TesseTalks Meets TesseLeads

TesseTalks Meets TesseLeads

In this episode of “TesseTalks Meets TesseLeads”, Tesse and Paula want to say “A big thanks to our social media community that gathered around TesseTalks and Tesse Leads showing their support. I was touched by the thousands… and there were thousands of people who showed their care and empathy through their messages, their prayers. Tony’s death is a very sad moment for the Akpeki family and friends. The love shown proves that diversity and inclusion are alive. People care for the suffering of others giving generously of their time and saying a compassionate farewell to beloved brother Tony.” says host Tesse Akpeki.

“TesseTalks” was launched when pioneer Maggie Johnson died from cancer. Maggie was interested in sharing messages of leadership and support.  The LinkedIn community has been incredibly supportive in getting  behind “TesseTalks.

Laura Gates introduced  our audience to the power of collective genius. High-performing teams are recognising the genius of people in our teams and  in our organisations.

Debra Allcock Tyler with permission from ABBA to use their songs, illustrated that “it doesn’t have to be a battle, it can be a victory to achieve the mission and the vision of the organisation through staff and board working together”.

Carol Wiseman of Board Builders, gave top tips of board effectiveness. Her humour is infectious.

Andy Martin, passionate and knowledgeable from Franklin Covey Europe  put the spotlight on  right mindsets particularly at a time of uncertainty and change.

Tony Akpeki was instrumental,  in highlighting the importance of story telling as a way of encouraging each other and crafting a support network- particularly at a time of adversity and loss.  Unfortunately he lost his life four days later at the hands of a hit and run driver.

“TesseLeads” was born as a result of Tony’s vision. Grief Recovery specialist Lisa Richards brings the reality of pain and loss as platforms for growth , recovery  and  healing.

Jason J Briggs embraced Buddhism which heightened his awareness of the value of knowledge.

David Taylor Klaus talked about creative thinking that transforms, and the magic of thinking and transformation.  Our thinking can be transformational.

Our youngest guest 20 year old Presence Plum a student at London School of Economics in her podcast  ‘It Starts With Action’  encourages us to change our lives through healthier thinking.

Vicar  Steve Morris talks about Our Precious Lives.  His honest struggle with #MentalHealth struck a familiar tone with our attentive audience.

Our delightful guest Bonnie Marcus shares the uplifting message that women over 50 are  Not Done Yet!  Sharing her personal story she is successfully  embracing practices and habits that work.

Our last 2  episodes on “Changing The World With Wellness”  which focuses on Wellbeing and Resilience  and  “Future Focus” inspire us to hope for good coming out of what has been a very sad time.

A big thanks to our guests and audience in creating something special in a nurturing place.


Paula: 00:00:00 Welcome to “TesseTalks” with your two hosts today, Tesse Akpeki and me Paula Okonneh. And this is a special edition, we are calling it “TesseTalks” meets “TesseLeads”. Today we are going to be combining both of our shows, “TesseTalks” and “TesseLeads”. It’s going to be talking about our journey, how we started. We started in November of 2020 and we are doing this recording in April of 2021. So we’ve talked about our journey, we talk about how we got here and why we got here. And with that I’m going to turn this over to Tesse who is the founder of Tesse Akpeki Associates. And of course, as you can see from the names of both podcasts, she is the primary host of “TesseTalks” and “TesseLeads”. So over to you, Tesse.

