My Day at the UN With TEDxUNPlaza

Okay! So I did it! I had my moment on stage at TEDxUN. And I want to thank everyone for all the wishes of good luck and encouragement. I was so nervous beforehand. However, when I went up on stage, I just threw myself into what I was talking about and what it is that I really love–Encouraging young girls and women, and setting an example of resilience.

I found that preparing for this TEDxTalk was actually much more difficult than when I speak about my career. It’s easy to say, “This is how I work, and I’m happy to answer questions.” But for this, I had to dig deeper, way deeper. And I’ll bet there’s many a fellow TEDx presenter who might feel the same way. I felt a lot more vulnerable up there…talking about my mom and sharing what is typically pretty private for me. I was glad to put my mom’s story out there, though, and it was a way I could honor her memory. And I can’t tell you how great it felt to know the audience was connecting with that story, with her story.

And along the way, I met some truly amazing people. Before this, I had never been to a TEDx event the TEDxUNPlaza event was my first. I was simply blown away by the honesty and the passion and the idealism of the people who spoke there and the stories they shared. And what was even more inspiring was that their ideals, and their ideas on how to implement their ideals, are doable! They are people who aren’t just talking the talk—every day they do, organize or facilitate the things they spoke about and I found that to be incredibly uplifting. Some of the amazing people I got to share the TEDxUNPlaza event with, to name just a few, are Sarah Hilware, Steven Rogers, Dr. James Doty, Kay Kelley Arnold, Jim Stolze, 16 year old Jack Andraka and Corinne Woods.

Then there were the speakers who just inspired everyone by their experiences – overcoming things that truly turned their lives upside down. Their courage and determination in the face of all odds was incredible and inspiring beyond measure. Deepika Mehta broke her back and was told she would never walk again, but now she is an amazing Yogi dancer – doing backbends and moves that most people can’t even fathom! Mallory Weggemann was paralyzed from the waist down after going in to get a epidural for back pain when she was a teenager. She’s now a Paralympic gold medal winner in swimming! Her spirit was nothing short of amazing to behold.

All in all, it was a really wonderful day and an incredible experience. And I feel so honored to have been included in such an amazing group of people. If you ever get the opportunity to attend a TEDx event or to present at one, take it from me, jump on it and don’t look back. It’ll quite likely be something you think about, and talk about and are inspired about for a long time to come.

In a few days the talks from the TEDxUNPlaza event will be available online. Please check them out—you won’t be disappointed. And if you attended, this event or any other TEDx event, I’d love to know what you thought and if you were as inspired as I was. Please share your stories with me and with our readers!

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