Sophie Brazington will be a speaker at TEDxTopekaWomen 2016.

Sophie Brazington: Our Own Femininity

Expectations of what it means to be feminine, or what it means to be a woman, vary wildly based on cultural and societal factors. But why are women looked at differently than men in the first place? It isn’t just the anatomy; traditions, expectations, and societal definitions of what it means to be a “normal girl” all play a part. When women choose to break these expectations or definitions, not only is it unexpected, but often it is feared or mocked. When we treat “different” as something shameful, it hurts our developing young women. We need to redefine what “feminine” means. It’s time for girls to step up and change the definition “normal girl,” but we can’t do it alone. We need your help  to create Our Own Femininity.

Brittany Simmerman will be a speaker at TEDxTopekaWomen 2016.

Brittany Simmerman: Intensely Sincere & Sincerely Intense: How Women Can Be Emotionally In Tune and Still Badass

Too often, women are judged by their emotions, whether it is being deemed too emotional or too detached, and this can hinder women in the workplace. The focus of this talk is to “own our emotions” in a way that allows us to continue bringing our own unique flair to each job without sacrificing ourselves in the process. It will also  discuss striking a balance between emotional attachment and detachment.

Brittany’s full TEDxTopekaWomen talk:

R. Shawn McBride will be a speaker at TEDxTopekaWomen 2016.

R. Shawn McBride: The Woman’s Advantage in Business Partnerships

A 2014 MIT study found that women-only Business Partnerships achieve a higher-level of cooperation, happiness, and overall job satisfaction than their male counterparts. Yet, women-only business partnerships do not always yield higher productivity. This presentation will help women understand the advantages they have in the workplace and how they can establish better work-related expectations.

Michelle McCormick is a speaker for TEDxTopekaWomen 2016.

Michelle McCormick: How Feminism Taught Me to Care About How We Raise Boys

After years of working with mostly female victims of domestic and sexual violence, Michelle began working in a program designed to offer a change process to abusive men (mostly). This powerful paradigm shift helped her to explore the harmful societal constructs we use to raise boys (“boys don’t cry”, “be a real man”, “show no weakness”) which can cause harm to boys/men and ultimately to girls/women.

These societal constructs have created a version of masculinity that is extreme. Author Jackson Katz calls this “toxic masculinity”. These hyper-masculine standards of what creates a “real man” cheat men from many healthy emotional experiences. Often, they are taught that emotions are feminine and that feminine is weak. If we teach these boys/men that the worst thing they could be in the world is female, how will they learn to value girls/women? If we are to ever prevent and end issues of violence against women, it will be because we changed the way we raise boys and treat men.

Denise Selbee-Koch will be a speaker at TEDxTopekaWomen 2016.

Denise Selbee-Koch: Go Outside!

For most of us, there is something that seems to happen during the middle school years that starts to separate us from taking care of ourselves. We subjugate our true feelings so much that we can become detached from ourselves. We no longer acknowledge what we need to feel calm, relaxed, and content. The societal push to strive, seek, and reach puts aside our true need for connection with nature, ourselves, and each other.

A growing body of research supports the theory that connecting with nature, self, and others is a potential remedy for this problem. We can address depression, anxiety, self concept, feelings of isolation, and stress by simply Going Outside! It isn’t selfish to practice self care – it’s imperative to our health and well being.

Go outside – relax – notice what is around you – breathe – play – adventure!

Alicia Enstrom

Nashville-based violinist Alicia Enstrom emerges as a vocalist and songwriter in her newest album of chamber, indie-pop produced by Jon Estes and titled The Monster Speaks. She recently returned to Nashville after touring the world for nearly ten years. She spent time as the solo violinist/electric violinist for Cirque du Soleil’s show Quidam, was the featured violinist for Cirque’s holiday show Wintuk, was invited to Tanglewood as a concertmaster, and also was the lead violinist/fiddler, vocalist, pianist and dancer with the International Violin Show, Barrage.

Brian Thompson

Brian Thomason: Growing Solutions to Feed the World

Agriculture is coming to a crossroads with demands outweighing the production. How will the world learn to produce more with the same resources? One way we’ve found is through technology. Planting smarter and conserving resources will help out. Technology can’t do it alone though—what can do you?

Nick Givechi

Nick Givechi: CANVAS: The Formation of Identity

In a 5 – 7 minute Spoken Word Poem, I illustrate the abstract concept of self, as we perceive ourselves to be, through the metaphor of being a blank canvas that the colors of diversity paint upon us as we develop from infancy into adulthood.

“I am a Canvas.
It was the world’s job to paint me before I ever made memories.
I once was a soft, little baby who viewed this world as a masterpiece, and each one of you were the masterful brushstrokes which waved at me — waving your own unique colors of life’s experience so gracefully over me, and I am your canvas.
I evolve as your vibrant, resilient painting, and I am one of the fortunate, because you — as my artists and co-creators — embrace me.”

This piece plays with the concept that we are all born “carte blanche”, and are taught shades of acceptance and ignorance, love and hate, activism and apathy; therefore, we are never truly living in a “me versus the world” mindset — no matter how often we’re taught the notion that we should look out for ourselves.  We create divisions when we forget that those who love us “paint” us accordingly; without those brushstrokes, we would be slightly less complete as a masterpiece.  We are all intertwined, and we are responsible to be self-aware that our beauty is a direct result of all the shades that complement each other to make us beautiful to look at: a portrait that equally gives every color equal spotlight on the eye.

“A world painted in the shade of only one color would truly be a boring world indeed, so don’t let the shade of all the past tell you what shade of all the pastels you should be.
If no one else tells you today, I love you, because you helped make me.

I did nothing except stand here, blank, and allow myself to be your Canvas.”

Lori McMillan

Lori McMillan: Taxation Myths and Realities: What’s the Matter With Kansas?

Taxation is something that everyone has an opinion about, but very few people actually understand. This talk is aimed at exploring the underpinnings of the income tax, and how society needs it to be a fundamentally fair tax. Tax law is, arguably, one of the most reflective of social values, since tax legislation is used not just to raise revenue, but also as a tool to further social and economic policy. One of the most watched “experiments” in taxation has unfolded in Kansas over the last couple of years, and Kansas state taxation policy is an excellent tool for exploring ideas like fairness in building a fiscal system.

Mikki Burcher: #lovethyselfie

An alternative viewpoint on selfies and how they can be used to bolster self-confidence.