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The Life-Changing Impact of a Speech: Barbie’s Influence on Pop Culture and Society as Experienced by Victoria!

The Life-Changing Impact of a Speech: Barbie’s Influence on Pop Culture and Society as Experienced by Victoria!

Drawing inspiration from the much-talked-about Barbie movie, we chose to highlight the fantastic case of Victoria Ayodeji, who spoke about Barbie’s influence on pop culture and society at the Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge regional finals! In this case, we interviewed Victoria about her experience with the SpeakOut challenge and how it has helped her skills.

1) What inspired you to write a speech about Barbie for the competition?

The inspiration for my speech about Barbie came from wanting to create a unique and captivating topic for the competition. I aimed to explore how Barbie’s influence on pop culture and society could challenge people’s perceptions.

2) How did your experience with the Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge impact your life?

The Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge and the Achievers Network profoundly impacted my life. It helped me overcome shyness, build confidence, and discover a passion for public speaking. This experience paved the way for opportunities like speaking at significant events and participating in leadership programs.

3) What advice would you give to someone who is shy or introverted but wants to improve their public speaking skills?

To those who are shy or introverted but wish to improve their public speaking skills, my advice is to start small and gradually push your comfort zone. Practice regularly, focus on your strengths, and embrace the value of your unique perspective. The more you practice, the more your confidence will grow.

4) What do you think makes the Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge so important for young people?

The Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge is vital for young people as it empowers them with essential skills like confidence, communication, and public speaking. It provides a platform for their voices to be heard and nurtures their ability to articulate ideas effectively, contributing to their personal growth and success.

5) What impact can sharing your story have on others, and how can you use your experiences to inspire and motivate those from similar backgrounds?

I believe there’s a lot of power in sharing your story, as you never know who you are inspiring along the way. I’ve spoken to hundreds of students in schools across the UK, and the response has always been overwhelming. Students send messages to me on social media saying how impactful it is to have a positive role model from a similar background to them. As I ventured into content creation on platforms like LinkedIn and appeared on podcasts, I shared my experiences to motivate others.

There’s a great quote from Marian Wright Edelman, the African-American Writer, who says: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Seeing people from a similar background to you, whether that be geographically, culturally, or in any other way, makes you feel much more comfortable and able to achieve more. When I visit schools and speak at access and outreach events for young people from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, I often say: definitely never let your background stop you. If you let your background stand in your way, you might not be able to achieve the things you really want and are passionate about and instead might settle for less – you deserve more, and you can aspire to more.

Always tap into any good support networks available to you, whether that be teachers, friends or family members who believe in you and are advocates for your success.

6) Can you share any other experiences you’ve had with public speaking since the competition?

Since completing the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge, I’ve had an incredible journey in public speaking. Winning a school competition at age 12 and addressing a crowd of 1,500 at age 16 gave me confidence and self-belief, which reflected in my excellent GCSE results. I discovered invaluable resources through charities like the Social Mobility Foundation, IntoUniversity, Target Oxbridge, and the Sutton Trust, which connected me with mentors and networks that propelled me forward. Through these opportunities, I eventually graduated from Queens’ College, Cambridge, with a Geography degree.

Alongside my studies, I engaged in access and outreach work, earning me multiple awards, including the Outstanding Achievement Award at the House of Lords for the UK Student Social Mobility Awards. I also mentored nearly 40 young individuals, many of whom secured Oxbridge places, solidifying my belief in the power of representation and powerful storytelling to impact positive social change.

Today, I proudly serve as the first Chair of the Career Ready Youth Advisory Board and am an active member of The Sutton Trust Alumni Advisory Board. These roles enable me to contribute to social mobility initiatives and support fellow alumni. My journey is a testament to the impact of perseverance, mentorship, and an unwavering belief in oneself.

Victoria also shared an incredible post of her experience with Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge on her Instagram, You can check out the full story by clicking the on the Instagram tab!

Have you participated in any Jack Petchey Foundation-related programs and want to share your story?  Email to get started.

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