Nonprofit speaker and idea conference series TedxRVAWomen returned to Richmond with a line-up of women community, business and academic leaders to promote the theme of “It’s About Time” and celebrate women as a community.
“There’s a really enthusiastic crowd that just gets it,” said organizer Lloyd Young. “The shared experience of being a woman.”
TedxWomen events are held all around the world during the week of the Ted Women conference in from Oct. 26 to 28, on the theme “It’s About Time.”
“We didn’t think we were going to be this big going into it,” Young said.
This is the first TedxRVAWomen since 2013 due to scheduling conflicts.
Instead of the traditional application and nomination process that other Tedx talks use, Young said this year they brainstormed and found speakers through community outreach. The event sold out, and featured presentations from 13 women in industry-wide learned positions of influence.
“It’s time to change the conversations,” Young said. “To have women’s voices heard as they are.”
Young said Ted leaves it up to individual organizers and speakers on how to interpret that theme.
“Our speakers, our sponsors and volunteers are all separate,” Young said.
All of TedxRVAWomen’s staff are unpaid volunteers, and their sponsors are all local businesses and charities. Young said because of this, the speakers are chosen by the community, and not corporations.
“When I think of the great ted talks I’ve seen they’re people who have overcome incredible adversity,” said principal investor Christina Bechhold. “It’s hard to think of yourself at that level.”
Drawing on her experience in venture capital, Bechhold said she’s seen a disparity in women’s investing and women’s startups. According to Bechhold, women hold more than half of the nation’s private capital but make up less than a third of all startups. Bechhold said the goal is for women to both start more businesses, and have more women invest.
“It could be a win-win for both sides,” Bechhold said.
The event featured lectures from social entrepreneur Kelli Lemon, Richmond Police Sgt. Carol Adams, adventurer Emily Kimball, musician Hannah Standiford, molecular biologist Jennifer Fettweis, restaurateur Joy Crump, Sugar Gamers founder Keisha Howard, spoken word artist Michelle Dodd, attorney Mona Siddiqui, Dean of VCU College of Humanities and Sciences Monsterrat Fuentes, and social justice artist Patricia Herrera.
View the TedxRVAWomen lecture series at http://tedxrva.com/women/
Jesse is a junior print journalism major and Arabic and Middle Eastern culture minor. He has walked in the valley with no water and bitten the heads off of snakes.