Breaking Stereotypes: The Impact of ‘Your Special Voice’ with Temi Adamolekun, Episode 189

In this conversation, we will discuss why representation matters especially for children, how you can expand the perspective of someone as a mom or in other ways by being the first person in any category to use your special voice and get a look at what asking for precisely what you want is a good thing and how that contributed to the children’s book Your Special Voice. 

Temi Adamolekun is the author of Your Special Voice. This empowering board book inspires young readers to use their own special voice to make a difference in the world.


If you want to make a difference,

but you don’t know where to start

Begin by searching way deep down

to find what’s in your heart

Whether your voice shines through singing, drawing, or dancing—whether it’s soft or loud, kind or proud—everyone has a voice that can effect change. This empowering and heartfelt message is conveyed through a beautiful, lyrical rhyme that will encourage even the youngest readers to think about what’s important to them.

Temi is from Nigeria, grew up in England, and now lives in San Francisco with her husband and son. Temi runs her own communications agency and is an active and vocal member of her community. She has written essays on topics such as anti-racist parenting and the importance of Black protagonists in children’s books. She is an avid reader who has dreamed of writing books for children for a long time, and she is delighted to have made that dream come true.

This conversation not only provides a deeper understanding of the importance of representation in children’s books but also encourages us to leverage the power of our unique voices to create a significant impact in our lives and those around us. Tune in to be part of this compelling conversation.

In this episode, you will hear these ideas expressed:

  • The difference between those who achieve and who don’t is….
  • Why done is better than perfect
  • Do moms really not have time to read? How Temi a voracious reader keeps it up
  • The reason why it’s sometimes easier to focus on other people’s wants
  • How did she partner up with an illustrator who met her specific criteria…a black woman with Nigerian roots? And how to ask for what you really want.
  • What Nigerian cultural nuances were at play whilst writing the book or partnering with a fellow Nigerian on the topic of using your voice as a woman
  • The superpower of bringing cross-cultural perspectives, UK, US, and Nigeria
  • Why representation matters in children’s board books
  • The courage to use your voice: does your special voice need to be loud? Is whispering impactful?
  • Exactly how does Temi run a business and mother a son and still stop her workday in time for dinner?
  • Inspiring courage to share, and teaching her son the publication process
  • How did writing this book affect her son? What’s now possible and normal for him? A Simon & Schuster published mom is now his normal….
  • Sharing unique voices takes courage and can have a positive impact.
  • How Temi’s book, “Your Special Voice” encourages children to use their unique voices, emphasizing the importance of boundaries and structure

SHARE this episode with a mom founder, entrepreneur, or creator who is seeking a children’s book to read that celebrates the diverse and inclusive voices of many children. 

Similar episodes:

David Roberts, New York Times Best-Selling Illustrator, Talks About Imagination, Following Our Children’s Lead, and the Importance of Constructive Feedback, Episode 18

Jane Egerton-Idehen, Nigerian-based STEM Advocate & IT Executive, Speaks About Gender Equality in the Workplace and How to Discover and Use Your Voice, Episode 38

Supporting Resources:,a%20difference%20in%20the%20world.&text=Whether%20your%20voice%20shines%20through,voice%20that%20can%20effect%20change.

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Praise For Fertile Imagination

Both book participants and podcast guests are featured below

Melissa is an inspiring display of tenacity and motivation. Whenever you’re feeling stuck, peruse Melissa’s thoughtfully compiled tips and exercises and you’ll be creating magic in no time.” – Suzy Batiz, Chief Executive and Visionary Officer, ~Pourri, The Makers of Poo~Pourri, supernatural, Alive OS®.

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“This is the book for a mom who wants a second jet engine to embark on her own journey from thinking she will have to wait another lifetime to dream big to knowing she can take steps right now to uncover and do what she would find more fulfilling at this life stage. Melissa writes both intimately and conversationally about topics that many moms around the world can relate to (some dads too). She invites the reader into a personal and deep journey about topics that are crucially important to uncover what would make a mom truly happy to work on…even after the kids are in bed. It was an honor and a pleasure to speak with her for an interview, which she has included excerpts of in this book, too!” – Ken Honda, Japan’s best selling zen millionaire, author of Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money

Moms like us with big dreams and school-age kids:

For moms like me, the pandemic was an opportunity to re-evaluate and course-correct things in our lives we weren’t thrilled with. Coming out of this period, sluggish yet motivated, so many of us can use this book to help us wake up! If you’re looking to refresh, reenergize, and yes, reimagine a better version of your life, this book is for you. I loved the hilarious, yet poignant stories about motherhood today and the window into the world of those who’ve gone for it – and did it. – Macollvie Neel, Brooklyn, NY

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“Melissa is a mom of three with big dreams who tells it like it is. She draws on her own experiences and the experiences of professionals she’s interviewed for her podcast to reflect on the plight of the mother. How do women conform to or challenge the traditional “mom script”? If you’re a mom, what can you do to break the “cultural glass ceiling” to be yourself and a great parent, all without having to force yourself into a mom mold that doesn’t fit you? Melissa is like a great friend, honest and wise and funny, telling you about her life and asking you to reflect on yours. This book is a great purchase for moms in every stage of life.” – Maureen Turner Carey, Librarian, Austin, Texas

“In her book, Melissa shows us that motherhood does not have to be a pause or an end to your pre-child self. With guidance from her podcast guests, she encourages us to think big, find what lights us up, think big, and move towards our goals with the steps that fit the reality of our lives as they are today. In doing so we honor and inspire our child(ren), and our own inner child.” – Katherine Howell, Museum Administrator, Queens, NY

  • celebrating diversity, promoting diversity, valuing diversity, embracing diversity, respecting diversity, understanding diversity, learning about diversity, teaching about diversity, creating a diverse environment

"Fertile Imagination" a practical guide for working moms!

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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