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ThinkSpace played host to TED Women: Seattle Stream Dec. 7-8. I carved out a few hours from my afternoon and found a rewarding pocket of insights and perspectives streamed live to  a quiet, dimmed conference room in downtown Redmond, Washington.

The afternoon presentation Life’s Symphony included a wide range of speakers, covering cultural influences, television and global issues. Activist and author Courtney E. Martin talked about her desperation after graduating from Barnard College and finding few ways to impart change. Her book Do It Anyway chronicles 8 activists who are bringing a message of change to everyday life. At the end of the day the humanizing force of engagement may outweigh a preconceived notion of success, and it may just be that we must do it anyway, even when the outcome is far from certain.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook, COO talked about the lack of improvement in women’s roles in business and government, a trend she feels can be reversed, but will take longer than expected. In advising women in business, Sandberg was pragmatic, giving personal examples of how she has seen herself and other women inadvertently position themselves in secondary roles. Three points she mentioned for women seeking expanded roles:

1. Sit at the table. Participate at the same level as executives around you.

2. Make your partner a real partner. Share fully and equally with your life partner.

3. Don’t leave until you leave. If you’re still in the room, keep your impact felt.

Writer, healer  and founder of Omega Institute Elizabeth Lesser talked about the mystic and warrior in each of us. She has been suggesting a means of making social change personal by inviting ‘the other’ to meet and seek a genuine exchange without persuading, defending or interrupting. She ended her presentation with this invitation from the poet Rumi-

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing
and  right doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”-Rumi

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