I’m Speaking about TEDWomen — sort of

by cv harquail on November 30, 2010

The much-discussed TEDWomen conference is just around the corner. With the official speaker lineup now published, and the website updated, we can now consider whether the TED organization has “heard” the criticisms and concerns about TEDWomen and incorporated them into their approach for the actual conference.

Call me crazy, but I was hoping to see some authentic response from TED, that spoke directly to the system-level issues of becoming more inclusive.

We’ll have to give TED the benefit of the doubt, since there is little in their external communications to suggest that significant changes have been made. Without insider views, we can’t know what has really gone on within the organization to address fundamental concerns about a marginalizing, patronizing, or even merely superficial approach to the under-representation of women on the main TED stage.

In the long public conversation on the Huffington Post, here at AuthenticOrganizations, and hosted by Michelle Trip at brandforward in response to her terrific post on the subject, many thoughtful concerns were raised, and many potentially effective action steps were proposed. But, it looked like the conversation would just die here, in the blogosphere.

Instead of dying, the conversation is now going LIVE,
right after a TEDx event here in NYC.

You may know that TED licenses its name, template and live video stream to independent, individual people who want to throw their TED-like conference. (Only individuals, not businesses, non-profits, or formal groups, can host TEDx events. See statement, below.) There are over 85 TEDx conferences around the world being held next week in conjunction with the TEDWomen event in Washington, DC.

The TEDx conference in NYC adds its own special touch to the basic TEDx framework. In addition to live streaming the TEDWomen event to a participant community of about 100 of NYCs tech, social, and business innovators, this particular TEDx is also hosting some live sessions to anchor and extend the experience for participants.

TEDx636EleventhAve: Authentic tweaks to the TEDx formula

TEDx636EleventhAve (@TEDx636_11thAve on Twitter)  is being hosted by Natalia Oberti Noguera. (The New York Tech/Entrepreneur community knows Natalia as the founder and CEO of Pipeline Fund, a social venture fund that invests in women-led for-profit social ventures and trains women to become angel investors.)

Working with her are social entrepreneurs like Julia Smith, the community voice of Idealist.org, and a co-founder of 826DC, Arikia Millikan (@arikia), a Brooklyn-based Web maven who explores the intersection between computer science and psychology, focusing on new media applications in journalism, as well as Cynthia Hellen (@cynthiahellen), an entrepreneur, imaginative philanthropist, co-creator of GIRLS WHO ROCK benefit concert, board member of the nonprofit “She’s the first“.   These social entreprenmeurs are gathering a diverse group of participants to watch, discuss, and participate in creating a unique and quite a bit more feminist TEDxWomen experience.

And, right after TEDx636EleventhAve, New York Women Social Entrepreneurs (NYWSE) has invited four social change/entrepreneurs for a round-table debrief on the TEDWomen Conference and a conversation on diversity at TED. I’m delighted to be included along with netactivist/progressive blogger Liza Sabater (@blogdiva) of CultureKitchen, journalist/news analyst/commentator Adaora Udoji, and social entrepreneur Rachael Chong of Catchafire.org. We’ll be moderated (to the degree that is possible) by ABC News journalist Brittany McCandless (@britmccandless).

From Conversation to Action Plan

The goal of the round-table is to generate an actual action plan for how TED can support its diversity efforts. (The round-table will assume that TED is interested in becoming more inclusive, and just needs some guidance for how to get there.)


I haven’t asked Natalia how the round-table’s recommendations will be delivered to TED, or how we can help TED be open and responsive to them, but that can be part of the conversation too. I’m personally excited by the chance to move beyond my own detailed critique of what was missing from the original TEDWomen idea and offer some real-world, effective, inclusion-oriented action steps.

And here’s where you come in.

I want to bring to the table not only my ideas, but yours too.

Please email me your suggestions, ideas, questions, whatever, by Monday, Dec. 5th  ( to cvharquail at authenticorganizations dot com) so that I can incorporate them into the conversation and action plan.

I’m so excited about the creativity, audacity and synergy that TEDx636EleventhAve represents.

I love how the hosts are thinking big, and going beyond just a simulcast to incorporate presentations and conversations that will directly engage the participants. I love how they are casting a broad net to find participants (and presenters) who will represent a diversity of women’s experiences, interests, concerns and expertise. I love that their version of TEDx puts into practice the personal and professional missions of the women organizing it. And, I love the idea of not only examining the issues through conversation, but also pushing further to create an action plan.

It’s going to be both provocative and productive — the best combination for change.

The NYC event will be held at Ogilvy Theater (at 636 Eleventh Ave.) on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 7th and 8th. If you are interested in attending, email me… the speakers are able to invite a few colleagues, and there is no charge to attend TEDx.

See also:201011301445.jpg
A Boot Camp for Women Angel Investors
, on Bloomberg Business
Speak Up, Speak Out, Take The Stage: The World Needs More TED Women by Susan Macaulay at from AmazingWomenRock
TEDWomen: Brilliant or Belittling?
by Michelle Tripp at brandforward

Followup on the TEDWomen Conversation
IS TEDWomen Sexist? Use the “Group Replacement Test” and tell us what you think
Is your organization flourishing or withering?

[Full disclosure: Natalia serves as Chapter Leader of NYWSE.]

Junk yard sexy
from tanakawho
black curve  from SqueakyMarmot

Recommended TEDx explanation:  In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED has created TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. This event is called TTEDx636EleventhAve , where x = independently organized TED event. At TEDx636EleventhAve, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including TEDx636EleventhAve, are self-organized.