Markham resident competes at Speaker Slam

Markham resident Fionne Cheng captivated the audience at Speaker Slam, North America’s largest inspirational speaking competition, held at the iconic Lula Lounge on May 28.

She was competing against nine other powerful speakers. Although she did not place in the competition, her powerful message left a lasting impact on everyone present.

Cheng, a solitude coach and advocate for mental health, delivered a moving speech that deeply resonated with the audience.

She recounted her experiences growing up in a traditional Chinese immigrant household, facing emotional unavailability, and dealing with the complexities of cultural expectations.

“My journey has been about finding my own voice and embracing vulnerability as a strength,” Cheng said. “Sharing my story at Speaker Slam was a pivotal moment for me, and I hope it encourages others to speak out about their own challenges and pursue healing and self-acceptance.”

In her speech, Cheng highlighted her struggles with family dynamics, especially her relationship with her father, and her journey of self-discovery she embarked on during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her story emphasized the importance of setting boundaries, seeking therapy, and the transformative power of choosing oneself.

“As a first-generation immigrant, it has been incredibly lonely finding my place in the world,” Cheng shared. “Traditional values taught me to sacrifice myself and do as my parents said for the sake of making them happy, but Western values taught me to be fully self-sustaining to make myself happy. The funny thing is neither path brought me happiness. Instead, what mattered was balancing: interdependence, intradependence, and independence.”

Cheng’s message emphasized the importance of cultivating a spirit of kindness, compassion, humility, and curiosity to improve relationship dynamics and create an environment that fosters healthy relationships. She concluded, “In a world that is growing more hostile and divided, choose to be a force of kindness because that is the seed of hope we all desperately need.”

Speaker Slam’s 8th season continues to be a platform for powerful storytelling and inspiring change. The competition will move forward with two more exciting events focusing on the themes of Perseverance (July 16) and the Power of Yes (September 16). Since its inception in 2016, Speaker Slam has launched numerous speaking careers, spreading messages that resonate with a global audience.

Speaker Slam is a Speaker Development Agency known for creating North America’s largest inspirational speaking competition. The agency nurtures changemakers and thought leaders, helping them share their life stories and inspiring communities into action. The competition has been a launchpad for speaking careers, including TEDx talks, book deals, documentaries, and more. Speaker Slam also offers training programs to empower individuals to find their voice and make an impact.

Cheng is a solitude coach and mental health advocate dedicated to helping individuals build meaningful connections. With a background in visual arts, psychology, and HR, she brings creativity, empathy, and mindfulness to her work. Her journey of overcoming emotional challenges and embracing authenticity inspires her role as an inspirational speaker. She promotes the importance of vulnerability, kindness, and self-acceptance. Follow her journey at @fionnecheng.


Photo: Markham resident Fionne Cheng captivated the audience at Speaker Slam, North America’s largest inspirational speaking competition, held at the iconic Lula Lounge on May 28. (Photo courtesy of Philip Zave at Speaker Slam)

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