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TED by Sarah Kauss, Proud TEDster

ted 2015 s'well bottle

It’s been one week since the closing of TED 2015 and I think I am officially past the post-TED depression that sets in just after this amazing event ends each year. Attending TED is akin to the feelings of celebrating a milestone birthday, a trip to Disney World, viewing a meteor shower for the first time, all while realizing your last handwritten grocery list won a Pulitzer Prize for writing. There is a fair degree of anticipation, followed by complete awe of the universe, mixed with some astonishing and surprising moments, so much so that you know you will be forever changed upon returning home with this new knowledge and insight. However, upon returning to your post-TED life, you are accosted with a bombardment of your day to day life, including a week’s worth of emails, meetings and calls.

I pushed through last week’s sadness of returning to Earth, and wanted to share a few of my favorite moments from TED 2015.

Let’s start with Monica. The first question that many asked me about TED this year was about Monica. What did I think? How did she make me feel? Was I able to sit through her whole talk? Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I would think about her talk, and I did sit in the back row so I could gracefully exit if needed to escape mid-talk. However, I was rapt with attention and quite moved by her story. I think she is a brave woman and made a powerful argument about online bullying and the power that is granted to each of us with the right of free speech. One powerful line from her talk “Public shaming as a bloodsport needs to stop. Trafficking in shame brings profit to predators.” If you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to her talk. It’s well worth 20 minutes to watch this, regardless of how your think you feel about her or the Monica you think you know from decades ago.

Probably my favorite quote from the week came from Dame Stephanie Shirley, who took to signing her business letters as “Steve” to earn the ability to pitch a women-owned and 100% women staffed software company in the 1960s. In her wise wordsYou can always tell an ambitious woman by the shape of our heads. They are flat on top from being patted patronizingly.” Here’s a link to her talk. I have her memoir on my reading list, as she is clearly one of the most impressive business women who somehow was only introduced to me with this talk.

Finally, this year’s deserving TED prize winner is so worth learning more about. Dave Isay started StoryCorps in 2003 as a way to connect with someone else, and honoring them by listening to their story. In his words- “Listening is an act of love.” StoryCorps is now the largest collection of human voices ever collected. Dave is such an inspiration to me. His idea is changing the world in a meaningful and deliberate way. Watch the talk here, or better yet, download the StoryCorps App and make your own interview with someone special in your life today.

Well, it’s back to my mundane life back at S’well, which is still pretty great. At least I have the memories of such an amazing experience. I have my limited edition TED 2015 S’well bottle on my desk at work to remind me to keep the excitement of TED in my heart until this awesome experience begins again next year…

TED 2015 S'well