Culture 31 December 2018
Thrilling, daring ideas are thought of every day. Many hope to share these ideas, beliefs, values or passions with others. Now they can. Former TEDx Producers, Tricia Brouk and Jamie Broderick, have partnered with Iman Oubou, CEO & Founder of SWAAY, to produce Speakers Who Dare - SWAAY The Narrative, a groundbreaking speaker series curated like a Broadway show. Out of a sea of applicants, they will be featuring 20 people with big ideas from across the country.
Former TEDx Producers, Tricia Brouk and Jamie Broderick, have partnered with Iman Oubou, CEO & Founder of SWAAY, to produce "Speakers Who Dare – SWAAY The Narrative." Photo Courtesy of John DeMato.
The inaugural event will take place on March 26, 2019; standup comic, Terri Trespicio, will be hosting. “There's so much conversation that needs to be had, especially those daring conversations, so we're excited about this," Broderick exclaims. This dynamic duo combines intellect with creative content. Broderick is a visibility strategist, business-building mentor and has ignited the start and growth of many businesses. Brouk is an award-winning director and producer who help speakers bring the art of performance to talks. Together they make quite a team. They sat down with SWAAY to share their excitement and what they're looking forward to.
“We're constantly thinking about how to improve, change the narrative, make a difference in the world and give women voices as well," Brouk comments.
Their journey began during their days at TEDxLincolnSquare, where Brouk was Executive Producer and Broderick was Co-Producer. “When Jamie and I came together for the first TEDx, it was called, Risk Takers and Change Makers," Brouk begins. They swiftly answer questions, based on one another's responses. “The last two shows we did for TEDx were sold out and people just could not talk more highly about them," Broderick chimes in. “They were incredible, so we're just taking it up a few more notches from there." After retiring from TED, they decided it was the perfect transition into Speakers Who Dare. As daring women themselves, they wanted to create this theatrical academia, which Tricia has coined, with fewer restrictions than TED. “We're constantly thinking about how to improve, change the narrative, make a difference in the world and give women voices as well," Brouk comments.
Brouk and Broderick allow each other to do their part and make the show come to life. “I am a theatre producer, film maker, a creative, so I am the Executive Producer of the show and of all the talent and the casting," Brouk says. Broderick's role is completely different. “I'm great with community building, marketing, tech, visibility," she smiled. “I create the website map, create all the social media profiles, introduce the speakers to each other and help to fill the seats and put it all together." They make the big decisions without getting in one another's lane to put on a show. “We come at it from different points of view with the same goal, which is to entertain our audience, transform our speakers and build a community," Brouk clarifies.
Speakers Who Dare differs from TED Talks in many ways. Brouk and Broderick emphasize the main difference is their theatrical academia for this series, which makes it one of a kind. This time around, they have more of a creative license and is choosing to give those with daring ideas and voices a platform. “I want to be able to give speakers who are saying the things we are thinking a safe place to do that," Brouk says. Broderick picks up Brouk's answer, to share a few other benefits. “We're not restricted to showing videos during the [event][and] Tricia can put on a whole razzle-dazzle show [that will] take things up a notch," she explains. In addition to their lineup of daring speakers, they want to build a team of sponsors who dare as well. “When a sponsor comes on to Speakers Who Dare, we can promote them [and] that is something you cannot do with TED," Brouk clarifies.
The series will take place in an intimate theatre. It will not only enhance the creative space, but also make the performances intimate. “If you're a Broadway show [or] TED talk lover, you're going to [learn], be inspired by these talks and then be incredibly blown away that you get to see Broadway performers," Brouk says. Performances will take place in the morning and afternoon shows, such as Elphaba singing Defying Gravity from the musical, "Wicked". “If you buy one ticket for the whole day, you get to see all the speakers that have been selected," Brouk excitedly shares.
Though Speakers Who Dare is inclusive of men, it has a female slant. The announced speakers are listed below:
Marc Cordon - A Revolution Of Joy
Mari Carmen Pizarro - The Impact Of The Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling
Jason Harris - The Power Of Storytelling
Dr. Kristina Hallett - Watching A Talk Happen (speaker will ask the audience for an idea)
Tracey Wik - The Influence In A Zip Code
Nydia Han - Creating Community
Rachit Kansal - We Are Abusing Our Planet
Amy O'Neill - A New Way Of Approaching Resiliency
Rocco Cozza - The Practice Of Kindness
Stephanie Simpson - Artists Can Save The World
Theresa Nguyen - Immigration: A Lack Of Access To The American Dream
Jazz Biancci - A Talk Happens (speaker will channel an idea from the audience)
Sarah Nannen - Being A Renegade Widow
Mike Shereck - Man Up
Alexis Fuentes - For The Love Of Hate
Terence A. Monahan - The Importance Of Neighborhood Policing
Tonya Harris - Discrimination And Mental Health
Marla Schultz - Being An Accidental Advocate
George Andriopoulos - Not For Profit
“We wanted to be able to marry an online storytelling platform with an in-person and alive storytelling platform," Brouk starts off. “[On] SWAAY people express themselves in the stories they're telling. Speakers Who Dare is doing the same thing."
