Dara was a timid wallflower who was tired of getting talked over at corporate meetings and feeling awkward when she spoke publicly. She knew there had to be a better way... She tried other trainings but didn't feel they understood her concerns. When you are nervous to speak it takes away your power, if you doubt yourself the audience can tell, and when you focus on you– instead of focusing on "connection over perfection" you influence no one.
Dara developed her "Speak with Impact" program to ensure your voice is not only heard, but that your message is memorable– whether speaking to 1 or to 1,001!
Today Dara is a TEDx speaker, author, and corporate trainer who "dares" you to be more impactful and influential when speaking in front of an audience.
Dara is known for her interactive, funny, and motivational presentations that are customized for your audience.
In her words...
I love the work I do to help you speak with impact...
For most of my life, I felt frustrated. As a timid wallflower and soft-speaker, I was constantly talked over– from the Starbucks line to social settings. Fear and self-doubt made me feel uncomfortable when it came to speaking publicly. Can you relate?
In 2004, I started leading classes in my garage in Berkeley...
At the time, I was annoyed that another corporate job passed me over for a promotion. For too long, my voice was not heard at meetings and I didn't feel comfortable giving presentations. I felt alone and invisible and wanted to empower others who felt the same way.
Little did I know I had started a movement...
In the past, I tried speech classes and although I enjoyed the challenge, I found them lacking in teaching you how to speak with impact. I developed a program that focused on the positive combination of ultimate body confidence (that I learned from my years as a martial arts instructor) with impactful communication to be heard in our noisy world.
Want to learn how to speak with head-turning confidence?
Or finally, speak up at meetings?
Or have the courage to deliver an amazing presentation?
I had a plan and was on a mission!
Teaching you how to speak with impact in everyday settings brought me recognition and endorsements from international organizations and industry experts for my innovative approach. The need to teach others how to speak with impact was bigger than I anticipated. I knew I had found my true calling.
Today, I work with organizations and private clients...
My mission is to show you how to speak with confidence so that you are memorable in front of any audience. I have often wondered if I had never discovered my voice who would I be today? How many others feel the same way– invisible and unheard day after day? If this is you, I am here to support you through your transformation. If I can find my voice and speak with impact, you can too! There is no other cause that is more important to me.
PS: Did you hear my story of how I wrote Flip Your Fear?
Ok I admit, super vulnerable story...
Recently dad turned 80 and it was a big wake-up call. You see, dad and I were never close. We were both consumed by fear and it affected our relationship.
When he turned 80, I realized life is passing by & I was running out of time to connect with him. Dilemma: Dad lives on the East coast, me West. How do you connect with someone 3,000 miles away during a pandemic who is half deaf?
I got creative AND vulnerable.
I wrote a book about fear that I dedicated to him. Crazy thing, while writing I discovered a code. Didn't think much of it at the time, but writing about fear forces you to face your own demons. Crap I didn't want to do this. It wasn't easy, but I pushed to my edge– that zone I ran away from my entire life. Speaking. Not any stage. I went for TEDx.
This was a BIG leap for me. I was the "timid girl" remember?!
On the phone with a TEDx curator she asks, "what do you speak about?" I didn't know what to say. I didn't have a speaking topic! With a lump in my throat, I panicked. I looked down at my fear book on my desk, "Uh... I wrote a book about flipping fear". Then I stopped talking. I was good at that.
Somehow that worked.
Not only did she invite me to speak on the TEDxSanFrancisco stage, but I received 3 other TEDx invitations.
Sometimes when we push ourselves to do something new– even if it's scary, the world gives you exactly what you need. Not only did writing that book transform my relationship with dad (he loved it! my favorite picture with him is even in it), it led me to begin speaking on stages and helping others like you connect with your true voice and mission.
And... be sure to connect with me to learn how I can help you not only overcome fear but begin to speak with impact every day, every time.
I "dare" ya! ;)
See all of Dara's Books here
International speaker and consultant who offers corporate training and private mentoring
"Best Speaker 2020" Albany, CA
2020, 2019, 2018
President of Toastmaster's President Distinguished Speaking Club
International Speaking Competition Awards
Soroptimist International Award for Excellent Service Helping Women
Published Jerky Johnny™, an assertiveness safety game for ages 12+.
Certified Black-Belt Instructor
15+ years teaching Tae Kwon Do martial arts and assertiveness training to youth and adults
Inducted into the National Speakers Association, professional member since 2019
Mayoral Award for Excellent Service, Danville, CA
Mayoral Award for Excellent Service, San Ramon, CA
University of Rhode Island
Bachelor of Science; Women's Studies
Awards & Grants
OF ALAMEDA COUNTY
NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE
CONTRA COSTA PUBLIC EDUCATION FUND
DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN, YOUTH & FAMILIES
Founder, Author, Expert
FOUNDER — KURUKULA™ WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT MOVEMENT
Dara, a certified black-belt instructor, started this award-winning program in 2004. She realized the need for a class beyond martial arts alone to help women successfully find their voice, exude confidence and be respected in every-day situations. Today she works with men and women to speak with impact.
AUTHOR — SOMEONE YOU KNOW © 2019
Do you know a controlling person? Do you deal with a bully co-worker or boss? Confidence expert Dara Connolly provides an easy, profound, and entertaining read to help you attract positive people and avoid the bad ones. Learn inside tools and tips to avoid unhealthy relationships before it's too late.
"Above the buzz of #MeToo, #TimesUp, and the current Women’s Movement, what specific skills have you learned to prevent abusers from harming you?
I give expert advice to keep you safe."
— Author, Dara Connolly
AUTHOR — JERKY JOHNNY® SAFETY GAME
Her years as a professional self-defense expert, Dara Connolly, teaches your teen and young adult practical life-skills for practicing assertiveness in a fun game setting.
Jerky Johnny is an Amazon Top-Seller and listed as Amazon's Top 100 Toys.
"As a father of three daughters, I really appreciate the important work Jerky Johnny does for young people."
— Chief of Police Mike McQuiston, Albany CA (retired)