On Friday 6 December, TEDx Nashville will host its second annual women’s conference. TEDx is an offshoot program for communities to bring the ethos of TED talks to local people. The theme for the 2019 event is ‘bold and brilliant’, and speakers include actor and producer Rita Wilson and Nashville author Lily Clayton Hansen.
Ahead of the event, we spoke to TEDxNashville’s executive director Kaleigh Imbriale to find out more.
How long has TEDx Nashville been running and what does your role encompass?
In 2020 we will be celebrating our eleventh year of bringing ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’ from innovators, creators, and thinkers in Nashville and beyond to the TEDx platform. I came on as Executive Director in July 2019 and am the only paid employee. I rely heavily on my amazing team of volunteer Board of Directors and Committee Members to make these conferences happen, but ultimately my role touches on every aspect of producing an event of this caliber including planning, strategy, marketing, sponsorships, volunteer management, speaker selection & engagement and operations.
Which talks are you looking forward to the most?
That’s a really difficult question to answer because quite honestly when you’re working so closely with these speakers you become attached to all of their ideas and excited to see how they all are going to resonate with the audience. For me personally, the TEDx Talks that always seem to gravitate towards are the ones centered around leadership, mental health, and psychology. So from our women’s event, I would have to say Ariel Bloomer’s talk about how to use your sadness to create a beautiful life and for our upcoming flagship event in March, Musician’s Hall of Fame Songwriter Tom Douglas has an incredible talk lined up about silencing your inner critic.
Why specifically a TEDx Women’s event?
There are a couple of reasons why TED started the annual Women’s conference and for all those same reasons we decided to adopt it here in Nashville. First, in a study conducted by TED, they found that 86% of women surveyed reported that when they see women in leadership positions, they are empowered to get there themselves. It’s important to see yourself represented in leadership roles and that’s the main motivation behind TEDxNashvilleWomen – to inspire and empower women to go for their dreams, follow those so-called “crazy” ideas, and take the risk!
The second mission of the Women’s conference is connection. That same survey reported back that 82% of women believe that access to & networking with female leaders will help them advance their careers. Between the incredible line-up of speakers our Speakers committee has pulled together, each of their respective cheering sections, and all of the other attendees who come to be inspired, TEDxNashvilleWomen offers a unique opportunity to create those important connections.
It’s important to see yourself represented in leadership roles and that’s the main motivation behind TEDxNashvilleWomen – to inspire and empower women to go for their dreams, follow those so-called “crazy” ideas, and take the risk!
Can you expand on this year’s theme as ‘bold and brilliant’? What does that mean to you personally?
This year’s theme of bold and brilliant was adopted from the main TEDWomen’s conference, which will also take place the weekend of December 6th. Our team had the option of choosing a different them but after looking at our speaker line-up and what Nashville as a city represents we felt that bold and brilliant really fit us. With speakers like Dr. Zina Jarrahi-Cinker whose work with Graphene which is literally going to shape the future of tech and Rita Wilson who spoke about doing a complete 180 on her career and deciding to go after what she truly wanted, bold and brilliant was the common thread between them all.
For me, being Bold and Brilliant means overcoming our fears, specifically the fear of failure. When we pursue our passions there’s always the risk of failure. It’s only when we embrace that possibility and take that risk that breakthroughs happen. Some of the most incredible inventions of our time wouldn’t be around if someone hadn’t taken that risk, so that’s what this event is all about – celebrating those bold and brilliant women out there making it happen!
For the full program of TEDxNashville Women’s Conference, and to purchase tickets, click here.