Held at the stylish Greenhouse at Platform LA on October 27, 2016, the third TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen saw hundreds of professional women gathering as a community for an important conversation about female leadership and a celebration of the collective power of women. Hosted by Dana Childers and Kristan Sargeant, this year’s event has as its theme It’s About Time, and considers the challenges facing the world that call for creative solutions now – solutions that are brought forward by women with distinctive perception, awareness, and intelligence. It is about time for us to change the historical narrative that focused on the marginality of women; it is about time to look at female leaders and their amazing accomplishments, to transform the narrative into an optimistic one that fully expresses their potential.
TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen’s mission is to stir and provoke the creative power of all their participants by “celebrating and shining a light on women innovators who are reimaging, redefining and shaping the world based on their deeply personal values, perspectives and visions.” And as usual, they featured speakers and performers from a wide array of fields to inspire and open the minds and hearts of all participants. By bringing momentum to the local women’s leadership movement, they believe they could help more women lead with their unique vision and passions. The day-long event was inspirational and deeply moving, to say the least. These are some highlights from the program:
As the Head of School at The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, Elizabeth’s mission is to build ethical school culture and excellence in teaching and learning through research. She has been a passionate and devoted advocate for girls’ schools for over 30 years, and with her experience in education, she brought our attention to how society treat men and women differently in school settings. Boys are often called on more, praised more, and interrupted less than their female counterparts. She also talked about the leadership bias: when men seek leadership, they are perceived as competent, their ambition praised; yet when women do the same, they are judged with disgust and contempt. It is time for us to shatter these bigoted biases and stereotypes, to get comfortable with women in power, and to see women as equal creators of change.
Carrie Schrader and Charlene Fisk
Carrie Schrader and Charlene “Charlie” Fisk did not know each other. They worked in the same industry – film, but that was it. Carrie is a writer and director who won the “New Voices” award at the Seattle International Film Festival, as well as one of IndieWire.com’s “Top Ten Directors To Watch Out For.” Charlie is a filmmaker who has won numerous regional Emmy awards for her work on Arts and Documentary programming, including an Emmy for Best Documentary.
Yet they were motivated and inspired by the same group of women – the founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). They were determined to tell their story, the story of how the Association came to be in 1950 in a society riddled with misogyny and sexism. And so in 2015, they partnered up and founded Mighty Fine Pictures, a boutique production company specializing in story-driven narrative and nonfiction content. Then, The Founders, an inspirational documentary about 13 amateur female golfers’ journey to stake their claim to become professional sportswomen, and their battle against society, prejudice and preconception, was produced.
But of course, it was not that easy – in fact, Carrie and Charlene had to go through many of the obstacles and difficulties that the founders of the LPGA did. The film industry, much like the golf industry in the 50s, was a male-dominated one. Female filmmakers and directors are rare, their voices less heard, and their accomplishments less recognized. Carrie recalled when her dream as a director was ridiculed; everyone around her told her not to do it, as she would never find success in it. The story of The Founders, then, is also a success story of female filmmakers in an industry still rife with sexism and prejudice.
The most inspirational speech of the day is without a doubt by Veronica Everett-Boyce. Growing up on welfare and in an abusive household, Veronica is now a doctoral candidate and a certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, with over 20 years of experience in developing and managing programs. The story of her amazing transformation, she shared, was rooted in two things – she was shown opportunity and compassion at her lowest point. One simple act does matter – it is one question, one dinner, and one book that completely changed her life, and that made her realize the powerful extent of her potential.
With a passion for giving back to the community and having experienced low income and lack of opportunity first hand, Veronica founded Urban Fitness 911, a total wellness program for youth in under-resourced communities that offers fitness, healthy cooking and nutrition, life coaching, academic tutoring, and exposure to experience. She believes that she can change the lives of many teens by giving them respect, attention, and inspiring experiences. Urban Fitness 911 now provides over 100 kids 16-20 hours of service every week, and two exposure field trips every month.
Other inspirational speakers included Kerri Johnson, Aditi Khorana, Heidi Rose Robbins, Jules Blaine Davis, Clare Vivier, Kim Dower, Nonny de la Peña, Angela Davis, Dina LaPolt, Madeline Fraser and Beatrice Fischel-Bock, as well as performances by Helios Dance Theatre and Katie Skene.