Your address will show here +12 34 56 78

 

In a few weeks at TEDxColumbusWomen 2015 among other thoughtful speakers and performers, we’ll be showcasing the Inside/Out Choir, a joint project of the Tapestry Program, a therapeutic community at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, and The Harmony Project.  While you may have seen them perform once or twice at other events, we wanted to help raise their voices even broader.

But two things happened recently which has led me to make a special, small appeal to our community.

First, we decided to host a tampon drive at the TEDx event on May 28th. The Free The Tampon campaign has been featured recently in the New York Times and the writer of those stories inspired us to have an actual drive, to bring the social awareness to a simple, actionable step. But we hadn’t yet decided the beneficiary.

Then I went to ORW to visit the women in the choir we will be showcasing. I remember hearing Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman’s moth recording how she was given free tampons during her stay in prison. So during my visit, I asked Tanya, the woman sitting next to me, how she accessed sanitary products.

“Everyone gets free pads. But we have to pay for tampons,” she said.

I asked how much they were, not expecting the rapid response.

“They are $2.31 for a box of 10. And they are the cardboard applicator Tampax brand.”

She continued, “Most women don’t have a lot of family support. And the little money they make at their job isn’t enough to cover them.”

No matter how you feel about the crimes these women may have committed, I would hope you agree with me that they have the right to access the most basic of sanitary products, which in turn is access to basic human dignity.

When I asked the director of the Tapestry program if it would be acceptable to donate tampons. She said people donate goods all the time – but not often tampons.

The women of the Tapestry program who are also in the choir will be watching the livestream of our event. And we’ll be enjoying their song and talent without the chance to tell them thank you in person, like we will the other speakers.

So please help show our appreciation by bringing a box of tampons (or 2!) so that we may send the choir a very little gesture of appreciation in return.  If you cannot attend and would like to contribute a box, you can have them delivered to RESOURCE/AMMIRATI, 343 North Front Street, Cols 43215 before May 27. And there’s nothing keeping you from dropping off any supply straight to the guard desk at ORW.

And if you want to come to the event on May 28th, tickets are still available here. We’d love to have you.

– Ruth Milligan

0

Events, Follow This, Speakers, TEDxColumbus, TEDxColumbusWomen, TEDxWomen

by Kendra Hovey

Sold out in one day. Attendance up five-fold. All the sudden, TEDxColumbusWomen is a rock star. In its fourth year, the live-stream of the annual TEDWomen conference added something new: five talks from local speakers—which might explain the sudden surge in interest, except it was announced after the last ticket sold. 

This post shares some event highlights and commentary, but for those eager to skip ahead…

For local TEDxColumbusWomen speakers:
Jump to Session II

For TEDWomen speakers:
Jump to Session I

Or, to begin with general info and impressions, simply read on.

TEDxColumbusWomen was held on December 5th at the Columbus Foundation. TEDWomen 2013: Invented Here streamed from San Francisco—the title, in part, an acknowledgement of the host city. The first set of TEDWomen talks (Session I:  To Be Is To Do) took the most literal approach to the Invented Here theme, rolling out one innovative product after another: an energy-generating soccer ball, an affordable artificial knee, a preemie incubator for home use, a smarter spacesuit, and more.

Ideally, content should stand on its own, and when that content is literally bouncing (soccer ball) or walking (spacesuit) on the stage in front of you, this ideal seems almost possible. But, as both neuroscience and social science tell us, to veil identity (gender or otherwise) is not so easy, nor is it always helpful. Plus, to gloss over the subject would make TEDWomen less interesting. The event had me constantly thinking about gender. It’s kind of the point of it, even as gender was rarely the actual topic of a talk.

Beyond sharing hidden histories and the great breadth and diversity of women’s work, accomplishments and insights, the event brings gender into focus in other ways. Krista Donaldson designs products for people living on less than $4 a day. Jessica Matthews delights in other people’s hacks to her products. User-focus is in no way gender-specific, yet there was something different in how speakers, repeatedly, put the user at center stage. And when speaker Jane Chen called her life-saving scientific invention “technology powered by love,” I wondered would she say it exactly like that at a technology conference or at Big TED? And if she did, would it come out just as easily and just as heartfelt? Maybe, but that I had the question at all is what I mean when I say gender was on my mind.

