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#MeetTheSpeaker – Dallas Pounds

00Truth & Dare

Having trained as a palliative care nurse, Dallas Pounds was appointed CEO of Royal Trinity Hospice in 2013. She was awarded the 2015 ‘Rising Chief Executive Officer’ at the Third Sector Annual Awards in recognition of her leadership and contribution to hospice work. Here, she tells us how she has been preparing for her talk, why death should be considered part of life and the everyday heroes that inspire her in her job.

Dallas Pounds, CEO, Royal Trinity Hospice

 

How are you preparing for your TEDxWandsworth talk?

I’ve spent lots of time reflecting on the topic and deciding what key messages I want to convey. I’ve read, watched TED talks, made notes, written drafts, talked with colleagues and family and generally reconnected with a subject that is always close to my heart and part of my working life. The title of the day, ‘Truth and Dare’, has been good to work with.

 

How did you come up with the idea for your talk?

Death and dying is such a broad subject so chatting with Amman [Abid, TEDxWandsworth co-organiser] and others about their perspective was key.

 

End of life care is still a subject many people don’t want to consider. Why is it important that we think about it?

The truth is that we all die but equally, death feels very theoretical until we are faced with it as a reality. Not daring to talk about it and make plans for this certainty, either for ourselves or someone we are close to, means that so much is left to chance. In turn, this places a great burden on those bereaved, or speaking on behalf of someone without capacity. Coping with the complexities of decision making at a time of huge emotional and physical challenge can adversely affect how we grieve. We need to take back ownership of death, and accept it is a part of living.

 

What was your path into Palliative Care?

I am a nurse by training and very early on in my career I was drawn to care for those facing death and those close to them. I found it a great privilege to be allowed into someone’s life as it reached its end, and wanted to make a difference to the person dying and those left bereaved. I believe a positive experience of someone dying can be life affirming for the living.

 

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired everyday by the people I work with and those we care for. Everyday someone shows immense courage or love or compassion, has an incredible tale to tell, or overcomes a challenge.

 

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert, or an introvert?

I guess I’m extrovert because I love being with people, learning from them and sharing with them.

 

How do you spend your down time?

Down time for me is a mix of busy family and friend activities and quiet walks with my camera, preferable near to water of some sort. I love watching movies, good food and wine.

 

What one thing would you like to know before you die?

That my children are happy and healthy – and of course that they know my wishes!

 

What is your favourite TED or TEDx talk?

I have lots I like but I think my favourite is B J Miller, ‘What really matters at the end of life’. He really is inspirational and talks sense for me.

 

Happiness is…

Knowing you are cared about and having people to care about in return.

Don’t miss Dallas and 15 other ‘Truth & Dare’ speakers at TEDxWandsworth on November 25th. Click here for limited tickets.

Interview by Rosy Edwards

#MeetTheSpeaker – Jane Amelia Harries

00Truth & Dare

Jane A. Harries, Training Consultant, Presenter and Adventurer

 

 

Having qualified as a solicitor and subsequently a chartered tax advisor, Jane Harries traversed the globe in her work as a tax specialist, conducting training courses on topics as diverse as tax technology, risk compliance, and legislative changes. She is now the founder of her own training consultancy and in her spare time, she coach triathletes, has qualified for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships and recently completed the 2017 Marathon des Sables, a seven day, 237 kms, self-supporting race in the Sahara desert. Here, she tells TEDxWandsworth about empowering people, the problem with ‘winning’ and the joy of the great outdoors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are you preparing for your TEDxWandsworth talk?

I read a lot of articles on issues such as empowerment, leadership and change management as part of my work.  Now when reading those articles I’m thinking not just about work scenarios, but how those issues impact upon our personal life.  

 

How did you come up with the idea for your talk?

I’m passionate about helping people achieve their goals. I want people to succeed, so I’ve set up a training consultancy, to help organisations and people be the best they can be, by ensuring the right training, is delivered to the right people at the right time.  

