I’m a bit of a fan of the TED Talk, I can get lost down a rabbit hole watching talk after talk about some completely outside of the box idea or concept. And today, I got to see it in real life!
I attended TEDx NortheasternU with another of the wonderful people that I have had the opportunity to meet this week, fellow Aussie Zali Yager, an Associate Professor at Victoria University. Zali is incredibly knowledgable and passionate about health and wellbeing, and we’ve shared some great conversations around mental health of mums, mentoring young women, and social cohesion in communities.
Today we heard 11 speakers on a range of topics that were all tied to the theme of ‘Branches | Cultivating Connections’:
- Mary Steffel spoke about decision paralysis and what we gain by giving choices away by delegation or outsourcing;
- Alicia Payne shared her motivation for getting involved in the organisation ‘Strong Women, Strong Girls‘ and many stories which demonstrated the importance of empowering young women to be strong, loud and proud;
- Victoria D’Agostino had some great ideas around the decentralisation of health care, and making it possible to test for diseases such as cervical cancer in the same way a home pregnancy kit works;
- Heidi Kevie-Feldman spoke about what 911 dispatchers can teach us about our linguistic choices, and redesigning questions to redirect attention;
- Minhal Ahmed was very passionate about how the gut microbes talk to our brain using the nervous system (not our bloodstream), and how this makes our gut a tangible, and not just intuitive sixth sense;
- Victor Velazquez talked about art and entrepreneurship being the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled;
- Amirah Aly spoke on the topic of neuro-degenenerative disease and emerging treatments that cross the blood-brain barrier;
- Bobette Buster had fascinating insights to the ‘Front Porch Society’ and living memory, and shared her beliefs on the creation of muscle memory for the act of listening;
- Claire Coletti is concerned by the fact that by the year 2050, seven out of ten people will be living in cities, and the housing crisis is not only one of economy and politics, but also a cultural crisis of community that she believes a life built together in carefully designed community living spaces can help to address;
- Nalani Genser taught us how to make Mondays more meaningful by defining our own non-negotiable for our work and life; and
- Salar Shahini talked about the impact of potholes (yes really), among much more!
There was so much to take in. If there was one thing that I had to choose to pass on to someone else from what I learned today, it would be Alicia Payne’s wisdom. As a Mentor she lives by (and teaches) a value system that says
you can have any opinion you want in this world, as long as you have
(1) The facts to back it up;
(2) the Gall to stand by your statements; and
(3) the Patience to listen to the other side.
As I said above, Alicia helps young women and girls to be Strong, Loud and Proud, she defined strength as excelling as far as you can go – I loved that. Something else that she said that really resonated with me, is that we need to teach young women important phrases from the earliest possible age – phrases such as “I haven’t finished speaking yet, please don’t interrupt me”.
I’m sure you can imagine many more statements that you can teach to your daughters, grand-daughters, nieces, sisters, cousins and any young women you are a role model to.
One I’m going to be sure to teach to my daughter Scout, is “yes, I can”. But do you know what? I’m also going to teach it to my son. Because we all need to believe that we are capable of growing and achieving, no matter what scale it is on.