2017 TEDxTinHauWomen speaker Fiona Callanan-Thorsby’s 3 takeaways

Before our big event on November 30 this year, we reflect on the incredible women who spoke at last year’s TEDxTinHauWomen event “Bridges: Two Become One.” Last year’s theme inspired us to feature a diverse cohort of Hong Kong-based women to bridge different ideas and people. One of those women was Fiona Callanan-Thorsby, a corporate lawyer whose life was forever changed by the massive tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004. Here are some big lessons that she shared with us.

In 2004, Fiona Callanan-Thorsby was a 27-year old corporate lawyer who was working abroad in Thailand. She felt the most liberated she had ever felt – she was working her dream job, living in an exciting part of the world, and travelling to places on her bucket list. When the tsunami hit Thailand, Fiona survived, but she lost her bottom right leg. These are some of the lessons she shared with us in her captivating talk last year. You can watch it yourself here https://youtu.be/RRirte8mIWc

  1. Use past accomplishments as fuel to topple current challenges.

Back in London after the Tsunami, Fiona wished for her old life as a regular 27-year old lawyer. It was a trying time facing this new reality. To cope, she reminded herself of past challenges she had overcome – notably, when following her teenage boyfriend resulted in poor grades and not heading straight to university. With hard work and perseverance, Fiona made it back on track to becoming a corporate lawyer. Like everyone else, Fiona has good days and bad days, but whenever she reaches a low point she reminds herself of how she dealt with challenges in the past. You never know – you might surprise yourself with your own strength.

  1. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Fiona was terrified of using crutches to navigate the busy city of London, but with some patience and practice, Fiona mastered getting around with crutches. The next mobility challenge was when she got her first prosthetic leg. To push herself, she signed up for a charity bike ride in Vietnam and began to teach herself how to cycle with her new prosthetic. Starting with the quiet streets of her London neighborhood and moving on to train for the ride by commuting to and from work by cycling. Through the commute, Fiona had to abandon her crutches (they couldn’t quite fit on her bike) and this pushed her to master walking with her prosthetic. Step by step, Fiona overcame her fear of relearning how to move. She even did another charity bike ride in Peru.

  1. Always get good travel insurance.

A difficult reality to accept is that sometimes people make it through accidents out of sheer luck – something that Fiona recognizes about her own survival of the tsunami. Had it not been a speedboat that whisked her out of the danger zone and her travel insurance plan that covered an airlift to a hospital in Bangkok, it is possible that Fiona would not have made it through. Fiona now lives as normal and humble a life as possible, but reminds us that we should never overlook travel insurance when booking our next holiday.

Fiona now lives in Hong Kong with her two children and continues to work as a corporate lawyer while making it a mission to give back through work with NGOs, CSR initiatives, and helping people less fortunate. Notably, she is a member of the 2018 TEDxTinHauWomen organizing committee. To meet her in person, attend our next event. Tickets on sale here: http://pelago.me/TEDxTinHauWomen


#TEDxTinHauWomen #ShowingUpNow


Retold by: Roseanne on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen


Why Women’s Voices Matter

Women play an integral role in the making of our upcoming annual TEDxTinHauWomen event on Nov 30. Here we will identify the root causes for initiating this movement involving women around the world and what we have yet to accomplish.

Women represent half of the world’s population, and rightfully demand representation in the workplace, in governments, and in relationships – but there are countless examples showing that this is far from reality. The feminist movement has paved the way for tremendous improvements in the law with relation to women’s rights, but there still persists significant gender inequality for many. This is evident in many instances like the gender pay gap, hiring discrimination between men and women, and persistent male dominance in table conversations. The perception that people have about the capabilities of women needs to change, so that women’s voices are no longer interrupted or ignored.

