On Saturday 22nd February I did something very different with my afternoon.  I went and listened to eight inspiring speakers and two musical acts at the first ever TEDx Manly event.  For those who’ve never heard of TED before … where’ve you been?  Check out the website here.  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and basically it is a group of talks on everything, given by a range of people, some are well known, some are just people in the community, some are the top in their fields – all are inspiring.

When I found out that there was going to be a TEDx conference in Manly (TEDx refers to smaller conferences organised by communities rather than the TED organisation itself, check out the website here) I jumped on that bandwagon as soon as I could.  Only 100 tickets were sold and you had to send an email to the organisers to register in order to be offered a ticket.  It was held at the beautiful St Patrick’s Estate in Manly (this is the building used in the Great Gatsby, as well as where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban got married).  The building itself is an inspiration.

ImageThe talks were varied, here’s a list of the types of speakers –

a memory athlete

a 12 year old eco-warrior

a visual storyteller

a lifelong entrepreneur who has set up multiple businesses and writes for the NY Times

a conscious leadership teacher

an Aboriginal Australian actress (working to keep her mob’s language alive)

a technologist and entrepreneur (who works with 3D printing)

a Doctor/surfer/teacher/expert on optimal health and anti-ageing (and founder of SurfAid)

ImageThe day started with some mingling and beautiful food – there was lots of tag reading … some of the words under people’s names were quite intriguing – mine was pretty self-explanatory …

ImageThe food was all yummy and prepared by the International College of Management (http://www.icms.edu.au/).  Lots of wraps and finger food at the start, yummy little TEDx cakes at tea time and sushi, more finger food and fish and chips at the end.

ImageThe first musical act opened the conference, a saxophone player with his guitarist accompaniment playing two tunes.  The last act of the day was a 13 year old local boy who busks on the Corso in Manly.   He played his two songs and the host started to make his way to the podium but he launched into a third song.  At the end of the third song, the host again started up the steps but no way was this little dude giving up the stage – one more song came out to wild applause.  What a great way to end the conference.

It was amazing to be around so many inspiring people, not just the speakers, but those who attended as well.  I made some great new friends and came away feeling in awe of the people in my neighbourhood.  Reminds of a song from Sesame Street (a TV program I watched when I was growing up) – “who are the people in your neighbourhood” – do we realise how many inspiring people there are around us?

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