From the TED Speed of Change Audience: Watching Sandra’s Journey to a TED Talk at the NYC Headquarters, by Alexa Suter

TED Speed of Change

Making it to the TED Speed of Change event at their headquarters in NYC really all started during a coffee meeting on one unsuspecting Vancouver afternoon. As the manager of movmi’s social media channels, I had come across a new platform that I couldn’t wait to share with Sandra: Next Visionaries. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for Sandra to get movmi’s future of mobility vision out there in a big way, and since I’ve been telling her for a while that we need to portray her vision publicly, I knew it couldn’t hurt for her to apply. So I suggested she do just that, not having any idea to where it would actually lead.

The Start of the Next Visionaries Journey

TED Speed of Change NYC Sandra Phillips

Within a couple of weeks, Sandra had sent me a draft of what she proposed to send through to Next Visionaries. It was perfect, and I can’t take any credit for neither writing nor editing it, and before long, the few impactful sentences which encapsulated movmi’s future of mobility vision were emblazoned on Next Visionaries website. I was satisfied to share the accomplishment to movmi’s online audience.

Being Named the Fantastic Six and then winner

That was just the beginning: not too long thereafter, Sandra let me know that she had been chosen as top six, and she had been invited to Frankfurt to present her vision on the TED Stage at IAA Motor Show. I imagined Sandra’s TED talk on the homepage of movmi’s website, and rambled on about how great this would be for movmi. But she didn’t really want to go. After a few emails back-and-forth, I felt I had I convinced Sandra that, yes, it would indeed be worthwhile for her to make the trip and delve into the world of TED talks, however frightening it may be.

Also having a massive fear of public speaking (and therefore being much more comfortable hiding behind laptops, cameras, and iPhone screens) I empathized with Sandra’s concerns. The TED Stage is no joke, after all, and this would be a huge undertaking.

Sandra started the journey, began her public speaking coaching, and was soon on her way to Frankfurt. I nearly spat out my sushi when I received an email on my mobile a few days later from Sandra. She had won. SHE HAD WON!!!!

TED Speed of Change lessons

TED Speed of Change Sandra Phillips

Sitting front row in the TED Speed of Change audience at their headquarters on Hudson Street in NYC awaiting the talks to begin, I realized how much I’d learned just by being an audience member to Sandra’s TED journey. Some of these lessons include:

  • Fear is a really great thing, and you should bulldoze it head on instead of running from it. While I’m certain Sandra didn’t feel her big sigh of relief until after her final TED talk was over, this journey made it obvious that feeling massive fear is a really great indication that something incredible is about to happen in your life or career (or both).
  • Magic can happen. Very fittingly, the Speed of Change at TED NYC ended with a magic show, and having been the one (to my horror) that was picked from the audience at random to come on stage and demonstrate how the “ball and cup” routine works, I learned that magic actually can happen. Even being the “demonstrator,” I still couldn’t grasp the trickery of this magic.
  • Public speaking nerves aren’t always noticeable. Sandra, I can only imagine, wasn’t the only TED speaker that night that had nerves. It is, after all, one of the most common fears, and yet, each and every one of them maintained their poise and determination to hammer their message home. The nerves were hardly noticeable from where I was sitting.
  • Preparation counts. Some of Sandra’s preparations before her talks surprised me. From meditation to walking outside to doing yoga (including her famous crow pose on the various TED stages), Sandra took the hours and days (and weeks and months) leading up to the talks seriously, and made every moment count (including some photos, a mint tea, and a few laughs before TED NYC).

It was a real honour to be involved in Sandra’s journey to the TED NYC Speed of Change stage, and I couldn’t have clapped louder from the front row. Interested in learning more about the TED journey? Register for the live Q&A webinar here.

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