Women’s voices are equally as important and while no one will disagree – the masculine-oriented culture that exists in many parts of the world results inequality, often unnoticed by many members of society. The planning and actual TEDxTinHauWomen conference on Nov 30 by 30 plus women serves as an open platform for women to bring forth unique and helpful perspectives to the Hong Kong community. The role of women in global issues like public health, in businesses and innovation has shifted into the foreground and it is vital that we encourage women that are #ShowingUpNow to foster this movement for the long run. Our organizing committee and the speakers are highly-educated, passionate and making phenomenal contributions to the development of different sectors of society – their voices require more attention now than ever. Join us in #Showingupnow on October 30

Group photo


Buy tickets here: http://pelago.me/TEDxTinHauWomen

Written by: Nikita on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen


6 Reasons Why You Should Attend TEDxTinHauWomen’s “Showing Up Now!” on November 30

Summary: Never heard of TED or TEDx events? Or you need to convince your friend to attend TEDxTinHauWomen with you? Here are 6 reasons WHY you should consider “showing up” on November 30th for a life-changing afternoon!

Did you know that each day there are an average of 8 TEDx events happening around the globe? Maybe you’ve never heard of TEDx events, or maybe you’ve heard of them but don’t understand why you should attend. Here are 6 reasons WHY you should consider “showing up” on November 30th for a life-changing afternoon!

1. Showing up for… the amazing speakers!

Every TED and TEDx event boasts a uniquely curated line-up of speakers. The TEDxTinHauWomen organizing committee put in hours in selecting and interviewing the potential candidates, and the selected speakers put in months of effort to fine-tune their inspiring stories. We are proud to present a mix of influential speakers who are active drivers of social, cultural, industrial and personal innovation in the Hong Kong community.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the some of mind-blowing speakers from last year’s event: Liza Avelino – Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong who followed her dreams to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Tricia Yap – former MMA Fighter turned coach and entrepreneur, Hillary Yip – a 12-year old CEO of an education startup sharing her perspectives of schooling in Hong Kong alongside her mother, just to name a few. Check out their talks from last year here!

Reason 1

2. Showing up for… the audiences

Who doesn’t like to be surrounded by other intellectually-curious people? Each year, 400 people from all walks of life join the TEDxTinHauWomen event, and I assure you that they will enthrall you with their enthusiasm and inspirations.

We purposefully include breaks in between talks so you will rub shoulders with the speakers and diverse audience members. The venue is also designed to encourage movement and conversation. Luckily, everyone is keen on sharing their ideas so you are encouraged to start up a conversation with the person sitting beside you!

Reason 2

3. Showing up to… be challenged intellectually and emotionally

TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design” – and it is a must for every TED and TEDx Talk to cover one of those areas. However, there is so much more you’ll hear and experience during the event than just that. Be prepared to be surprised, break a laugh, feel moved and perhaps even shed a tear!

4. Showing up for… a meaningful cause

TEDxTinHauWomen is a self-organized and non-profit event. All our proceeds and sponsorship go towards holding the annual event itself and to 3 charities we support each year. You will have a chance to interact with these charities at our event and further understand their causes and how you may help.

The whole event is run by a team of passionate volunteers who have dedicated months of their free time to making this incredible event possible. Each believes in the power of creating a sustainable platform for women around the world.

Reason 5

5. Showing up for… possibilities!

TEDxTinHauWomen is not an ordinary seminar where everyone sits for a few hours and listens to a panel of speakers. We strive to create new experiences throughout the event – be it watching a live-stream from Palm Springs, learning about a new cause through the specialized booths, or connecting with a new friend in the lovely space. No matter what, you will to take away “something” that will not be available after the event!

6. Showing up for WOMEN IN HONG KONG!

TEDxTinHauWomen is the only women-dedicated TEDx community in Hong Kong. By attending the event, you’re making a personal statement to show up for women in Hong Kong.

We hope to draw attention towards and spark actions addressing the lesser-known (or purposefully covered-up) topics surrounding this community. By attending, you’re demonstrating to those around you that “Showing Up for Women” matters and you are part of that change.

