2019 Speaker Interviews, Speakers, TEDxColumbus

An Interview with Speaker W. Kay Wilson

A TEDxColumbus interview with Speaker W. Kay Wilson.


TEDxColumbus: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

KW: I serve as the Director for Strategic Initiatives at IMPACT Community Action where I build their community engagement, advancement and advocacy on wealth-equity efforts. I am a mother, an author of two books, youth advocate, and nonprofit strategist.  I grew up in Westerville with weekends on the Near East Side of Columbus. I enjoy advocating for at-risk youth and use my experiences to help them gain the necessary survival skills and the foundation they need to break generational patterns and make it through tough situations.


TEDxColumbus: What do others consider to be the most surprising thing about you?

KW: That I love playing the bass or that I lived in Nigeria 7 years


TEDxColumbus: What inspired your interest in TEDxColumbus?

KW: I remember sitting in the audience at one of the early TEDx Columbus events at COSI and feeling the communal energy around elevating current ideas and I was in awe.  This year my youngest son came in my room and saw a picture that had the TEDx logo with a microphone in the foreground glued to my vision board. He asked me “What’s that?”  I told him that I really want to share my idea on a TED stage.  He asked, “How do you do that?”  I told him you apply.  Then he asked; “Have you ever applied?”  I replied; “No.”  Then he said; “Well, you’ll never get that picture off that board if you don’t apply.”


TEDxColumbus: What are you most looking forward to as a TEDxColumbus speaker/performer?

KW: Having my dad (who adopted me) watch me from the audience.


TEDxColumbus: What previous TED or TEDxColumbus talk was most meaningful to you?

KW: “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong” by Dan Pallotta.


TEDxColumbus: Why​ ​would you encourage others to attend TEDxColumbus?

KW: The energy and diversity in the room is amazing!


TEDxColumbus: What inspires you about the future of Columbus?

KW: Lately there are people in leadership willing to be courageous and have tough conversations to make this a city where everyone has opportunity to thrive.


TEDxColumbus: When you host visitors from outside of Columbus, where will you typically take them?

KW: To my kitchen- I love to cook!


TEDxColumbus: What do you consider to be a hidden gem of Columbus?

KW: Ms. Enas on Cleveland Avenue or the Kelton House.


TEDxColumbus: If you could give advice to yourself as a high school student, what would it be?

KW: You. Are. Enough.

Columbus: How did you select your career choice?

KW: I think it chose me. I have always enjoyed being in the service of others. I’ve been told I’m a connector.

Columbus: Who do you consider to be a mentor? Or who inspires you?

KW: I consider Donna James to be a mentor and a huge inspiration of resiliency to me.

Columbus: What is your favorite quote and why?

KW: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Reading those two sentences sparked a series of a-ha moments for me. What Marianne Williamson is getting at here is that fear hides our inner light, but that when we embrace love—which is how she defines God—we connect with who we are really meant to be.

And just for fun:

TEDxColumbus: Dog or Cat

KW: Dog

Columbus: Netflix or Theater

KW: Theater

Columbus: Facebook or Twitter

KW: Twitter

Columbus: Phone Call or Text

KW: Phone Call

Columbus: Beach or Mountains

KW: Beach

Columbus: High Tech or Low Tech

KW: High Tech

Columbus: Big Party or Small Gathering

KW: Small Gathering

Columbus: Work Hard or Play Hard

KW: Work Hard. Then Play Hard.

Columbus: Train or Plane

KW: Plane.

Columbus: Summer or Winter

KW: Summer.