It was a pretty normal night – I was chilling on my phone, creeping pics on Instagram, when a series of Insta-stories featuring Jam Gamble appeared on my screen. I have been following her for a while now, but one of her empowering videos got me thinking, why haven’t I interviewed this fabulous lady yet?
Could be the fact that she’s one of the BUSIEST women I know and I didn’t think she actually had the time in her jam-packed day to sit and chat with me.
Seriously, check out some of her titles: she is a Special Needs Educator, Community Advocate, she emcees weddings and events, she’s a public speaker, and even started a public speaking program (Slay the Mic), and oh yeah, she hosts a show on Rogers TV – A Voice For All – a program that supports parents and celebrates individuals with various disabilities). Where does she find the time?
Even though I kinda knew Jam (I met the high energy lady with the signature do and colourful eye makeup at the historic #herstoryinblack photo series which took place early on this year which we were both featured. You can read about it here), it felt weird asking her now for an interview. I sent her a DM (direct message) requesting to feature her awesomeness on my blog, and she wrote back, “Absolutely. Count me in!”
Due to time constraints, we resorted to Skyping our interview. When I skyped Jam I purposely didn’t enable the camera (it was a long day and I looked a hot mess!). Jam teased me for not video skyping her, so I eventually gave in and allowed her to see me makeup –less, filter-less and extremely cozy in my pjs!
While I was interviewing her, she received a call from a former student that she now tutors, and Jam politely promised to call her back to ask her how her day went. See, I told you, she IS a busy lady! #superwoman
Throughout this interview I could feel that Jam has a real love for everything she does – especially for her students. She wants to encourage them and let them know they can do anything they put their mind to.
Wanna find out about more about Jam’s many jobs? Keep reading.
Birthplace: St. Croix, Virgin Island
Astrological Sign: Libra
Years on TV: 6 seasons
Fun Fact: Was a fitness instructor for 2 years
Fun Fact 2: Jam doesn’t use notes for her speaking events – everything is unscripted!
How did you get your start as a Community Advocate?
When I was younger, my mom helped me get my volunteer hours and she didn’t want me to do my hours just anywhere, she wanted me to be very strategic in hopes that anywhere I volunteered could potentially become a job, or at least look really good on my resume. She called the city of Brampton and got me to volunteer at their summer camps. I did my hours at the special needs summer camp. When I started, I knew nothing about disability, knew nothing about working in a camp – at first I just did my hours. I went back and got re-hired and I moved up in the company.
This was never my plan. I had my mind set on a few other things – like taking business. When I was graduating, The Apprentice just started and I wanted to be the next Omarosa. Not her now though! She was this powerhouse, fierce, black woman – I wanted to be that way in business.
What made you get into teaching?
After I did my hours, I went to school for Developmental Services. I wasn’t a huge fan of school growing up; I didn’t even see myself in education. But after graduating from the DSW program, I had the qualifications to be a special needs teaching assistant. It happened naturally. I found myself to be this person who speaks along with people with disabilities – to help share their stories.
Jam gets her own TV show!
How did you “accidently” pitch a TV show?
When I graduated I started doing some community work and I fell in love working with families. It’s one thing to advocate for the children, but parents need advocates too. I really wanted to start supporting families.
I approached Rogers TV and pitched an idea to do an interview. They called me back, we did an interview and they asked what I wanted to talk about. I told them my focus and stated the questions I wanted them to ask.
I felt like they didn’t tap into what I wanted them to do and it really bothered me. I really wanted to go deeper and talk about how we as a community could promote autism awareness. I decided I wanted another try. I went to the Rogers website and accidently clicked on Show Proposal. A producer emailed me and asked for a meeting.
I googled how to create a TV pitch; I gave it to them and they accepted it. I did one season – 6 episodes, and then got another season. Six seasons later, A Voice For All has been successful.
What is the slay the mic program?
I’m really an impulsive person. I’ll think of an idea and pitch it. I don’t strategize.
The idea originally came from going to a wedding and the emcee was terrible and I was like, as a person who does event hosting, I wanted to go and fix it. I went home and asked my husband, “Do you think I can do wedding emceeing?” He said yeah and I said, “Ok, I’m going to start pitching that.”
I started calling myself the “slayer of the mic.” It was my way of telling event companies that whatever your event is, I’m going to come there and slay it!
I slay public speaking, I slay events, I slay weddings, I slay the classroom! Gimme a microphone and I’m gonna kill it!
As you can see Jam is a very a charismatic and confident speaker, so becoming a speaking coach was a natural fit.
You also teach how to be an effective public speaker. How did that come about?
I realized my potential when I applied to be a Tedx speaker and they replied back saying that they wanted me to be the host.
When the Tedx talks were over, one of the speaking coaches came up to me and said that they wanted to give me their card. They said, “It’s not for you, it’s for any of your friends who need me.” That’s when I knew I was good.
I designed my program to take a different approach to getting people comfortable with public speaking. I love teaching people to expand their thinking.
Any parting motivational words to anyone reading?
If you have an idea in your head, you don’t have to be fully prepared to leap. Just jump. I execute, then plan.
Not sure why it took so long to feature Jam, but I am so happy I did. Her days are never dull and she’s always doing something new, fun, and rewarding. Thanks for the chat, Jam!
For more information on Jam Gamble, please go to the following sites: