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Speaker Slam® Announces Speaker Lineup for the 2nd Competition of the 2024 Season on the theme "Human Connection"

Feb 13, 2024


In an era where digital interactions often overshadow face-to-face connections, the upcoming Speaker Slam event, themed "Human Connection," is a breath of fresh air for anyone seeking to rediscover the profound impact of real, heartfelt interactions. Set to take place on March 26, 2024, at the vibrant Lula Lounge in Toronto, this event promises to be more than just an evening of inspirational speeches; it's a celebration of stories that bind us, experiences that transform us, and connections that empower us.

The Essence of Human Connection

At the heart of the Speaker Slam event is the belief that true connections go beyond mere interactions—they are the foundations upon which we build our lives, our careers, and our communities. In today's hybrid reality, where virtual meetings have become the norm, the event serves as a powerful reminder of the magic that unfolds when individuals share their stories, vulnerabilities, and triumphs in a space that values authenticity and empathy.

This event isn't just a competition; it's a heartfelt reminder of the transformative power embedded in genuine interactions. Ten speakers will take the stage, each competing not only for prizes worth up to $10,000 but also for the honor of advancing to the Grand Slam - The Inspirational Speaking Finals. There, they'll vie for the prestigious title of INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER OF THE YEAR, pitting their narratives against those of the finest speakers from across the year.

A Lineup Like No Other - Meet Your Human Connection Speakers

Speaker Slam's "Human Connection" event features a diverse lineup of speakers, each chosen for their distinctive ability to embody and elucidate the evening's theme through their personal stories:



Will Greenblatt

Entrepreneur, Coach, Author

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Will Greenblatt started acting in film and TV at the age of seven. His first gig was a lead in The Homecoming with Oscar® winner Anne Bancroft. After acting throughout his childhood in TV shows like Disney Channel’s Life With Derek, he decided to go to theatre school to hone his craft. He graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada in 2010, but the toxic environment of the program left him jaded, so he quit the business. He moved to Spain where he discovered his love for teaching English, and then dived into the world of entrepreneurship, co-founding an English/Business Training company in China. After exiting, he co-founded OutLoud Speakers School, an agency of actors teaching public speaking & communication skills to entrepreneurs and executives. He has repeatedly spoken and coached at Google, Wayfair, Boston Dynamics, TechStars, Founder Institute and Ericsson, as well as providing coaching to over 4500 individuals virtually worldwide. OutLoud’s clients have won numerous pitch competitions and raised over $300 million USD in investment. He is also a performing and recording musician, with his albums Borden Street and City Folk available on all streaming platforms. Will speaks 4 international languages, including Mandarin Chinese and is currently learning his 5th, Urdu, to speak with his wife, her family and their daughter.

This'll be my first time speaking without the crutch of being a "keynote speaker" or "workshop facilitator": it's just me and my story, which is exciting and terrifying. Can't wait for this .




Jennifer Maxwell

Personality Expert, Connection Coach, Entrepreneur

Ajax, Ontario, Canada

A Certified Personality Expert, Connection Coach, and founder of the Inspired Entrepreneur Academy, Jennifer Maxwell is on a mission to help humans connect with rapid rapport while maximizing & harnessing the natural skills & talents of every individual. Jennifer also shares her expertise with corporate clients on the essence of E.P.I.C. team cohesion, with her "Every Person Is Critical" strategy for team success.

Stories unite and connect humans in profound and meaningful ways, allowing us to be seen, heard, and understood. As a Personality Expert and Connection Coach, I'm thrilled and honoured (and couldn't pass up the opportunity!) to participate on the theme of Human Connection.




Danielle Russell

Not-for-Profit Executive and Industry Leader, Author and Writer, Consultant

Markham, Ontario, Canada

I am a former Politico turned Not-for-Profit Executive, on a Mission 'To Change the World, By Inspiring Actions, That Amplify My Impact'. My family Motto is 'Everyone Must Serve', and I am working to help everyone find their best and most effective form of service in support of the causes they care about.

