I won! What an amazing feeling it was….to win out of more than 150 candidates from all over the Netherlands, to win because your idea resonated so well with the audience, to win because I not only got the maximum votes from the audience but also the judges’ prize, to win because I was up against some highly established women in fashion, medicine, STEM, financial matters, theatre, and to win because I really wanted to!
But most importantly, it felt amazing because then I got the chance to create awareness at a larger platform about gender gap in our cities. Our cities are an extension of our society and have a gender bias that most of us are not aware of. Hence, the need to create more awareness around it.
So, I applied to TEDxAmsterdamWomen in September 2018 to win a spot at their main event as a speaker. In the first round, they received more than 150 applications and they chose 10 candidates to pitch their ideas at the ‘Pitch Night’ held in November’18. Two of these 10, would get the chance to give the talk at their main event in December’18.
On the day of the Pitch Night, armed with my script, I arrived at the beautiful SOHO house in Amsterdam, a bit nervous about my competition, but overall very excited. Public speaking has always been my strength and I get a certain kick out of the whole thing – being on the stage, having the spotlight on me, looking at the audience with mic in my hand. In that moment, I feel powerful. And responsible.
Soon the hall filled up with attendees, the entertainers, and the TEDx team was on its toes managing the event perfectly. I was placed to speak in second half of the event and when my turn came, I held the mic, looked straight at the audience and started my pitch. Within those 3 minutes, I heard the pin-drop silence when they were shocked, to a slight laughter when I quipped, and I felt them connect to what I had to say. In the end, I heard a loud applause. It was done! Over! And as I took my seat back in the audience, people around me told me how they loved it! In that moment, I knew I was going home victorious. 😊
I don’t know what happened next as I was already dreaming of being on the stage as a winner and when I was called out as the first winner, my happiness knew no bounds. The problem with good moments is that they fly away so quickly and you only remember very little of it. There were photos, more congratulations, and I think, also some music. But I cant be sure. All this Cinderella was thinking about was the two hour long journey back to my home. And in the typical Cinderella style, the minute the formal event was closed, I dashed to the green room for my belongings, carried my things in one hand and the prize in another and rushed out without any proper good byes and thankyous. But all is well that ends well…. and that night couldn’t have been better!
The event got Dutch Media attention too. You may like to see the following links.(https://marieclaire.nl/lifestyle/tedxamsterdamwomen-komt-eraan-hier-lees-je-waarom-je-erheen-wilt )