Young Leaders Rock TEDxChange@BCKids

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A week ago Suzanne and I presented our first TED talk as part of the Berlin-based TEDxChange event that was also held at satellite locations in 193 cities. TEDxChange was convened by Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (the event’s strategic partner), the theme was “The Big Picture”, with a stated goal of addressing global issues. Here in Vancouver the banner was flown by TEDxKids@BC, a dynamic, youth-focused TEDx chapter.

What’s not to love about TED talks? Some of our office faves include Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability and Leymah Gwobee’s Unlock the intelligence, passion, greatness of girls. What knocked our socks off about the @BCKids event was that a bunch of teenagers and young adults could be as poised and confident in telling their stories as you would expect from a seasoned TED speaker. Not to mention the gravity of issues and experiences that they brought to light: check out these examples.

Who has been to Antarctica? Selin Jessa has. In her visually stunning presentation “The End of the World and the Beginning of Everything”, she shared how her incredible journey brought added depth and urgency to her already acute awareness of global connectedness and climate change.

In a uniquely moving and courageous talk, Devon Brooks shared how her experience with rape and imprisonment has led to picking up the megaphone around the tragic impact that trauma (and our collective silence around it) has for all of us.

What role do citizens play in urban planning, wondered Veronika Bylicki in her presentation entitled “Transforming our Cities: The Ultimate Urban Sustainability”. Her simple yet eye-opening visual approach to demonstrating the importance of engagement around land use and densification used powerful local examples of prescience, community-mindedness and communication.

Jamshed Colah delivered the creative and energized “Creating Change by Empowering Youth Artists”, in which he put forth the argument for more right-brain learning in schools, as opposed to perceived easy, optional “electives”. Loved the visual, which was basically a video of hand drawing out the ideas that Jamshed was talking about – it’s really stayed with me.

The talks were interspersed with feeds from the Berlin event, including Melinda Gates herself taking a bold stand for the crucial need for access to family planning (called “Let’s put birth control back on the agenda“), particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Interspersed with humor (she included an image of herself and hubby Bill Gates among examples of couples who have sex) and detailed statistics, she told of the powerful experiences she has had listening to women’s stories about what they want for their family’s and children’s lives, and how having access to birth control can support their goals and dreams.

As for our story, it was called “The Power of Yes”, a title inspired by Janice Tomich (a fabulous presentation coach and one of the hardworking event organizers) when she heard our story about how Lunapads traveled from Vancouver to Uganda. (Hint: about half of the story is in this post about AFRIpads!) Full video will be shared as soon as we have it.

All images courtesy of the fabulous Sukhraj Bhattal Photography. Please comment with shares of your fave TED talks, stay tuned for video, and the next time you have the chance to talk to a teenager, be prepared for some big ideas!

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