Episode 40 - Stella Da Silva

Do you remember your favourite teacher? The troll-slayer is with us making conversations about vocation count!

Stella Da Silva, Employability Skills Trainer

Making Conversations about Vocation Count!

Stella Da Silva employability trainer

“We remember our favourite teacher, and we remember the one we absolutely hated. But the middle ones were just ‘there’!”- Stella Da Silva, Making Conversations Count, July 2021.

Stella is an employability trainer, focusing on teaching employability skills. 

We can all conjure up in our minds the teacher who made a difference for us at school.

They were our best friend.

They encouraged us.

But ultimately we had the utmost respect for them.

When we are inspired we are driven to always do better and that’s exactly what our #KeepItStellaliciouslySimple guest Stella da Silva brings to the conversation in this episode.

The official #TrollSlayer and #MomOfMedia Stella is an infectious trainer, she calls out others to question their choices and points out that is also how she continues to learn too.

Among the many pearls of wisdom to be enjoyed during this chat, Wendy learns about why Stella has a very specific intention when she’s dealing with online trolls.

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Full Episode Transcript


Making Conversations Count – Episode Forty

July 22nd 2021

Wendy Harris & Stella Da Silva 



00:00:00: Introduction
00:00:39: Wendy woo update
00:01:50: Oman vocational training
00:04:12: Mum of the media
00:07:23: Hashtag no judgement
00:10:40: Your favourite teacher
00:14:18: No one wants to be adequate
00:16:54: Reach out
00:18:19: Stella’s pivotal conversation
00:21:12: Build relationships
00:23:49: Talking to ourselves
00:25:23: Final conversation


Wendy Harris: Have you found your calling?  Are you still looking for it?  The Universe will roll out a red carpet, the people you need will find you.  The problems that you needed to solve you find the answers.  There’s something about finding your calling where you just know, you can’t always explain it; it just happens.  It’s part of the journey of life and the lessons that we learn along the way.  We’re making conversations about vocation count.

First, what’s new Wendy Woo?  Fay in Doncaster said I summed how she was feeling after she almost finished my book, “Build a business you want to shout about from the rooftops”; it kind of fits today’s message, doesn’t it?  Also, I’m so grateful to previous guest Lizzie Butler, she talks about internal communication and how we can sometimes feel that we’re hiding our emotions but actually, our body language will let it seep out.  She’s had such a good time on the show that she’s actually posted her guest appearance on her own YouTube channel.  Go find Lizzie Butler on YouTube, she’s making conversations count over there too.

Now, I can barely contain my excitement, because I have got the keep-it-stellaliciously-simple, castanet-dancing, queen of Oman, Stella Da Silva.

Stella Da Silva: First of all, thank you so much for that lovely introduction.  I’m here in lovely, beautiful and rather hot Oman at the moment, and I’ve been here since about 2019.  I got a really good job, a two-year contract, which funnily enough I got from LinkedIn; so, my being here was directly from me putting out content on LinkedIn.  For those listening, LinkedIn does work in terms of getting opportunities, this, that and the other.

What I do here is I actually work for the Ministry of Labour, so I work in government, and I work primarily with vocational education and training; that’s where my area of expertise is in, in vocational qualifications.  Our aim here in Oman is to get trainees back into work and to offer on-the-job training through vocational qualifications, so I work very closely with all the training providers here in Oman, in the Sultanate.  We do a lot of quality assurance checks with them, we make sure they adhere to certain policies, because we sponsor a lot of Omanis back into training to get them back into work, so yeah, there’s a lot of work around that.

And of course, I’m an educator, so I deliver a lot of train-the-trainer courses here in Oman, I’m passionate about delivering employability skills to Omanis when I’m here, but I also deliver employability skills literally worldwide in terms of now virtually.  Before I used to travel literally internationally to deliver on vocational education and employability skills, so I have a real passion for people.  That’s where I get my fire from, just constantly engaging with people from different walks of life.  I’ve built an amazing network on LinkedIn of different people, from CEOs to politicians to jobseekers, to Africans to Asians so, yeah, I just love learning about people, I love learning from people, yeah; so yeah, that’s me in a bit of nutshell Wendy.

Wendy Harris: Stella, I mean you’re inspirational, you are always positive even when you’re calling somebody out because you don’t necessarily appreciate the way that the conversations going, sometimes that’s online, sometimes that’s in the media.  That’s attitude towards things.  You always bring us back to a form of positivity, so I would say that that’s like being mum of the media and saying, “Well, this is not right but this is kind of the alternative; this is what we can do”.  You always give a solution so that people know how to change.  It’s not just, “This is wrong”; “Here’s what you can do different”.

Stella Da Silva: I think I’m even going to use that as a hashtag, “Mum of the media”, or just, “Mum of online”, because you’re right; I don’t call people out to be mean, that’s not where I’m coming from.  I’m calling people out because I want to give them food for thought of their actions and their behaviours that may sometimes have a negative impact on other people, because I know what it feels like to have been one of those people.

Again, what I said earlier on about learning and unlearning and relearning, that’s what I’m all about.  I’m definitely not one for saying, “I’m always right”, even when I call people out.  I may not be right; do you see what I mean.  It just gives everybody food for thought when I come from a different angle in terms of what it is we’re discussing about.  If I’m calling you out, actually I’m calling you out because I actually care about you, because if I didn’t then my life would continue, quite honestly; so, it’s coming from a good place.

It’s important that for the people I genuinely care about, then I give them the feedback as I would expect them to give me the feedback if I put a foot wrong.

Wendy Harris: I think it’s worth just sort of clarifying that when you call people out, you don’t tag names.  You don’t point the finger directly at anybody.  So, if you feel that you’re being called out, that’s because you know that you’re that person that does that action.  To me, it does come from a good place, I think we should rename you instead of Stella Da Silva, you should be Stella Da Gold because you have a golden heart!

Stella Da Silva: I’m liking that!.  I’m not sure my dad would be happy, but I’m liking that.

Wendy Harris: We know a mutual friend in Taz.

Stella Da Silva: Yes.

Wendy Harris: Who’s been a previous guest on the show and Asha.

Stella Da Silva: Love her.

Wendy Harris: They were my first duo, and it is, it’s about being able to try and just tap into people’s thinking and mindset and get them to see other things and when you say that sometimes you might not be right.  I’m not right all the time, don’t tell my family that because I am, but it’s about, “Okay be big enough, be brave enough, be open to be shown why your thinking is not right, to question that and to see things from other people’s point of view”.

Stella Da Silva: Absolutely, and that is key.  Again, one of my hashtags when people come to me, even just to seek guidance, advice, whatever or support, the first thing I say to them, I say, “Before we start, hashtag no judgement”.  Literally, I say that, I say, “Hashtag no judgement”, because it gives me again a sense of, I need to rationalise what it is they’re trying to tell me and what it is I can give back to them in terms of advice, guidance or support.

If I come from a place of judgement, then of course my advice is going to be skewered by that, so I have to be always careful of what it is I’m saying, because I am trying to come from a place of hashtag no judgment; does that make sense?

Wendy Harris: Absolutely, and I know as well being a trainer that you’re not just dealing with the logical brain, you’re dealing with somebody’s emotions, their personality, how they feel and apply themselves to that.  So, it comes from a mix of being able to teach, coach, manipulate, influence, mentor.

Stella Da Silva: Facilitate, to mentor, listen, everything, absolutely.

Wendy Harris: Not one thing is ever exactly replicated because you’re dealing with unique human beings, aren’t you?

Stella Da Silva: That’s why I say educators like probably nurses and doctors, I always say it’s a real vocation and not everyone can actually do it, again does that make sense?  I’m not demeaning anyone who’s doing it and thinking they’re good at it, but I argue that there are some people where it isn’t a vocation, it’s just something that pays the bills at the end of the day.  You can really tell the difference of those who are passionate educators or those who are passionate nurses and doctors to those who are just working to pay the bills at the end of the month.

Wendy Harris: If all you’ve got your eye on is, “Is my mortgage paid?  Can I put fuel in the car?”, then it’s really time to have a serious think and change things up.

Stella Da Silva: It’s a thankless job sometimes.  The job we do as trainers, sometimes it’s often a thankless job in the moment.  It’s sometimes a few years after that I get learners that I have delivered training to some 10, 20 years before that will come back to you and say, “Oh my God, you were my inspiration, but I didn’t see it at the time”.  Then you think, “Ah, okay so that’s why you didn’t say thank you then, I get it”.  Do you see what I mean?

Wendy Harris: It’s a lifelong cycle being in the role that we do, be it in different fields but yes, when 12 years ago I trained somebody and they reached out and went, “I found myself saying something that you would say to me, and I had to just message you to say, ‘I sounded just like you'”!

Stella Da Silva: The thing is, even with that, the way I always throw it, even when I’m delivering to trainers, so I always tell trainers we’re exactly the same; but the first question I ask them is, “Put yourself back when you were at school.  Do you remember your favourite teacher, and do you remember the teacher you hated?”  Those are the two categories of teachers most of us remember. 

We remember our favourite teacher and we remember the one we absolutely hated, but the middle ones were just there, and you don’t remember them.  They could have been good teachers and that’s where I always tell my trainers, “Where do you want to be?  Do you want to be at that top level favourite trainer, or that bottom level, the trainer that people hated?” because a lot of people are not going to remember the ones in the middle, the ones who are just there, the ones who are just delivering training.

Wendy Harris: Would you agree with me, Stella, because I can give a shout out because I’m still connected on Facebook to my favourite teacher of all time, Mr Ritchie.  He was the maths teacher, he was the swimming trainer, he was the one that did the music lessons and put the school plays on, so I was all over him like a rash.  In part, it was because he was my best friend, he acted like my dad as well, so we had fun, but I knew where the boundaries were, and I had total respect for him.

Stella Da Silva: Absolutely, and see how I mentioned your favourite teacher and see how much emotion that triggered in you, because that’s what you remember.  If I were to ask you, “What about all your other teachers; do you remember your other schoolteachers?”  You probably won’t remember their names, or you even won’t remember them full stop, but you will definitely remember your favourite one and the one you hated.

Wendy Harris: Yes, it’s remembering certain teachers for the wrong reasons, isn’t it?

Stella Da Silva: Absolutely, and you do remember them.

Wendy Harris: Yes.

Stella Da Silva: The ones who are just mediocre, the ones who are just there, the ones who just came to class and taught and as I said, they weren’t good, they weren’t bad, you just won’t remember them.  Again, that’s my way of thinking, that’s every time I’m putting content out, that’s the way I think.  I think, “Where am I in people’s minds when they’re reading my content?  Where am I in people’s mind when I’m delivering that trainer?” because I want to be that trainer that they’re talking about in 10, 20, 30 years’ time.

Wendy Harris: It’s the legacy, isn’t it?  I think sometimes the responsibility that you have of young minds, young adults, adults retraining, it doesn’t matter who the audience is, the responsibility that you have for them if you don’t put that at the forefront and centre of what it is that you’re doing, yeah, then you might as well just be picking up a paycheque.

Stella Da Silva: That’s it and you know what, that is absolutely fine if that’s what you want your legacy to be.  Again, I can’t invalidate where people are at in their professional lives or in their personal lives.  Some people just want to do that and that is fine, but for me to be sure that I am really making an impact, I know what I need to do, I need to have that strategy that reminds me of what my purpose is as an educator.

Wendy Harris: I would say as well, and this is a challenge, and I would ask listeners to let me know what they think, but I don’t think anybody at school going through school with teachers good, bad, indifferent, I don’t think anybody wants to come out of school adequate; we all want to be someone.  Are you that person that you once wanted to be?

Stella Da Silva: Yeah, but then I could argue with you on that.  Sometimes we are also the product of our upbringing; we are the product of the way our parents have brought us up, to have that self‑belief, to have that motivation, for us to be who we are today, because I am a strong believer that my upbringing has played out in various aspects of my life both professionally and personally just because of the way I have been brought up, which again had its own challenges.

It’s for me to decide, “Well, I either want to continue on this path and break a cycle or not, or remain in that cycle”, do you see what I mean?  So, as grownups we begin to have choices, not necessarily as young people and that’s where you are right in terms when we’re at school, we don’t necessarily all want to come out thinking we are not adequate.  That makes complete sense to me, yeah.

Wendy Harris: I am not going to ague with you, Stella.  I could write a book about my upbringing.  In brief, all I’m going to say is that at seven, I was under the probation service because I wasn’t attending school and it was a question of getting me back to school.  I did that in my high school years as well, and it was because of my family circumstances.  I’ve had more uncles and dads than I could count on both hands, and I was predicted at 13 to be in prison, so we are in control of ourselves if we want to.  We can play a victim, or we can break that cycle and say, “I’m not going to let that happen to me because that’s what’s happened before”.

Stella Da Silva: Absolutely, and hence why I specifically said we have those choices to either be in that cycle or to break it.  Unfortunately, some can’t.

Wendy Harris: I don’t want to say horses for courses, because that belittles the people that can’t.  There are definitely signposts out there for people to make a change and make a difference.

Stella Da Silva: For sure.

Wendy Harris: It’s got to come from the person to be able to want to reach out and do better, or to have the right kind of support to push them towards doing better, and I appreciate that everybody’s got a different journey to them;, but I would say if that is you, reach out today.

Stella Da Silva: For sure and that’s the thing.  We might be talking to someone right now who is stuck.  We don’t know; we might just be talking right now to someone listening in and even listening in from two different perspectives.  What we are agreed on is that, reach out.  Just reach out and talk to somebody, reach out and ask for help, because it is there for you.  But again, you need to want that for yourself. 

Again, we can sit here and have hours’ long discussion about this; but if you, yourself, are not ready to reach out, just like an alcoholic, you can never ever drag an alcoholic to give up alcohol if they themselves are not ready to in that moment.  It’s the same thing.  When and if you are ready to reach out, trust me there are people there to support you 100%.

Wendy Harris: Absolutely right, Stella.  I think we should move on to the bit of the show that I love most, which is where I get to hear for the very first time and you get to share with all the listeners, that conversation that created a turning point for you and what happened next.

Stella Da Silva: So, they’re different conversations that have literally made changes for me.  With regards to my LinkedIn journey, in terms of that conversation, it was literally just me putting content out the way I put content out.  I didn’t try and copy anybody else, because it wasn’t working for me when I did try.  I didn’t want to imitate anybody else, and I just thought, “You know what, Stella, you’re actually enough”. 

I think literally it’s that conversation I had within myself that really made that change.  It was like that lightbulb moment, because again I always felt I was never good enough, even in my job, even in my career; I never felt I was good enough.  I always suffered that imposter syndrome, and I don’t know what it was and again, it was just having a time of real reflection and really going back within myself and having a tough discussion with myself to say, “You know what Stella?  Things have got to change”.

Wendy Harris: There’s only one Stella.

Stella Da Silva: Well, that’s it.

Wendy Harris: Who were you measuring up against?

Stella Da Silva: When I said, “Things have got to change”, I had to change that and say, “Hang on a second, no things don’t have to change; I have to change”, because then it made sense to me.  Because again, it was very easy for me to blame the world and everybody else for my unhappiness, if you like.  Again, it’s having those self-reflective discussions that enabled me to be a bit more confident within myself, to then put myself out there online, because again my online journey as compared to everybody else started really later for me in life.

I’m 51 next month, so my online journey really — and I’m sure for a lot of people my age, it started later on in life.  So again, it was another thing to build that confidence of within myself to be comfortable and enough for me to say, “I’m enough online”, for me to do what I’m doing online and for me to be successful online.  It’s just those conversations.

With you over the last couple of years, Wendy, because I know we’ve been very supportive of one another on LinkedIn and building those kinds of relationships with like minds, really does help you to have a real focus on what it is you need to do without worrying about anybody else.  Does that make sense?

