Thanks for coming to my TEDxCPW Talk!

I’m summarizing my TEDxCentennialParkWomen Talk from Friday, Nov. 30, here as a means to relive my joy, and also, to counteract my disappointment in learning it will take 8-10 WEEKS before the talks are uploaded to the TEDx site. Egads.

Also, per the previous post, my trip to Rome went horribly awry. And I’m still not ready to write about it here. So instead, let’s review the TEDx Talk experience I totally forgot to tell you all about in advance. Oops.

My friend, Madison, secured for me a makeup artist and beauty industry executive, who specializes in TV/video ready makeup. I needed light makeup because I never wear foundation or anything, and I’m super sensitive to having anything on – makeup makes me feel like a clown. The last time I had professional makeup applied for anything, was in 2010, for the Marie Claire article. But Adrian Rios was masterful in his makeup artistry on my face. I felt and looked like a slightly better version of me. Give this man a trophy!

TEDx makeup
Missing from this photo is the jack hammer, cement mixer and industrial tools to work on my face… I kid, I kid. Adrian used Becca Cosmetics and Dior. And I felt fancy AF. (Photo by Madison James,)

I had not slept well the night before my speech because adrenaline. The opportunity the TEDx event would present to me to spread the word about Pathways to Safety International, and my idea to help women keep their jobs after a sexual assault, had me all kinds of dyspeptic, Yet there I was, at 6 a.m., somehow awake and functioning, and practicing the speech I had worked on since August. At 7:30 a.m., we were done, and I sprinted out the door, in my SUPER FIERCE OUTFIT I had searched high and low for, online and in-store.

TEDx outfit
Flying in the face of Anna Wintour’s ‘Dressing Don’ts” I found this all noir ensemble irresistible. You can take the girl out of NYC, but not the NYC out of the girl. I felt comfortable, fierce and fashionable.

Scheduled to speak at 10:04 a.m., I arrived at the venue at 8 a.m. which gave me plenty of time to prepare and relax. Ha! DO YOU KNOW ME AT ALL?! Relax is not a thing I do before big speeches. Game face is ON.

TEDx clicker
Not seen in this image is my heart tripping inside my chest and my stomach twisting in knots. (Photo by Traci Messier)

Too bad the clicker wasn’t on. Or rather, too bad it wasn’t working properly. I took the stage, ready to give it my all. But the dang clicker was having none of it. I tried to advance to the first slide, but it would zoom past it and halfway through my presentation. This went on for the longest minute of my life. (I later learned someone in the back of the room was manually commanding the slides by accident, in essence, he was fighting my clicks of the clicker.)

Once that was squared away, I began my 12-minute plea for the audience’s attention and commitment. BUT THE MICROPHONE was having none of it. Oh yes, in a strange twist of fate akin to Survivor: Technology Edition, I had a ‘hot mic’ the next three minutes of my 12-minute speech. The feedback sound would screech and echo when I spoke, unpredictably. I could not hear myself properly and I could not fix it on my own. So, I pushed on through my opening soliloquy. At one point, I felt certain an event staffer would come on stage and swap my mic out or stop the presentation altogether to resolve the issue. But no. Four too-slow minutes in, the mystery static disappeared. And then, like a mustang being returned to a wide open field, I let loose. Here are some photos of me doing just that.

TEDX moving stage

TEDx stage side view

I have never felt more comfortable or in command of a subject matter than I did in that moment. I could not have spoken those last 9.5 minutes any better, or with more measured passion and humor. I left it all on the stage, even though, at one point, I felt like the TEDx gods were trying to end me. And I have to be happy with that.

In 8-10 weeks, I’ll find out if my speech was uploaded to the main TEDx site. I went over my 12-minute limit by about 40 seconds. But the mic issues I suffered at the start of my speech slowed me down so much, I could not recover the time. Still, I can’t wait to see it, post it here and share it wide with everyone I know. Women who have been sexually assaulted deserve a workplace that provides flexibility, job-approved leave, and support, so they can stay in the workforce and deliver on our goals of diversifying the executive ranks in a meaningful and lasting way. If we can’t get companies to do that, well then, I’m just going to have to run for president. Totally reasonable.

TEDx president
The multimedia gods could not defeat me. I came to slay my TEDx. And slay, I did!  [Insert evil laughter]


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