TEDxGastownWomen: My Top 3 Takeaways

TEDxGastownWomen 2016 speakers and performers. (Suzanne Rushton Photography)

TEDxGastownWomen 2016 speakers and performers. (Suzanne Rushton Photography)

If you know me, you know I’m a huge TED talks fan! I’ve been incredibly inspired by many of the videos I’ve watched and talks I’ve seen in person – and TEDxGastownWomen on October 29, 2016 was no exception!

This year’s theme: POWER.

10 speakers, 300 attendees and a team of volunteers gathered at The Imperial in Gastown for an inspiring day of WOMEN + POWER.

As you can imagine, it was awesome!

Here’s an excerpt about the event from my recent BCLiving article, 3 Must-see Fall Events for Personal Growth:

"TEDxWomen events are independently organized but must run within 24 hours of the official TEDWomen conference in San Francisco October 26-28 and feature a selection of simulcast segments from the TEDWomen event. Both events ‘celebrate the power of women and girls to be creators and change-makers,’ says TEDxWomenGastown founder and executive director Brittany Whitmore.

‘For our second annual event, we’ve chosen the theme of Power. All 10 speakers and performers will explore the concept of power from a variety of angles – personal power, to be powerless, to reclaim power, the myths surrounding power, how one gains and loses it, and what it means to have it, especially in various cultures, professions and circumstances. Our speakers will be announced and tickets will go on sale later in September.’

I believe that it’s important to explore the concept of power, especially as women, because we need to realize how powerful we can be and the incredible impact we can have on our communities, families and the world,’ says Whitmore.

‘Research has shown that when women are provided with capital for a business, they are better shepherds of this capital and can make more thoughtful and fairer decisions. Even female politicians deliver greater resources to their districts and pass more bills. And women are responsible for nearly 80% of all consumer purchasing, giving us incredible power to vote with our wallets. It’s too often that women give up their power or believe that they’re not powerful. We need to change the stories that young girls are told.’


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There were so many takeaways from the day – including exclusive video stream from the TEDWomen 2016 conference whose theme was “It’s About Time” – and such incredible energy from everyone in attendance.


These are my top 3 takeaways:

1. Emelia Symington Fedy: The Power of The Ugly Truth

(Suzanne Rushton Photography)

(Suzanne Rushton Photography)

Emelia Symington Fedy is the creator of real, raw personal essays at tryingtobegood.com, a freelance writer, host on Vancouver’s Roundhouse Radio, and guest host on CBC Radio.

Fedy, who calls herself a “social acupuncturist” – someone who pokes where it hurts to facilitate healing – believes that great power comes from telling the ugly truth: about being female, being a mother, being a citizen, being human.

I agree. Her talk inspired me to share more “ugliness” by becoming more vulnerable and authentic, because sharing your whole self helps others feel alone in their own struggles.

I appreciate it when my extraordinary girlfriends admit their lives are less than perfect and share their less-than-glamorous moments – in addition to their gorgeous Instagram feeds. I love both perspectives. I love the whole perspective.

And Fey's whole perspective is hilarious and liberating.

She says the light of social media is too fluorescent, and that it’s time to shine natural light on what it means to be human – a dichotomy of beauty and grotesqueness.

INVITATION: Share something that feels a little ugly, a little vulnerable, deliciously authentic with someone you trust, and witness what it brings.  

Read Fedy’s post for TEDxGastownWomen, Power Talk, by clicking the image below:


2. Shirley Weir: Giving Menopause a Makeover

(Suzanne Rushton Photography)

(Suzanne Rushton Photography)

Shirley Weir is the founder of MenopauseChicks.com, a platform that “cracks open the conversation” on menopause.  

Menopause affects 100-percent of women, Weir points out! Yet there’s so must mystery, misinformation and trepidation out there about this completely natural phase of women’s lives.

Did you know that menopause is just one day? It’s the 12-month anniversary of your last period. Perimenopause, however, lasts up to 15 years before menopause!

When Weir began noticing changes she thought could be signs of menopause, her doctor told her she was too young.

Each woman is her own greatest advocate and when you know in your gut that something isn’t right, it’s up to you to relentlessly search for answers.

And, hopefully like Weir, you’ll empower other women by sharing your journey to make theirs a little less lonely, arduous and confusing.

MenopauseChicks.com is a resource for insight, experts and healthcare providers to help you navigate perimenopause, feel more empowered, and embrace the power you hold at this stage of life!

INVITATION: Share an unusual mental or physical change with someone you trust, and witness the permission you inspire in others to share themselves, and the powerful conversations that ensue.  

Read Weir’s post for TEDxGastownWomen, When The Power Goes Out, by clicking the image below:


3. Barinder Rasode: Smashing the Double Glass Ceiling

(Suzanne Rushton Photography)

(Suzanne Rushton Photography)

Barinder Rasode is the director of social responsibility at Resource Works, a board member for the Fraser Health Authority, co-founder of SheTalks, former Surrey mayoral candidate, and 2014 Vancouver Magazine Power 50 honouree.

As a woman, you may be familiar with a little barrier called the Glass Ceiling!

As a South Asian woman – whose powerful voice for social justice goes against cultural norms – Barinder Rasode has experienced a bigger barrier: the Double Glass Ceiling.

On her mission to affect positive change in the world, Rasode was elected Surrey city councillor in Surrey in 2008 – the first female South Asian city councillor in North America – and in 2014 ran for mayor, where she experienced discrimination due to her gender, race and marital status.

At TEDxGastownWomen, Rasode shared a powerful quote from Susan B. Anthony, a women's rights activist who lived from 1820-1906: “There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”

Nimble in the way she exerts her positive influence – her power – Rasode now works with senior levels of government that influence natural resources and public health, and co-creates multiple annual conferences through SheTalks that focus on health and fitness, technology, leadership and resources, and inspire women to use their voices for good.  

INVITATION: Use your voice to affect change where you see change is needed. Take space, create space and demand space where your voice needs to be heard.

Read Rasode’s post for TEDxGastownWomen, Winning Back Power, by clicking the image below: