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TedxAmsterdamWomen 2015: a unique event!

 

This year I had the – almost magic – luck of being selected to attend TedxAmsterdamWomen and of the event being on a day when I could attend it. I was thrilled!

Upon arrival at the Okura Hotel (which in itself is already a stunning location), so many little details catch my attention… so much had been thought of, so many opportunities were there to be inspired and so many tools had been already perfectly set up to facilitate attendees spread WOM – word of mouth. Everything so perfectly consistent with TED brand promise: “Ideas worth spreading” and every detail so carefully contributing to making the experience a  truly memorable one, ensuring each and every of the 5 senses was part of the experience at some point during the day.

Many of these details are documented in the video above and in my collage photo.

You can see my summary video of TedxAmsterdamWomen 2015 also on Magisto

This is an example of a photo booth with a hostess that took a photo of you & posted it on Twitter on your behalf.

While waiting for the conference to start, attendees could have breakfast and drink while socialising using the inspirational questions placed on every table. I loved this detail!

Detail of TedxAsterdamWomen 2015

Detail of TedxAsterdamWomen 2015

 

Then the actual conference started, organised in 3 sections (to explore, to empower, to excel), alternating speakers and entertainment (from music to fashion to theater and ballet), including workshops and featuring a female start-up awards.

Below a section from my Twitter feed with the key quotes or moments of each section.

 

Section 1: to explore

The first talk of the conference was given by 

Then the stage was taken over by  

Raheel Raza gave an incredibly powerful speech about women in Muslim society and Islamic culture, reminding everyone that

“Culture should never be an excuse for abuse”

She received a standing ovation at the end of her speech.

Then a very young scientist came on stage: Azza Faiad. Her wise words:

“If you teach a boy you teach an individual, if you teach a girl you teach a family”

Given my background in NVC (NonViolent Communication), I very much enjoyed hearing how Naomi Feil applied this methodology with the elderly, creating the “Validation Theory

And it was quite interesting just two weeks later – on June 16th in occasion of Spark 2015, another inspiring event – to hear directly from Marian Spier, the founder of TEDxAmsterdamWomen, how she coached Naomi Fell and Azza Faiad.

 

Lunch time  was packed with great food and more inspirational opportunities at the many stands around… and the possibility to buy books!

 

Section 2: to empower

After an extraordinary fashion experience by Dorhout Mees, word famous Steve McCurry was on stage describing some of his most famous female photos and what they meant for the world awareness and for the subjects of the photo too.

When the finalists of the  female start-up awards took over the stage, I was in total  awe at the beauty and world value of these start-ups (Nimbles & Rooflife) and at their presentation energy (TIM The Influencers Movement).

We are still only half way when Astrid Elburg presents her view of leadership:

” Leadership is about:

  1. Courage to question systems
  2. Strength to stand
  3. Compassion
  4. Timing to speak out “

and presented the “Bagel factor” leadership.

When Corinne Vigreux, co-Founder of TomTom,  goes on stage you could feel how the entire room is fully engaged with and captivated by her enthusiasm, passion and drive.

 

Another detail of the day: each section of the conference was summarised in real time into an illustration  showed on screen until the start of the next section.

 

Section 3: to excel

After another remarkable performance, this time a ballet from the House of Makers, the entire room becomes pitch black. There is no light. Until the next speaker comes on stage with the candle. H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma doesn’t just remind us, but makes us experience how dark it is in West Africa from 18:15 to 5:45 every day. Light it’s such a basic fundamental life and education empowering tool. It’s thanks to light that children can keep reading after sunset. 

I especially loved this quote:

Again a similar message to the one from Azza Faiad:

Other powerful women on stage:

, Member of Parliament for D66 and founder of Dialogue Digital

and Arita Baaijens (), Dutch adventurer and explorer

With the final guest on stage, Lucia de Berk, a Dutch nurse innocently imprisoned for 7 years due to a miscarriage of justice, the room goes in total silence disbelief, vibrating only with emotions of compassion, respect and admiration for a woman that kept sanity and faith, while in prison, away for seven years from her daughter, just by meditating and repeating herself every day the mantra “I didn’t do it” .

Before closure, it’s time to announce the start-up awards winner.

A day full of remarkable talks has come to an end, closing with another great artist and powerful lyrics: “Be who you are

 

Overall an amazing conference in which every aspect of the experience had been taken care of delivering a full WOW experience

A glimpse into TEDxAmsterdamWomen 2015

While I left this conference very much inspired and energised, many of the speeches reminded me of how lucky we are to be born in free countries and quite few of them left me wondering why is that we need a life changing event (often a life threatening one or the loss of someone we love) to start caring and acting about conditions in the rest of the world and/or discovering & following our life purpose.

 

What about you? Have you already found your purpose and have you started acting on it without needing a major life event to act as a wake-up call?

 

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