Wendy Harris: Sure, I think the key points that I’m getting from you there, Stella, is that never be scared to get involved in a conversation, never be scared to start a conversation and see where that leads.  Ultimately, we’re all on a platform, whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, we’re kind of there to represent ourselves but we’re also peacocks right; we want to show ourselves off and say, “Hey look at me over here.  I’m brilliant, come and talk to me”, but if you’re not willing to step up and start that conversation then people will likely just walk by.

Stella Da Silva: I can throw it back at you, Wendy, because again you’re a podcaster.  How do you get your guest to come to your shows, right?  You have to put yourself out there and you have to get to know people to want to invite them onto your show.  How else are you going to have a podcast show otherwise if you don’t start a conversation?  Again, it’s about building those relationships and sometimes talking about subject matters that are sometimes uncomfortable.  But thankfully with age and hopefully experience behind us, we’re able to be probably a bit more open than maybe those who are starting off on their professional careers and don’t necessarily have that voice.

Again, it’s all about situations, logistics, who you happen to engage with, who you happen to connect with, I know that just starting a conversation about a particular topic has generated collaborations with business.  Me being named a troll slayer was because people saw what I was doing with trolls on LinkedIn.  I didn’t make that name up; a connection gave me.  They literally said, “Oh my gosh, Stella the Troll Slayer”, and it stuck. 

From there, I was actually able to monetise on being a troll slayer, because I started getting invited to come and give talks about trolling.  I thought, “Who knew?”  Again, it was that initial engagement with people that brings us to where we are today.

Wendy Harris: I agree, Stella.  Making Conversations Count came from Twitter, somebody called me that on Twitter and it stuck, and I was named Queen of Making Conversations and it stuck and, yeah, I just think even my profile says, “Everything in life starts with a conversation, even if it’s in your head”.

Stella Da Silva: Absolutely, bang on, 100%.  Do you know how many conversations we have with ourselves, daily?

Wendy Harris: Too many.  It’s no wonder I sleep well.

Stella Da Silva: It can be actually overwhelming, okay, Stella log off.  Log off!

Wendy Harris: I have likened my brain to a computer before, I’ve said, “Do you know what; I think I need a good defrag”!

Stella Da Silva: Love it!

Wendy Harris: Stella, it’s been absolute pleasure to be able to get you to take time out of your busy schedule, because I know how busy you are.  You’re such a wonderful inspiration to me; I know it will be for others as well.  I encourage the listeners to get in touch and to reach out.  Is LinkedIn the best place for them to find you?

Stella Da Silva: LinkedIn is my platform of choice, so, yes.  Follow me, send me a DM, I welcome anybody; if there’s anybody out there, who just needs a little bit of support, I’m often there giving out great tips and just helping and supporting my network; I love it.  So, yeah, LinkedIn definitely, for sure.

Wendy Harris: I’m sure I’ll see you over there later, Stella.

Stella Da Silva: I’m pretty sure you will.

Wendy Harris: I hope you really enjoyed listening to Stella and me having a really good chinwag about staying true to yourself and really just going after the things that light you up in your life.  Reach out to Stella, she’s popped the links into the show notes, and of course we want to carry on the conversations too.

Any of the reviews that we get we do love to shout them out, we’re getting some lovely regulars now, and of course in the show notes, there are resources for downloads.  Kim Adele-Platts had way more downloads of her PDF document than she did listens, but I think that’s people secretly coming back because they couldn’t find the original download, but who knows.  Tell me, reach out, pop me a message.  You will find the website is www.makingconversationscount.com.

Until next time.



We don’t want the conversation to stop there!

All of our listeners are important to us, so we would love it if you can connect with Wendy on LinkedIn and send her a message with your favourite episode!


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Vicki Carroll O'Neill

Episode 20 – Vicki Carroll (formerly O’Neill)

Vicki works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and executive leaders who are stuck in their business and need someone as a partner to coach them to their next level of success. Vicki offers growth marketing consultant advice, strategy plans & also organises in-house marketing teams.

heidi medina business coach

Episode 21 – Heidi Medina

This episode contains one of our most important conversations, so we’re definitely going to make it count!
Wendy Harris brings Heidi Medina into the conversation today, who opens up the conversation about abuse she has encountered.
She’s a Linkedin expert and business coach who is the exact opposite of the classic ‘my way or the highway’.
Whether you meet Heidi online or in person she is the same.

