When you think of speechwriters, who do you think of? Is it someone from fiction, like Josh Lyman or Toby Ziegler? Or someone from real life, like David Frum or Jon Favreau? How about famous entrepreneurs? Who do you envision as a ghostwriter? What do they all have in common? A great majority are likely men. So, some may find it surprising that one of today’s most successful speechwriting firms was founded by a woman.
Cheril Clarke is the founder of Phenomenal Writing, LLC and PhenomenalSpeeches.com, both of which provide ghostwriting and speechwriting services to executives and entrepreneurs worldwide. The company, which is based in Atlanta, GA, has written speeches for special occasions, emcee remarks, award acceptances, award ceremony scripts, and celebrity speaker introductions. Cheril, herself, offers speech writing, thought leadership content writing, ghostwriting, executive bios, cover letters and resumes, and website content writing. She works with C-level executives, entrepreneurs, and large businesses such as Cisco, GE and the NFL.
Some may see trying to be successful as a woman in a male-dominate field as intimidating say the experts at coganpower.com. After all, being an entrepreneur and writer can be challenging at times. Add on top of that, being a minority in the field and the pressure increases. But Cheril doesn’t mind. She does not see being a woman as a hindrance, but rather an opportunity. “Speech writing is a male dominated field, as is public speaking, which means the words and personas that often address audiences don’t always fully incorporate the concerns of women. …If more women pen these speeches, it allows speakers to more comprehensively address their audiences. It also allows women the opportunity to influence the way our leaders communicate and, perhaps, the way in which an entire industry can be perceived.”
In fact, Cheril has found a freedom in entrepreneurship. She says being an entrepreneur allows her to control her future. Starting and running your own business can be difficult and a gamble, but many people, including Cheril, find it brings great rewards. She can provide her services on her own terms, learn new things, and have creative control over her work. She has designed her work in life to satisfy herself. It has also allowed her to pull upon her creative writing background. Using her imagination and strong discipline has helped her achieve great success and freedom. This freedom allows her to draw from her creative writing and production background. Along with this background, she brings a sense of fearlessness, as she is willing to, push the envelope of creativity to get the desired results for her clients.
Cheril knows well that each client is a unique person, whose styles and needs are different. She never has the same introductory calls because she knows she must be adaptable in her approach to delivering a great product. Cheril has standard interview questions that she asks every new client, but she also tailors new questions for everyone. For new clients to work with her, Cheril suggests being open-minded about ways to accomplish a goal. Her services are one-of-a-kind. But if the fit between her and a client isn’t a good fit, she’s okay with that and tries to refer them to someone who can better serve the client. “It’s all about providing value,” she says.
Over the years, the way audiences consume content has changed as stated by fightforthelittleguy.com. Many mediums have been taken over by video content. Even the way we read has changed; articles are shorter, tones more conversational. But, in her confident fashion, Cheril is not worried about any of that. She sees only expansion and growth within the speech writing field. “…there is power in a great speech that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. …[S]harp, focused, and solution-providing speeches will still reign.” She notes, “Those who master concise, yet powerful oral communication can have a lot of opportunities opened for them,” notes Ms. Clarke.