Also, not every event takes note of its male audience members. This one did. And the irritating buzz that accompanied the first few talks couldn’t help but make me aware of gender. TEDWomen is one of TED’s three annual conferences, and I’ve never seen serious technical glitches like that at livestreams of TED or TEDGlobal.

And then there are the MCs. They talk a lot, in a way some may find supportive, but that I find cloying. It is less the MCs, though, then my reaction to them that had me acutely aware of gender. I’m hard-pressed to think of a time when two men on a stage represented all men, but the day I can listen to these MCs and be merely annoyed instead of cringing, it will be a sign of a more enlightened world and a more enlightened me.  [For good or bad, the MCs are not in the online videos.]

Here are some of the stand-out talks from Session I: To Be Is To Do:

  • Jessica Matthews, partly for jump roping in heels, mostly for her delight when users change and improve her products, and also for her big points that 1) play is a tool for social impact and 2) invention is less about the product and more about the people it “invents.”
  • Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley who fell ill, so instead was spoken about by Google VP Megan Smith, who also shared part of a documentary about this early programmer. For me, this talk was a bargain: I went from utterly ignorant about women in technology to somewhat knowledgeable in just ten minutes. Did you know that the first programmer was a woman? I didn’t. Far more shocking, Megan Smith didn’t either.
  • Maya Penn because she is creative, generous, industrious and only thirteen.
  • Diana Nyad because she is riveting and her presence is commanding. Plus, there’s the deadly box jellyfish and hallucinations of the Taj Majal.

 

 


Following a break for cupcakes and conversation, Session II featured five talks from local speakers, sharing insights on diverse topics. If there is a throughline that connects them all, it is that each spoke from the knowledge that comes from lived experience and that each, on some level, is a story of self-invention (yet another take on the theme Invented Here). Also, ranging from four minutes to fourteen, the talks are short. To watch all five, you can go straight to the playlist. Or, for more of a foothold, without giving much away, here’s a brief word on each:

1. In her talk, Celia Crossley shares her rather circuitous route to her career as a career strategist helping others route or create their own careers. Her big point: by all means, Lean In, if you can, but know that there is another path to job satisfaction, personal fulfillment, and economic viability: Leaning Out.

 

2. Her country, her community, and her comfortable day-to-day life suddenly collapsed. As a Tutsi married to a Hutu, her family collapsed. As a person who was loved and suddenly deemed an outcast, her identity collapsed. After the genocide in her home country, Norah Bagirinka did not feel human and did not think she would ever feel human again. Her humanity fully restored and thriving, she shares her story, her current work with Rwanda Women In Action and her insights into what it takes to create a bridge to a new life.

 

3. Barbara Allen can work a room. That’s one reason to watch this video. Another is to learn about the improv mantra: Yes… And…. Currently in vogue as a work organization tool, the concept may not be new, but Allen’s wholesome and big-hearted delivery is.

 

4. Gabrielle Smith is a teenager entrepreneur. She’ll graduate high school this summer, almost three years after she launched her small business. Her talk shares what can happen when a maker takes her passion seriously.

 

5. JoDee Davis works with people that you, most likely, do everything you can to avoid. It’s okay, says Davis, she once tried to avoid these people, too. But an experience changed her. On one level, her talk is an interesting story about meeting success time and time again and struggling to understand why (with help, she eventually does). On another level, her talk is a powerful story that has a strong potential to shift your understanding.  And I’ll leave it at that.

 

All photos by Tessa Potts, except Diana Nyad by Marla Aufmuth, courtesy of TEDWomen 2013

Kendra Hovey is editor and head writer at Follow This. On Twitter @KendraHovey, she blogs at kendrahovey.com

0

On December 5th at The Columbus Foundation, we’ll be hosting the 3rd Annual TEDWomen Livestream from San Francisco along with a live / local session of TEDxColumbusWomen talks.  If you know you want to attend, here’s the registration link – tickets are free but seating is limited. www.tedxcolswomen.eventbrite.com.

