Things I Learned at TEDx Memphis 2020
February 26, 2020
I got the opportunity to attend TEDx Memphis via the New Memphis Fellows Program and I can say I learned a couple things from some #BeAmazing people.

Michael Ugwueke

President and CEO of Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare System in Memphis, TN said his life's passion was healthcare. After watching his brother die at the age of one he was driven to make a difference in the lives of others. Michael shared with the audience that 80% of healthcare related determinants were outside of health systems. Meaning our health was largely our responsibility and we should take the initiative in all aspects of it. I don't think there is an excuse to not know what keeps us in good health. We know how to drive a car or use a phone but when it comes to the piece of machinery we will use until we cease to use anything at all, our bodies, we can kinda ignore what's best for it.

Michael's TL/DR: get your steps in.

Jennifer Alessandra

Senior VP and chief people officer of Frontdoor, Inc. was familiar with failure. The athlete, mom, and competitor warned us of the idea of a participation trophy and how she saw it affect her little ones. You can learn so much from failure it's ridiculous, painful sometimes, but I think it's one of the best ways to grow. If we don't let people learn to fail gracefully early on we can get adults that can't deal with what life can and will throw at them. There is knowledge to be gained when you don't get first, second, or third place whether it's what you need to do to get there or realizing if the journey to that place is going to even make you happy. Failure, with the proper perspective, helps you identify your identity better than anything else you can do.

Jennifer's TL/DR: learn to fail gracefully, early in life.

Danielle Inez

Chief of Staff to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris urged for us to recognize immaturity as something that should fade with age. Danielle shared her thoughts on the economics of putting someone in jail for a month and having a city pay about $3000/mo for a theft under $500 crime. The system should be trying to keep minor charges out of it. She went into detail about a young adult court that was trained in dealing with individuals with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex being the solution. There are a couple other states that have this in place and the cost of rehabilitation or mentorship for individuals that needed it were far less than just throwing them in jail.

Danielle TL/DR: guidance and growth for the young and dumb.

Taylor Tagg

Senior Business Services Coordinator for the City of Memphis and seasoned speaker and coach share his story of giving a kidney to a friend, well... trying to give his kidney to a friend. Sometimes we want to do good just for the people around us or the ones we know. Taylor wanted to donate his kidney to a good friend and it was going well at first, he was a match, after resolving himself to actually doing it. Closer to the date of surgery, doctors came back and said he was no longer a good match for his friend. Devastated he struggled with being so ready to help but now he couldn't so he decided to give to a stranger that was on the list, not knowing that becoming a non-directed donor had its perks. Taylor was able to organize a series of kidney transplants from his selfless act that resulted in his friend receiving a kidney that was a match for him.

Danielle TL/DR: do good just because it's good, what comes around goes around

Jani Radhakrishnan

Director at the Center for Information and Analytics at Regional One Health in Memphis, TN. Jani spent her life changing her goals from being a doctor to a dancer and almost everything in between realized it not the end goal that makes us. She spent a long time on the trajectory of becoming a physician, put in years of schooling, and when she realized that's not what she wanted she made a shift and found actually happiness. Jani urged the audience to not be bound by "What do you want to be to grow up?" or "What do you do for work?". A deeper understanding comes from listening to someone's story of how they got to where they are because that is more defining than what they are currently up to.

Danielle TL/DR: pay attention to your individual journey, try to be happy

Nubia Yasin

Memphis-based multidisciplinary artist focusing on sharing what it means to be Black in America. Nubia came in with song and poetry with an artfully crafted message about borrowed culture and Blacks not having a seat at a table that they have built. The voice of people in her communities goes pretty much unheard just because of the color of their skin even though we are making progress, the scars are there. The undertone of being lesser is still there and she brought awareness to the situations through song. The songs were great, the clips in the video above didn’t do Nubia justice, hopefully you can catch her performing around town. 

Nubia TL/DR: if you sugar coat with creativity, you don’t have to water down the message

Emilee Herrington

A mother of three girls shared her traumatic experience. After being violently attacked at work one evening Emilee was vulnerable on stage with the trauma she had been subject to. She wanted the audience to know that there is balance to how vulnerable we need to be and why we need it to overcome things. We can choose to be a recluse and sit by ourselves with our problems but that’s not the healthiest way of doing things. I was able to gain perspective on how victims of violent/sex crimes dealt with those situaitons and I saw how brave Emilee was for standing there and sharing something I’m not sure a lot of people would be so open about. Her strength is real and anyone who has dealt with anything physically or emotionally traumatic needs to know they are not alone. 

Nubia TL/DR: “A story is only ready to share when the presenter’s healing and growth is not dependent on the audience’s response to it.” Brene Brown

Archie Moss Jr.

Principal of Bruce Elementary and the youngest  Shelby County School’s principal educated us on what it takes to make change. Firstly, he said you need to be yourself unapologetically. When you can get that part right you can start to bring your ideas to life. Archie conveyed that we shouldn’t worry about how big or small an idea feels, if it moves you then you should make it happen with what you have. He went viral for reading bedtime stories to students on facebook once a week because Frederick Douglass once said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” His energy was great and you could tell he was proud to lead these young minds in a way that genuinely benefitted their futures.  He was a character that was aware he was one and took his role very seriously in helping educate the youth. 

Nubia TL/DR: you won’t know if an idea is good or bad until you actually put it into action, so take action

TEDx Memphis 2020


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