Many people ask, “How are speakers selected for TEDWomen? The answer is that speakers, like ideas, come from many different sources. TED has an open recommendation process on TED.com, and we review those as well as suggestions that come in from everywhere. Sometimes people self nominate but mostly, fans of TEDTalks submit names of women and men whose ideas, work and stories they have discovered and that they feel would make strong TEDTalks.
This year our initial list was more than 150 names and each one a potential TEDTalk, making our final choices very challenging. In part, we review the speakers for the relevance of their ideas to the conference theme which this year is “It’s about time.” We also take into account the important fact that TEDWomen is a global conference with multiple TEDxWomen conferences convening simultaneously on every continent, taking a live stream of TEDWomen, so global perspective and a diversity of backgrounds are significant factors in our selections, too.
As the editorial director and curator, I work with the amazing TED team of curators and my awesome colleague, Betsy Scolnik, to make selections of speakers, and we’re thrilled to present this year’s speaker program: 40* extraordinary speakers, women and men, in six sessions.
I believe this year’s program further affirms that TEDWomen is not a conference about women so much as it is a conference where women and their ideas — on everything from race to nuclear weapons to philanthropy and time management — are the reason that nearly 1,000 women and men will gather in San Francisco in October.
This is not a conference about well-known people, though you may recognize a few names and faces. It is a conference whose speakers are working hard to make the presentation of their stories and ideas memorable and important for you to hear. The TEDWomen team and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Pat Mitchell, Betsy Scolnik and the TED Team
*And we have a few surprises that we are not announcing today … so watch for other names to come!
The theater is sold out, but we have decided to offer discounted registrations that include all conference activities except for guaranteed seats in the theater. These registrations provide comfortable viewing in our Simulcast Lounge, where everyone gathers during breaks between sessions. Find out more at the TEDWomen website.