, such as the obvious J.F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King — the usual suspects — and a number of others. Then I realized my list comprised entirely of men.

So, I had to do more digging.

Margaret Thatcher popped into my mind — and then Hilary Clinton, who gives rousing speeches.

And then I struggled to find more. But why were they not coming to mind?

There are plenty of examples of women who have given famous speeches. There are also loads of examples of wonderful, competent and inspiring women speakers all over the world. I have worked with or interviewed some of them. But what about women who have powerfully moved a nation through their charisma and spoken word?

Not many. Certainly not as orators.

For instance, Oprah has had an undeniable enormous impact around the world through her journalism and interviewing skills, but I would not consider her an orator.

Queen Elizabeth II is a highly skilled speech reader, but she does not necessarily inspire.

Princess Diana gave powerful speeches in her quest to rid the world of landmines, but I don’t think she was of the orator caliber either. But if you read one of her speeches on the subject, the passion is undeniable.

For centuries, until more recently, women have been silenced and kept in the background, while the world valued male attributes, power and rhetoric. In many nations, boys were the ones who received education, while girls played domestic roles. So there was not much opportunity for women to speak, let alone master the art.

However, we are not silenced and hidden any longer. At least, not in developed nations.

So who are some of the other women who have powerfully used the “word” to move the masses?

One of the most powerful speeches on record given by a woman, in my opinion, was England’s most famous flaming red-head, Queen Elizabeth I, on the Spanish Armada. It was her “battle cry.” She had it in her heart to motivate her troops as they faced war. The genuine emotion of this speech is palpable:

My loving people, we have been persuaded by some, that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear; I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

Queen Elizabeth I – 1588

There is much to learn from this speech. The key to being a great orator is tucked in between words, sentences and phrases. I am not aware if the Queen Elizabeth I actually wrote this speech herself or if it was written for her, but my sense is she had a hand in it.

Granted when you rule a nation, you must master the craft of the spoken word that mobilizes. More women then ever are ruling nations, like Argentina. So perhaps we will see a rise of the “great woman orator.”

In my research, I stumbled upon this terrific blog, The Eloquent Woman, that is a great resource for women speakers and famous women speeches. If you are a woman speaker, check it out.

I personally feel it is time for the rise of the great woman orator. It is time for a woman to move the masses with her charisma and the power of the spoken word. We need more women orators.

Is that you?

Thank you, Judy Suke, for asking me the important question in the first place, which has put me on a new quest.

To my readers: Who do you think are the greatest women orators, past or present?


© Shannon Skinner 2012


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