Focused on individuals asking themselves, "what's next?", Marlo’s captivating storytelling and well-balanced humour take the audience on a journey that offers a clear and confident way forward.
Marlo has spoken to over 10,000 business experts, government officials, young professionals, and teens about planning for success and learning from failure. It was never his plan to pursue a career in public speaking. It all started as a way to enhance programs in connection to his research in youth achievement. He needed a way to highlight the importance of goals and intentional action to at-risk teens, and later, young professionals. Through this experience, he developed his "How was your day today? A simple success checklist.
In living his principles, Marlo followed his heart and reconnected with his family in Barbados. Returning home after so much time abroad opened his eyes to the important things in life and how all of us utilise our time differently in pursuit of our purpose. This experience helped Marlo create his second presentation, “What now? What next”. Marlo has since presented over 200 times in the United States and Europe. With his dynamic blend of storytelling, humour, and experience in living his principles, he takes the audience on an adventure where they can see themselves navigating any situation.
I am a 32-year-old gentleman from Barbados who always had dreams of traveling the world and helping people along the way. I did not always have a clear path of what that would look like, but I believed in taking intentional steps and letting sweet serendipity take over and guide my life. From a family of two hard-working parents, two older brothers, and a younger sister I decided at seven years old after seeing a world map in class that I wanted to travel the world and help others. Our island is an absolute paradise, but when I saw that the star pointing out our capital Bridgetown had covered the entirety of our 21-mile rock in the ocean I saw the enormity of the earth and all the beautiful people I could meet and share a smile with.
On a Sunday in August of 2005, a few months after my school mate Rihanna first appeared on MTV, I timidly went to the field. No one was there and I turned to go home, satisfied that I took a step by showing up and it just didn’t work. Thankfully an old gentleman saw me and spoke to me for a while then sent me over.
Across the field from American football was rugby and that became my love. 1 year later I was selected for the U 19 National team and was able to take my first trip from Barbados to the Cayman Islands via the USA. This started a career of lots of growth socially, physically, and emotionally, albeit through a few broken bones and surgeries.
A few years into my career while enrolled at the University of the West Indies studying Economics and Accounting, I began to chart a path to the UK after my degree was completed.
Then in 2008, I saw a friend’s social media post about working at summer camps in the US and that became my next big goal to accomplish. I called the recruiter, Rhonnelle, about enrolling and she informed me that they are past the deadline, but she will interview me anyway. Afterward, she was convinced I was ready and prepared, and she started the process of finding me a placement.
After a great first summer in Iowa, learning to swim, meeting lifelong friends from all over the world, and running through cornfields, I went back to Barbados, told my family and friends I am moving to Iowa. No idea how it was going to work, but I did not need to know. I was going to take one intentional step at a time and I’ll get there.
One broken wrist, missing my final set of exams at university, and ending my rugby career because of the injury I flew back to Iowa for my second summer. The CEO was coming to visit the camp for a meet and greet. I walked up to him and said “Hey Frank, I would like to work for you please.
Not just for the summer, I want to move to Iowa permanently and work here helping teenagers.” He smiled and said when I finish my degree in Barbados to give him a call and we will talk about it. Knowing that a simple phone call would never work. When I got the notification that I had completed my degree requirements I took my 3rd large intentional step.
That day, I sold everything I had, emptied my bank account and went to the airlines, and bought a ticket to go back to Iowa. The next week I flew to Iowa, went to his office, and greeted Frank. I told him “You told me to give you a call when I got my degree, well I got my degree last week so I came to see you because a phone call wasn’t going to work.”
Looking impressed and even a bit challenged he said he admires my drive but he doesn’t have any job or money to hire me. I told him “I will volunteer for a month, and in that month, I will be so good you will find the money to hire me.”
One year later I was an intern at the Scott County Family Y for 18 months. That year went so well that they invested £12,000 to secure me an H1B work visa at the end of my 18-month contract. In my time we were able to create the Y Achievers Program.
The program enrolled teenagers that were charged with crimes by the juvenile system and expanded to assist any youth that had a difficult circumstance that needed help. We provided guidance, coaching, and mentoring towards the completion of school and gaining fulfilling employment.
Helping 100 youth a year was very rewarding, but I wanted to help more. This led to me giving 1-hour speeches to classrooms across Iowa on the 5 principles for success.
I crafted and retooled the speech daily. Giving it over 300 times over 3 years. The principles evolved to include:
- Having a passion and understanding WHY you are doing what you are doing;
- Doing it on time to show yourself you care about it;
- Communicating appropriately for your audience;
- Failing constantly and confidently;
- Asking questions and showing gratitude.
To my surprise organizations heard about my speech and impact and asked me to come in and speak to their employees. My first time speaking to adults older than myself was a nerve-wracking experience that ended in a standing ovation and knowing I can do this as a career.
Firstly, however, it was time for my biggest intentional step I had and will ever make. My brothers at this point had 6 kids between them, and I would only be home two weeks a year.
Yes, my nieces and nephews loved me, but I wasn’t there long enough to build good relationships with them. I decided to listen to my heart, live my speech, and realize that my purpose had changed. It was no longer traveling and helping, but for me to quit my job, cancel my work visa, and go back to my island and rebuild relationships with my family.
Life in Iowa was well made, I was set, a great career ahead of me as a speaker, and the ability to travel even more. But I had to live true to my speech or I would be a hypocrite.
October 1st, the day before my oldest nephews’ birthday, I left the United States and flew back to Barbados. On his birthday I donned my “World’s Okayest Uncle” shirt and surprised him at school. I told him “I’m home now and I’m staying for a while this time.” His face beamed and I knew I had made the right choice and I will never regret leaving the US.
Six months in Barbados with my family will forever be the best decision I have made. Especially know what it may have cost by giving up a stable career, and potentially a US green card, the cost was worth it. From playing Pokemon Go with Dimitri and going over after school to help him with homework, to taking Alec to see an airplane land for the first time, to driving my grandma around for her errands, and even paying her parking ticket for her, it will forever be an invaluable six months.
Surprisingly and full of love, my parents pulled me aside and told me I have a skill and a talent for giving speeches, and I need to leave Barbados again to continue that mission of changing the world. Helping them make confident intentional decisions and enjoying moments of contentment is what I feel compelled to do.
In Europe traveling, studying how humour varies, meeting incredible people and hearing their life stories, and teaching them the five daily check-ins to accomplish their self-defined success which works for them.
No matter how small your steps are, things will work out as long as you do the steps intentionally, and honestly evaluate the feedback towards better actions in the future. Some days it will be hard and you will just put your left foot in front of your right foot and struggle through it. But it is going to work when you apply my five steps daily check-ins.
I look forward to hearing from you and support you and your audience to improve daily contentment in life and business.