Night of Hope 2023: Writing the perfect speech…

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of Brandi Lytle, recipient of the Hope Award 2023 for Social Influence

In my last blog, I shared that on 6 November 2023, I received the Hope Award for Social Influence at the Night of Hope, a gala held in NYC by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.  I also shared that, though it might sound vain, one of the first things I thought about was what I would wear to this fancy event where “cocktail attire” was encouraged.  (You can read all about that here.)  The second thing I thought about (well, maybe worried about…) was the speech I would give when I received my award, as every honoree was asked to make brief acceptance remarks.

Speech #1

When I spoke to my friend Sue Johnston, founder of the In-fertility Advocate and Hope Honoree in 2022, she shared that she wove a little-known fact about herself into a story in her speech.  I rather liked the idea of making my speech personal.  I mean, I am a blogger after all.  So, I wrote out a draft, edited it several times, and began practicing it.  Like the first attempt at finding my perfect outfit, however, I just wasn’t sure my first attempt at acceptance remarks was right…

You see, the Night of Hope is not only an evening to recognize those receiving Hope Awards, but it is also a fundraising event for RESOLVE.  It is a night to celebrate the family building community and raise awareness about infertility, access to care, and more.  And while I absolutely wanted to remain authentic, sharing that I am indeed childless not by choice after a ten-year infertility battle, I also wanted to ensure that I did not dampen the celebratory mood of the evening.  I felt that my first attempt at acceptance remarks was a bit too…  I’m having a hard time finding the right word.  It was very real, very honest.  Perhaps a bit brutally honest, with the focus very much on being childless.

I wanted my speech to be more.  The Night of Hope would be more.  And I am more.  So much more than childless.

And inspiration struck!  On the way home from aerials no less.

Speech #2

I wrote out the second draft of my speech.  I edited it numerous times, getting it down to approximately two and a half minutes.  (They were supposed to be under two minutes.  Man, I hope they’ll give me a bit of extra time!)  And I practiced and practiced and practiced my remarks.

These remarks…  Well, they talked about infertility and childlessness and more.  They were still real, still honest.  But they didn’t feel brutal.  And they definitely showed that I am so much more than childless.

I didn’t share my remarks with anyone before the Night of Hope.  I wanted Dane to hear them for the first time at the gala—in the moment.  When Dane told the Rabbi sitting at our table that I hadn’t even shown my remarks to him, the Rabbi smiled, “That shows real confidence.”  Man, I hope so!

At the Night of Hope…

As I read my speech—from a presidential monitor!–in front of nearly 600 people on 6 Nov, I felt proud to be a voice for our childless by infertility community.  My voice caught one time.  As I thanked Dane.  But then, I smiled when I saw him in the audience, videoing me making my speech.  I didn’t ask him to record it.  I wanted him to just be in the moment, if that’s what he chose to do.  But proud hubby that he is, he recorded every word.  And I am so, so grateful that he captured this moment!

At the end of the evening, several people (including Candace Wohl, of Our Misconception) told me how wonderful my speech was.  Even now, it makes me tear up to think about the kind words others offered.  About how openly I was accepted.  About how over and over again, this remarkable community expressed how important my message is…

Wanna hear my speech?!

Do you want to hear the message I shared at the Night of Hope?  Well, here’s the video my fabulous hubby took.  It’s unedited and so imperfectly perfect that I can’t help but smile.  Hope you enjoy listening.  And as always, THANK YOU for following along on my journey!

If anything I wrote resonates with you, please tell us about it in the comments.  (You can put your name as an initial if you’d like to remain anonymous.)

If you’d like to see photos from the Night of Hope 2023 Gala, just click here…

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Featured Photo:  Created by me, using Canva

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