Are you ready to join us for mind-opening journey?  Get your Tickets today at pelago.me/TEDxTinHauWomen!

#TEDxTinHauWomen  #Showingupnow

Written by: Yvonne on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen

Introducing 2018 TedXTinHauWomen venue – the sky is not the limit!

With an amazing line up this year, the TedxTinHauWomen committee knew we had to find a venue that was just as incredible as our speakers who are Showing Up Now…! with ideas worth spreading.

We’re pleased to say that we’ve found somewhere up to the task – Sky100.

Sitting at the top of ICC, Hong Kong’s tallest building, Sky100 gives sweeping 360° views and offers a dynamic and unique space.  And what better way to pay homage to our namesake Tin Hau, Goddess and Protector of the sea, than with a breathtaking view of Victoria Harbor.

We chose “Tin Hau” – an indigenous goddess of the sea (and deity icon in Hong Kong) meant to protect fishermen and sailors.”  In Hong Kong, there are approximately 100 Tin Hau temples spread throughout the city. TEDx events are community-driven and must be named after a local area such as the name of a city, neighborhood, street.

Be ready to be inspired not just by the iconic HK skyline, but by the powerful stories and ideas that will be shared on the stage.  From this high up, you can’t help but see the city from a new perspective, which is what TedXTinHauWomen is all about – appreciating ideas and approaching issues from another point of view.

Early Bird Tickets on SALE now – looking forward to seeing you all there!

#TEDxTinHauWomen #ShowingUpNow 

Author: Fi on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen

Showing Up Now: Our Theme for 2018 TEDxTinHauWomen Event

TEDxTinHauWomen will be hosting its second annual event on November 30, bringing another round of exciting talks to our Hong Kong audience. As preparations go into full swing, we are excited to announce the theme of our event this year, “Showing Up Now,” which will inform each and every aspect of our programming.

What Does Showing Up Now Mean?

This year’s theme puts the spotlight on how women worldwide are taking matters into their own hands, showing up for themselves and others to catalyse change in their communities. We will look at ways in which women stand up and make a real difference. In our fast-paced world, it is becoming vital that we respond in real-time, thus the emphasis on “Showing Up Now”. This theme underscores the urgency for women to make an impact.

How Will This Year’s Event Explore Showing Up?

The theme has endless possibilities for interpretation and discussion. It provokes questions like: Are we truly present when we show up for others?

Do we show up on time?

Are we showing up genuinely?

Why do we show up?


Our talks this year should prompt you to consider:

What matters to you?

What do you care about?

And more importantly, are you showing up for it?

Whether you are showing up to an equal rights march, to help your mom out at home, or to take some time out for yourself – these are all ways you can create a positive impact and achieve a sense of purpose. The speakers this year will be showing up on stage for an idea that they truly care about and think is worth spreading, which should inspire you to take action yourself. For all of you that want to be motivated by fresh perspectives, mark your calendars for this year’s TEDxTinHauWomen event on November 30th. Take our word for it, it will be worth it to show up!

Early bird tickets are on sale NOW! Hurry up and book your tickets at pelago.me/tedxtinhauwomen 

Author: Nikita Agrawal on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen

A Letter from the Co-Chairs

Hello amazing attendees!

We are delighted to have you join us for our inaugural event. As you will learn from our bios, we have been doing this for some time. This, however, is our first year in Hong Kong and the response from the organising committee, speakers, sponsors, community partners and participants has been incredibly positive. What does that tell us? In bustling Hong Kong, so many of us want to support one another, want to inspire one another, want to learn from one another and want to live the best life possible. There is a genuine desire for connection, community and positive stories of women and girls making change in our city.

We are thrilled to be here with you. Our committee, speakers, sponsors and community partners are more than anything we could have asked for. Please take the time to meet them, say hello and thank them for making this all possible.

