BY KATIE FREIBURGER
There is no better time to promote love than the present. Chicagoan Sally Lou Loveman has been doing just that for a very long time, making it her mission and her business, lovespeaks. A former Oprah producer for over twenty years, motivational speaker, host of a podcast, and now author, Loveman has lived a life she independently curated out of her extraordinary passion to connect with others through their personal stories. In her first book, Speak: Love Your Story, Your Audience is Waiting, she captivates the reader with her story. A riveting journey from growing up outside Philadelphia as the daughter of a doctor to a breathtaking career at Oprah, followed with the reinvention of herself when the show ended, her teaching memoir is filled with moments which will force a well-needed laugh.
As you weave through a time when women were still marginalized, Loveman and her entire Oprah team were creating history. A canvas of inspiration, mixed in with everyday gaffs that include Michael Jordan literally falling into her lap at the United Center, the true gift in Loveman’s book comes from engaging each of us to become part of her audience. Through challenging growth in our own lives via her personal lessons summarized at the end of every chapter, the surprise of Speak is the ease in which you become enamored with her advice. Shamelessly waiting for the next chapter of Loveman’s life while vowing to incorporate her words at the earliest possible moment, what sets this book apart is Loveman’s ability to center it with humility and the singular hope that one of her life stories might personally resonate.
March of this year should have been a celebration for Loveman as she continued to promote her book on a nationwide tour. A personal goal, she was beginning to hit her stride when Covid19 stopped the world and found Loveman. Forced into isolation at her sister’s home outside of NYC, Loveman spent eighteen days extremely sick trying to take in the high of the book launch and now the low of the pandemic and personal illness. I recently asked her what she would add to her book now that we are living through historic times.
“I had a lot of time to think about my story while I was in isolation for eighteen days. The number 18 means life in Hebrew and it is a number that keeps appearing in my life. Having survived COVID-19 (not 18!), the chapter I would write now is – Stop telling yourself stories that don’t support your talents and focus on what life has blessed you with! Tell a story that supports your dreams, even if a pandemic makes you feel like your dreams have been taken from you. They haven’t. They have just been put on pause. Life is waiting for you. During many sleepless nights while in my coronavirus isolation, I listened to motivational speaker and preacher Devon Franklin on Instagram. He asked us to repeat these words ‘My dream is still good’ over and over again. It felt so powerful. There was nothing that made me feel my purpose more than Devon’s words of promise. My dream is still good. And so is yours. Sometimes we just need someone to remind us.”
After reading Loveman’s teaching memoir it becomes crystal clear that Sally Lou Loveman embodies the essence of goodness in humans. She recently told me that going to work for Oprah, when the show was essentially a start-up, gave all the women who worked there a sense that they had been “called” to purpose. In turn, Speak also serves a deep purpose at this particular moment in time, reminding us all that we have a story to tell, one to create and quite possibly one to edit. Her voice comes from a place of healing, a humble calling for all to feel supported by someone they have never met in order to gain the confidence to engage in a life of love. At the end of Speak, the reader can not help but feel connected to Loveman, leaning into her practices and embracing the very real challenges of 2020 head on with topics poignant and purposeful: How to be brave and lift others up as you rise; Where to find the courage to tell your story; How to listen quietly to others; and How to stay connected to people who like you, a clear distinction from people you like.
Sally Lou Loveman is someone we all need right now, a warrior of peace and love with a roadmap of which direction to take. Her voice is deeply transcended by the unconditional love she received from her own family, colleagues, and Oprah. More importantly, her story is timely and powerful. Chicago is fortunate to call her our own.
Speak can be purchased on Amazon and at The Book Stall in Winnetka, IL.