Inspirational Women of the Speaking Circuit: Shari Alyse of ‘Love Yourself Happy’ On The Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Speaker


What drives me every single day is the desire to make someone else’s journey in this lifetime easier. I feel like I’ve been given a map to a treasure and I want to share it with everyone. I spent so many years living on at the surface of my life (and not even realizing it), and now that I’m so deeply connected to myself and the gift we’ve been given every time we draw breath, I want to ignite the hearts of those who will listen.

As a part of our series about Inspirational Women of the Speaking Circuit, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Shari Alyse.

Known as “America’s Joy Magnet”, Shari Alyse is an Inspirational Speaker and the author of International Best Seller, Love Yourself Happy: The Journey Back to You.

At seven years old, Shari found herself having to use her voice on a witness stand to testify against the man who had sexually abused her. She now uses her voice to speak around the world on self-worth, self-love, overcoming obstacles, and reclaiming your joy.

Shari is the former Co-Founder of one of the first holistic wellness communities and directories, host of multiple TV & radio shows, and has been featured in numerous media outlets including Good Day LA, Good Morning Washington, ABC, FOX, Thrive Global, Huffington Post, DailyOM, Only Good TV, and more.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

As a very young girl, I witnessed my mom go through a very challenging divorce and allow sadness to consume her. I became extremely sensitive and in tune with what the feeling was around the house. What I discovered was that when I walked into a room and said or did something funny, the energy shifted. My mom smiled. The sadness that had seemed to suck all the air out of the room was no longer there. I learned from a very young age that I could shift and transport people and their emotions to a different place, and that’s where the actress and entertainer were born.

A few years later, at the age of seven, I had been sexually abused. I spoke up and found myself testifying on a witness stand. Needless to say, all of my sensitivity to others’ emotions heightened even more. Although I was going through a whirlwind of my own, I didn’t stop and take the time for my emotions because I was too worried about how other people were feeling about what had happened to me.

After decades of running from my own pain, I became exhausted. In my utter exhaustion, I stopped running. In that place of stillness, I found myself and my voice. That journey has led me to speak on stages around the world, author a best-selling book, and guide thousands of people on how to reconnect back to themselves and find their joy.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I make a lot better me than anyone else.”

I became a speaker because I realized that I had a lot of information that needed to be heard. It’s stemmed back from when I was a child and I had gotten on a witness stand to testify against the man who had sexually abused me. On that day, learned that sharing my truth and being vulnerable could transform and save lives. They told me afterwards that he had done this to other girls and by speaking up, I stopped him from being able to hurt anyone else. There was something really empowering about knowing that at that young age.

Before my professional career as a speaker, I was pursuing a career in theater as an actress. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin to be anything but someone else. It wasn’t until I began my healing journey when I started reconnecting back to myself, and realized that I enjoyed being me more so than playing a character. So, I took my love for theater and I combined it with powerful messages of self-acceptance and self love, and the inspirational speaker was born.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

It was my very first speaking engagement and I had been invited from Maybeline to speak for a group of young, at-risk girls. At the time, I was waiting tables and had been approached by one of my customers. She told me that these girls really needed to hear my story. Without asking any questions or further details, I immediately said “yes”! All I knew was that she said my story was inspiring and I was excited to share it.

Based on the greeting upon on my arrival, it seems I was the only one that was excited for me to be there. I walked into the room and there were around twenty girls all seated in a circle. Half of them with their arms crossed and looking at me side-eyed, and the rest of them snickering between them or completely turned away from me.

Being as green as I was, I hadn’t really thought about adjusting my speech to fit the tone and feel of the room, so I went on as planned. I blathered on and on about positivity and self love and sharing stories from my life of how I had overcome challenges in my life, and at the end of my talk, I told them that I loved giving hugs and if there was anyone that wanted one, they were welcome to come get one. I bent down to grab my purse and notebook next to my chair (and to hopefully slip out of the room unnoticed), and when I stood up there was a line of girls waiting to get a hug.

One by one they each wrapped their arms around me. Some more guarded than others, but all of them willing to risk being vulnerable in that moment. I knew right then that not only was this message important, but it was needed. I also knew exactly what I was meant to do.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I had produced and hosted a live event and we hired a videographer and entire team to capture the 3-day event. I was so excited to welcome all the attendees and I had my opening talk down! I was so present and in the moment with the audience that I hadn’t noticed the engineer waving his arms wildly in the air. Seems I had my wireless mic flipped to the ‘off’ switch the entire time. The good news was that I’m theater trained so the audience of one hundred were able to hear me. The bad news was that the video had no sound. What I learned was that if I am speaking and producing an event, it’s also my responsibility to be focused on the technical aspects too.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

First, it was Oprah Winfrey. She showed me at 12 years old the direction I wanted to go in. She modeled for me what it was like to have been handed unimaginable circumstances, take them and use them to help others heal. I knew when I watched her that I could do that too.

The other person would be my Mom. She never once told me to be practical or to have something to fall back on or even worried about if I would make money at my chosen field. She told me to follow my dreams and was there cheering me on every single step along the way. She even painted my bedroom door like a Hollywood Dressing Room with my name and a big star on it. She always believed in me and that made me believe that I could do and be anything I wanted.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging and intimidating. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Do not let the idea of failure stop you. The only failure that I have ever truly felt is never having gone after something that I truly wanted. It’s actually scarier to imagine living my entire life not ever doing what I truly desire. I believe failure only happens if you never give it a go. And for the record, any time you risk being vulnerable and sharing from your heart to help others, you win.

What drives you to get up everyday and give your talks? What is the main empowering message that you aim to share with the world?

