ARIN FROIDL | Reporter
Celebrating a decade in St. Louis, TEDxStLouis, for its fourth year, hosted a series of talks focused on female empowerment entitled TEDxStLouisWomen.
The event, which is held at the Peabody Opera House, had its biggest attendance yet. With over 3,000 attendees, the event doubled in size in comparison to the 2016 series.
The theme of this year’s talks was bridges. This year’s program consisted of seven talks and one 20-minute panel, and every speaker was a woman, unlike in past years.
In typical TED fashion, each talk was 20 minutes or less which allowed for the entire event to occur in just under four hours.
The New Way To Get Happy by Samantha Ettus
Samantha Ettus is a work/life fulfillment expert, a bestselling author, Forbes writer and radio show host on Lifestyle Talk Radio. In her talk, Ettus focused on what she calls the “pie method.” She explained that in order to achieve happiness and fulfillment in life, we must be active participants in the seven “slices” of life — health, hobbies, relationship, community, friends, family and career. She believes that people must set achievable goals in each of these areas and work toward these goals in order to be happy.
Sex On Campus: How We’re Missing The Mark by Sarah Byrden
Sarah Bryden is an educator and speaker who travels to different schools across the country to advocate in the field of sex education and sexuality in her talk, Byrden explained how sex education and current sexual assault preventions are unable to expose the “truth of sex” to students. She focused on the idea that sex education should be aimed at explaining that sex exposes us, and it’s OK that it does. Byrden wants us to be able to embrace our vulnerability in the “sexual realm.”
No, Hard Work Does Not Speak For Itself by Crystal Martin
Crystal Martin is the CodeGirl Program Director at Launchcode, an education program in St. Louis aimed at educating women in the tech field. With her talk, Martin argues that the idea of advancing in your career based solely on your performance is something that is often unachievable for women. According to Martin, it is the job of every woman in the workforce to “acknowledge, advocate and advance” each other, because otherwise they will be looked over.
Why You Need To Be A Bitch by Tabitha Coffey
Tabitha Coffey is a businesswoman, hairstylist and a former TV personality on Bravo. Coffey’s talk was an argument for women to stand up and embrace their “bitchiness.” She said that as women, we need to “promote growth and gain over gossip.” Coffey states that we need to redefine what “bitch” means, and she provided her definition of the term: Brave, Intelligent, Tenacious, Creative and Honest. To Coffey, this is what makes a “bitch,” and that is why we should all strive to be “the best damn bitch [we] can be.”
What I Learned From Meeting 100 People In 100 Days by Keisha Mabry
Keisha Mabry is an author, speaker and entrepreneur in the St. Louis area. Mabry discussed how from meeting 100 people in the same number of days and hearing 100 different stories, she learned how to be a “fearlessly free human being.” Someone who is unafraid to put themselves out there to make a connection with a new person. She believes these connections will help to fill any voids people have from the lack of human connections.
The Diagnosis Effect: The Power Of The Mind by Chelsea Roff
Chelsea Roff is an author, researcher, and educator, as well as a pioneering figure in health programs for people with mental health challenges. In her talk, Roff explained the power of the placebo. She argues that because of this effect, diagnoses could be causing a person to stay sick. If the person believes they will never overcome a mental illness, this could be a factor as to why they don’t get better. Roff believes that to help people with mental illnesses, we need to change the narrative surrounding the illnesses to reflect that the person may not have this disorder forever.
Why We Should All Be More Millennial by Ann Shoket
Former editor-in-chief of “Seventeen” Magazine, Ann Shoket is an author who regularly appears on various shows like Good Morning America and CNN. Shoket discussed how the way millennials live their lives should be an inspiration to all generations. She argues that the “entitled” way millennials see themselves is the way we should all see ourselves. She says millennials should be entitled because they deserve it all, and so does everyone else. By embracing this millennial way of life, she believes that everyone will be able to stay “young and hungry and ambitious.”
TEDxStLouisWomen is an opportunity for women to congregate and network all while hearing empowering talks about the wonders of womanhood. For many, this event was a call to action for each speaker to recognize “it’s about time.” As Ann Shoket puts it, “This moment of change in the world is a moment of opportunity for all women to make their lives bigger rather than feeling the force of change to make them feel smaller.”