TEDx speakers inspire Whitehaven

By Rachael Grealish

nspiration personified: The speakers gave a set of inspirational speeches - all on different subjects with one common theme  -photo by Robert Haile

Inspiration personified: The speakers gave a set of inspirational speeches – all on different subjects with one common theme
-photo by Robert Haile

SEVEN speakers dug deep to give inspirational and powerful, separate talks with one common theme: human connectors.

TEDx Whitehaven returned for its second year, at a new host of the recently opened Gaiety Cinema, Whitehaven, on Wednesday, September 7th.

The independently organised event – organised by mother-and-son team Dianne and Luke Richardson – had the aim to not only put on a great event but showcase Cumbria as a great place to live, work and thrive – and in this editor’s opinion, it did just that.

The event comprised of seven speakers – some from Cumbria and some from further afield – each with seven different talks, but all of which had one common theme: human connectors and making human connections.

The day kicked off with project management specialist, Brian Wernham.

Brian’s talk was about making projects ‘human again’ and the best way to handle not only business projects, but life projects.

He said: “We need to keep a childlike sense of wonder with projects.”

He also advised about working with others and being willing to change direction, when needed.

Next up was Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO of Youth Employment UK CIC. Her talk was about the pressures and labels that are put on young people during school years.

Her talk started with the story of a girl, one who in today’s world of academics would be labelled ‘not good enough’.

She said: “A challenge for young people is they don’t have the chance to experience life without pressure – let’s give young people the opportunity to be young professionals and not put a lid on their aspirations.”

Next was Richard Morgan and even his brief moment of forgetting his lines didn’t stray away from the though-provoking talk on society being at the dawn of another industrial revolution.

He said: “Education isn’t keeping pace with technology changes.”

After lunch, Sally Fielding, CEO of Sally’s Cottages, gave three points that give a business a ‘positive buzz’.

These were: integrity – always aim for a win-win, confidence, taking responsibility and facing things, and creativity – being curious, and enthusiasm for new things.

The theme of youth, personality and business moved smoothly into Andrew Bernie Bernard’s talk on engineering random opportunities for young people.

He spoke not only of his work with the young people on the Dream Placement scheme, but advised everyone: If it’s there, give it a go and if you’re offered an opportunity, take it.

Tara Vallente gave an emotional talk about the most recent floods of 2015, and how the community of Cumbria had to pull together to support residents affected by the disaster.

Her talk was truly about the human connections we make and how important it is to share stories in order to keep them going.

The last speaker of the day was Egremont 2Day’s own Ken Powell.

Dressed in a ‘lungi’ – traditional Bangali dress worn by a man – his talk was about ‘how do we perceive other cultures and how do we struggle with them.’

He shared his experiences of living in Bangladesh and encouraged the audience to be more ‘globally-minded’.

He said: “In a global-minded world there is no ‘them’ and ‘us’ – there is only ‘us’.”

His inspirational talk about embracing other cultures and other people was the perfect way to tie together the theme of ‘human connectors’.

Each speaker gave a unique take on the day and left the audience though-provoked and inspired.

Dianne Richardson said: “We were absolutely delighted with the event, our speakers did us proud.

“There was such a variety of talks, yet at the same time there were golden threads running throughout the day reflecting the power of human connectors.”

The event was not just personally inspiring but truly showcased the opportunities and culture that are on offer in Cumbria.