What drives me every single day is the desire to make someone else’s journey in this lifetime easier. I feel like I’ve been given a map to a treasure and I want to share it with everyone. I spent so many years living on at the surface of my life (and not even realizing it), and now that I’m so deeply connected to myself and the gift we’ve been given every time we draw breath, I want to ignite the hearts of those who will listen.

Can you share with our readers a few of your most important tips about how to be an effective and empowering speaker? Can you please share some examples or stories?

Tell your truth.
Bare your soul.
Show up as you.

As you know, many people are terrified of speaking in public. Can you give some of your advice about how to overcome this fear?

Become really comfortable at being imperfect. There is nothing more that I can say about this because all of us feel the fear, but what has lessened it for me is my need to have to be perfect. Once I realized that we all are imperfect, it’s given me the courage to keep showing up and sharing.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. It’s a Business and Not Easy
    Just because you have an important, inspirational and transformational message, doesn’t mean that you suddenly get an outpouring of opportunities. People have to learn about you. It’s a full-time business that takes developing, nurturing and commitment.
  2. You Don’t Have To Be Perfect
    I waited so long to fully dive into speaking as a full-time career because I put so much pressure on myself to have to know it all. I allowed my fear of imperfection to hold me back for years. I wish someone told me that being ME was enough.
  3. Don’t Wait For An Invitation
    Just like anything in life, you get to create your own opportunities. Most of my speaking engagements came from me creating the conferences, workshops, etc. If your desire is to get on a stage and speak, then find your nearest stage right now and get to speaking!
  4. Your Network Will Create Your Opportunities
    The word ‘networking’ has always made me uncomfortable. So much so that I avoided it at all costs. Even as I say it, my chest tightens. The truth is that those you’re genuinely connected with will want to help you. Create and nurture your relationships. They will be the people who will show up for you time and time again.
  5. Get Paid For Your Experience
    I used to undercharge because I thought I didn’t have enough experience, however, I had over decades worth of expertise and value. I thought just because I hadn’t been hired by many companies that I couldn’t charge a certain rate and so I undermined and undervalued myself and that took away from the joy of the experience. I was resentful towards them, however, I was the one who shortchanged myself. Know your true value and worth and get paid for it.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

Right now I’m in the final round for a TEDx talk and hopefully will have landed that by the time you’re reading this. I’m currently a regular featured expert on several news stations and working towards getting my own talk show. I’m also collaborating on a speaking event for the Fall in the NY area. My goal is to book a full international women’s empowerment speaking tour.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

I can’t live without my self-care practices and routines. These are non-negotiables. As someone who experienced childhood trauma, I spent a lot of my life very disconnected from myself and the world around me. As I got older and began healing (which meant cutting out the things that numbed me), I discovered that I was living in my head most of my life. These practices/routines keep me present, grounded, centered and loved.

Daily Walks: Not because I’m a big athlete, but because it centers and grounds me. It allows me to ease into my day feeling connected and inspired. Without these walks, I would feel a lot more anxious and stressed. The exercise is the bonus.

Hand on Heart: I start each morning this way. It connects me immediately to my physical body so I’m not in my head from the get-go. This simple but powerful gesture brings me to a state of gratitude for my life.

Daily Check-in: I set 2 daily alarms on my phone that say “Connection time”. I can very easily get sucked into the hustle of the day and this daily connection reminder brings me from ‘doing’ to ‘being’.

Self Hug: After my abuse, I had this deep desire for someone to hold me and tell me I was safe. I didn’t have the emotional intelligence to know at the time that this is what I needed, but years later, I realized that all that seven-year old girl wanted was a hug. She now gets a few every single day.

Mirror Work: “Good morning, beauty!” “I love you. “I see you.” “I’m proud of you.” “You’re doing great.” Every day I take the opportunity to truly see myself in the mirror and give myself the encouragement and love I need and desire. It’s a game-changing practice that I also teach my clients.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier” — Mother Teresa
We will be remembered by how we made people feel. I always wanted to be the person that people looked forward to seeing because they always felt better after time spent with me.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Self-Love movement. I believe that if we spent more time caring for ourselves, our lives would have more joy and our world would have more peace.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Oprah Winfrey. As mentioned earlier, she saved me. She gave me direction. I would love to one day look her in the eyes and thank her.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?



This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

About The Interviewer: Growing up in Canada, Edward Sylvan was an unlikely candidate to make a mark on the high-powered film industry based in Hollywood. But as CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc, (SEGI) Sylvan is among a select group of less than ten Black executives who have founded, own and control a publicly traded company. Now, deeply involved in the movie business, he is providing opportunities for people of color.

In 2020, he was appointed president of the Monaco International Film Festival, and was encouraged to take the festival in a new digital direction.

Raised in Toronto, he attended York University where he studied Economics and Political Science, then went to work in finance on Bay Street, (the city’s equivalent of Wall Street). After years of handling equities trading, film tax credits, options trading and mergers and acquisitions for the film, mining and technology industries, in 2008 he decided to reorient his career fully towards the entertainment business.

With the aim of helping Los Angeles filmmakers of color who were struggling to understand how to raise capital, Sylvan wanted to provide them with ways to finance their creative endeavors.

At Sycamore Entertainment he specializes in print and advertising financing, marketing, acquisition and worldwide distribution of quality feature-length motion pictures, and is concerned with acquiring, producing and promoting films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subject matter which will also include nonviolent storytelling.

Sylvan has been featured in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and has been seen on Fox Business News, CBS and NBC. Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc is headquartered in Seattle, with offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver.



Edward Sylvan CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group
Authority Magazine

Edward Sylvan is the Founder and CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc. He is committed to telling stories that speak to equity, diversity, and inclusion.