If you need more details…

TEDWomen is a one-day global TED conference co-sponsored by TED and the Paley Center for Media and hosted by Pat Mitchell. As a local TEDx licensee, we are able to stream this event to one location for free. This year’s theme is INVENTED HERE. For more details (including speakers when they are announced), you can visit their website.

TEDxColumbusWomen is a TEDx event (independently organized) featuring local talks in the traditional TED-style format. We will host this hour of local talks during the break in the livestream of TEDWomen, also around the theme INVENTED HERE. These talks will be posted online like all other TEDx talks.

The event will take place at The Columbus Foundation, 1234 East Broad Street in Davis Hall. We are grateful to the Foundation for their generosity in hosting us for the day. Parking is free.

The schedule will run:

1pm – 2pm – Doors Open, Conversation, Networking

2pm – 3:30pm – Session 1: TEDWomen (Livestream from San Francisco)

3:30pm – 4pm – Conversation, Networking with light refreshments

4pm – 5pm – TEDxColumbusWomen: An hour of provocative local speakers (TBA)

5pm – 6:30 pm – Session 2: TEDWomen (Livestream from San Francisco)

(We will not be streaming Session 3 from TEDWomen due to time zone differences.)

If you cannot stay the entire duration (2pm – 630pm), that’s perfectly fine. Please register even if you plan to come for even an hour or so.

We hope you will consider joining us for this afternoon of dynamic talks and dialogue!

Please register by visiting www.tedxcolswomen.eventbrite.com and let us know you are coming also on the Facebook event page!

0

We’ve invited our past TEDxColumbus speakers and other friends to give us their top five favorite talks to in turn, share with you, for our Friday Favorites blog series.

This week, Chrystie Hill (full bio below) TEDxColumbus 2009 speaker shares her favorite talks.

 

1. Will Hewett: Singing yourself Alive

 

2. Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders

 

3. William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind

 

4. Larry Lessig: Laws that choke creativity

 

5. Lisa Kristine: Photos that bear witness to modern slavery

 

Chrystie Hill is a librarian, writer, and community builder. After a short stint at the Seattle Public Library, she started It Girl Consulting, a small venture that helps libraries use online tools to build communities online. In 2003, Chrystie joined OCLC where she serves as the Director of Community Services for WebJunction. Chrystie is a frequent presenter at library meetings and conferences, and her articles have appeared in JASIST, Library Journal, American Libraries, and RUSQ. In 2007, Chrystie was nominated as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker and Inside, Outside, and Online: building your library community was published by ALA Editions in 2009. Chrystie’s undergraduate degree is in Biology and Psychology, she holds a Master of Arts in History from Sarah Lawrence College, and her MLIS is from the University of Washington, Seattle. Chrystie was a 2009 TEDxColumbus speaker.

1

Follow This, TEDxColumbus, TEDxWomen, Viewing Events

[by Kendra Hovey]

I’ll start with some facts:

  • TEDxWomen is for everyone. It is, explains host Pat Mitchell, “for a world that needs the full participation of women and their ideas, their experiences, their compassion and convictions, their activism and their artistry.”
  • Women and men speak at TEDxWomen.
  • Women and men attend TEDxWomen, though, to date, women in much greater numbers.
  • The talks at TEDxWomen are as universally relevant as the talks at TED.
  • 15,000 people watched TEDxWomen 2012 at various live viewing events across 53 countries.
  • “The Space Between”—this year’s theme—refers to the gray, the and, the full spectrum that lives between polarities, be they black/white, rich/poor, work/family, right/left, male/female…

Next, some history:

  • TEDWomen launched in 2010 as a TED conference.
  • The x was added in 2011. Because of the large number of local TEDxWomen events that sprouted alongside TEDWomen, the TEDx community was thought to be a more logical home.
  • Talks from the past two conferences have been viewed 20 million times and translated into 50 languages.

Now, an opinion:

  • TEDxWomen is fast becoming my favorite TED-related event.

Like TED, TEDxWomen blows my mind, captivates, educates, stirs and moves me. It also has the benefits built into TEDx, namely, access to the fascinating nooks and crannies of life that (big)TED is sometimes too big to see.

