Inspired & empowered at TEDxSydney.

A number of M&C Saatchi staffers soaked up the inspiration at client TEDxSydney this year. Here’s some key take-outs – from edible ants to poo that powers – via three of our attendees.

Chiquita King, M&C Saatchi Group Head on Optus

It was an absolute privilege to listen to a few human truths.

The first speaker, inspirational neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo spoke about how hope is such an essential ingredient for life and our survival.

He referenced a powerful story about a quadriplegic patient of his and how he thought operating on her would only prolong her death and not extend her quality of life.

Her response taught him a valuable lesson: “How dare you tell me what quality of life is for me!” She went on to say that the longer she lived, the more opportunity she would have to impart her life experience and knowledge to her daughters and watch them grow into adults. This was her simple definition of quality of life. I thought to myself, isn’t it for all of us?

One of my favourite speakers was Dylan Alcott Paralympic gold medalist who made the point that no matter what life throws at you, people have a choice to become the best versions of themselves. A powerful reminder.

Richard Bourke, a death row lawyer, spoke about the resulting unparalleled dignity and beauty when people choose to save lives instead of ending them. Even the lives of those we may despise.

Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside received a standing ovation from the audience after his delivery that simply urged us all to Stand up for justice! Always.

Nadine Champion, Martial Arts Sensei and undefeated fighter, closed out the day with a beautifully humble address. Her mum gave her a sticker when she was young that read “Girls can do anything” which she believed to be gospel from that day on.

She shared all the lessons her chosen profession has taught her and I was surprised by how all of them resonated with me.

“I found out what I was made of. For real.”

“It doesn’t hurt any less if you close your eyes. Sometimes, you just need to take it on the chin.

“Sometimes you just need 10 seconds of courage to take on the things that scare you the most. If you can push through that, you’ll be fine!”

She went on tell us about her recent survival from cancer. She is so courageous and endowed with the most exquisite dose of humility and perspective.

There were two recurring themes from all the speakers.

First, most people who have achieved anything significant have been driven by a desire to prove their respective critics wrong. It’s quite incredible how our biggest detractors can fuel our desire and tenacity for success.

Second, there are many of us with a heartfelt desire to make sense of our purpose in the world and our reason for being.

Plenty to think about.

Sharon Lewis, MAKE Executive Producer

Purpose, it only takes one person to have a conscious purpose, and to start making a change in the world.

Orthopaedic Surgeon/Writer Munjed Al Muderis, was an absolute inspiration, and yet so humble. No matter what is thrown at him in life, he continues to beat the odds and focuses on innovation through robotics and humans. An incredible human being.

Compost toilet king Hamish Skermer changed my perception about ‘poo’, and how human waste is actually an incredibly valuable resource that should be harnessed to save our other precious and natural resources that are growing scarcer by the day.

Edible Ants sprinkled on buttered bread…. as if they were salt. Now I’ve seen everything!

Shannon Bell, RE Head of Verbal Branding

Nature conservationist Chris Darwin , great grandson of Charles Darwin, suggested if we all ate meat just four times a week we’d solve the problem of land clearing for cattle, one of the biggest drivers of climate change.

Tega Brain is an artist who is both convinced and convincing that engineering creative systems that use resources more efficiently is possible, we might just need to adjust our cultural expectations a little.

And It will take more than ARIA chefs to make bugs taste appetising.