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Recently I was asked to share my experience of TEDxEuston, it wasn’t hard to do.  It was a great experience.  Nonetheless, here is my testimonial of #myTEDxEustonStory (think you can find other stories with that hashtag on FB and Twitter).

cathytedx

I share my experiences, my lessons learnt, from rising up the corporate ranks to trying to grow a business in Africa because I believe we all find lessons in everyone’s experiences. But when TEDxEuston asked me to speak on their stage, I was beyond ecstatic, if not a little afraid.

TEDxEuston is all about Africa. The Africa we wish the world would see. The Africa that isn’t about the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative, because we know that narrative is yet again a single narrative, but about the many facets of Africa, good and bad. But discussed among like-minded people who share a passion for the continent makes it more of a conversation than a single truth to be believed, no questions asked.

I was humbled. I didn’t know anyone was watching the work I was doing, the work we were doing here in little old Zambia. When you’re trying to be a game-changer, you get lost in the trenches working your butt off that you don’t know that other people have noticed your efforts.

I hope to do work that not only contributes to growing the creative industry in Zambia, but to help make us a better people to develop our country, to lift our people out of poverty. Ultimately, we are the ones who will drive our countries forward, not the government, as we have seen already.

Being able to not only speak to, but engage with, people who share a similar passion and desire for Africa was one of the best experiences of my life. I knew I was not wrong in my thinking, if other people felt the same, understood my truths, then I had to be on the right path.

Having that experience not only encourages you, but gives you the necessary motivation to keep striving to achieve your goals, sometimes pursuing something bigger than yourself is hard, and can be demotivating. The energy in that room, on that one day, is electrifying. It’s a room where different stories, different narratives, many untold, are being shared by us, for us.

Before speaking at TEDxEuston I was inspired by many TED talks (still am), I thought about how many exceptional people there are in the world (still do). I also never realized or thought, how difficult it is to step on that stage and share one thought and explain it in 18 minutes!

While I still feel that I didn’t quite get my point across, I still have people, years later, who have seen the video say it made sense to them and they shared my opinion. That still encourages me.  (The truth of the matter even in conversation I can’t stick to one thought – it evolves!  Sometimes I even forget what my point was…)

The fact that those ideas can happen on one stage and then be shared across the globe through online spaces, that is extremely powerful. It creates discussion, understanding and shared values and beliefs about the potential of Africa – an Africa that can truly rise. TEDxEuston does this in a way that hasn’t been done before – as far as I know. The focus on Africa only is the power of TEDxEuston. Who else has that singular focus and discipline? What else can be more special and important. Yes, that wasn’t a question.

My journey to my goals hasn’t ended, far from it, but speaking at TEDxEuston was a phenomenal step in cementing my future dreams and ambitions. And I met some great people that I still keep in touch with!

In fact the way the TEDxEuston was organized and the way the team connected with me, and mentored me through the process of getting ready to step on the stage, helped me when it came to me helping to organize a business conference here in Lusaka.

So the lessons from TEDxEuston were not just about sharing and connecting my vision with others, but were also so many lessons I learnt, from the other speakers (many of who I continue to follow their work online), to the organisation, to the people in the audience who I had the pleasure to speak to and learn about the great stuff they were doing too. TEDxEuston was so much more than just being a platform for the speakers, but the connections you make as an attendee too!

This is #myTEDxEustonstory.

Watch my TEDxEuston talk below:

 

 

It’s been awhile since I wrote here.  Teetering somewhere between exhaustion, stressed and overwhelmingly busy, I haven’t had much time to blog.  The last few months the emotional roller-coaster that has become my life has continued.  

I don’t want to blog about the things that are still draining me – you might think my life is really that bad!  So I’m going to focus on the things that make me happy.

 As terrible (financially and emotionally) as the Love Games experience was for us, it has helped raise our platform – both as a company, as producers and even as Zambia!  Love Games got picked up by Africa Magic, so now the show is airing across Africa!  How exciting is that?  It’s probably also allowing more people in Zambia (all those who don’t watch ZNBC) to watch it too!  And they get to see the great quality which somehow ZNBC never managed to get right when broadcasting.

If that wasn’t enough to excite us – and it really was – it’s also been picked up in the US and can be seen on Hulu as well as online at Reel African.  Last I heard there was also a Nigerian TV station launching it this month on their channel – all very exciting!  And a few days ago it was announced that Love Games has been nominated for THREE Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards – Best Television Series, Best Video Editor, Best Supporting Actress!  Yay team! 

The success of Love Games, has got us recognised abroad too, and I’m so honored and humbled to have been asked to speak at TEDxEuston, which I did yesterday.

The last few weeks have been so nerve wrecking as I’ve tried to figure out what to talk about.  TEDx talks are so inspiring, how on earth can I do one?!  I’ve focused on something I’m passionate about and just hoped and prayed, for the best!  (That’s for another blog, soon coming) 

We also got to shoot a short spot with the First Lady – that was actually fun – and it was at State House.  It’s great to do things like that every once in awhile.  She was really friendly and all – genuinely so.  It makes you wonder… ehem.  Anyway the end result of the spot looks great! 

After having done what I do for the last 16 years, I’m more passionate than ever about controlling the messages we put out.  Earlier this month we joined forces with IM Studios – and super star producer Mag 44, to produce a song featuring Cleo Ice Queen, Lulu Hangala, Judy-oh and Kantu to address the message we think we should be putting out to women – rise and realise your potential.  Every time this year we recognise the 16 days of activism against gender violence, and while talking about what we could do about it, we asked ourselves, well what do we want women to do about it?  People talk about standing up and joining the fight against this terrible act but then want?

 And if you’ve faced abuse, then what?  

We all really liked that ‘Women are strong’ advert from Sure, so that was our starting point – women are strong.  Let’s pay homage to these strong women, and recognise this strength lives within all of us (women).  Inspired by the Young Lions competition (Cannes Lions Festival), we thought, why don’t we get people in the creative industry to come together on an issue that we think is important and put our creative minds to it – without interference from development organisations and their respective agendas.  

So we’ve started with IM studios and Bongo Hive and hoping to bring in more creatives in the next few weeks.  We feel this is something that can live a long time – until women realise their potential even!  Look out for the song Nyamuka next week and the start of the campaign soon after (I hope!)

As we’re getting to the end of the year, it’s time to focus on next year.  2013 has been a huge learning for me, I can’t underscore all the lessons that have come my way.  I’m learning to focus on the positive and not the negative.  I can complain and whine all day about how unfair life is, on how everything seems to be going wrong blah blah blah, or I can take the lemons and make margaritas from it.  And I do like margaritas!

And I’m learning to be grateful.  This year we have done so much and worked with a great team.  Our focus might have been on Love Games, but we also produced a great video for the Brothers for Life song which aired across the entire three floors of the UNICEF HQ in New York, Love Games travelled and started so many discussions, while also rising the bar for dramas in Zambia.  We got to travel to Luapula to do a documentary for a client, we did the first informercial that set off a chain reaction with other agencies doing their own type of informercials.  Not mentioning the work I’ve already talked about above.  So while my accountant might not be happy with us this year, I’m so grateful for the great products we’ve released.

Take a look at our reel.

Stay Blessed