By the same token, TEDxWomen shares the realities of TEDx: less time, energy, resources—less rigor—and as a result there are some talks that don’t quite hit their mark.

But where TEDxWomen beats all is the connecting. Interaction is part of the TED platform—if you attended TEDxColumbus you might remember introducing yourself to your neighbors and lunching with five (now former) strangers.

At the TEDxColumbus TEDxWomen event, this element is seamless and unprompted.

TEDxColumbusWomen 2012For whatever reason, people tend to bring and express their full selves—not a compartmentalized professional one. As a result, discussions get rich and interesting real fast. In short, it’s fun.

It also makes perfect sense for TED. Watch almost any TEDTalk and invariably the subject percolated and took shape out of this inseparable mix of passion, personal and professional.

But exactly how this ease in expression and connection I see at TEDxWomen happens, I can’t say. And how to tap into it on a larger scale . . . I wish I knew.

This question—how to scale-up?—came up again, in fact, almost every time a speaker shared yet another project, idea, model, theory or good work.

One particularly poignant example is the counter-terrorism efforts of Edit Schlaffer, Archana Kapoor and Arshi Saleem Hashmi that enabled Pakistani and Indian women, both, to move from victimhood, and the defaults of fear and hate, to agency, understanding and empathy.

 

Some quotes:

“The loss of a son, no matter whose son, is the loss of a son.”

 

“Terrorists know how to use the power of women, why do not counter-terrorists?”

 

 

 

Another great quote from the day comes from John Gerzema, who said:

“Femininity is the Operating System of 21st century progress.”

Maybe you want to pause…go back, read that again. It’s quite an interesting thing to say, isn’t it?


It is the basic idea of what he calls the Athena Doctrine. Surveying as many as 60,000 across the globe, Gerzema found that character traits classified as “feminine” were rated as highly important for leadership, success, morality and happiness. “Feminine values,” he states, “are ascendant.” I, personally, would love to see what more empathy, respect, patience, expressiveness and flexibility, among other traits, would do for the world. I hope he is right. But I would also like to see research on the correlation between what people say they want and what people actually do.
TEDxColumbusWomen 2012
Four reasons (and there are undoubtedly more) to watch Eboo Patel’s talk are:

  1. it’s a great trajectory story (how I got from there to here);
  2. Patel speaks about faith in a way meaningful to believer, non-believer and all that’s in-between;
  3. if you don’t already know about Dorothy Day, you will; and
  4. trust me, you don’t want to miss out on meeting his grandmother.

Two speakers, Angela Patton and Shabana Basij-Rasikh, share particularly poignant stories about the importance of fathers.

[When the Taliban threatened Basij-Rasikh’s father with death if he didn’t stop his daughter from going to school, he said this: “Kill me now if you wish, but I will not ruin my daughter’s future.”]


The target of a massive online misogyny and harassment campaign, Anita Sarkeesian’s appalling, eventually hopeful, but still appalling, story is essential viewing, and her analysis increasingly relevant.

The talks I mention are just a few of many that struck a chord. TEDxWomen covered a range of topics from transcendental meditation, computer programming, street art, autism, the “war” on obesity, the freedom of a wheelchair, the benefits of getting lost, and more—plus those still to be discovered as I watch the last 20 or so online.

One presenter, the explorer and “way-finder” Elizabeth Lindsey, is concerned that we have come to live our lives by “fickle criteria.” “We are following the wrong stars,” she says, “we’re being sold a lifestyle when what we want most is a life.”

To continue her metaphor, one inspiring through-line in this year’s TEDxWomen is example after example after example of people following different stars—and the innovative and positive destinations they create. And, from 17-year-old Brittany Wengar to CEO Charlotte Beers, one thing seems clear: Counter to what women, at least American women, have been told—to check their gender at the workplace door (and men, too, to check their femininity)—these stars shine brighter when we tap into and value the full range of who we are.

 Kendra Hovey is editor and head writer at Follow This. On Twitter @KendraHovey, she blogs at kendrahovey.com

Photos from TEDxWomen by John Lash c/o The Paley Center for Media;  Photos from viewing event by Allyson Kuentz c/o TEDxColumbus

0