We would also like to make a special mention to our Head of Marketing and Communications, Daniella Lopez, who we were so fortunate to have join us from Shanghai and Emma Burton, our Chief Operations Officer, who made us look good, and kept us organized to make today possible.

So, welcome to the TEDxTinHauWomen family. You attendance, support, and willingness to join in the conversation are why we are here and do this. Today is about exploring, laughing, crying, connecting and welcoming this new community. In the spirit of ideas worth sharing, please enjoy TEDxTinHauWomen “Bridges: Two Become One”.

Jen Flowers
Co-Chair TEDxTinHauWomen
Head of Operations, TEDx Licensee

Jen Flowers

Stefanie Myers
Co-Chair TEDxTinHauWomen
Head of Curation and Community

Bio_Pics _0010_Stefanie Myers

See you tomorrow! Registration starts at 1pm, PMQ

Hello everyone!

After four months of meetings, planning and rehearsals, we are ready to go!

We cannot wait to see you all tomorrow and welcome you to the TEDxTinHauWomen community. We wanted to share some important information if you did not get the email last week…

Friday, 3 November 2017

We will start on time, so please come early (and make sure you get a good seat!)

1:00 – 1:45 Registration and light refreshments
1:45 – 3:15 Session One
3:15 – 4:00 Coffee Break & Networking
4:00 – 6:00 Session two
6:00 – 7:00 Cocktail Reception

PMQ – both the Qube and the marketplace/courtyard.
Lots of stairs between the 2 to help you keep fit (!) but also an elevator and wheelchair access.
Please let us know if you need additional support. We’re here to help.

First come, first seated. There are no assigned seats, although there is a VIP section and regular seating. As such, we cannot guarantee the same seats for Session One and Session Two.

Your ticket has been emailed to you. Print it out, have it open on your device in any format – we don’t mind, but make sure you bring it. No ticket, no entry.
Look for an email that says: Pelago Event Registration: TEDxTinHauWomen
We’ll scan the QR code for entry
You’ll then receive a bracelet that you need to wear all day to enter the different areas and retrieve your amazing gift bag.

NOTE: These tickets are transferable so you can send on to someone else if you can no longer attend. Once scanned, however, the QR code is no longer active so it cannot be duplicated. Also, if you bought this ticket under your email or passed along – please make sure to forward this so they have the latest details.



6 reasons to attend the inaugural TEDxTinHauWomen event in Hong Kong on 3 November 2017

  1. You may never climb Kilimanjaro yourself; you may never even have contemplated doing so.  But when you hear of how a Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong followed her dreams all the way to the top of some very big mountains, you may re-examine your priorities. You may even get off the couch and start hiking this city’s many incredible trails. Ma On Shan, anyone?
  2. She has a high-powered job at a global investment bank. She is a full-time working mother of two. She has worked across two continents, travelled the world, is a dedicated yoga practitioner and a few years ago lost a leg. She is the walking embodiment of the fact that people cannot be broken.
  3. Opera is not everyone’s cup of cha. One of our speakers disagrees – she thinks everyone can learn to appreciate and enjoy it (hopefully even love it) if they know how – if it’s accessible; if it’s pared back; if it is modernized; if it is fun; even if it is accompanied by your favourite tipple if that’s what makes you hum.
  4. An 11 year old CEO driving cross cultural learning. Need we say more?
  5. It’s not about giving anything up, it’s about trading up. This is not retirement planning advice or about buying your next car. From this speaker, it’s about turning your life around, one mouthful at a time.  
  6. It is said that nothing binds a group of women together than mass loathing of their personal trainer. This speaker took that inner rage and turned it into one of HK’s most successful fitness groups, while starting a women-only health and wellness community.  


Oh yes, and if that isn’t enough, we’re also live streaming direct from TEDWomen in New Orleans. You’ll see it here first. (See the speaker line up here).  

Find us on Facebook: @TedxTinHauWomen

Tickets available here.

