TEDxFrankfurt returns with hybrid event titled “Together To Get There”
Text by Emmet Kelly
TEDx returned to Frankfurt after a year hiatus with a very interesting and exciting hybrid event titled “Together Get To There.” Carla Banc, TEDx Organizer and licensee and Cristina Conesa Carbonell, Brand Promoter and Communication Manager, hosted the event live from the TechQuartier in front of 40 guests and more than 60 more participants virtually. There were four inspired and interesting speakers, and a surprise finale.
Carla opened the event saying “TEDx is about curiosity, skepticism, inspiration and action.” She further explained that those words definitely applied to the organization of this event because COVID created curiosity about new subjects, skepticism in our system, inspiration to battle on, and ultimately action to plan and host this event. Cristina explained that the word “There” from the title, wherever that is, can be different for different people. Understandably, individuals’ goals would vary. Carla and Cristina agreed that “There” for them is hosting this event to share ideas, hopes, dreams, struggles and solutions.
TED, which is an acronym for technology, entertainment and design, is a media organization that hosts conferences around the world where speakers share “ideas worth spreading.” The small “x” in this event’s title means the conference was independently organized. It’s that independence that encouraged Carla and Cristina to showcase only local speakers. The four locals were an anthropologist, writer, technology advocator, and a women’s psychological counsellor. Before introducing the anthropologist, Carla shared with the audience that she has a “…special surprise saved for the end.”
Alesya Krit, Ph.D. was introduced as an anthropologist “…with a passion of getting to know different cultures and comparing the diverse ways people tend to deal with the similar problems worldwide.” The current problem she is exploring is “sustainable aviation.” Alesya is the Networking and Communications Manager for CENA (Centre for Competence for Climate, Environment and Noise Protection in Aviation), part of Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH. Alesya opened by saying “Aviation is one of the most challenging areas to de-carbonize. It’s a tricky thing.” She explained that for many people there is a gap, specially “…there is an attitude – behavior gap.” Alesya explained that “…time, money, general dislike for change, and belief that ‘My actions won’t change the world’ discourage people from taking needed action.” She offered solutions, many specific to transportation. She suggests there should be further research and use of battery and hydrogen electric vehicles. She emphasized the importance of sourcing renewable energy for the electricity. She spoke about sourcing sustainable aviation fuel from wood-chips and other waste. Alesya ended her speech asking the question many people ask themselves. “Is it (sustainable choices) for me?” She answered the question with an emphatic “Yes” and offered an understandable and attainable example-goal. She said people should travel by train instead of plane whenever possible because a train typically creates three times less CO-2 than a typical plane trip.
Imme Scheit , the second speaker, was introduced as a writer who “…fell in love with the world of words the moment she learned to read and write, and kept a diary ever since.” Imme explained that her mother passed away when she was very young, and left no written or recorded memories for her. She said “My pain became my passion. She never wrote down anything for me. It makes me realize the importance of memories.” Imme shared that she now writes down “…everything that matters to us (family) and brings us joy.” She founded the podcast, YAY (“Yay-Momente mit…”) dedicated to making “magic with your memories.” She suggested that the popularity of people using their smartphones to take countless photos and post some is not the solution, and is rather an impediment. “We have forgotten the importance of words because we focus on pictures,” she said and further explained. “In 30 years, people won’t remember the photos. We have to write things down and create meaningful memories.” Imme ended her speech saying “Memories have the power to create bonds between generations. Think about what made you feel good today. Don’t be selective. Just start. Your memories are the greatest gift you can give your family. A legacy of love.”
Watch now: Imme Scheit – Stories behind pictures
The third speaker was introduced as a person “…pushing the boundaries of drone capabilities to an unseen level by implementing the autonomous drone technology in Europe.” André Becker, Head of International Solutions Engineering at Skydio, Europe’s leading drone manufacturer, began his speech with a question. “How many bridges did you cross to get here today? There are 40,000 in Germany alone.” He explained that autonomous drones make life easier and safer. He further explained that if we aren’t worried about the safety of the people climbing under the bridges doing the inspections, we should appreciate that autonomous drone-inspections don’t normally close bridges to vehicular traffic that cause traffic delays. André went further to suggest autonomous drones are more effective than those driven/controlled by people. He said modern, autonomous drones can fly more safely and effectively than those by people. He pointed out several, easily understood advantages. He said the further away, the harder for people to drive; and it’s nearly impossible for people to see the many cramps and inaccessible places under bridges. However, an autonomous AI (artificial intelligence) navigation empowered drone can often easily navigate difficult and dangerous situations. André ended his speech by suggesting he is most proud of his contribution to “democratizing the sky” with autonomous drones.
The fourth and final promoted speaker was Sally Schulze, the Co-Founder and CEO of MentalStark, and an Entrepreneurial Psychologist focused on digital innovations in women’s mental health. Sally quickly got the audience’s attention by sharing that she was going to speak about “sex education.” She explained that typical sex education is focused on “instant pregnancy and looming threat.” She explained that this common approach gives the impression that women not using contraceptives get pregnant quickly and easily. She said that is not true. Sally stepped back and made clear this Sex Ed. The approach has merit because “these risks are real and valid” and the “looming threat”, “teenage pregnancy is difficult to handle.” She dedicated the majority of her speech to emphasizing the reality of how difficult it is for many women to get pregnant. She said most women in Germany have their first child at 30 years of age, the same age that their ability to get pregnant begins to drop with women at 43 having very little chance of getting pregnant. Sally said “Sex is everywhere. But the knowledge about fertility is truly flawed.” She offered examples of falsehoods. “The idea of too much stress impacting chances of getting pregnant is fake.” The common suggestion of “Stop thinking about it so much, and you will get pregnant” is equally false. Sally ended her speech by saying “getting pregnant…is a taboo topic.” She suggested many people struggle to have children, and we need to better educate people about the realities of the subject that touch most every person.
Following Sally’s speech, Carla and Cristina returned to the stage to announce they had a special surprise. They introduced Zoé Anthea Cross by name and added only that she was a returning speaker and will speak about “people who don’t fit societal norms.” Zoé took the stage wearing a mask as is now common, and then removed her mask to shed light on her speech topic. Zoé suffers from Moebius Syndrome, a form of facial paralysis that inhibits her from smiling. She has taken her handicap and made it the foundation of her career as a life coach. Her profession and passion is to empower female professionals to overcome the effects of life/appearance changing illnesses. Zoé opened her speech by saying “Were you expecting to see this face behind the mask?” Zoé then said she would speak about “…overcoming rejection by smiling with your heart.” She explained that “I can’t show emotions (on my face). I can feel emotions, at least on the inside.” She went on to say “We can smile from the heart. It requires acceptance, curiosity, and connection. It’s not an overnight thing. It requires practice, diligence and a can-do attitude.”
Cristina and Carla retook the stage to express their thanks to the speakers for being “there” and “together” at the TechQuartier to share their ideas. Carla ended the event by speaking of the future, and their plans to host more events where more inspired thinkers share their ideas, and ultimately change lives and the world.