Tesse: 00:00:59 Hi Paula, I think you are simply amazing. I’m going to start by saying thank you to you because you’ve been an incredibly supportive and incredibly creative co-host and you brought your knowledge of webcasting and internet solutions to the table. Interestingly what listeners like about you, your wonderful voice. In fact one of our listeners said that any time she wants to be calmed down she listens to your voice. And when she wants to have a good run in the morning, she also listens to your voice because you soothe her anxiety. And I think that’s an incredible way of saying that your voice is like Honey, it soothes  people. Who doesn’t like a combo? I totally love a combo, and I think that there is something about bringing ideas together which is very enriching. So starting from November, we launched “TesseTalks”. It was a really sad moment in a way to start, because that was when Maggie Johnson one of my best mates, she actually died from cancer. And it was something that Maggie was interested in to see how we could get our messages of leadership and support out there. And sadly she didn’t live to see that happen. But that was a note in which we started. But our amazing listeners, people on LinkedIn other social platforms, they just supported “TesseTalks” in a way that I found incredibly brilliant. It was really interesting to see how people got behind “TesseTalks” and how that encouragement sped the show on to an amazing start really. You have anything that you’d like to ask me right now? I don’t want to just be chattering on and not hearing what you have to say. I don’t want to dominate you as you know, you are the quiet one and I’m the one that seems to be very vocal.

Paula: 00:03:12 Well, Tesse first and foremost thank you for choosing me to be a co-host. It’s been an incredible experience. What a lot of your listeners don’t know is that, even though I do many podcasts this is my fourth. I was shy, I did not feel comfortable with public speaking. But podcasting has brought out a side of me that I didn’t know I had. So thank you for including me in your journey. Well what I wanted to focus on is all the amazing guests that we have had on the show. Most of them are in fact, all of them have been invited by you. And all I have done essentially is facilitate them alongside with you. As you mentioned, you are a better talker than I. I wouldn’t say that you’re a talker and I’m not a talker because I can talk too, but not to the extent of you, which is good.

Tesse: 00:04:03 I’m not taking that personally.

Paula: 00:04:06 Of course you should’nt. But it’s been a journey since we started in November. Well we started way back in 2016, thinking about having an audio version to Tesse Akpeki, which is your company, Tesse Akpeki Associates. We talked about it, but we didn’t do much. In 2018 we initiated parts of it. But in 2020 November was when we launched. And our first guest was Laura Gates, correct?

Tesse: 00:04:36 Absolutely, you’re right.

Paula: 00:04:38 And she talked about leading with purpose and collective genius.

Tesse: 00:04:42 Yeah.

Paula: 00:04:43 She was an incredible guest. And then we went on to talking with Debra  Allcock-Tyler and her topic was, “it’s a battle on the board”. Now there both guests of yours, and as I said, I facilitated. Tell me more about your feedbacks, and I’m just starting with these first two.

Tesse: 00:05:03 I’m going to start with Laura and shout out to Laura. It was a brilliant way to start what is becoming for our listeners and for us a learning journey as well as a sharing journey. And Laura, she brilliantly introduced us to the power of collective genius. And from her, I actually learned, not so much use the thing about high-performing teams, which seemed to be a generation away from where we are now. It was really about recognizing the genius of people in our teams, in our organizations. And pulling those things together to achieve, or to be where the team and where the organization needs to be. And Laura eloquently took us to that place, and actually she gifted us and gifted the listeners with her curated information, in such a generous way that she just set that bar incredibly high. Debra built on that and Debra brought out a publication from Directory of Social Change. Which was about how trustees, how board members can actually make the best of their roles and work through some of the relationship matters that can be quite troubling. But actually use conflict in a way that is extremely constructive and propels the board forward. Debra did it in a fun way as well, because she got permission from ABBA. Yes, yes it was the amazing ABBA. Yeah amazing ABBA, but she got the permission from ABBA to actually use the themes. I don’t think anybody but Debra Allcock-Tyler could have done that. But do it she did. And for ABBA to have said yes to Debra was absolutely brilliant. And I was really privileged and blessed really to do the foreword to that book. But as I said, Deborah’s key messages where, “it doesn’t have to be a battle, it can be a victory to achieve the mission and the vision of the organization through staff and board working together”.

Paula: 00:07:36 So after we had Debra, then the next episode we released on “TesseTalks” was celebrating Maggie. And we were celebrating the life of Tesse’s friend, Maggie Johnson.

Tesse: 00:07:51 Yeah.

Paula: 00:07:52 That was a tough one, real tough one. And then followed quickly by Carol Wiseman, who gave us top tips of board effectiveness, correct?