Written by: Nicola Apostolis

Join HK’s TEDxWomen community


We build them, we cross them, and sometimes we even burn them… at TEDWomen 2017 and TEDxWomen events around the world, we will explore the many aspects of this year’s theme: Bridges. TEDWomen 2017 will convene in the historic Orpheum Theatre in New Orleans, with plans to capture the unique attractions that make New Orleans one of the most visited cities in the US. You can see the TEDWomen 2017 speaker line-up here.

At the TEDxTinHauWomen event on 3 November at PMQ in Hong Kong we’re also live streaming direct from TEDWomen in New Orleans to bring the wider TEDWomen and TEDxWomen communities together.

TED women.jpg

Want to be a part of Hong Kong’s new TEDxWomen community? Join us for the inaugural event –  TEDxTinHauWomen 2017: ‘Bridges – Two Become One’ 

Tickets are still available here.

Website: TedxTinHauWomen.com

Find us on Facebook: TedxTinHauWomen

And on Instagram: @TEDxTinHauWomen

Written by: Nicola Apostolis


An expert’s guide on getting the afternoon off to attend TEDxTinHauWomen

You could fake it, sure, but here are our top 5 reasons guaranteed to start the conversation about taking the afternoon off :

# 1  It’s not actually taking the afternoon off in the traditional sense. There will be no lying on beaches, or sipping cocktails (not until 7pm anyway). This is intellectual debate and stimulation at its best. You will meet articulate people who challenge you. You will encounter questions like “So how are you changing the world?” (I kid you not – I was asked that by an attendee at the last TEDx event I attended in Hong Kong and it still haunts me.) You may have your perceptions shattered or your views endorsed. You may come as one person and leave as another. You will definitely meet a lot of very interesting strangers who may change the way you think. You will definitely want to change the world. The lessons learned can only be good for how you conduct yourself in your next sales meeting or pitch.


# 2 Diversity is a business imperative. It is not simply a gender thing. It is an age, experience, cultural, socio-economic, educational thing. Ultimately, it is about workforce intelligence and harmonizing the strength and thinking of a diverse set of employees. In any organization or business that wants to thrive, diversity and inclusion are no longer ‘nice to haves’ and there is no better way to explore this all important concept by doing so live, in the room, in real time, at TEDxTinHauWomen.  Thereafter, you’ll be someone on the forefront of change in your company, either helping furthering the diversity agenda of your organization or getting one onto the table.

# 3 “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” Many a Fortune 500 CEO and hedge fund founder knows this to be true. You have to be out there, with your boots on the ground, doing the work at hand. You have to continually learn in order to be a better leader, stay in touch with customers, know how things operate in the real world. This gives you insight, and insight leads to having an edge; and in this hyper-competitive world in which we operate, having an edge can be the fine line between success and failure.  By attending, you will be removing yourself (for at least one afternoon) from a dangerous place and broadening your horizons.

# 4 Doing a TED Talk is not a pitch-up-and-chat-to-strangers. It is a carefully crafted and rehearsed 18 minutes of excellence in front of a live audience. There is no better environment in which to hone your own communication skills than by watching others do it well – others who have practiced and practiced to say something important, leaving the audience with an ‘idea worth spreading’. No matter what your role, grade or job title, everyone can benefit from hearing great public speakers. In fact, it should be part of your company’s mandatory skills training programme …

# 5 Lean in! You are taking your learning and development into your own hands which demonstrates passion and initiative. At a time of deep divide when the world needs people to come together and debate sensibly and with dignity on the issues that matter most, a single Friday afternoon out of the office could be the spark that changes our world.

There should be no manager on earth who can provide a sensible counter argument to any of the above; and if there is, we would like you to invite them to join you at TEDxTinHauWomen to experience it for themselves.

Did I hear someone say ‘teambuilding activity’ …?

Tickets on Sale here.

Written by: Nicola Apostolis