From November 1st through November 3rd, thousands of women from all over the world flocked to New Orleans for the TEDWomen2017 conference. Held at the Orpheum Theater, which is located in the city’s Central Business District, the three-day conference allowed for some of the most innovative, creative minds to share ideas with locals and TED enthusiasts who flew in especially for the occasion.
Arriving at the conference’s kickoff on November 1st, attendees waited in a massive line, buzzing with excitement, and were entertained by The Pinettes Brass Band, who made the time in limbo fly by. Once inside, during the check-in process, badge holders were given hefty gift totes containing swanky beauty items from Juice Beauty and Silk Therapeutics, as well as tech gadgets from Google like their latest version of the Chromecast. I’ve been using my Chromecast ever since to blast stuff I could only previously stream on my laptop to my TV in the living room and it’s awesome. Had to add this sidebar because I think we can all agree that free stuff rules.
Grammy-nominated singer Deborah Cox kicked off the night of November 1st, performing Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman,” which brought everyone to their feet. Seeing a sea of women (well, mostly women, there were like ten guys there) bouncing and clapping to Whitney while making bird eyes at their gift totes to make sure they’re still there was really something. Cox currently stars in The Bodyguard: The Musical and based on the one song we heard her belt at the Orpheum, she really nails Whitney’s sound, which is far from easy to do. RIP Whitney. We love you.
Being that the theme for this year’s TEDwomen conference was “Bridges,” each of the women who shared their stories over the three-day event tied their talk into a sweeping message that aligned with a narrative about bridging something. Especially poignant in this current political and emotional hellscape we’re living in, hearing women describe how they’ve gotten from one side of a difficult or challenging situation in their lives to the other, either professionally or personally, was empowering. Avery Bang, President and CEO of Bridges to Prosperity, shared her stories about literal bridge-building and how she’s helped make isolated parts of the world safer and more habitable. Luvvie Ajayi, author of the hilarious and honest book, I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual, talked about how she bridges societal nastiness and negativity by always challenging herself to speak up, and to approach situations with love. And Christy Turlington Burns (yes, THAT Christy Turlington) who is the founder & CEO of Every Mother Counts, described how her organization bridges the difficulties in finding a way for EVERY mother to be able to give birth safely.
If you’ve never been to a TED talk, or didn’t even really previously know what they were all about, the organization began in 1984 as a nonprofit that has the simple goal of sharing ideas. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design has now spread all over the globe and is a go-to source for personalized exchanges of information. Keep an eye out for any upcoming TED events in your area.
Top photo: Christy Turlington Burns speaks at TEDWomen 2017 — Bridges, November 1-3, 2017, Orpheum Theatre, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo: Stacie McChesney / TED
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