Motivational Speaker’s Visit To Poplarville, Mississippi, Population 2,614

motivational speaker's trip to mississippiYep. You heard me right. I just returned from my trip to Poplarville, Mississippi, population 2,614. I was the keynote speaker for a women’s health symposium at Pearl River Community College. And as a motivational speaker, I was excited, because it’s hard to find a better fit for me – a room full of women who want to laugh and be motivated to see beyond their obstacles. I was worried (because I am queen of finding things to worry about) that they might not like me or get my jokes. I had never been to Mississippi before. I wasn’t sure how they would receive this big-bottomed big-haired big-mouthed girl with no filter between her brain and her mouth. Turns out – they welcomed her with open arms and left a permanent handprint on my heart.

I thought I knew small towns – after all, most of my stories are set in small towns – but when they told us to go to the light to find the venue (the only light in town) – I knew I was in for a new kind of small town. When they told us to park by the water tower – I felt my heart actually grow three sizes. And when we arrived at the cottage we rented to find the door unlocked – I knew I had found the town where I wanted to retire. I finally knew what it means when people say they felt like they were coming home.

We left our mark on the town – ate crawfish and cajun crab cakes at the local seafood joint – surrounded by locals who made us feel like we were family. And I spent half a day with wonderful FUN women who had come to laugh, learn, and get a fresh perspective on life and their health. Women who were kind, real, and as excited as me about big hair and the bedazzler. My husband helped take down tables, while my son explained to everyone who would listen about his new Junior Ranger badge. I was actually sad when I stood at the door and waved at the last person driving away. That’s the downside of my job – saying good-bye. But I still cherish those moments with the women who were put in my path for a reason – and the purpose was served. I call them divine appointments. And divine they were.

And so now I’m back home, in my small town, that suddenly doesn’t feel so small anymore. And I’m missing my new friends. But I’m happy that many of them joined me on Facebook (funny motivational speaker) where we can stay in touch. I’m happy to report that they did get my jokes – that they do eat grits – that they are quite familiar with “bless your heart” –  and they do love to laugh. So thank you Pearl River Community College (Brenda and Linda) for bringing me in and allowing me to share in that special event. It’s so nice to know that the kindness of people still exists in spades.

Until we meet again – stay on the funny side!



Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. I LOVE that little town – just based on how you describe it. As motivational speakers we so frequently go to the “big” places like Vegas, or New Orleans or Orlando, so when I get the opportunity to go to a place like Poplarville, it’s such a special, meaningful experience. I wish more people could visit little places like this. Thank you for sharing!

  2. You just described one of the best things about being a motivational speaker. The wonderful, unexpected people and places we get to experience that continue to influence our work. Those cajun crab cakes sound tasty too!

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