Global speaking competition in Toronto features two ‘inspirational’ Mississauga residents


Published June 18, 2024 at 6:16 pm

Speaker Slam 2024 features Mississauga residents.

A Mississauga mother of three who works as a clinical pharmacist has a story to tell about overcoming great personal loss and heartbreak — and she’ll share it with an audience in Toronto next month.

A personal finance coach and digital nomad, who also calls Canada’s seventh-largest city home, will get up on stage himself in July to similarly impart all that he has learned in his journey, which began when he was a child and his parents struggled financially.

Sandra Tadros Guirguis, also a newly published author, and Michael Kim, a man “on a mission to help young working professionals take control of their money and their lives,” will compete in the next round of Speaker Slam, a Toronto-based inspirational speaking competition that draws entries from across North America and around the world.

Guirguis, Kim and eight others, including one entrant from England, will take to the stage on July 16 at the Lula Lounge to talk about their lives, what they’ve learned and how they’re helping — or plan to help — others. The theme for this year’s speeches is perseverance.

Each competitor will be vying for a prize package worth up to $10,000 and to be one of two speakers who’ll advance to the 2024 Grand Slam Inspirational Speaking Final on Nov. 9, which serves as the culmination of North America’s largest inspirational speaking competition.

Sandra Tadros Guirguis

That event, which each year crowns Speaker Slam’s Inspirational Speaker of the Year, is also held in Toronto and awards the winner a prize package of up to $50,000.

Mississauga’s Lauren Pires, a PR/media specialist for a non-profit arts organization who’s also quick to describe herself as an invisible disability ambassador, finished second among 14 people at last November’s final.

Looking ahead to the July date in Toronto, Speaker Slam co-founder Dan Shaikh said in a news release this week Guirguis’  journey “began after the untimely passing of her first husband, an event that deeply impacted her life and led her to discover the profound importance of faith, community and self-care in healing and personal growth.”

He added the Mississauga woman has transformed her personal experiences with grief and loss into a “powerful narrative” of overcoming adversity.

Guirguis said that in the “Speaker Slam arena,” she focuses on healing through faith and wellness, “turning pain into purpose.”

She added, “We’ve all had moments when our hearts were broken and we felt lost, unsure of how to move forward.

“For me, it was the loss of my husband. My goal is to connect with people wherever they are and encourage them to take small steps towards a new, fulfilling life. It may not be the life we originally envisioned, but it can still be beautiful.”

Michael Kim

Kim, meanwhile, is “on a mission to help young working professionals take control of their money and their lives,” said Shaikh.

“Using his expertise in money mindset and money management strategies, he has helped over 50 clients build lives they love, achieve their financial goals and become financially stress-free,” the Speaker Slam co-founder added. “Michael’s journey began in childhood, amidst the turmoil of his parents’ financial struggles. Determined to escape the cycle of debt, Michael dedicated himself to mastering finance, eventually graduating from the Ivey Business School at Western University and earning his CPA designation.”

However, the accompanying stress led to some health problems for the Mississauga man.

“In 2021, I started dealing with chronic eczema, hives and inflammation all over my body. I was literally floating in toxins,” said Kim. “Some days I couldn’t even move. My neck and limbs would crack and bleed, and I would limp around my house in complete and utter pain. But I refused to let this health condition prevent me from achieving my goals.”

After choosing to leave the GTA and travel, Kim said his health greatly improved and he built a successful online coaching business.

In addition to the speakers from Mississauga and England, other competitors on July 16 are from Montreal, Etobicoke, Windsor, Timmins, Niagara Falls, Cambridge and Barrie.

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