At the end of 2017, I decided I wanted to pursue my passion for training, consulting and speaking. I began looking for an organization that would help me do just that. Using my best friend Google I found NSA Central Florida and saw that there was an "Academy" for people like me. I immediately reached out to Carolyn Quintin, Dean of the Academy. One phone call with her and I was sold. I'm sure that is the story for many. The Academy was an amazing incubator for me. It provided an environment that energized me and pushed me to meet my goals. Prior to starting the Academy I had begun writing my book and set a goal to do a TEDx. Being in the Academy and being around all of the accomplished speakers and learning from them made me want to not just begin my book, but finish it and to not just dream of being on a TEDx stage, but actually doing so. But it's not just about the tangible accomplishments. I have met some amazing people in the Academy and in our chapter. People who are generous with their time and knowledge; who sincerely want to see you succeed. Now that I have graduated, I will actually miss our afternoon sessions. Those sessions were a place to learn, grow, and develop not just skills but deep friendships. I would highly recommend the Academy to anyone who is embarking on a speaking, consulting, training, or coaching career. It's a way to wade into the water without being crashed into by the waves. I truly enjoyed the experience.