presentations

Looking Back…

Cds IMG 0481Here’s another audio recording – this time of a presentation I gave at the Helen Keller Society residential home in March this year. In some ways March doesn’t’ seem that long ago, but in other ways well, let’s just say that it’s almost a lifetime!

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of talking to the residents and answering the diverse questions I was asked afterwards. I was even asked to sing and, of course, my mind went blank and I couldn’t think of a single song! At least I learned from that experience and now always have a song prepared… just in case.

What really startled me when I was editing the recording was that, despite the full recording being over an hour, my actual presentation was just over 16 minutes. It felt a lot longer when I was talking!

It’s also quite an early presentation on this topic, and perhaps a little more introspective than my current speeches about what helped me move forwards with my life following my blindness. It feels more like a conversation with friends than a formal presentation – but that may just be my impression. You’ll have to judge for yourself.

After this speech, the Helen Keller Society invited me to be the guest speaker at their AGM, which I did a few months later… but that’s an entirely different story…

Did I Just Say that???

Cds 2017 04 18 20 49 22Have you ever opened your mouth and been totally flummoxed by what comes out? What? That’s never happened to you? I don’t believe it!

Here’s a link to a presentation I gave about how assistive technology has changed the lives of people with visual impairments… and the challenge of growing the numbers of persons with disabilities in employment. The presentation was given at the AFRINEAD conference I attended in Ghana in August this year.

As for that verbal slip… well, it was more than just a slip… Yes, I truly do know the attack on the Twin Towers in New York was in 2001 and not 2011 … but somehow that’s just what came out on the day!

Hopefully my mistake didn’t detract from the message I was trying to make … You’ll have to listen and judge for yourself!

You Have to be Kidding – Me Doing Tech?

The other day I was finishing off editing a recording I’d made of one of my presentations when I stopped dead in my tracks and realized what I was doing. Now, that may not be a shocking statement to you, but try to see it from my perspective. I… was editing…. A recording…. I had made – me, the woman who revealed in her book, “A Different Way of Seeing: A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an ‘Ordinary’ Life in an Extraordinary Way”, that she had a love-hate relationship with technology and was secretly terrified of breaking the internet… editing a voice recording of a speech totally without sighted help – wow!

I’m not saying I’ve suddenly become a total wizard at technology. Nor am I claiming to have the (to me) remarkable skills that some of my blind friends who are web developers, podcasters, musicians, and assistive technology trainers do… but I feel justified in feeling a little bit proud of my ability to keep learning and growing my skills.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share some of my recordings with you – a few of my speeches and a few radio interviews. Some of those I’ll share will be ones I’ve edited and others will come from other sources.

I hope you enjoy them!

Are You Sure You Want Me to Bring Fiji?

Cds 2017 04 18 20 49 22It was with some surprise that I read the mail inviting me to be a speaker at the inaugural accidentalmuslims.com leadership conference – after all, I’m not Muslim, nor do I know much about the Muslim faith, much to my own embarrassment. However, having learned more about the theme and aims of the conference- developing leadership and living with purpose – , I began to realize that it would be an exciting event for me to speak at.

Here’s how they describe the conference in one of their recent Facebook posts:
“AccidentalMuslims.com is proud to bring you their first Annual Flagship Leadership Conference in Cape Town, together with Old Mutual Investment Group – where they showcase community, career & industry leaders in their fields to inspire you to live with purpose, passion and intentionality.

They believe everybody has a story to tell and that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So come, meet and network with like-minded, passionate and inspiring individuals.”

After all who wouldn’t want to be considered a passionate and inspiring individual with a story to tell?

One of the things I’ve enjoyed as we’ve prepared to take to the stage is the care with which accidentalmuslims.com has supported the speakers. I was encouraged to attend an initial review session where our questions were answered and we were given expert mentoring on our initial speech ideas. This coming weekend I will be participating in a second review session where we will present our talks and receive additional mentoring – and I have no doubt it will be of the same value that I was given at the first review.

One of the questions I raised at the first review was about whether or not it would be appropriate for me to bring my guide dog, Fiji, to the event. I didn’t want to appear disrespectful to the cultural or religious prohibition against dogs. I was assured by the conference organisers that they wanted me to bring Fiji– that the independence I’ve gained through working with Fiji is, in fact, part of what they hope I can teach the attendees about leadership and living with purpose.

The conference takes place at the Baxter Theatre, in Cape Town on 30 September 2017 – for more information or to book your ticket online through Computicket you can use the following link: http://online.computicket.com/web/event/accidentalmuslims_com_convention/1155050885/0/80672916

Buy your ticket now – they’re selling fast! Fiji and I will see you there!

Inspiration and Energy – A Two-Way Stream

Cds 2017 04 22 17 43 22Recently I had the opportunity of speaking at a holiday camp for school learners from one of the schools for visually impaired children. The camp is an annual event organized by the Rainbow Dreams Trust that focuses on building confidence and the awareness of possibilities for the learners. It was the second time I was invited to speak at the event.

I told the group a little about myself and my story, focusing on some of the things I’ve done and the way I use assistive technology to help me do the things I want to. Then I invited them to ask questions. As always, I was amazed at the range of topics they wanted to know about – ranging from my books, working with Fiji, and my process of managing uncertainty when doing something new. Craig also got drawn into the Q&A, with several of the questions being about what it was like for him meeting, and marrying a blind woman and the reactions of his family and friends to that decision. Craig isn’t usually able to attend when I’m speaking so this was an unexpected topic for us both!

I was inspired by the energy and curiosity of the learners and, in turn, hope I managed to inspire them to seize the opportunities that come their way as they transition from school into the next phase of their lives, be it the working world or tertiary education.

I came away from the time spent with the group with a profound understanding that at their best, inspiration and energy are two-way streams and are best when being both given and received in turn.

And let me tell you, seldom has a standing ovation meant so much to me!

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