Success is so often labeled as winning yet there can only be one winner. Does that mean the rest of us are failures?  It depends on the context, but in general, absolutely not. We can come second, mid field or even last, and still be a winner who holds their head up high, if we’ve given it our all.

Hopefully my talk will inspire at least one person to go out and pursue a goal they’ve been putting off. It doesn’t matter how big or small that goal is, what matters is that people don’t give up, that they give themselves a chance to achieve their goal.

 

Ultrarunning is the ultimate act of endurance. Can anyone take it up?

My aim in any event I do, is to make both the start line and finish line. Not being last is a bonus.  

Part of the beauty of doing long distance events is that the countryside is so magical – and being slow means I get to spend more time enjoying the scenery. With making the finish line my only aim, I can stop and take loads of photos along the way.  

If I can do it, almost anyone can. Just let your body adapt over a period of time, so you can enjoy the whole journey and don’t accidentally break your body by doing too much, too soon. Long distance hiking is another option if people don’t want to run. In fact, I’m definitely more of a hiker than a runner.

 

How much of the sport is physical and how much is mental?    

For me it’s 50:50. There’s no point in being mega fit (not that I’ve ever been there), if you can’t cope with bad weather, or mud, or heat, or whatever. Likewise, there’s no point in being mentally strong if you’re unfit and can’t cope with the distance, the gradient, or fail to make the cut off times.

 

Who or what inspires you?

Two friends, who are Australian (I lived in Melbourne for a few years). Both have endured a lot of ill health but rather than give up, they have truly embraced life and really make the most of it.   

 

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert, or an introvert?

It depends on the situation.

 

How do you spend your down time?

Down time!  Ha ha… I recently started a business, so between that, upskilling myself and training, there’s not been much downtime this year. Like most people I love spending time with family and friends.  My big indulgence is hiking with my Labrador, particularly if there’s a coffee shop or an ice cream stall at the end.

 

What one thing would you like to know before you die?

That the glass ceiling is no more and that there really is equality of opportunity for men and women worldwide.

 

What is your favourite TED talk?

So many of them are brilliant and have inspired me so it wouldn’t be fair to pick one. I’d probably veer towards something to do with bullying and how it impacts mental health, because it’s such an underrated issue. 

 

Happiness is…

A sunny day hiking in the great outdoors, followed by a good meal with family or friends, whilst my Labrador dozes contentedly by my feet. 

Don’t miss Jane and 15 other ‘Truth & Dare’ speakers at TEDxWandsworth on November 25th. Click here for limited tickets.

Interview by Rosy Edwards

#MeetTheSpeaker – William Wong

00Truth & Dare

William Wong is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Head of the Interaction Design Centre, Middlesex University

Professor William Wong is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Head of the Interaction Design Centre at Middlesex University. He currently plays a leading role in the development of FP7 VALCRI, a technology that looks to revolutionise the way we solve crime. He talks to TEDxWandsworth about the challenge of simplicity, the people who inspire him and eating his way around the world.

How are you preparing for your TEDxWandsworth talk?

I have been trying to write out my thoughts in a coherent manner that is both insightful and entertaining … Figuring out how to explain certain dynamic interaction concepts – and explaining how these interaction techniques affect our reasoning ability, in a way that a well-qualified lay person can understand – is quite a challenge.

How did you come up with the idea for your talk?

We’ve been investigating how the manner in which we design affects people’s ability to reason and to make decisions in order to control some kind of process. I have been involved in this area of work since I first started my PhD back in the 1990s. Since then, we’ve investigated how our designs can affect a variety of professional communities around the world.

We repeatedly see that we can achieve significant improvements in performance if the way we design information is compatible with the strategies that users invoke when solving the problems they face. So, in VALCRI, we want to help police be better at fighting crimes, we want to give them tools that do more than search and retrieval – tools that help analysts make sense of the mysteries buried within masses of data. 

 

AI is still the stuff of fantasy and Hollywood to a lot of people. How can we expect to see it integrating into everyday life?

