After Tony Died

After Tony died – TesseLeads was birthed.  He left a pathway to encourage, support and build up others.

My relationship with my brother was special. I was privileged to have him as a friend, a coach, a mentor and a role model.  Tony was passionate about how we treat others.   He crafted a place of safety, comfort, kindness and sensitivity for those struggling with life.   “’Every day is a school day”, was one of  his mantras.

His last encouragement to me was to create a place and space for people to tell their stories and for others to hear these narratives  in love, without judgement,  and with the possibility of having a feeling of connection – knowing they are not alone. “Bring together the stories of people around you, so they are your inspiration and steer for navigating crisis” were his words , still ringing in my ears.

The vision to build relationships through story telling has led to the birth of  #TesseLeads,  a relational podcast focusing  on stories,  resilience, wellbeing, healing, recovery and restoration.   We hope you will join us to hearing the heroic stories of those who have triumphed through struggles leaning into their pain, their gains, dilemmas and doubts.

#TesseLeads is so named because it is in walking  through pain, I  am learning first hand  about the realities of living, loving and losing and leading with tears and a broken heart still determined to do my best to be and contribute to a world where I can make a difference.


Paula: 00:00:00 Hi everyone, today I am with Tesse Akpeki, Tesse , and I co-host TesseTalks and now we decided to launch another podcast called Tesse Leads and Tesse, you came up with this idea. So today, as we launched Tesse Leads , I’m going to throw that question on her and say, Tesse what were you thinking about when you decided that we should have something in addition to TesseTalks  was so why TesseLeads in other wordsa?

Tesse: 00:00:34 Yeah. Thank you very much, Paula, first and foremost, I want to say a big thank you for the way that people have supported TesseTalks  and continue to support TesseTalks when we launched TesseTalks. I actually thought, you know, if we get like 50 people who tune in to the launch and listen, that was enough for me because it’s not about numbers, it’s about what it could do.

And we ended up having almost 3000 views of the launch and people tuning in and I was blown away by that. And the comments and the way it is. And so I want to thank people who listen in, who tune in, who tell their friends. Now quite a bit has happened since then. It’s more to do with how our lives can change and how we need to find a place to tell our stories, how we need to listen to the experiences of other people and know that we’re not alone.

How we need to navigate a world which keeps on changing sometimes at pace and how we need to be able to explore our opportunities and create different things, but also to encounter and live alongside our adversities and things that don’t go right. Places where we fail ,places, where we struggle and life is both the things that work for us and it’s also the things that don’t work for us.

It’s about our gains as well as our losses and TesseLeads  is about that place of telling our stories, of sharing our stories. Of hearing about the experiences of others, of sharing our own experiences. And it’s meant to be that place where we can create and shape our opportunities as well as to be supported at times when we need it most.

And my thinking behind this was that that space that we create is an authentic place to be vulnerable and creative place to think and a soft place to fall. Does  any of that make sense to you, Paula? Or is it just something that you think? Actually, I need to ask more questions and explore a bit more.

Paula: 00:03:37 It makes sense. It makes sense in that you’re talking about life, you’re talking about which being a place, which is different from TesseTalks. And I’m sorry, I’m making reference to the that, the host and the cohost are exactly the same two people. But what you’re essentially saying is that TesseLeads is a place for stories, stories about life and how raw life is.

And caring how people got over these things that happen. Some planned and some not planned and some random and some not random, but they happened. So this is supposed to be, uh, Safe place for leaders, influencers people wherever you may be to come and tell your story because it’s real. That’s my understanding.

Tesse: 00:04:38 Absolutely. I’m glad that that’s your understanding, cause that’s my understanding as well. And you would say why TesseLeads? And I say, because. I have to lead myself first, before I can think of leading others. In many ways I can role model what leadership means to me and live as authentically and vulnerably as I can.

And until I do that work from the place of reality and from the place of vulnerability, I will be really fake in kind of leading other people I’ve got to lead myself first. And I think if being in the, um, environment, which is professional, personal leadership has taught me anything. It’s that the only person who I can change is myself and the only place where authentic leadership can come from this from me and over the years, what I’ve learned is that my progression.

And my growth is from the inside out, rather from the outside in and yet over the years often when I’ve looked at indicators for success, I have to confess that my indicators have usually been extrinsic. So outside of me, rather than inside of me and what I’m learning now every day, is that the measures and indicators for success of testing need to be for insights.

And that intrinsic thing is still important because that’s what makes me real. And then I can have external measures, but that would not be what defines me. And so testing leads is about creating that same space with you my wonderful cohost for other people, as well as for ourselves.

Paula: 00:06:32 I think that says it all.

So what would we say people are going to get out of this?

Tesse: 00:06:38 Well, this is a really good question about what people get out of it. And I hope that they do, and they make it other things and let us know as well. But as I had this kind of thought around testing leads, I had a conversation with my brother, Anthony Paul Akpeki, and Anthony said to me, sister Tess, because that’s what he calls me.

He said,” No matter how bad our experiences are no matter how painful they are, there are people who have been through worse and we can benefit by hearing those experiences that other people have. And even if it’s not worse, it’s could be similar or the same. And we know that we’re not alone because nobody has been through that before.

And he said “sister tests. I think we should create a place for people to tell their story, to tell their stories about their precious lives, to tell their stories that will help them to feel supported and encouraged and nurtured, to tell their precious stories in a way that they will feel that they’re never alone because he says whatever happens.

Tesse: 00:07:53 No matter what we’re going through. They’re never known whether the things that we’re celebrating or whether the things that we are mourning or whether the things that we’re gaining or whether the things that we’re losing, we are never alone. And that was what Anthony said to me. What I didn’t realize at the time was that was going to be my last conversation with my brother and my brother, Tony was killed tragically in a hit and run accident four days after that conversation.

And what I benefited from listening to Tony’s very wise words was his encouragement and his supportive voice that nobody is ever alone and tanning our precious stories and sharing our own experiences are ways that we can support ourselves and the ways that we can support others.

So I hope that by tuning into TesseLeads, that people will be able to feel the support of others. And they’ll be able to support themselves as they give themselves the place where adversity  can become gifts and where they can feel happy in what they are gaining. Through things that are working for them and where they can feel that they have a purpose and a meaning.

Their purpose matters. We all have a purpose. And when we realized that many times it gives meaning to our stories and our meaning to things that have happened in our lives. Because sometimes it’s nothing else, but other ban make others understand that they’re not alone.

And Paula might have gone through this test. He might have gone through this, but through that, they have grown they’ve matured and they can help. And so I guess that wraps up our launch TesseLeads in which we are able to share with you, our amazing listeners, why we are doing this, how it came about, and we encourage you to listen in to the wonderful people that we are going to be bringing on, to share their stories the good times and not so good times and the bad times.

Because that’s life and that’s what happens to each and every one of us. So with that, I am going to close out to our amazing listeners. We want you to know that your precious lives and your precious stories matter. Please share them with us so that you can feel supported and so that others are supported as well as encouraged and nurtured and never feel alone.

Please make sure you head over to Apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, or anywhere where you listen to podcasts. And please click subscribe. If you find testing leads helpful. Please let us that is Tessie and Paula know about this and your reviews. If you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, please send us a note.

And if you would like to be a guest on our show, TesseLeads. Please head over to /tesseleads to apply.