Susan Heaton-Wright is a fellow member of the F:entrepreneur #ialso100 2020. Susan is such an accomplished and inspirational woman I was so pleased when she offered to share her story. Not only is she the Superstar Communicator, she is an award winning former opera singer and she even volunteered as a seamstress for the Hertfordshire Scrub Hub supporting our NHS. Read on to find out more about Susan's story.
Superstar Communicator - Susan Heaton-Wright, Trainer, Coach, Speaker, Mentor, Podcaster
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Susan Heaton-Wright is a virtual impact, communications and speaking expert for emerging leaders and the creator of the Superstar Communicator™ methodology. She is an international speaker; the MD of award winning music company, Viva Live Music, podcaster and a former prize winning international opera singer.
What inspired you to set up your business?
I retired from singing a couple of years after my son was born. One of the gifts of having a young child is that you meet lots of new people; many from different backgrounds or work. I was constantly being asked how I looked confident when I walked into a room; could speak clearly and with confident so others took notice of us etc. Friends and acquaintances asked me to help them with presentations or speeches, and I realised I could create a business around it.
I looked at the skills I had acquired and developed as a singer – from the performance side; managing fear; building confidence; body language, preparation; listening skills etc (there are so many skills) and how I could translate these into business situations. But I also looked back to how I developed my skills from being a very quiet, shy school to stepping out in front of large 1000+ audiences as a soloist: what and how I had picked up the skills and what helped me – and so other people. I asked lots of questions and even now, I am constantly creating new material based on challenges clients have asked me to support them with.
I then created my own communications methodology Superstar Communicator, having identified the 5 key skills essential to make a positive impact in spoken communication.
What gave you the final nudge/ push to go for it?
I ran the business for 5 years using the methodology: it was a lifestyle business as I had responsibilities as a mother and also running Viva Live Music.
The day after my son went to university I had an appointment with a business consultant Gurnam. This was the first of 5 sessions with her; she encouraged me to get Superstar Communicator™ trademarked; to think much bigger and to go for it. Through her I was introduced to a consultant from the Department of International Trade and encouraged to have a strong digital presence so I could deliver my services internationally. A new website and an APP also supported this vision and I went for it!
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Myself: like many people I suffer from imposter syndrome and a lack of confidence. But I have come to recognise the signs when that ‘Little Voice’ is shouting me down before I do something new. I realise that when I push that Little Voice away, I am growing as a person personally and professionally. I have also learnt not to compare myself with others: we are all different and are on unique journeys. We all have skills and experience to offer other people.
My experience and skills are very different to other people offering similar services to me; and my style of delivery is unique, as is everyone’s.
Describe your greatest success/ the thing you are most proud of.
I have so many things I am proud of: my 26 year marriage; my son; having successful businesses and my opera career. However, there is one thing unrelated to my business that I believe is my biggest success.
For many years I didn’t drive: I was too traumatised following a very serious car accident in my early 20s which left me with life changing injuries. 10 years ago I decided to push this fear away and re-learn to drive. I have to be honest: it was extremely difficult but I did this slowly, with little steps. I now drive with confidence and safely. It has transformed my life and my business. A friend who is a professor of psychology and other professionals couldn’t believe I was able to drive again after the extent of my trauma. I am so proud of what I achieved and how this has had such a positive impact on my life.
What motivates you to keep forging ahead with your business?
Making a difference to other incredible people; giving them the tools and permission to speak and communicate with impact and confidence. I was one of those people when I was younger, who was underestimated because I was quiet and lacked confidence. I missed out on opportunities and like many others was overlooked in favour of the more confident extroverts.
I have helped many people with techniques, strategies AND permission to step up and make a positive impact.
Whenever I see one of my clients on TV; heard them on the radio; having spoken at an event or even contacting me personally to share some good news, I am thrilled for them, and recognise this is what gets me up every morning: to support them to make an impact when they speak.
Thank you so much to Susan for sharing her story with us here at Cat's Pajamas. We always feel inspired hearing about the journeys of others.
If you would like to find out more about Superstar Communicator you can visit:
Instagram - @susanheatonwright1
Facebook - @superstarcommunicator
Twitter - @superstarcomms