Photo by TEDxBerlin/ Sebastian Gabsch

Photo by TEDxBerlin/Sebastian Gabsch

She's the First made it onto the international TEDx stage! I'm so grateful to the TEDxBerlin team for inviting me to be the closing talk, which I titled "The New Face of Philanthropy." I'm thrilled with how warmly the crowd of 800 people received our mission. The social media comments and emails I got from the audience were everything I could have hoped for and more. One person wrote me, "I liked your comparison of responses to the question "What characterizes a philanthropist?" and find the cause of your engagement highly useful, even urging!"

TEDxBerlin created a top-notch experience that would make the TED organization proud. Each speaker had a coach to help us prepare (mine was Patrick Liebl, and he rocks!) Alongside the stage, there was a visual artist, translating our talks into illustrations. Kudos to Stephanie Igunbor who curated an amazing lineup of game-changers. My fellow speakers included a roboticist, physicist, artificial intelligence expert, cyborg (yes, really!), and eco-real estate pioneer. 

This was the first time I gave a memorized talk to this many people! I feel so strongly about my message—though to be honest, after stepping off the stage, I was frustrated with myself for skipping over three paragraphs. In the end, NO ONE NOTICED! But I think it's important to mention, because otherwise impressive looking photos would hide the fact that speakers very often still have insecurities and nerves. Those fears—what will happen if I forget my lines? what if what I have to say isn't that original?—stop a lot of people from public speaking, and I don't think they should. Anyone can give a TED talk if you really practice (really — see And remember, the ideas that you think are obvious aren't so obvious to others. Plus, if you hold yourself back, then you hold back the possibilities of people contributing to the issues that matter the most to you.

Thanks to everyone for cheering me on, and as always, the STF Scholars who motivate me through any challenge. This time, it was Maheshwari in India and Elly in Tanzania, who contributed their stories to my talk and reviewed multiple drafts. Ladies, I can't wait to listen to your TED talks someday. 

PS: Video will be released in about a month, but in the meantime, I published my transcript and slides on Medium.