The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will ROUSE Them.
– Isaiah 50:4, The New American Bible
Rousing the weary: that is what ROUSE Them is about. That’s why this site exists: to inspire you and help you inspire others, finding the best in yourself, end eliciting the best in other people. For me, this is a mission, a calling. Since I began reading books on education and working with underprivileged kids as a teenager, I have been filled with a passionate desire to help people reach their full potential. Felix Adler, founder of the Ethical Culture movement (a religion based on ethics and not on god), believed we – all of us – have inside of us a “spiritual force” which, when unleashed and channeled, carries immense power, and he dedicated to developing and releasing that force in others:
I felt myself to be the channel of a spiritual principle that operates in and through [us]. What strength I have had has been derived from that. All the influence that I ever exercised is due to that. But so far from claiming that as a special privilege, as charlatans do, my whole aim and purpose was to reveal to others the same principle, dormant but present in them, capable of being ROUSED into astounding action. (As the physicists tell us of inconceivable forces which are locked up in the atom, and which would produce vast effects if they should be released, so I hold that there is a spiritual force in [people] that can change the face of humanity if once it be released.)
I believe that everyone – every human being – has remarkable capacities which may languish obscured by the weariness of life, waiting to be beckoned forth. I began this website to give this conviction powerful and beautiful expression. I firmly believe, as Adler believed, that if we can rouse our greatest powers, and work to rouse those powers in others, we can change the face of humanity. And that’s why I want to work with you: to rouse yourself, and to ROUSE Them, inspiring people to be their best selves and to take action in the world to make it a better place.
This site is about many things, but I begin with inspiration. I believe much of our potential to bring about change in the world lies in our capacity to inspire others, to excite them with an irresistible vision. If you consider the achievements of many of the greatest leaders of all time – people like Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Jane Goodall, Harvey Milk – all were successful because they could inspire others with their passionate commitment to their vision.
You may believe that the art of inspiration is a gift, something some people can just do, something which cannot be taught. I know different: I know that you can be empowered to be more inspiring, that by heeding the well-developed science of communication, and opening yourself to insights from great performers (actors, singers, dancers, orators), you can become the leader you always imagined you might be, and unleash the vast hidden wells of human power. Working together, we can unlock what is inspirational in you, both inspiring you and helping you inspire others with your vision. You too can have a “well-trained tongue” with which to rouse the weary.
I’m not talking here of simple “communication skills”: how to speak, how to stand, calming your nerves. We’ll work on that, sure: these are all essential skills to communicate a message effectively. But I want something more. I want to help you inspire people, to get their eyes shining, to ROUSE Them to action. I want to work with you to help you reach into people’s hearts and set them alight. And that takes more than “communication skills”.
That’s why my unique background is so valuable: I can offer something special. As a kid I spent years studying the arts of theatre, performing in countless pieces of drama and honing my skills in verse and prose reading, winning numerous awards. As a student at the University of Cambridge I deepened my immersion in theatre arts, while combining it with the study of education, gaining a double first-class degree and winning four academic prizes. I then began on my path as an educator, gaining qualification as a high school teacher through the Teach First program (the UK equivalent of Teach for America), graduating with distinction, before winning a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship to study Arts in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (4.0 GPA).
Since coming to Harvard I’ve studied and coached students with legendary organizer Marshall Ganz (creator of Camp Obama, the organizing initiative central to Obama’s electoral success), and have three times worked as a teaching assistant with Harvard Kennedy School Professor Gary Orren, teaching the art and science of persuasion to students from around the world. I’ve since combined my love of performance and the arts with my skills as a teacher to become an in-demand public speaker and trainer, bringing together my performance skills, educational know-how, and experience as an activist to work with individuals and organizations to drastically improve their persuasive power (see what they say about me here). And that’s what ROUSE Them is about: uncovering our own deepest passions, focusing and channeling those passions through rigorous training in the art and science of communication, and using the sparks of our passion to set others alight, rousing them into astounding action.
Join me, and we will rouse ourselves, and ROUSE Them, together.