Local TED Talks: Women ‘need to reclaim time’

Kathy Korman Frey speaks at TED Talks. Photo by Suzanne Pollak
Kathy Korman Frey speaks at TED Talks.
Photo by Suzanne Pollak

It’s not enough for women to balance their schedule between family and career. “We need to reclaim time,” said Kathy Korman Frey, one of 11 women performing during last week’s local rendition of the TED Talks.

TED is a nonprofit that works to publicize new ideas by videotaping speeches, holding conferences and awarding prizes. TED Talks, which can’t be any longer than 18 minutes, are found on the Internet and television.

TEDWomen was first held in 2010, and this year Jane Smith decided there was more than enough high-powered and talented women in this area to have one of the TEDWomen events here. She successfully applied, and the result was a full-day presentation of TEDX Bethesda Women, which was held at the Imagination Stage in Bethesda.

“We are an independently organized event,” Smith explained, noting that there were 200 similar TEDX Women events held in 58 countries on Dec. 5. The main event was held in San Francisco from Dec. 4-6. Smith organized the event and chose the theme for the Bethesda taping — Sassy: Lively and Spirited.


The local talks, which may be picked up by TED Talks for distribution, included business women, an actress, storyteller, foreign affairs correspondent, social entrepreneur and lifestyle expert. While many of the messages were serious, the women clearly took the “sassy” theme to heart as they performed.

They all stood directly in the middle of the stage as they spoke to a sellout audience of about 125 people while being videotaped.

Kate Campbell Stevenson talked about creativity and the importance of music in everyday life. She urged that education’s push for STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — be transformed into STEAM — so that the arts could be included. She had the audience stand and sing, which brought much laughter to the room.

Pamela Peeke, a lifestyle expert, who can be seen on television speaking about nutrition, stress and fitness, urged women to love their bodies, and even name some of their body parts. She calls her legs Thelma and Louise, after a movie of the same name, and she refers to her calves as Calfney and Lacey after the television show, Cagney & Lacey.

As a child, she didn’t like being so tall and wished her legs were thinner. “Now I am in love with my body as a totality,” she said in her talk.

Frey, who was dressed all in black, runs the Hot Mommas Project, collecting case studies of women on how they can be successful without missing out on other parts of their busy lives. Instead of relating to the dog who chases his own tail, Frey said a good model should be a women who delegates more, thereby spending fewer hours at work but still getting just as much done.

A lot of success has to do with confidence, said Frey, who grew up in Arlington and now lives in D.C. There are other ways to get things done rather than working around the clock, she said, noting, “This is not the 60s. We are trying to put more pieces in a smaller game board.” The goal is to step back, delegate, plan and regain control of one’s life, she said.

When asked if this would become an annual event here, Smith said, “We are just hoping to hit a home run this year.”

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  1. I am grateful for your coverage of a very special day for many, many women (and a few patient men)! The 11 videos will be uploaded on the TEDx YouTube site in early 2014, with hopes that your readers will view them!

  2. Thank you, Susan, for this piece. The speakers covered such a broad variety of topics and I was honored to be included among them, and to have you cover the event. All of the videos can be found here: TEDxBethesdaWomen – 12/05/2013 – YouTube http://ow.ly/sxz7D


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