Everything we do, is ultimately done in community; I am excited to participate in - and join - the Speaker Slam Community in 2024 and beyond.




Karen Wallington

Professional hairstylist specializing in the health, education and allyship of dreadlocks

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Not your average hairstylist, Karen Wallington aka Karen Modlocks, is a recognized expert in the health and education of dreadlocks with over 25 years experience and a national Red Seal licence in hair styling. She’s presented online at Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show, on stage at the Natural Hair Industry Convention in Atlanta, and a regular guest speaker to students at the Eikonic Hair Academy in Mississauga Canada. Karen’s passion and purpose is to identify beauty bias and inspire higher standards of cultural competence in the professional hair industry.

We are each the author of our own life story filled with chapters of personal growth and experience. Speaker Slam is the best place to share those stories, and inspire others to do the same.




Angie Bailey

Calming Calligraphy Catalyst, Creativity Cultivator, Retired Registered Nurse

Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada

Angie Bailey, a retired RN with a 32-year career, has transformed her life through the serene art of calligraphy. As the founder of Calming Calligraphy, she passionately empowers women to embrace creativity as a sanctuary from burnout. Angie's workshops resonate with warmth, humour, and inspiration, guiding participants toward mindfulness and self-expression. Her belief in art's healing power echoes in her vibrant, engaging sessions, inviting everyone to journey from overwhelmed to overjoyed, one graceful stroke at a time.

Taking the stage at Speaker Slam feels like joining a family reunion of kindred spirits. Here, my journey meets the universal heartbeat of connection. I'm beyond excited to share, connect, and hopefully light up some paths with my story. This isn't just a speaking gig; it's a heart-to-heart chat where every story weaves us closer together.




Yusuf Khoja

Founder of

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Yusuf Khoja has dedicated 30 years to producing, and presenting at international leadership and wellness events featuring renowned speakers such as former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Sir Richard Branson and Tony Robbins. During his career, Yusuf has delivered keynotes, workshops, and coaching programs to clients ranging from senior executives, entrepreneurs, human resource professionals, managers, sales and marketing leaders, and wellness champions. He delivers value-added sessions that engage, inspire, and empower his clients to new levels of professional growth and success!

Speaker Slam provides an amazing opportunity to challenge oneself to improve on multiple levels, while contributing to betterment of others. Thank you for for having the vision to create this platform, and the courage, and determination to see it through.




Marsha Vanwynsberghe

Storytelling NLP Trainer, Speaker, Publisher & Author, 2xs Podcaster

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Marsha is the 6-time Bestselling Author of “When She Stopped Asking Why”.  She shares her lessons as a parent who dealt with teen substance abuse that tore her family unit apart. Marsha has been published 7xs, most recently with her co-platform, Every Body Holds A Story, and she is on a mission to continue to help women and men to speak, share, and publish their stories. Through her tools, OUTSPOKEN NLP certification, programs, coaching, and podcast, Marsha teaches the power of Radical Responsibility and Owning Your Choices in your own life.  She empowers people to heal and own their stories, be conscious leaders, and build platform businesses that create massive impact.

When you allow yourself to be seen and heard, the people you can impact the most will find you.  Using your voice to share your story is the best way to build the connections you are craving.




Meagan O'Nan

Award-Winning Author, Keynote Speaker, Vulnerable Storytelling Expert, Inner and Outer Peace Warrior

Starkville, Mississippi, USA

Meagan O’Nan is an award-winning author, keynote speaker, and inner and outer peace warrior. She is the author of the award-winning book, “Creating Your Heaven on Earth,” and “Courage: Agreeing to Disagree Is Not Enough.” Her third book, "Held and Free," was published in April 2023 with New Degree Press and has garnered three prestigious awards along with a coveted Kirkus Review. Meagan has also produced content for Meagan has spoken to thousands of people at live events since 2008, including alongside internationally recognized spiritual leaders such as don Miguel Ruiz, author of the best-selling book, “The Four Agreements,” and she has appeared multiple times in local and national media. Meagan even received a personal note from Desmond Tutu after hearing a talk of hers on forgiveness. Meagan has also worked with hundreds of different companies and organizations, like: Inspire Brands, Toyota, Red Cross National, Emtrain, Centers for Spiritual Living, and many more. Meagan is passionate about creating peace in the world through her writing, speaking, and interactions with others. Join her on a journey to help you find inner peace so that your outer world reflects everything that you truly want. We all know that the world can be a noisy place, but when we focus on our own inner peace then we live from a place of calm no matter what may be going on around us.

