This week, I attended the TEDX talk in Doncaster and saw some amazing speakers.
If you're not familiar with TED Talks, then you're missing out on something exceptional. They've been around since 1984, so there's a lot for you to catch up on!
TED talks have been provided by Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Bono, to name just a few. The talks are inspiring, insightful and are incredibly important.
Volunteers from the local community organise a TEDx event to spark conversation, connection and community. Just like TED events, they lack any commercial, religious or political agenda, so they are fantastic to attend and a great showcase of speakers and local initiatives.
There is a lot to talk about at any TEDx event, but what makes them truly unique is that the agenda is always diverse, the speakers incredibly knowledgeable, and each talk is less than 18 minutes long.
This year's event in Doncaster, saw a range of topics being discussed, from Professor Brad Gibson asking, "Will we ever live on Mars' to Arshad Khaliq talking about the 'Race Equality Paradigm'.
We had insightful and impactful presentations from Emma Bloodworth talking about how we can tackle violence against women and girls to an 'Unscripted' talk from John Parr, the singer and songwriter known for his famous "St Elmos Fire" song.
Along the way, we had music from Philippa Zawe, a singer-songwriter with incredible range. Scarlett Kirwan, whose rendition of 'Songbird' was truly mesmerising, through to the irrepressible 'Kid Blue' ("0114 GSD Steel Sheff City") who gave us a brilliant performance of her own 'Pen and Pad Diaries' which was witty, touching and musically on point!
Highlights and (no) low lights
There were no 'low lights' of the event, so picking out' high lights' is always going to be difficult because every speaker gave it their all, and each one had a story to tell or a lesson to impart.
Luke Staton's story of a boy whose life was inspired by the six words his teacher gave to him was captivating to the end, with key messages we can all take with us;
· Make an effort. Be kind. Behind every pair of eyes, there is a story.
· Speak with passion and 'fire'
· Lead by example
Dr Tom Waller gave us some useful advice on how to take control of our lives using the "Three T's"; Thoughts, Trauma, and Toxins. His story about the adaptability of penguins (yes… Penguins!) will stay with me forever! 🙂
Other speakers such as Jamie Lee-Grace, Natasha Clarke, Brad Pilkington, Daisy York, Tylae Close, Ruth Farenga Atique Arif, and Kim Adelle Randall were all inspirational and left my head spinning, and my arm aching (from the applause and writing notes). Each one of them deserves an article and blog of their own, which I will be doing in due course.
To be honest, I only learned of the TEDx Doncaster event because my good friend and mentor Cath Kibbs was speaking at the event.
Her talk on 'Bodies, Brains and Technology: The Real Social Dilemma' was funny, touching, insightful and incredibly important. Talking about the relationships we have 'Out here' and 'in there' is something that needs to happen more, and as an expert in her field (actually, quite often standing ALONE in her field) Cath is someone we all need to be listening to more.
This is not just on a personal level. It's on a professional level.
Corporations seemingly struggle to understand how to keep their teams motivated and prevent cyber attacks. They're investing thousands, millions and billions(!) in technology and 'training and awareness' without looking at the underlying issues around the relationship we have with each other and how it's being affected by the technology we're using.
Cath understands this better than anyone I know, which is why when she speaks, I listen. I put down my device. I focus, and I listen.
My advice to anyone out there still reading this…
Go find your next TEDx talk and book yourself on. Don't look at the agenda (I didn't. When each speaker walked on, I had no idea what they were going to talk about).
Secondly, reach out to Cath and book a meeting with her.
It's important to recognise the amazing work of the army of volunteers who help to pull this thing together.
From the curator and licensee, Marcus Isman-Egal, to the coaches and mentors, and the people ushering us through doors to make sure we're all seated on time... they were all amazing and helped put on an incredible event.
A HUGE thank you to everyone involved. See you all next year at TEDx Doncaster… and who knows, you might see me, either in the audience or on the stage! 😉