The first TEDXZurichWomen took place in Zurich on the 29th May, 2015 – a big occasion. BSL had a dynamic presence in the event which was wonderful. BSL people, Shaun McMillan, Vaia Sarlikioti, Gina Fiore, Karim Abib and yours truly, Mary Mayenfisch were all there. We contributed in the areas of sponsoring, logistics and media, and the day to day running of the event with the rest of a very dedicated TED team.
Almost 200 people attended, coming from all backgrounds, interests and sectors. Momentum was the theme- taking flight, gaining altitude and reaching destination were the routes taken by the varied group of speakers.
We started our journey with Susan Jane Gilman, an American writer, located in Geneva who has become a bestselling writer. “No thunderbolt” inspiration for writers, she told us. Writers need to work hard and be very determined. Sigrun Gudjonsdottir, an Icelandic architect, talked about being inspired, thinking big and taking action- trust yourself and your instinct. Christa Muth, German systems scientist, management professor and management consultant, is based in Switzerland. She has worked for many years in the HEIG, Yverdon, and she talked about something vital in organizations- the power of soft factors. People count most of all!
Grace Cassy, a UK entrepreneur informed us about big data and technology – Why do we share all our data with Facebook and Google, but worry about giving it to people who want to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
Stella Cruz moved us upwards when she entertained us with a special blend of songs written by her for this event- beautiful voice and presence. Olivia Schofield, toastmaster world champion finalist, Las Vegas, wondered about motherhood, feminism and leadership. She is the “should slayer”- let’s break the mold and follow our instincts. Nicole Schwab, a cofounder of The Gender Equality Project, a Swiss non-profit organization encouraged the audience to reclaim their feminine side. Toku McCree, the only gentleman speaker, spoke eloquently about role matters that count. He reminded us of the importance of our mothers! Finally, Sylvia Day, a comedian, had us all rolling in the aisles with laughter. She asked the audience to suggest her Ted talk subject and we were treated to a Madonna and rocket science show – very funny.
We finally reached our destination when we heard Veronique Goy Veenhuys, a Swiss Romande entrepreneur, informed the already convinced audience of the importance of equal salary for men and women. Her Equal Salary certification is underway here in Switzerland, all organisations need to sign up!
Lisa Chuma (Women’s Expo Switzerland) from Zimbabwe inspired us to understand the importance of connectedness, communities and solidarity. Ubuntu as it is called in Zimbabwe. The final speaker was Stephanie Fonteyn, a painter, who closed the day and unveiled the collaborative art work we had all worked to commemorate Momentum.
And those were just the speakers! We also had the coffee breaks, lunch, and water breaks which were amazing opportunities to get to know everyone in the room and there were wonderful people there, take it from me.
What a wonderful event- congratulations to the TED team. We are all waiting with impatience for 2016!
Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin, BCL, LL.M, Solicitor
Vaia Sarlikioti, BSL MBA Alumna and Recruitment Associate