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The Boy that found his voice!

The Boy that found his voice!

We are always excited to discover inspiring stories involving young individuals! Our recent blog post showcases how the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge has had a positive influence on Chinedum and his current achievements.

Hello, my name is Chinedum Ogbonnaya, a Keynote Speaker, Business Coach, and Entrepreneur. But before we go any further, let’s take a look back to where it all began, where my 15-year-old self would come to witness one of the most pivotal points of his life.

How did it all begin?

In April 2011, I was selected to participate in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge workshop at my school. Now, this wasn’t planned. The truth is, I happened to arrive late to school on the day of the workshop. I was not initially supposed to be part of those selected to participate in the workshop. However, since I was late, and my school needed to make up the numbers, I was asked to join in the workshop.

At the end of the day, two students were selected to represent my school in the Regional Finals, which would happen a month later. I was not selected, and this hurt me quite a bit because I really wanted to make the cut.

I was told that I would be considered as a reserve if one of the selected students was unable to go ahead for any reason. I felt that the likelihood of being called upon to cover for any one of the already great students shortlisted was slim to none. However, fast forward to just one day before the Regional Finals; I was informed that one of the two representatives from my school was ill. A last-minute replacement was needed to fill in the gap for the Regional Finals, and this was offered to me.

Surprised but excited, I said, “Yes, I can do it.” With less than 24 hours to prepare my speech, I crafted a new one.

On the day of the Regional Finals, listening to previous speakers from different schools, I quickly realised that my speech wouldn’t cut it compared to previous speeches. So I decided I’d improvise on the spot when I was called up. And that I did!

I ended up speaking on the topic of fear, and boy, did I surprise myself. To be completely honest, the fear I had before stepping on that stage was my inspiration for talking on that very same topic.

Fortunately, the crowd and judges received my speech very well. I was awarded 2nd Place in the Greenwich Regional Finals — on a stage that I was not meant to be on, but was able to deliver on when the opportunity presented itself.

It was incredible the following day after I delivered my speech at the Greenwich Regional Finals to hear my achievement being announced on my school tannoy system for all to hear. An achievement that I was not even meant to have been offered but one I said yes to and made the most of. This was truly the start of my public speaking journey.

Where are you now?

Since then, I have had the privilege of delivering speeches across various schools, businesses, and events. While building my public speaking career, I also decided to start teaching and equipping many people across different age ranges with the power of speaking.

So, what message does this 15-year older version of Chinedum Ogbonnaya have for you? Well, here are three key points I want you to always remember:

  1. In life, great opportunities may present themselves, even when we were not looking for them. Grab those opportunities and do your absolute best.
  2. Many long for opportunities but are not prepared; make sure that you are ready to deliver when the opportunity you’ve been longing for comes.
  3. Fear may come at any time, but never let it prevent you from taking action!

Now, here is a bonus point. This all started because Sir Jack Petchey CBE started the Foundation with the purpose of giving every young person the chance to achieve. When you have the opportunity to do so too, remember to give others around you the opportunity to grow too. I close with this, as Sir. Jack Petchey CBE always says, “If you think you can, you can.”

You can watch the full video of Chinedum Ogbonnaya’s speech by clicking here!

If you interested to discover more about The Jack Petchey Speakout Challenge event, including details about the Regional and Grand Final events, click the link here. 

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