Speaker Slam seems to be a supportive environment for speakers to challenge themselves and thrive. I am looking forward to growing and pushing myself to do the very best I can in this competition. Ultimately, I love how storytelling and speaking can be used for so much good - and Speaker Slam is a wonderful opportunity to be in service to others.




Sonia Palleck

Mom, Orthodontist, Love Advocate

London, Ontario, Canada

Sonia Palleck was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. She studied dentistry at Western and went on to receive her specialty training in orthodontics in 1999. She has practiced for 25 years, pioneering digital treatment and lecturing internationally on these systems. After her 22 year marriage ended, she was called to write. In 2023 she self published and brought her four book series called Leave the Little Light on to book shelves everywhere. She is a mom and love advocate.

I am honoured and excited to take the stage at Speaker Slam and rock the house of Human Connection!!




Val Vee (Vagopoulos)

Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Empowerment Advocate

Ajax, Ontario, Canada

Val Vee is a dynamic speaker, entrepreneur, and founder of the thriving community, Ladies Who Dine. With an unapologetic and unfiltered approach, Val Vee has dedicated her life to empowering women in business, motivating them to break through barriers, and fostering authentic connections As the founder/CEO of Ladies Who Dine, Val Vee has created a powerful platform where women come together to network, share knowledge, and grow both personally and professionally. Her passion for community building and authentic relationships has transformed the lives of countless women, who now stand taller, stronger, and more confident in their journeys.

Speaker Slam isn't just a stage; it's where my voice becomes a force.




Their stories are a testament to the power of connections in driving personal growth, fostering community, and inspiring action.

Beyond a Single Night: The Speaker Slam Experience

Speaker Slam is more than a one-time event; it's a comprehensive competition that celebrates the art of inspirational speaking. The "Human Connection" event is part of a broader series of thematic competitions leading up to the Grand Slam: Inspirational Speaking Finals. Throughout 2024, Speaker Slam will host five qualifier competitions, each centered on themes like Reinvention (January), Human Connection (March), Freedom (May), Perseverance (July), and the Power of Yes (September), culminating in a Wild Card Race for a chance at redemption and entry into the Grand Slam - The Inspirational Speaking Finals.

Winners of these qualifiers and the Wild Card Race advance to the Grand Slam, vying for the title of Inspirational Speaker of the Year. This pinnacle event not only showcases the year's most compelling speakers but also offers a significant prize package valued at up to $50,000, underscoring Speaker Slam's commitment to empowering individuals to share their stories and spark positive change.

Why Attend?

Attending Speaker Slam's Human Connection event is an opportunity to be part of a community that values real, face-to-face connections. It's a chance to be inspired by individuals who have leveraged their personal stories to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. Whether you're looking for motivation, inspiration, or simply a night of heartfelt stories, this event is for you.

Join Us

As we gear up for an unforgettable night at Speaker Slam, we invite you to join us in celebrating the power of human connections. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a creative, a professional, or simply someone who values deep, meaningful connections, this event is for you.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite, with options for live stream attendance and accessible seating to ensure everyone can be part of this inspiring evening. Don't miss your chance to be moved, motivated, and mesmerized by the power of human connection.

For more information and to purchase your tickets, visit Speaker Slam's official website or follow us on Instagram @SpeakerSlam. Let's rediscover the power of human connections together!

See you at Lula Lounge on March 26, 2024, for a night that promises to transform lives, one story at a time.