Tesse: 00:08:04 Absolutely. And aptly Carol’s organization is called “Board Builders”. So she was best placed to do that, and she did that in a really humorous way as well.

Paula: 00:08:16 Well all right. So we’re talking mainly here about “TesseTalks”. So with “TesseTalks”, as we continued into the new year, we had Andy Martin part one. Who talked about keeping momentum in an ever-changing environment. And then we had Andy Martin part two, that was “TesseLeads though. And that was leading in on certain times.

Tesse: 00:08:41 Yeah, another amazing guest. Andy Martin, he sparked off something about a young person. Ever so bright ever so passionate and knowledgeable and he’s with Franklin Covey, Europe. And he actually took us through the practices and the journey of achieving what is important and significant with the right mindset, particularly at a time of uncertainty and change. And he took us through a personal journey for him, where he moved with his wife from the states, and he settled in the UK. And how through a journey of learning personally, As well as professionally. He is bringing joy to other people and his work and actually finding fulfillment through doing what he does. He did that quite beautifully and quite elegantly.

Paula: 00:09:56 Oh yes, he sure did. And it was around that time that we started thinking more about the second podcast, “TesseLeads”. Because something that happened in your life around then in December of 2020. Your brother, your delightful brother, your charismatic brother, Tony Akpeki unfortunately lost his life. And he was instrumental, just a few days before he passed away in an unfortunate accident. He had mentioned to you that “TesseTalks” is getting so much momentum. You probably should look at an additional podcast, which would focus mainly on people telling their story. And you are I brainstormed about that and in terms of the name and decided that we’d call that “TesseLeads”. Do you want to throw light on that? Because after we had the wonderful Andy Martin, the next episode that we released was in honor of Tony.

Tesse: 00:10:59 Absolutely right. I mean it’s still very painful and the loss of my beloved brother, friend, companion, coach, and chief entertainment officer Tony, through a hit and run incident in Dover just before Christmas of 2020. It actually threw me as it did our family. And it was important to honor Tony who we call Bros T in what we did. And just four days before he was killed, he mentioned the importance of getting people to tell their stories. And I remember him saying to me, sister Tess, there’s nothing that you’re going to go through that other people haven’t gone through and some would even have gone through worse. And it’s a point of encouragement that people will be able to tell other people their stories and find encouragement by telling them and other people get encouragement by hearing those stories. And four days later, he was tragically killed by a hit and run driver. I don’t know whether he had a perception that something was going to go, probably he didn’t. But it’s the nature of the man that he did think of other people. And he was actually delivering COVID kits in Dover when this very tragic incident happened. So what you and I did, and I couldn’t have done it without you Paula, was to record a tribute for Tony, which was released at a time when he was going to be buried. And we just celebrated Tony really and the life he had led.  I was very encouraged again by the LinkedIn Family that sensed the mood of the moment.  Our  Linkedin Family gathered round me, around  the family, and gathered around the podcast  and showed their support . I was touched by the thousands and there were thousands of people who showed their care under empathy through their messages, through their prayers and through their thoughts. So yes, it was a very sad moment for the Akpeki family for friends, but also it showed me that the diversity and inclusion are alive when we care for the suffering of others. And that social media in particular family rose to the occasion and they gave generously of their time and their contributions to say a very good rich farewell to brother Tony.

Paula: 00:14:39 I know every time that topic comes off, it’s still painful. And I understand that, I understand that.

Tesse: 00:14:45 It will be for awhile.

Paula: 00:14:47 Yes.

Tesse: 00:14:48 I don’t actually think that for any of us when we lose somebody that we love that it’s easy. I don’t think that we give ourselves the time or the space to heal from that. People think that after the funeral is all over. But our journey hasn’t been that way, it’s just beginning really. And that was why it was really delighted to have the first recorded guests for “TesseLeads” as Lisa Richards. Because Lisa Richards is a grief recovery specialist and she trained with Grief UK. And Lisa just brought reality to the pain of loss, and also a reality to how grief and loss can become a platform for growth as well as for recovery. And Lisa just made it so normal to be sad when you lose, not just the precious person, but when you suffer any kind of loss, a loss of a job, a loss of your home a loss of your confidence, when you suffer domestic abuse, any kind of loss. She normalized that journey as one that can take us to a place of healing and of rejuvenation. So Lisa was good at the first guest of “TesseLeads” and I think Tony would be pleased with that.

