I was invited to TEDxKLwomen 2013 as a media/blogger (not as a speaker haha) 2 weeks ago. I’ve heard of many TEDx events but I’ve never been to one, surely being in the auditorium live is different from watching the videos on youtube.
TEDx is a programme created and designed in the spirit of TED’s mission, “Ideas Worth Spreading” – to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDxKLwomen event is a TEDx event featuring the webcast of TEDWomen – TEDWomen 2013 will continue TED’s multi-year conversation about women’s work and lives, present and future.
TEDxKLwomen is curated by the WOMEN:girls initiative. WOMEN:girls is a non-profit organisation that believes every women are role models and every girl should be an agent of change thus why we are creating an ideal world where women are empowered to be enablers for aspiring girls to achieve their dreams. This year’s theme, TEDxKLwomen celebrates the art of entrepreneurship, innovation and invention in all its forms. ‘MONEY – Invented Here’ is to explore the ways to obtain financial success through passion.
First up was Melody Hossaini. She has a strong aura when she first stepped on stage (also very beautiful necklace) Melody Hossaini is the Founder and CEO of InspirEngage International. She’s a young female social entrepreneur with a strong profile globally. She is a leading professional speaker (including having spoken at G8, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at United Nations) and an expert in skills training with a passion in supporting individuals to explore social enterprise as an option. From a war-torn Iran, to starting out in the Youth Sector aged just 13, Melody is now a multi- award winning businesswoman spearheading a shift that will turn the business world on its head. In 2011, she became the first ever social entrepreneur to appear on BBC’s The Apprentice, now using the platform to champion young people and women. http://www.melodyhossaini.com
Tips learned from Melody.
Stop living on autopilot and never let anyone define your path. Be brave enough to define your path by defining your strength, discovering passion, having a motto / principle and find the ultimate goal in life. There are a few things which she mentioned that was very relatable to me (or many people in some way)
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
― Albert Einstein
I have then wondered if I was a fish climbing a tree or a fish pretending to be a monkey to climb a tree. Of course now I try to think smarter to my own strengths and capability. Also, have you heard of the frog trying to jump out of the bucket story ? Well, so there’s a bucket where there are a few frogs in it, stuck and trying to get out from the bucket. But words have it that you cann’t jump out from it and there’s no way you can jump so high to get out. Then there’s a frog that managed to leap out from it. Why ? Because it was a deaf frog, and it did not let what other people’s perception determine its reality or its ability. True enough, have we all been perceived to do things in a certain way that we no longer have our own path? Think.
Next up, was Sereni & Shentel. Before this, I didn’t know much about them, but boy was I inspired by their story and have turned into a fan of their work!
Sereni Linggi, a property manager, and Shen-Tel Lee, a graphics designer, are two best friends turned accidental headband designers. They have managed to turn their hobby into a business through friendship, laughter, tears, determination and a little headband magic.
The headbands are handmade in Borneo by a team of artisans with a love for head turning and whimsical hair accessories. Eye catching, memorable and mad with a bit of humour is what the label is all about. Founded in 2009, the headband label Sereni & Shentel are now stocked in stores all over Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Japan and New Zealand and have appeared on US hit television shows Gossip Girl and Desperate Housewives. http://sereniandshentel.com/
From Sereni & Shentel
Well, they started making headbands because they wanted to wear the infamous hair bow by Lady Gaga. As they had ordered them online but it turned out to be poor in workmanship and quality (And it was expensive!) They decided to make their own! Their first lookbook / catalog features themselves, as the brand was about their friendship so who better to portray! Work hard, hold no grudges and leverage on social networks. Don’t forget to have fun!
Meet Rachel Koay of Queen’s Hotel!
An avid traveler, she made her dreams come true by opening an ideal locale for backpackers to call ‘home’ in Penang. Queen’s Hotel offers budget-friendly lodging strictly for ladies – snagging the title as the local’s first female-friendly hostel.
The hostel features mixed couples rooms (open to female guests with male friends) and upstairs, a canopy-covered dorm with comfortable mattresses to rest your weary heads. Beauty essentials from hair straighteners to OPI nail lacquers and full-length mirrors are also available to make you feel all-pretty before stepping out. To satiate your midnight hunger pangs without braving the darkened streets and corners, rummage their lobby basket for mineral water, instant noodles and snacks. https://www.facebook.com/queenshostel.my
I stumbled upon Queen’s hostel on Timeout sometime ago and it looked really cozy and comfortable. Who would have thought, it was up and running in just TWO months of the initial thought of opening a women’s only hostel in Penang. Talk about efficiency!
Tips from Rachel Koay.
You need lesser than you think. Know where you are sailing otherwise any wind blowing would not be favourable. So how does it work ? Dream. Have a dream, dream big and start living it. Write down your dreams, ask around and find out what it takes to realize your dreams. Leverage on people around you to make it work as different people have different strength and skills.
A speaker you must not missed is our local born lass, Cheryl Yeoh.
Cheryl was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, received a full scholarship from JPA of Malaysia to study engineering at Cornell University, New York in 2002. In 2010, she co-founded a tech startup called CityPockets Inc and raised USD$1M from top tier investors in New York and Silicon Valley. Her product Reclip.It, a personalized shopping list and digital coupons app, was acquired by Walmart Labs in Silicon Valley in 2013. She currently resides in San Francisco and is the product lead for personalization across all Walmart properties globally.
