Playlist TEDx

The power of women: TEDxWomen organizers share their thoughts on talks past

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TEDxWomen is just days away—on November 30 and December 1, the conference will take place in Washington, D.C. While it’s sold out, there are still many opportunities to watch. Over the weekend, webcasts will be streamed during more than 140 TEDxWomen events across the globe — from Abuja, Nigeria, to Warsaw, Poland. Head to the TEDxWomen website for a full list of these events >>

To get you in the spirit, the TEDx blog reached out to TEDxWomen organizers to get their insights on some of the classic TEDxWomen talks of years past. Below, watch the talks and hear organizers’ unique perspectives.

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Madeleine Albright: On being a woman and a diplomat
This talk from Madeleine Albright — former UN ambassador, US Secretary of State and feminist hero — is notable for Albright’s frankness, wisdom and pin collection — which includes a snake she started wearing after Saddam Hussein called her “an unparalleled serpent.” In this talk from TEDWomen 2010, Albright stresses that it’s paramount for the progress of the world that women help women.

We asked TEDxWomen organizers: Does this message resonate with you?

“When more women are powerful, visionary and strategic leaders, then communities and organizations are more innovative, productive and successful. And when more women are leaders, we raise the aspirations of women and girls around the world. The bottom line really is that, just as Madeleine did for many people (not just women), shining a light on female leaders of all walks of life and industries means that we become catalysts for the education, development and advancement of courageous leaders everywhere. We hope to contribute the stories of women who lead, with the goal of changing our shared understanding of leadership.” — Nathalie Molina Nino of TEDxBarnardCollegeWomen, which will be held at the women’s college in New York City on December 1

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Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders
At TEDWomen in 2010, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg looked at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offered three powerful pieces of advice to women. She addresses fear, self-doubt, work/life balance, and finding work that’s rewarding even after maternity leave. Overall, she voices her concern over the worldwide lack of women in leadership roles in corporate, political and other social settings, and questions traditional gender roles and perceptions of women leaders.

So we asked TEDxWomen organizers: What advice would you give to women leaders?

“Be authentic. Authenticity is always the key to leadership success.” —Dafna Michaelson Jene of TEDxCrestmoorParkWomen to be held in Denver, Colorado, on December 1

“Create your own girls’ clubs: investment, leadership, philanthropy, mentoring, specific interests. Link with others regionally. Scale out. Find ways to give away what you know to people who value you in original ways. Listen. Know yourself and be you.” —Kat Haber of TEDxHomerWomen, being held in Homer, Alaska, on December 1

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Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep
After fainting from exhaustion at her desk — and suffering a broken cheekbone as well as a gash on her eye as a result — Arianna Huffington realized that sleep deprivation is a serious issue. “We women are going to lead the way in this new revolution, this new feminist issue,” she says in this talk from TEDxWomen 2011. “We are literally going to sleep our way to the top.”

So we asked TEDxWomen organizers: What stops you from getting enough sleep?

“Being an individual who has too many hobbies. Work, performances, sports training, volunteer work, club meetings, etc. keep me going non-stop.” —Uyanga Vladimir of TEDxUlaanbaatarWomen, taking place in Mongolia on December 2

“Most often, a snoring husband and evening meetings that leave my mind racing with ideas.” —Carrie Willar of TEDxABQWomen, being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on December 1

“Spending a great, enjoyable time with my laptop…for midnight brainstorms, reading, chatting, watching videos, sharing ideas, throwing out ideas.” —Deni Simeonova of TEDxMladostWomen, which will take place on Sofia, Bulgaria, on December 1

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Tan Le: My immigration story
“How can I speak in 10 minutes about the bonds of women over three generations, about how the astonishing strength of those bonds took hold in the life of a four-year-old girl huddled with her young sister, her mother, and her grandmother for five days and nights in a small boat in the China Sea more than 30 years ago,” begins technologist Tan Le’s gripping talk from TEDxWomen 2011 on her search for identity and the women who helped her find it. In her talk, Tan describes how the strength, leadership, bravery, and resilience of the women in her family helped her to become who she is today. 

We asked TEDxWomen organizers: How have the women in your life helped you develop your sense of self?

“Throughout my life, other women have always made me aware of aspects of myself I didn’t know I had or were different than my own perceptions of myself. A recent example: one of the co-organizers of our event told me she doesn’t think I fit the definition of a ‘Type A’ person, with which I normally identify). It led to some interesting discussions as to why, and it comes down to the fact that deep down I am more collaborative vs. competitive.”—Deb Gerardi Kemper of TEDxShanghaiWomen, taking place in China on December 1

“My mom was essential to my life! She (and my dad) and my grandmom taught me how to treat others, how to be a fair person, to like books, conversations, and treat others equally.” —Ana Goelzer of TEDxLaçadorWomen, being held in Paim Porto Alegre, Brazil on December 1