VF: C’est moi

visionary farsightedness
voraciously fascinated
vibrant force
values family
vehement friend
voluminous friendships
vocalized free-spiritedness
voluptuous feelings
vivaciously fanciful
voyaging fanatic
vanity foibles
vivid fails
various faults
violence free
very faithful
vast freedom
verbal finessing
veritable foodie
vintage fullwood
valaida forever
 A birthday ode to me from me.

Sunny

When sun shines on me
rays from its stare melt my cares
and peace is present.

VF photo collage

Wishing you peace on Independence Day!

presenTED

“When you reframe something, you must first deconstruct what was once there. That can be excruciating, when that something is you.”  quote from my recent TEDx Talk with Charles Thomas

Valaida presenting during TEDxCLT 2013, photography by Deborah Triplett

Valaida presenting during TEDxCLT 2013, photography by Deborah Triplett

Friday was a phenomenal day. Charles and I co-presented at TEDxCharlotte to a sold-out audience of 500. The experience was exhilarating. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a local forum for presentation, innovation, connection, discussion and inspiration.

For months, I worked with Charles to isolate a single idea (worth spreading) from our shared experience creating Giving Back. We would meet for an hour or two, once or twice a week since December, to engage in stream-of-consciousness exploration of our aspirations, struggles, achievements, questions, fears, yearning and learning, catalyzed by our book project. In retrospect it might seem unsurprising, but the idea we finally landed on surprised us both. Exploring idea after idea took us full circle, leading us right back to the one on which our book was built: the power of reframing. Reframing an issue. Reframing images. Reframing ideas. Reframing identity.

Charles Thomas presenting at TEDxCLT 2013, photography by Deborah Triplett

Charles Thomas presenting at TEDxCLT 2013, photography by Deborah Triplett

We then invested time poring over videos of TED and TEDx Talks and determining how best to weaving a narrative with threads from our respective personal stories where “reframing” was central. Each of us had many stories to choose from, some from experiences around the book and some from our lives before and after the book. Narrowing to three or four vignette stories was difficult. Once we found our stories, we focused on finding words and sequencing phrases to convey a compelling message. As co-presenters, we also worked to braid our storytelling with coherence. Along the way, the presentation’s title emerged: A Picture Reframed.

A guiding force during the months-long process was our presentation coach, Lou Solomon of Interact. Lou develops leaders and builds business through authentic communication. Once Charles and I sketched out our talk, Lou, and her colleague Patrick Sheehan, advised us how best to reach our goal of delivering an extraordinary presentation that could move and inspire people. They videotaped our practice sessions, even the raw, early ones, and then together we would watch and critique the presentation. Though videos intimidated me at first, I soon learned their value. My cringing and self-criticism eventually gave way to constructive self-critique.

I learned how strengthening a presentation is much like editing and refining a written piece. Both require more time, effort, introspection, honesty and practice than most people are willing to commit. My confidence as a presenter grew through the experience with Lou and Patrick.

TEDx graphicWith some input from Candice Langston (our TEDxCharlotte presentation coach), more practice and an onsite rehearsal at Silver Hammer Studios a week prior to the big event (not to mention 15+ months of polishing our presentation style while on the road promoting our book), Charles and I felt well prepared for February 15th.

You can take a look at the culmination of our most recent collaboration as soon as the video is released. I will, of course, share it with you. Count on it!

— VF

P.S. In the meantime, here’s a 2-minute video that offers an overview of TEDxCharlotte 2013.

UnlimiTED Ideas Take Shape in CLT

TEDx graphic

Today Charles and I co-present to a sold-out audience of 500 at TEDxCharlotte. Titled A Picture Reframed, our TEDx Talk centers on our experiences and epiphanies while developing Giving Back.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a local forum for presentation, innovation, connection, discussion and inspiration. Today, from 10 am to 4 pm, you can follow live-blogging from the event via Facebook and Twitter. The main hashtag is #TEDxCLT and the one for GBP is #GivingBack. Think good thoughts for us, particularly around 10::40 today, when we’re slated to hit the stage.

We’ll be sure to share the video of our TEDx Talk as soon as it’s released!

— VF

Without Limits

On 15 Feb 2013, Charles Thomas and I will be presenters at TEDxCharlotte. We hope you’ll register and come if you’re in the area.

UNLIMITED: Ideas Take Shape is this year’s theme for the annual, daylong creative forum. As collaborators on Giving Back, Charles and I will share what we learned while pursuing our idea of reframing portraits of philanthropy.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience . . .

If you’ve never attended TEDxCharlotte and want to know more, go here. And, if you’re unfamiliar with TED.com and its locally focused spin-off TEDx, go here, too.

After attending the last two years, I can tell you that TEDxCharlotte features a dozen or so selected presenters who share their ideas and 300+ participants who come to . . .

  • hear bold ideas…about technology, entertainment, design and other stuff
  • experience informative, entertaining and/or inspiring presentations
  • see innovative art projects and short films
  • network and connect with a mix of people
  • learn about new topics
  • find inspiration
  • laugh
  • maybe cry
  • eat (really, really) well
  • let loose
  • dance a little
  • never forget the day

Seeing you at TEDxCharlotte 2013 would be great!