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Meet Stefanie Grieser, Shine Bootcamp

“Our vision is to end imposter syndrome because it stops really smart people, who have really awesome things to share and teach, from getting up on stage.”

Shine Bootcamp offers a three-day immersive bootcamp for women in tech, female entrepreneurs and other marginalized voices who want to share their stories, become thought leaders and secure large-scale professional public speaking gigs.

Founded by a trio of Amy Wood, Alejandra Porta and Stefanie Grieser, Shine aims to address the gender imbalance in public speaking by empowering more valuable female voices to get up on stage and share their expertise. We spoke to Stefanie to find out how Shine Bootcamp is growing the next generation of women speakers.

Origins of Shine Bootcamp

Working as the organizer for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference, Stefanie noticed a problem. There was no shortage of willing and confident white male speakers offering to get up on stage, but she sensed a degree of hesitancy from women in her network when offered the same opportunity.

“Working as a conference organizer, I had to work so hard to convince women they were good enough to speak and were a valuable voice people needed to hear,” she said.

“I had so many pitches in my inbox from men, all talking about how they’re experts in this or that. They weren’t shy about telling me either! I remember one woman, an industry expert who was so smart, and I had to work hard to convince her to get on stage. I noticed this hesitancy from the women I spoke to, they just didn’t want to raise their hands.

“Speaking is like this catch 22 situation. You can’t really become a speaker unless you’re already a speaker. How do you bridge that gap; how do you get someone to give you a shot when you have no experience?”

Starting to Shine

Stefanie, Amy and Alejandra got to work, devising the framework for what would become Shine Bootcamp. Existing initially under the Unbounce umbrella, the camps found an eager early audience and quickly grew.

“Amy and I wrote this huge blog post about gender inequality at conferences and how it’s not that hard to overcome, you just need to put the work in. It got a lot of views and a lot of feedback, but we felt like we were just talking about the problem and not really solving it.

“We came up with this concept of a speaker bootcamp, or speaker accelerator program for women. Right now, we’re really embedded in tech, but we span entrepreneurs, product managers, marketers, copywriters, freelancers and consultants. These are the type of people we want to come to Shine. These people have legitimate things to say and we want them to be heard.

“Our vision is to end imposter syndrome because it stops really smart people, who have really awesome things to share and teach, from getting up on stage.”

How Shine Bootcamp Works

Prepping to become a speaker doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why Shine takes attendees on a six-week journey capped off with three intensive, in-person days of work. During this time, attendees refine their speaking while also receiving resources such as headshots and film reel that will help secure paid speaking gigs.

“We run a six-week program and five and a half of those weeks are online. When you create a talk that’s meant to be at the professional level it doesn’t just appear out of thin air over a weekend. It takes time to build and refine.

“We have two/three days where we meet in person for a bootcamp and it’s tailored coaching, practicing the talk and getting resources like speaker photos, headshots etc. that can be used as collateral to promote a speaker’s appearance. We also record our attendees giving their talk because we know conference organizers won’t just put anyone on stage. They need to see a slide deck and they need to see video of them speaking; they need proof this person can go on stage and kill it.

“We cover all of this in our bootcamp. We provide attendees with the skills and resources they need, as well as the confidence and community backing them, so they believe they have it within them to go out and become a professional speaker.

Future Growth

2020 is an exciting year for Shine. Plans are afoot to expand their reach, with new models such as franchising being trialled to achieve this goal.

“We’ve been operating for three years now and each of our alumni, on average, has secured three speaking gigs. This means over 300 stage appearances have directly come out of Shine Bootcamp so far. This is what keeps me going, when I hear attendees talk about how ‘it was life changing’ or how ‘it really helped me to build confidence’ – it’s so cool and rewarding to see people go through this transformation, which is why we want to help more people.

“This year, we are doubling our programs and we are expanding to the east coast. We’re looking at Vancouver in May, Seattle in July and Dublin in September, hopefully! We’re trialling a system where two of our programs are being run by other people. We’re essentially franchising and seeing how it goes. This involves us getting our internal documents in order to make sure the programs are being run to the standard we expect if we’re putting our name on it.

“Longer term, I’d love for us to have a campus where we can expand into things like confidence workshops and developing other soft skills people need to achieve success. I’m constantly looking at other programs, coding bootcamps like Red Academy and Lighthouse Labs. They’re quite technical, and needed, but I want Shine to step in and fulfill the need for the less technical skills people still need but aren’t really being served in an accessible way.”

Find Out More

Interested in learning more about the programs offered by Shine Bootcamp? Visit their website and discover when the next camp is taking place.