The Empowerment Issue

It’s a dynamic world out there, and we want to get you fired up. We want to take a moment to highlight a few speakers who have electrified audiences near and far with their insights on the TEDx stage.

These speakers embody what it means to be raw, what it means to be courageous, and what it means to be unshakable in an environment that’s often uncertain. With these talks, we invite you to embrace your own sense of bold tenacity, even if the world is telling you to take the safe route.

Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Dr. Brené Brown, in a buttery Southern accent dripping with charm, opened her 2010 TEDxHouston talk with a story. Slicked with local, unpretentious gentility, the talk seemed more like a chat between friends than an esteemed researcher delivering a presentation. And yet, Dr. Brown’s message was a stirring one, as she brazenly exposed an idea that other scientists were reluctant to touch: the concept of vulnerability.

With over 40 million views and counting, it has flourished into one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.

Fast forward to 2019. In a largely unprecedented move, Dr. Brown has recently taken to a global stage in her 76-minute streaming special, The Call to Courage. As she dissects her now-viral TEDxHouston talk and its impact, the audience is treated to what feels like several TEDx talks rolled into one. Dr. Brown tackles the theme of vulnerability with breathtaking vigor, searing clarity, and occasional humor; showing the world a softer side of shame. Through Dr. Brown’s warmth, wit, and Texan temerity, we’re not just data points on a graph anymore. Through her work, we’re given a glimpse at what it really means to be human.

Dean Shepherd: How do we learn from failure?

When Dean Shepherd, a world-renowned researcher focused on entrepreneurial failure, began his career, not much was written about failure or its place in the world of self-made success. Failure was, in fact, the antithesis of accomplishment—not the gasoline on the fire of achievement as it has become known today.

“While businesses fail, entrepreneurs do not. They learn, they are motivated to try again, and they proceed.”

Through Dean’s insightful 2014 TEDxTUM talk, “How Do We Learn From Failure?” entrepreneurial defeat is compared to loss, and we’re shown how to grieve it accordingly. Dean details strategies for coping with the loss of a project, and identifies approaches to rebuild a business or creative venture. Finally, he leaves the audience with a final floret of wisdom: a refined sense of emotional intelligence is the key to move forward in the wake of failure, no matter the scale.

Taz Alam: Are you living the life you want to live?

If you’ve ever felt the cusp of adulthood sink in, you know one thing for sure: the expectations of others can slice right through you. We live in a modern society capable of innovation, transformation, and total revolution, yet our collective concept of success still seems to be so primitive. In this day and age, “success” equals nothing more than education plus job plus financial stability.

Taz Alam is not only bored by that equation…she’s screaming internally.

In her gripping 2017 talk titled, “Are You Living the Life You Want to Live?” Taz takes to the TEDxTUM stage to give the audience a compelling message: life itself is more important than sitting in the status quo. Emboldened with passion, Taz shares her journey of breaking the mold through spoken word poetry and implores us to think critically about who we actually are, and what we really want out of life.