Meet Past Speaker Ashley Phord-Toy

Meet Past Speaker Ashley Phord-Toy

How would you describe your experience as a speaker?

My experience as a speaker is one that I will never forget. I first applied to TEDxKids@BC simply expecting to be sharing my own stories and my own ideas, but I left with so much more. Through the event, I met other amazing speakers who taught and inspired me, through all their passions and ideas. But above all, they are my lifelong friends that I still communicate with to this day, and I am grateful that I had the chance to work alongside such amazing people. Additionally, the organizers of the conference also made my experience as a speaker one that is hard to forget. Through the dedication and patience that they had, they made sure that us speakers were as prepared as we could be, and they made rehearsals fun and entertaining. One of my fondest memories is when we had our speakers brunch, which is where I first got to meet the TEDxkids@BC team. It was during this initial meeting that we had our photo scavenger hunt, which was one of the quirkiest but effective group bonding games that I’ve ever experienced. I think one of the biggest misconceptions that I had before becoming a TEDxKids@BC speaker, was that these conferences were just about listening to speakers share ideas and going home having listened to a lecture. But since my speaker experience, I’ve learned that TEDx is about so much more. It’s about meeting amazing individuals and learning about cool new organizations that are trying to better our global society, and I’ve learned that a single speech can change perspectives and make a difference. I know that next years conference is going to be just as amazing!

Why did you apply to be a speaker?

I started watching TED talks and TEDx talks when I was around 8 years old, and so it was natural of me to apply when I heard about this conference. I think I’ve always really liked the idea of TED because I liked feeling connected to the ideas and passions of speakers, as opposed to just reading about their ideas. Through watching other speakers, I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my idols. Speakers like Sir Ken Robinson, Thomas Lloyd, Ed Young (and trust me, so much more) inspired me to believe in myself and follow my passion of spreading my ideas and opinions. To be honest, I applied to the TEDxkids@BC conference quite under confident in my abilities. Despite this, I decided to apply anyways and take a leap of faith, and I’ve never regretted that decision.

How has life changed since TedxKidsBC last year?

Since TEDxKids@BC last year, I’ve definitely become more involved in my community. The speech I gave at this past conference was about being brave, and not being afraid to fail. I’ve definitely taken my own advice within the past year, and I’ve become a more adventurous and confident individual.  In fact, I joined the TEDxkids@BC team and am helping to plan next year’s conference! Through this, I’ve had a blast being able to post on social media and spread the word of TEDxkids@BC. Outside of this conference, I’ve gotten more involved with TEDx in general. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Alberta and speak at TEDxYouth@Edmonton.

What advice would you give to the 2016 upcoming speakers?

For 2016 speakers, I would have 3 main pieces of advice. My first would be to make friends (this is something I wish I learned sooner.) The TEDxkids@BC team and all the speakers are amazing individuals, so be friendly and talk to them, because I guarantee that after you meet everyone, you will wish that you met them sooner. I realized after making friends that I shouldn’t have been so shy, and that I should have been more sociable in connecting with everyone. My second piece of advice would be to be confident and bold. This one’s hard, because trust me, as someone who’s scared of failure, being confident can be hard (especially when its in front of hundreds of people!) I think that the key to being confident is to just realize why you’re giving your speech in the first place. If you’re selected to be a speaker at the upcoming conference, clearly you’re passionate about what you’re talking about. So internalize that passion and remember that your perspective is important, and it matters that other people hear it! And my last piece of advice would be to HAVE FUN. This one sounds quite conventional but honestly it couldn’t be more important. Although TED and TEDx is about “ideas worth spreading” its important to have fun during TEDxkids@BC. My TEDxkids@BC experience was super fun, and I’m sure it will be this way in the future as well.

About the picture you submitted:

The picture I submitted is one that I took with my friends Devika and Sruthi, this was taken at the photo booth during the Campfire Stories conference! I remember that on that day, although I had only known them for a short period of time, I really felt like we bonded. Especially when Devika ran her workshop where we tried to build the tallest structure whilst only using spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. It was amazing day filled with amazing friends that I’ll never forget.

About The Author

I have a background in creative english. This year is my first year volunteering for TedxKids@BC, hope there will be many more to come.

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