She was named the Top 44 Female Founders Every Entrepreneur Should Know by Mashable in 2012, awarded the L’Oreal Top 10 Women in Digital Award in 2012, and was recently selected to be one of 10 Global Ambassadors to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro on a charity mission in March 2013. She has appeared on Fox News and ABC7, as well as many other global conferences and tech publications. Cheryl actively mentors other startups through The Founder Institute, Peter Thiel’s 20Under20 Fellowship, The Lean Startup Machine Weekend and is also on the advisory board for several startups in the Bay Area. She blogs at http://www.cherylyeoh.com
Tips from Cheryl
What if you were told that “Follow your passion” is the worst career advice? We are all familiar with having passion, putting effort then, comes success. But, passion dies slowly when the focus isn’t bearing fruits. Alot of people have this thought, that they are not sure what they wanna do. So? know what you don’t wanna do. Start treating decisions like experiments and do not be afraid to make choices. Surely there may be wrong choices sometimes, but you never know until you start taking action on it. This is a self-awareness experiment. Explore your skills, then explore what the community needs, and focus on your effort. It will then lead to success with a sustained passion. In which now the equation turns to, to maintain success, focus on your effort and sustain the passion.
“Do it for love, money comes anyway.”
If you have been using Instagram, you would know Samantha Lee. A food artist, Samantha uses her imagination and simple tools to create beautiful works of gastronomical delights. She started making food art in December 2008. When Samantha was heavily pregnant with her second daughter, she wanted to encourage her elder daughter to eat independently after the arrival of her younger sister. She’s a person who doesn’t like to see edibles go to waste; self-trained Samantha places meticulous aesthetics into her dishes, making art, delicious with each bite. http://www.leesamantha.com/
From Samantha Lee
Start simple and sketch out the ideas on a piece of paper. This can avoid wastages in preparing food art. Samantha doesn’t use expensive gadgets to create these food pieces. She uses scissors and toothpicks mainly to cut the seaweed to create various ‘looks’. It reminds me that sometimes, over the top and expensiveness doesn’t necessary win or create something beautiful, all you need is to simplify your thoughts and love what you do and what or who you are doing for.
Tintoy Chua and Take Huat are the two creatives behind “Peperangan Bintang”- fusion Wayang Kulit project. If the name rings a bell, it is a locally produced Star Wars in our traditional Shadow Puppets (Wayang Kulit)
No stranger to design magazines and web portals, Tintoy Chuo constantly involves in international design collaboration campaigns to aid in promoting and increasing awareness about the Malaysian design industry, & giving talks nationally to share his valuable insight about character design. Take Huat, currently a Senior Art Director based in an international advertising agency. Before advancing his career in advertising agency, he was a mulit-talented designer expanded his creativity on Toy, Action Figurine, Premium Gift, Product Design, Character Design, Mascot Costume Design, Digital Illustration for cartoon characters, Digital Imaging, 2D Graphics, Season Greeting collateral, Printing Solutions, Point of Sales design, Corporate Identity design, Brand Building etc.
Tips from Tintoy and Take Huat.
What if there were no ‘What ifs”? Creative knows no limits and try to think differently.
Next we had a performance by Kafayat Quadri.
Kafayat Quadri, a young artist from Nigeria, started playing guitar at the age of 13 years. Her father, a land surveyor introduced her to the guitar since she was 6 years old. He later bought her a mouth organ which he taught her how to play. He played tunes from Rex Lawson, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Haruna Ishola on the guitar and mouth organ sometimes accompanied with the talking drum.
Kafayat’s first guitar performance was at her secondary school (FGGC, Shagamu) in 1996 at the school’s Annual Musical Concert. http://kafayatquadri.com
The emancipation of Joanne Kam into the entertainment industry in the 90’s, turned around and introduced a whole new meaning of comedy in the conservative night scene of Kuala Lumpur. Joanne’s distinct style of acid tongue humor earned her the reputation of being one of the most notoriously funny Lady on the Malaysian stage. The audience just can’t get enough of her candid, risqué jokes. A versatile performer, comedy DIVA, stage actor cum producer and single mother; Joanne is the lady boss of her own destiny. She is the director of her own event management company, a contributor for Esquire Magazine, previously with Capital FM; she is now a radio DJ announcer with REDFM and a celebrity in her own right.
Tips from Joanne Kam
You can always create a platform for yourself if there isn’t any. And brand it, how you want people to think of it, that’s how you do it. And in all business or doings, always get organized, focus, be consistent, take risks and know your competition. All in all, do and feel good. You don’t necessary will be the best in whatever you do, but always, strive to be better everytime after you have taken risks.
I guess people know, theoretically, how to be successful, be an entrepreneur and all, BUT how many people actually took action of it, and start living it. I guess for me, the biggest impact I had from attending TEDxKLwomen was about knowing and doing what you are good at. All the speakers, are without a doubt, good at what they do and they KNOW it. It’s not by accidental they fell into it and magically became successful overnight. So, be patience and have faith in whatever you do. Do it well and success will come.
I’d like to thank TEDxKLwomen & women:girls for this initiative and having me at the event.