Paula: 00:16:47 I think he would be, cause she not only was she helpful to the listeners but she was also helpful to you too. So on a personal note she has been, and my words a blessing to you. So we had Lisa and she was a first guest on “TesseLeads”. That’s when we decided that we would have, we’ll alternate “TesseLeads” and “TesseTalks” every other week. You’d hear our voices either as the host and co-host of “TesseTalks” or the hosts and co-host of “TesseLeads”. Really different as Tesse has pointed out. After we had Lisa who was on “TesseLeads”. Of course we went back to “TesseTalks” and our guest there was Jason brakes. Then he talked about the value of knowledge. Tesse had met him, she had never physically met him. You met him online, correct?

Tesse: 00:17:41 LinkedIn.

Paula: 00:17:42 Linkedln, yes. And that was a very interesting, very interesting episode, in which he talked about his walk through life by embracing Buddhism, a great great episode. We followed that with “TesseLeads” and the guests there was David Taylor Klaus from Atlanta. And that was a very fun recording. We did both, we did “TesseLeads” and we did “TesseTalks” with him. In “TesseLeads” he talked about creative thinking that transforms, but in “TesseTalks”, it was the magic of thinking and transformation, both very compelling topics. And we had fun your act to say, we played.

Tesse: 00:18:30 A lot of play. It is really interesting because I had to tell David that I was’nt stalking him. I really did like the way that he has of looking at the world. And David came and he played, and he also introduced me to Clubhouse, which is another platform. And I’ve learned a lot and continue to learn a lot from David because every week I go to the clubhouse cocktail nights. And the cocktail nights for me, it’s usually early evening for people in Atlanta.  But I have great fun those nights. And what David introduced us to was his Mindset Mondays, which is supported by a publication by the same name, and the power of our thinking. And his thing is that if we can change our thoughts, we can actually get to change our behaviors. And if we change our behaviors, we can make an impact and we can be transformational. So, yes it’s great, it’s really great.

Paula: 00:19:31 So that was David Taylor Klaus. Then we had our youngest so far, our youngest guests Presence, Plum. Presence Plum was amazing. She is 20 years old, she lives in England, she is a student at London School of Economics, and she spoke about her journey. She talked as a guest on both of our podcasts. Her first topic was “it’s. Okay not to be okay”. In which she talked about her journey as a young woman who experienced bullying and the steps she took over that. And she also in “TesseTalks”, she talked about her podcast, and which it was a followup from it’s okay not to be okay because she told us it starts with action. If you wanted to change in your life, you got to start doing something. And she said, she realized that her healing came from understanding that okay, she didn’t have to stay depressed, she didn’t have to continue to try and be friends with people who didn’t want to be friends with her. But she could Take Action to start changing her life. It was a very positive, powerful episode. I know of young people who listened to it and came back and said how much it impacted their lives. So 20 year olds their opinions matter. Then we have, oh my gosh, we have had some more guests after that. Presence Plum was followed by Steve Morris, who is the vicar of St. Cuthberts. And he talked about our Precious Lives. He has a book out called Tesse remind me.

Tesse: 00:21:17 It is called our Precious Lives.

Paula: 00:21:19 Oh right

Tesse: 00:21:19 They don’t go too far away from the book.

Paula: 00:21:23 I don’t think our title was.

Tesse: 00:21:25 We called it. People’s precious lives matter.

Paula: 00:21:29 People’s precious lives matter, but his book is called “our Precious Lives”.

Tesse: 00:21:33 Yeah.

