WOMEN empowerment is an endless topic and nothing boosts a women’s confidence more than being given an international platform to inspire others with their own stories.

This year’s TEDxKLWomen, held in collaboration with TEDWomen in Monterey, California, — for the third consecutive year — was presented and curated by WOMEN:girls or Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kendiri Wanita dan Gadis.

Taking place at the observation deck of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), over 200 participants and volunteer enthusiasts came together to discuss inspiring issues like self-worth, career building, and boldness in decision-making.

The programme this year was themed ‘Momentum’ which ideally is all about pushing participants to explore bold ideas that creates momentum in how we think, live and work. It is also to help participants to focus on how ideas define velocity for each goal and ambitions to be achieved.

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Participants of TEDxKLWomen taking the initiative to break the ice while travelling to the event venue. — TEDxKLwomen pic

All participants moved together to the event venue via KLIA Express and along that half an hour train ride, they were encouraged to get to know each other and be inspired with the new findings about the person.

To be honest, there was nothing new to that but it has always been refreshing to just see a bunch of strangers and this case, people who are keen on improving their lives and ever ready to draw inspiration from anything, making a move to approach strangers and striking up encouraging conversations.

Six speakers — Adelaine Foo (The Otomotif College Sdn. Bhd. Founder & CEO), Alina Amir, (Founder of Arus Academy), Grace Amey-Obeng (Founder of FC Group, Women & Children’s Right Advocate) together with her daughter, Babra Shika Obeng (FC Group, Executive Director), Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun (International Consultant & Author) and Eureka Foong (UX Researcher, Piktochart) — were given 15 minutes or less to tell their story during the event proper at KLIA.

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Adelaine Foo shared extremely personal stories of her life which she draws inspiration from during the TEDxKLWomen Talk. — TEDxKLwomen pic

All of us were in awe when we listened to Adelaine Foo. Who would have thought a CEO ranked woman like her would take up the stage and share extremely personal stories like how selfish she was and how she thought of aborting one of her child just build her career.

She not only reminded us to not waste time in searching for the best platforms in life and build a good career along it but also to never disregard those who are close to us.

Listening to Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun who was a former lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on raising your self-worth by style-switching — maintaining the femininity instead of adapting a masculine approach when climbing up the rank — was a stirring experience.

Mother-daughter team from Ghana, Grace Amey-Obeng and Barbra Shika Obeng spoke about their “Tutsi Project” that offers mentoring and training opportunities to hundreds of young rural girls who were exploited in child prostitution.

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Mother-daughter team from Ghana sharing their stories on Tutsi Project – a rural empowerment project for girls. — TEDxKLwomen pic

They shared heart-warming and some unbelievable stories on how they were chased out from a village for telling the girls there that they have choice from being exploited and to pursue a quality life. They also spoke on how the children’s parents were not happy when their daughters wanted to go to school and couldn’t find money to support the family by selling their bodies.

Participants and the media was also given the opportunity the watch The Game Changer documentary screening by Indrani Kopal, a Malaysian filmmaker based in New York who recently won the best Student Documentary at the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase in Cannes Film Festival.

There was also another inspiring moment when we learnt about a middle-aged dance teacher who decided to take her art into a male prison and taught them how to deliver their stories through dance.

It was late by the time the event ended but none of the women there were sighing from a long-day’s work.

I will have to say that this year’s TEDxKLwomen made us reflect on what we we’ve done with our lives and if we’ve done enough, not just for ourselves but for those surrounding us.

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