Niraj Kapur online sales coach

Episode 22 – Niraj Kapur

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Online Sales Coach Niraj Kapur from “Everybody works in Sales” a business that helps companies with their sales processes.

Steve Judge paralympian motivational speaking

Episode 23 – Steve Judge

A life-changing accident that almost claimed a life but actually birthed a mindset shift.  Making conversations about speaking count!

Imagine losing your limbs in an accident.

That’s a real human test.

Most people would fall into one of two camps.

Feel the loss, and struggle to overcome it, before essentially accepting your ‘job lot’ and just becoming a bit angry.

Many would. And they’d be forgiven.

Then there are others, who would not let it defeat them, or define them.

Steve Judge is definitely in the latter of the two camps.

Nikolas Venios the ideas agency

Episode 24 – Nik Venios

We reflect on how this business man helped his poorly mother solve a household challenge which led to a career of making conversations about ideas and innovation count. We will all eventually lose our parents. Sadly, it’s a part of life. Not many of us have to suffer that loss at the tender age of just six. We couldn’t think of a nicer guy to help us with our goal of making conversations about ideas count. Truly, if anyone can hold a conversation about ideas, it’s Nik Venios of the Ideas Agency. Did you know that NASA has a genius test? During this episode, you’ll find out all about this, and the fascinating stats surrounding it.

Jonny cooper hates marketing

Episode 25 – Jonny Cooper

Most business owners hate marketing. That’s probably because they don’t understand it. Someone who does get marketing is Jonny Cooper, and even he can’t stand it! In fact, he despises it so much, he built a business around it. Welcome to Jonny Hates Marketing! This week we’re making conversations about messaging count. Messaging is so important to get correct. Your entire marketing voice depends on it. That’s why you need to listen very carefully to Jonny Cooper.

Wendy Harris telephone trainer how to sell over the phone

Episode 26 – Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris is an expert telemarketer, who has years worth of experience in cold-calling and doing it right. Now a podcast host, Wendy shares her story and how she became an advocate for making conversations count!

Will Polston Make it happen

Episode 27 – Will Polston

Making conversations about wealth….and Clubhouse….count! Paying it forward. Acting from a position of generosity and giving within the law of reciprocity. We’re talking to Will Polston.

Ray Blakney Live Lingua

Episode 28 – Ray Blakney

Making conversations about language count… Ray Blakney is the CEO And founder of online language school Live Lingua. Can you speak another language other than your native tongue? Wendy admitted to the “Making Conversations Count” team that she doesn’t, and we can’t help but feel she’s definitely not alone.

Many Ward write my book cuddle monster

Episode 29 – Mandy Ward

Mandy Ward is a book mentor, helping people to write their own books under the company ‘Write my book’. Mandy is also an author herself, including the popular children’s book ‘The Cuddle Monster’.

Sarah Townsend copywriter survival skills for freelancers

Episode 30 – Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend is a freelance copywriter and best-selling author of the book ‘survival skills for freelancers’. In this episode, we discuss the importance of conversations in the freelance world, and how things can lead to many opportunities…

Hear what people are saying about the show

I love this podcast. The guests you have on all bring something new to the conversation and definitely thought-provoking.

Sometimes this means I change something I do, or something I would say, and other times it’s a real opportunity for reflection.

Thanks for sharing your guests with us Wendy, the podcasts are brilliant.

Paula Senior

I always enjoy listening to Wendy’s Making Conversations Count podcast and admire her talent for drawing out people’s stories and getting to the heart of things for finding out what makes them tick.

We all have pivotal moments and Wendy manages to find the right parts, showcasing the reasons why someone is who they are.

It’s those details that we connect to and come to more understanding of why people do what they do.

Heidi Medina

Love this podcast series. It’s a great idea to have a theme of ‘pivotal conversations’ and the variety of guests from massively different backgrounds keeps it fresh and interesting.

Wendy is a natural host and makes people feel at ease to share their stories.

Andrew Deighton

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