I never imagined the impact that one article could have.
When I told my story of how my TEDx talk went wrong, I felt empowered to create my own event. My goal was to give a diverse range of speakers and performers the opportunity to speak and come together to share their stories. The theme of the event? 'Listen to Her' — representing the idea that women are often not listened to.
To make the event work, I needed was support. I didn't have experience running a TED event, nor did I have a network of thought leaders to present. Thankfully, Tabby Biddle, a TEDx coach, was starting a cohort for women of color looking to take the stage and give compelling talks.
“I host a 6-week accelerator for female thought leaders who want to speak on the TEDx stage,” says Biddle. “It’s a writing course, a think-tank, an incubator, a sisterhood and a movement. It grew out of my experience as a TEDx speaker in 2015, where there was significant gender disparity on the stage. After this event, I began to get curious about what was happening on other TEDx stages. I discovered a common theme of gender inequity.”
It was an honor to have some of Biddle's thought leaders apply to speak. They were all very ready to take the stage. Thankfully, an audience showed up to listen to them. Women from every walk of life and some men were present. And as the host, it was hard not be compelled by the energy in the room. Sometimes you can show up to an event that is amazing, and sometimes you can make the event amazing just by showing up. I felt that we honored the theme of TED Women by just showing up. The speakers absolutely commanded the room.
Stella McShera, the founder of Equallet, was one of our inspirational female speakers. The mission of Equallet is to support the growth and success of women-owned businesses to initiate and sustain a cycle of upward mobility for women.
“Both women and men are taking a stand to eradicate gender inequality - voting, participating in town halls and marching in record numbers. This wave of awareness and action is so important in catapulting the equality movement forward but, there is a missing piece," McShera shared. "I took to the TedXDelthorneWomen stage to share my message of 'everyday activism' — the idea that we can use our consumer dollars each day to support women economically."
The feedback from TEDxDelthorneWomen was amazing. Biddle said: "The day was filled with light, love and joy -- even as many of the stories included pain, sorrow, loss and trauma. These women, through much courage, wisdom and strength, transformed their stories and the pain of their past into opportunities, activism and a new path forward. A new path forward for themselves, and for all of us. I am forever changed as a member of that audience."
To learn more about TEDxDelthorneWomen, click here.
Eraina Davis-Ferguson is a creative nonfiction writer currently penning a memoir about raising a daughter with autism and deafness. Her story was featured in “The New Haven Register” She holds an M.Ed in Education and an MAR in Religion from Yale University. Learn more about her at erainaferguson.com.