The problem of solving crime is that very often, the amount of information we have for a case is very limited, and what constitutes the limits is unknowable. Unlike solving puzzles where we have some sense of the boundaries and expectations of how the pieces fit together, in solving crimes, the problem is much more of a mystery, largely because smart criminals don’t leave a trail or if they do, they are intended to deliberately deceive or mislead.

Humans are much better than machines at making ‘guesses’ based on limited data in complex situations. VALCRI takes this perspective – we let the machine do what it is good at i.e. the tedious and repetitive tasks – and let the humans make judgments, for which they can be held to account. Machine learning techniques can be used alongside human expertise to do the heavy lifting of finding what is relevant and needed or associated.

 

Can AI ever replace human intuition and experience when it comes to solving crime?

The problem is not expert intuition, but the lack of tools to help us realise when we arrive at the limits of expert intuition. We need to transition fluidly to the scientific method and empirical analysis to test and evaluate hypotheses generated. 

 

Who or what inspires you?

There are many people. The first is Admiral Willam McRaven, the former commander of US Special Forces Command. He believed that if you wish to lead, you have to communicate your intention to those who follow and it is the same in research.

Steve Jobs once said: “Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

Finally, Gichen Funakoshi, the founder of shotokan karate, who said: “In karate, it is not about winning, but not losing.” I think the same applies in life.

 

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert, or an introvert?

An introvert.  

 

How do you spend your down time?

Watching television (although my kids – who are now 27, 26 and 24 years old) would probably tell you “sleeping” rather than watching!

My wife and I like to travel and often we eat our way through our holiday! 

 

Happiness is…

Time with my family.

Don’t miss William and 15 other ‘Truth & Dare’ speakers at TEDxWandsworth on November 25th. Click here for limited tickets.

Interview by Rosy Edwards

#MeetTheSpeaker – Emma Stroud

00Truth & Dare

Emma Stroud is a business woman, speaker, host, performer, writer and theatre director. Having run a variety of businesses over the past 10 years to varying levels of success, she now counts herself as a comedy performer, performing sell-out shows across the UK. She talks to TEDxWandsworth about having more fun, being more truthful and learning to fly.

Emma Stroud, Leadership Consultant & Comedy Performer

 

How are you preparing for your TEDxWandsworth talk?

I am preparing by asking lots of questions in my day to day world, plus doing lots of background reading on play, fun and joy and the impact it has on us as humans.

 

How did you come up with the idea for your talk?

The idea stemmed from a day I had walking around the streets of London just after Brexit. The response I got was overwhelming; it was clear people want more fun in their world. It has just been developing ever since into this talk and hopefully more!

 

You are an entrepreneur as well as a comedy performer. Are they unlikely bedfellows?

My businesses have always been based on people being their best selves and delivering great messages. Comedy and performing is the way I learn and push myself to be the best, so although they have different outcomes, there are lots of similarities. I believe that businesses should learn from creatives, and vice versa – I am trying to help build that bridge.

 

We have to ask: what’s the idea behind your #bemorebanana hashtag?

The hashtag #bemorebanana came from my day in London. It represents the idea of just being more yourself, and having more fun. It resonated with me and my audience so I have just built upon that.

 

Who or what inspires you?

Courageous people inspire me. Those that are brave enough to keep looking at themselves and keep shifting, changing and growing. Those that are unafraid of being themselves and being truthful.

 

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert, or an introvert?

I am an extrovert without question. 

 

How do you spend your down time?

Down time for me is time with my family (which I am doing right now in Cyprus!) It also involves reading catching up with friends and generally anything fun! 

 

What one thing would you like to know before you die?

I would like to know how to fly a helicopter.

 

What’s your favourite TED talk?

Brenee Brown on vulnerability. Watching that and then reading more of her work helped me get to a place where I am doing my own TEDx talk. 

 

Happiness is…

Happiness is being comfortable in your own skin. (I think I have done very well only adding one banana pun!) Following your true path and getting home for hugs and giggles and an amazing roast dinner. 

Don’t miss Emma and 15 other ‘Truth & Dare’ speakers at TEDxWandsworth on November 25th. Click here for limited tickets.

Interview by Rosy Edwards