Paula: 00:21:34 And one of the interesting things I learned about him was that he was the leader of a band. Many years ago red harvest. Yes. And so he went down memory lane with us, talking about his dad, his parents, his dad’s experience in the war. It was deep, it was deep. And being a pastor, I’m not surprised that he touched on spirit, soul, and body. And then we had Bonnie Marcus

Tesse: 00:22:03 Not done yet.

Paula: 00:22:04 Yeah, not done yet, but it’s coming out pretty soon. We’re recording this in April, the end of April. And her first episode will be out in May. 1st and second week of may because she graced us with two episodes, one for “TesseTalks” and one for “TesseLeads”. “TesseTalks” will be released the first week in may and it’s called, we don’t have a title yet.

Tesse: 00:22:27 Not done yet! I think keep it we need to keep it.

Paula: 00:22:30 That’s true, that’s what it’s called “not done yet” yeah. And then in”TesseLeads she talks about “not done yet my personal story” yeah. And then not to be out shone. Following Bonnie is “Wellbeing and resilience”, a personal journey. The guests are no other “than Tesse Akpeki and PaulaOkonneh.

Tesse: 00:22:55 Absolutely the combo.

Paula: 00:22:59 And we have surprise surprise, an episode of “TesseTalks and in “TesseLeads. “TesseLeads” is the one I just gave you the title, which is “wellbeing and resilience, a personal journey”. But the “TesseTalks” is called “future focus, wellbeing and resilience”. Both of them done by Tesse Akpeki and Paula Okonneh.

Tesse: 00:23:19 Yeah.

Paula: 00:23:20 I think so far we have more and more episodes to come, but I think we’ll stop here for now.

Tesse: 00:23:27 Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s been, it really rich journey it has been.

Paula: 00:23:35 I’ve learned a lot, all your guests have always come with a unique perspective that I have learned and I have grown I want to say in my walk as a podcaster in my walk as a cohost. Words come even more easily to me, as I said. Tesse is, I don’t want to say the main speaker, but she prefers words to me. But I think if I’m speaking for her, she’s learned in her tech journey.

Tesse: 00:24:01 Yeah, definitely. I never thought that I would find the highlight of my life being on Clubhouse, but I am. And the joys of Google drives and stuff I continue to jump with joy at, and I can only say thank you to you Paula for bridging that gap of technology and ease and what can be done to join the dots for all of us.

Paula: 00:24:28 Yes, absolutely. So with that we have recounted our journey as hosts of “TesseTalks” and TesseLeads. We want to thank all of our amazing guests so far, because one thing that we failed to say at the very beginning was that this is mocking six months into our journey as podcasters, as dual podcasters. Not so much for me, but more for Tesse. But it’s been a journey that I want to say I would not have given up for this is still a saying – I’m about to say for all the tea in China? Do people still say that?

Tesse: 00:25:01 Definitely I think they do. Although I’m sure there’s tea in other parts of the world. But I think I like that, that’s what I grew up with really.

Paula: 00:25:10 Yes, yes, yes. And again, I want to thank our amazing listeners, we couldn’t have done this without you. “TesseTalks” is a journey of discovery, we have discovered ourselves in that journey. And “TesseLeads” is a story, your stories and we end up by saying, your stories matter, your opinions matter everything about you matters. And so for all our listeners, we want to thank you for being so faithful. And we ask that you head over to Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you’ve listened to podcasts, and please continue to click subscribe. And if you found either “TesseTalks” or “TesseLeads” helpful, please let us know in your reviews and your comments. And if you have any topics or questions that you’d like us to cover, send us a note. But more importantly, if you’d like to be a guest on either “TesseTalks” or “TesseLeads”, just head over to  “tesseakpeki. com” and you’ll see the tabs on the applications forms for both “TesseTalks” and “TesseLeads”, and please apply a shout out  or something that’s new that we’re doing now. We are now on Instagram, so please also follow us on Instagram and Tesse do you want to tell them the name of your Instagram?

Tesse: 00:26:26 I love very simple things and not far removed from where we are. It’s Tessetalks_ podcast and Tesseleads_ podcast. And it’s just as simple as that.

Paula: 00:26:39 Thank you everyone. Over and out.