Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Mark Brown migrated to the United States at 18 years old with only $40 in his pocket and a dream for a better life. Today, he has become one of the most popular inspirational speakers in the world. Using a unique blend of hilarious humor and hard-hitting honesty, Mark Brown will both challenge and compel your group to take their performance to the next level.

Use Another Tool!

Several years ago, I discovered some termite damage to floor joists under my house. The damage was in the crawlspace, so it was quite dark, and it was not very easy to notice what the termites had done. I needed a tool…something to illuminate the area so I could see clearly. I chose a flashlight,…

When Something Goes WRONG…

For more than 25 years, I’ve both told and heard some very inspirational stories. Some were born of deep pain, some from the joyous celebrations, and some from the humorous side of life. As is my custom, I ask my speech coaching clients to unearth the poignant personal stories from their own lives, because I…

Mundane, or MAGNIFICENT?

Over the years, I’ve met thousands of interesting people; royalty, celebrities, politicians, pioneers, and more. Some have no specific claim to fame, and they represent diversity in age, ethnicity, religious belief, political affiliation, and background. Many have life stories that most people would consider fascinating and full of adventure. Many don’t. But there is one…

The DARK PLACE

Our stories are personal; our stories are powerful; sometimes our stories are PAINFUL. Some time ago, while discussing storytelling during a panel discussion, I made a comment about telling stories from THE DARK PLACE…a place of deep pain and raw emotions. My good friend the 1999 World Champ Craig Valentine says, “A message is really just…

Q & A

Will They Remember?

“You came to my school about 7 years ago and gave your Words Count speech. And I just wanted you to know that I’ve never forgotten it.” Those were the words that opened an e-mail that I received some time ago. To be honest, I didn’t think much about it until I re-read it later…

A Lesson from the Champions

August 25, 2018 was a historic day for Toastmasters International! For the past 80 years, Toastmasters has held the annual International Speech Contest which culminates in the World Championship of Public of Speaking. For the first time in the organization’s 94-year history, three women emerged as the cream of the crop, finishing in the top…

The POWER of PERSPECTIVE

 Stories have the power to move people in many ways. That emotional connection can be increased exponentially when you have clearly defined characters, who provide their own perspective of what’s happening in your story. They may not be the MAIN character, but they can play a significant role in unleashing the power of the…

Don’t Tell us…TAKE us

For more than 25 years, I’ve enjoyed telling stories, but all my life I’ve enjoyed hearing them, from many people all over the world. Stories give us the glorious opportunity to connect with people of different cultures and backgrounds, and also to expose them them to both the differences and the similarities of our life…

What I Learned From my Coach

Ever notice how seemingly gifted speakers make it look so easy? How do they do that? What if you could? THEY WEREN’T BORN WITH IT; THEY LEARNED IT! Most speakers take the stage, but they don’t own it. They don’t keep their audiences on the edge of their seats, leaning on their every word. They…

Whose Story Is It?

Some years ago, I received a disturbing private message from a fellow speaker ‘Sam’, in another country. They were attending a weekend seminar by a very prominent, highly paid professional speaker, but they admitted that they were inclined to leave immediately. When I asked “Why?” they said, “I can’t believe this person just told Val’s…

THE UTMOST FOR THE HIGHEST

Each year, during the week before Easter, thousands of high school athletes compete in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships (better known as Champs) in my hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. ‘Champs’ is the biggest track and field event involving high school students anywhere in the world, and the event…