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TEDx women's event in Courtenay meant to provoke thought

MARYKA KRANABETTER performed as part the student entertainment at the past TED event at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School held in spring 2011. The school
MARYKA KRANABETTER performed as part the student entertainment at the past TED event at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School held in spring 2011. The school's second TED event, TEDxIsfeldWomen, will happen Dec. 1, and the community is invited to attend along with students.
— image credit: Lisa Chase

Accomplished and powerful women speakers will come to Courtenay to speak during the TEDxIsfeldWomen event at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School.

TEDxIsfeldWomen will happen from noon to about 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 1 in the school's theatre, and six female speakers from around the world will be here to speak.

The event at Isfeld is also part of the larger TEDxWomen 2012 event co-ordinated through the Paley Centre for Media in Washington, D.C. and some of the speakers at the larger event will be streamed at TEDxIsfeldWomen.

According to Lianne Raymond, event organizer and teacher at Isfeld school, topics vary and are designed to get people thinking.

Attendees "can expect to be inspired, definitely, and provoked, probably by a couple of them for sure — they might challenge our thinking a little bit," she says, adding the speakers physically coming to Courtenay to talk are a "gift" to the Comox Valley, and she hopes they inspire young girls here.

"That's my piece of it too, is to bring these powerful women to the Valley so that our high school girls can interact with them, and see them, and have role models for people who are out there doing important work and having their voices heard and making a difference."

However, the event is not open to girls and women exclusively; Raymond says it's important for boys and men to hear what these women will say too.

Speakers coming to Courtenay include:

Ronna Detrick, writer and speaker — Redeeming Eve. Reimagining Everything.

Tara Sophia Mohr, expert on women's leadership and well-being — Feminism's Next Frontier

Tanya Geisler, certified business and life coach — Owning Our Authority

Hilary Augustine, founder of Excela (financial company) — Connecting the Dots: The Space Between Poverty and Plenty

Julie Daley, teacher, coach and writer — The Journey: Out of the shadows and into the light

Marianne Elliott, author —No good! Why the world needs women to stop being so good

Raymond notes Elliott — who is coming all the way from New Zealand and wrote a book called Zen Under Fire: Finding Peace in the Midst of War about her experiences as a human rights monitor in Afghanistan — turned down a chance to speak at a TEDxWomen event in New York City to come here.

"I think the fact that we do have this involvement with young women," responds Raymond when asked why Elliott would rather speak in the Comox Valley than New York City. "There's this sense that we're actually trying to make a difference here, and that this is about connecting our kids with a bigger community and a bigger story. And she just felt like this was more aligned with her work in the world than just a big flashy event in New York."

There will also be some student entertainment during an intermission, and about 20 students are helping to organize the event, including a core group of 10 students who are quite involved.

The success of the school's last TED event held in the spring of 2011 was part of the reason big name speakers were drawn to Isfeld's event this year, according to Raymond.

Each speaker at a TED event is recorded on video and their talk is posted online; Raymond says very high quality videos were produced at Isfeld's last TED event, and that was likely helped attract speakers to the Valley.

The day will finish off with a talk by Eve Ensler — the author of The Vagina Monologues — streamed from the Paley Centre. Called The Rising, her talk will be about "the space between seeing and doing; between knowing and responding; between staying in the dark and seeking the light," according to www.tedxwomen.org.

Pre-registration to TEDxIsfeldWomen is mandatory as space is limited, and Raymond expects the event to book up. For more information or to register, visit www.tedxisfeld.com. While registration is free, a $10 contribution will be appreciated at the door to help with organizing costs. The event is free for School District 71 students.

• • •

Mark R. Isfeld secondary students will do TED-style talks to kick off the TEDxIsfeldWomen event.

While the big TEDx event will happen Dec. 1, students will give their own talks from 12:20 to 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the school.

"It's going to be a really fun event," says Lianne Raymond, event organizer and Isfeld teacher. "The students have an opportunity to do their own talks that we will be recording for them in the same style as we record the TED talks."

Grade 11 student Tom Black plans to speak but he is still sorting out what his topic will be. However, he's leaning towards a talk about how society seems to praise people who "sit down" in their jobs and tend to make the most money, rather than the people who do the physical work in society and tend to make less money.

Raymond also notes some students will be doing some spoken word poetry during the afternoon.

While mainly students and parents are expected to come to the event, interested members of the community are welcome.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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