During my current soul-searching-career-exploration phase I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of my life and how I can best focus my energy and efforts to help the world, particularly through education. As I listened to the inspiring speakers at today’s TEDxBay Area- Global Women Entrepreneurs Event one of the themes that came up early and was woven throughout the day was this notion of acknowledgement. Kimberly Dillon, founder of House of Mikko, introduced this topic during her presentation entitled Acknowledgment- The Killer Business Strategy, and it really got me thinking about what it means to be acknowledged? Kimberly shared how acknowledging her users and really paying attention to their feedback has helped drive her success. This truly is the essence of user-centered design. She also shared how Pinterest experienced tremendous growth by acknowledging pinners and allowing people to share repins. For me, this concept tied into the broader purpose of today’s event, to acknowledge the contribution that women make to the world and encourage deeper, broader participation.
The day was full of amazing speakers and conversations (I’ll tweet the link to the video library) but a few more of my favorites were:
- Anat Bar- Gera sharing her work with 4GAfrica on improving broadband access is Sub-Saharan Africa and we chatted about bringing online education content, like Khan Academy, to children and adults in those communities.
- Ana Gabriela Pessoa describing how she launched EZLearn, an education platform in Brazil, and how she faced the challenge of being one of the first female entrepreneurs in Rio.
- While it was hard to choose, my favorite speaker of the day was Kara Swisher from All Things D. I’ve been following Kara’s witty coverage of the valley’s tech scene for a while but it was incredibly entertaining to see her in person and I was really impressed by how she shared her recent experience of having a stroke in an honest and charming manner.
I had a wonderful and thought-provoking experience at my first TEDx (#TEDxBAW) event and am so energized to be part of a community of people, both women and men, who are asking themselves— What is my contribution to the world?