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Writing + Photography

Memoirs and musings of Darius Bashar. Toronto portrait photographer and writer, in pursuit of all things real, raw and intimate. 

Posts tagged Speaker of The Week
Daniel Goodman {Speaker of The Week}


I have only officially known Dan for 53 weeks, but I can say with absolute certainty that I love this man. 

Yes he’s creative, and smart, and uses the fanciest words I have ever heard.

But that is not why I love him. 

I love Dan because his eyes sparkle pure love every time I see him.

I love Dan because he teaches me about what it means to be a conscious man in 2019. 

I love Dan because he challenges me to explore my own privilege. 

I love Dan because he says YES to my crazy ideas, like Artist Warrior King or even SpeakerSlam.  

I love Dan for way too many reasons to list, but for now, here’s a bit more on my brother from another mother, Dan Goodman. 

Name: Daniel Goodman

Professional speakers since: 2019

Besides speaking what is your main gig? Creative designer, writer, music producer.

Total number of (professional) talks given: 2

What do you speak about?

I speak about the intersection of creativity and wellness, vulnerability, and the blurring social dynamics between professional and personal lives. As a creative person living with cerebral palsy, I’ve always been handed labels and expectations I’ve fought to resist. That’s why I called my company The Hyphenate, because it’s ultimately about acknowledging that people are more than just their labels and they can transcend these barriers.

I focus on changing your narrative so your creativity isn't hindered by limiting beliefs, either those handed to you externally by society or those internalized by yourself, and instead finding practices and beliefs that empower you and propel you in what you want to create.


  1. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be?

    I wanted to be a professional musician and tour the world like a rockstar! Whether that becomes true is anyone’s guess.

  2. Name one unexpected thing that people might not know about you.

    I used to train as a Paralympic athlete-in-training for wheelchair track and field with Athletics Canada.

  3. Name one podcast or artist you're currently enjoying listening to:

    Music is pivotal to my process. But one artist? That’s rough. Right now, I’m listening to the ambient electronic soundscapes of Four Tet while I write. I’m also a podcast fiend! Currently on deck? I’m enjoying Feist’s Pleasure Studies, On Purpose with Jay Shetty, and Revisionist History.

  4. What is the BEST advice you've ever received about speaking?

    Oddly enough, from my oracle brother and the author of this interview, Darius Bashar: “People don’t want to understand you. They want to be understood!” This kernel of wisdom is key to what I do, and drives me towards what I love: human connection.

  5. Name one thing that makes you feel vulnerable to talk about that you feel others should know:

    I’m very self-conscious of how I look and navigate through the world. I also struggle with social anxiety, despite many people telling me I have great charisma. Truthfully, I get very nervous speaking to groups of people, which is why speaking on a stage is so cathartic!

  6. What is one common misconception people might have about you?

    Usually people think I’m more serious based on my social media presence and business tact, but in reality, I love being playful in work, my personal life, and any social setting. This year has been about pushing my edge and owning my space by being authentic to myself. Some of that transformation has only came once I started to loosen up a little and run the risk of seeming a little silly.

  7. What is the biggest challenge you are currently working on?

    Expressing anger healthily. I used to be a massive people pleaser. This resulted in a lot of difficulties in establishing boundaries and expressing when I felt hurt or misunderstood because I felt like I didn’t deserve the space or couldn’t take up that amount of oxygen in the dynamic. Because I felt misunderstood and disempowered growing up, I now strive to hold space for others in teaching them how to do it for themselves.

  8. When do you feel most alive?

    I feel most alive when I express or share my art publicly and see how it positively affects others. Seeing my craft and communication style open others up to empower themselves, to elevate their own art and take the leap, or look at the chaotic calculus of life from a different angle, is a really rewarding aspect of my work. I always like to ponder if we looked at positive impact in the same way we looked at financial influence, that instead of possessing a million dollars, what if we changed the lives of a million people in some way for the better? That would be extraordinary!


Newsletter: The Hyphenate

Instagram: @bydanielgoodman

Something New And Exciting Coming Up For Daniel:

Later this year, I’m revealing a fresh brand identity and relaunched website for my freelance media and creative management business, The Hyphenate, alongside an accompanying blog & podcast on the creative process, flow states, and meaningful conversation called Making Matter. Stay tuned for the development of that, and if you’d like to be involved, please reach out via email!


Jovana Borojevic {Speaker of The Week}


This is my friend Jovana.

She’s brave. She’s brilliant. She’s hilarious. And most importantly, she bought me Lucky Charms cereal! Why… I really don’t remember, but it made me laugh so hard.

Jovana stole my heart (and the Judges Choice Award) in May at SpeakerSlam. Her talk won second place in the competition and the video ended up going viral.

The courage and conviction from her story are still echoing in my bones today. No wonder she has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. I have never seen anyone share their weight loss and self-love journey with such radical honesty. It’s refreshing and also deeply inspiring.

Jovana is changing the world by sharing her HEARTstory.

She doesn’t hold back.

She doesn’t hide the messy parts.

She’s done playing in the shadows and has taken a giant leap forward into the light.

Keep an eye out on her. She is taking off fast!

Name: Jovana Borojeic

Professional speakers since: 2019

Total number of (professional) talks given: Two

What do you speak about?

I speak about the importance of meeting yourself exactly where you are now before trying to move forward, and looking internally for the answers you truly seek, rather than trying to “quick fix” the outside in search of instant gratification. I speak on my own journey to the realization that changing my outward appearance did not bring me the happiness I thought it would; it destroyed me and forced me to attend the the real issue—a lack of love and understanding for who I was.


  1. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be?

    I battled with insecurities for a majority of my life. Even as a child, when others were fantasizing about what they wanted to be when they grew up, I remember just thinking about how I so badly wanted to be "like them"—whatever that meant. It was hard for me to pick a "path" because I was too concerned about validation and acceptance. The only dream I remember was wanting to be an actress; wanting the opportunity to at least ACT like the "others" and ACT confident, because I could never really BE that.

  2. Name one book that changed your life:
    The book Brain Over Binge changed my life. It talks a lot about the science of our brains and its two parts. It taught me that not every action you think of has to be acted upon. It taught me to recognize thought patterns and urges as HABITS that could be re-programmed into something healthier. It taught me that I was capable of just watching my thoughts, without acting on them. This book was a game-changer in terms of living with purpose and intentional action.

  3. What is the BEST advice you've ever received about speaking?
    The best advice I've received about speaking is to truly spend time meditating on your story, and spend time taking yourself back to that space. Connecting to that place, that moment that deeply impacted your life and connected that next dot that brought you here—that's the game changer. By taking myself back, I am able to bring that energy to my audience and take them on that journey with me. That's where the power, vulnerability, and emotion live.

  4. When do you feel most alive?

    I feel most alive when I'm able to connect to others and help them see that they've been hiding from themselves, without even realizing it. Connecting to a soul that hasn't even connected to its own vessel yet is so vulnerable and beautiful and makes me feel eternally grateful for where I am in my life. It took me years to connect with myself and realize, "HEY, YOU'RE ALIVE RIGHT NOW," and being able to help bring others to that same place lights my fire.

  5. Name one thing that you are super excited about:

    I am really excited to keep connecting with others and helping them acknowledge, and then step into their own truth so that they can fully express themselves and live life as who they ARE. I am excited to continue learning to accept that I will never be perfect, but I will always be WHOLE. And I'm excited to see what magic will enter my life as I continue to live that truth.

  6. What is the biggest challenge you are currently working on?

    The biggest challenge I'm currently working on is staying present and connected to my truth.... I'm struggling with Imposter Syndrome. When I connected to my soul and my calling, I kept asking, "Yeah but, why me? Why would anymore care?" It has taken me a long time to realize that the "WHY" and what makes me special is simply that I'm me. And harnessing that energy in order to live by it FULLY has been my biggest challenge.


Instagram: @jovanafit



Blake Fly {Speaker of The Week}

I am so grateful and fortunate that I get to spend quality time with so many truly epic humans. Often, these are people who tour all over the world sharing their gifts and brilliance to sold out crowds.

Somehow I have convinced these remarkable speakers, coaches, healers and badass entrepreneurs to come to my home/studio and sit with me for hours as we get to know each other, prior to actually taking photos of them.

Most people are generous, and willing to share their most juicy life lessons, or a current book or podcast that has changed their lives. I walk away from every HEARTshot session with 1 or 2 new tools or tips that I can integrate into my life immediately.

My goal is to continually find ways to better fan the fires of these heart-centred thought leaders. By supporting them and the amazing work they do in the world, this will help me maximize my impact too.

So with that said, here is this week’s Speaker of The Week. My homie, the one and only Blake Fleischacker.

Name: Blake Fleischacker

Professional speakers since: 2010

Total number of (professional) talks given: 1,212

What do you speak about?

The leading reason why people drop out of school, quit their jobs and leave their relationships is a lack of appreciation. So... I have spent a decade talking about appreciation, recognition and how to use it as rocket fuel for better relationships on campus, in companies and life.


  1. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be?

    I vividly recall writing 2 things in my yearbook around this age. “Happy” was the first one and “The Zamboner of Maple Leaf Gardens” was the second. I have always been a big-picture thinker and a bit of a black sheep. I figured those answers accomplished a bit of both.

  2. From all the talks you've delivered, which one stands out the most in your memory?
    The first ever “New Year’s Evolutions.” That was the first time I hosted my own event and I was the one responsible to get people to show up. It was terrifying because that was new territory for me as someone who usually speaks at events put on by other people (where they fill the seats). “Will anybody show up?” was the voice in my head that I was excited to quiet and prove wrong. That’s when people showed up.

  3. What is the BEST advice you've ever received about speaking?
    “Blend and lead.” This means that you must meet people where they are at and then invite them to where you want them to go with you in the speech. It’s kind of like bagpipes at a campfire. If someone just busts that out right after quiet, acoustic guitar songs, it messes everything up. If the bagpipe player acknowledges the guitar music, acknowledges the change the people are about to experience, and THEN plays... game on. Best. Bonfire. Ever.

  4. Do you still get nervous when you are about to give a talk? If so, how do you calm your nerves?

    Yes. One of my favourite musicians is Jason Mraz. Before speeches, I watch old YouTube videos of him playing secret shows at pubs in Holland. It shows him having the time of his life and creating a magical experience for the audience. It is all captured on the digital camera of an audience member. Low quality footage, but high quality look into the perspective/experience of someone in the audience loving every minute of the performance. These videos inspire me, anchor me and get me aligned for every speech.

  5. Name one thing that frustrates you:
    I have not yet felt the full range of my feelings. I feel frustrated about that. Ha. See what I did there? I know that consistently exploring my emotional range will elevate my abilities as a speaker, creator and performer. People want to FEEL someone on stage and know that they are human.



Instagram: @blakefly

Upcoming events: New Year’s Evolutions in Nov 2019. Year 4 of 55.

Link for Above:


Parul Bansal is Bald AF + Bold AF (Speaker of The Week)

If I lived to be 10 000 years old, I will never forget this photoshoot with my dear friend @parulbee.⁣
She is a living example of what is possible when you step into your wound and then step through to your superpower.⁣⁣
She has already inspired hundreds of thousands through her Speaker Slam winning talk and is on her way to inspiring millions more by continuing to share her HEARTstory and her journey with the world.⁣⁣