In addition to the preview of speakers above, Brouk has also casted two more speakers for the show who will not be coming in prepared with talks. “One of them is going to ask the audience for an idea and talk right there - talk about daring!" she happily expresses. “The other one is a channeler [who is] going to sit down, read the room and then talk."
The speakers not only get to perform, but are also provided with a stylist, photographer, a copywriter, and more. They are required to come to tech rehearsals as Brouk and Broderick plan for the big day. In doing so they can receive feedback and work directly with them. SWAAY is expanding their resources as well.
Each performer also has the chance to write op-eds for SWAAY, as well. “It's about being daring, innovating, creative, [creating an] impact and legacy," Broderick says. “The [speakers] will always be part of our family and our legacy."
PARTNERSHIPS WITH SPONSORS WHO DARE
SWAAY is one of four sponsors who dare. Brouk and Broderick agree that the partnership with this publication is important. “We wanted to be able to marry an online storytelling platform with an in-person and alive storytelling platform," Brouk starts off.
“[On] SWAAY people express themselves in the stories they're telling. Speakers Who Dare is doing the same thing."
In addition to SWAAY, Binge Networks is another sponsor that will be the host of all speaker series content. “There is a Speakers Who Dare TV channel [and it's] important to me because we wanted our speakers to have a greater reach than just YouTube," Brouk says. “It's a massive platform for our speakers." Recorded talks will also be shared on Apple TV, Sony, Roku, Google Play, and more.
The end goal between this dynamic duo is to put on a great show with a great set of speakers. Right now, they are in the process of licensing their brand for upcoming events. “There is a lot of power behind women coming together, collaborating and lifting each other up," Brouk says. “That's what Jamie and I do for each other, for all the people we work with."
“It's about being daring," Broderick says.
“It's about being daring, innovative, creative, [creating an] impact and legacy," she goes on. “The [speakers] will always be part of our family and our legacy."
With so many groundbreaking medical advances being revealed to the world every single day, you would imagine there would be some advancement on the plethora of many female-prevalent diseases (think female cancers, Alzheimer's, depression, heart conditions etc.) that women are fighting every single day.
For Anna Villarreal and her team, there frankly wasn't enough being done. In turn, she developed a method that diagnoses these diseases earlier than traditional methods, using a pretty untraditional method in itself: through your menstrual blood.
Getting from point A to point B wasn't so easy though. Villarreal was battling a disease herself and through that experience. “I wondered if there was a way to test menstrual blood for female specific diseases," she says. "Perhaps my situation could have been prevented or at least better managed. This led me to begin researching menstrual blood as a diagnostic source. For reasons the scientific and medical community do not fully understand, certain diseases impact women differently than men. The research shows that clinical trials have a disproportionate focus on male research subjects despite clear evidence that many diseases impact more women than men."
There's also no denying that gap in women's healthcare in clinical research involving female subjects - which is exactly what inspired Villarreal to launch her company, LifeStory Health. She says that, “with my personal experience everything was brought full circle."
“There is a challenge and a need in the medical community for more sex-specific research. I believe the omission of females as research subjects is putting women's health at risk and we need to fuel a conversation that will improve women's healthcare.,"
Her brand new biotech company is committed to changing the women's healthcare market through technology, innovation and vocalization and through extensive research and testing. She is working to develop the first ever, non-invasive, menstrual blood diagnostic and has partnered with a top Boston-area University on research and has won awards from The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Northeastern University's RISE.
How does it work exactly? Proteins are discovered in menstrual blood that can quickly and easily detect, manage and track diseases in women, resulting in diseases that can be earlier detected, treated and even prevented in the first place. The menstrual blood is easy to collect and since it's a relatively unexplored diagnostic it's honestly a really revolutionary concept, too.
So far, the reactions of this innovative research has been nothing but excitement. “The reactions have been incredibly positive." she shares with SWAAY. “Currently, menstrual blood is discarded as bio waste, but it could carry the potential for new breakthroughs in diagnosis. When I educate women on the lack of female subjects used in research and clinical trials, they are surprised and very excited at the prospect that LifeStory Health may provide a solution and the key to early detection."
To give a doctor's input, and a little bit more of an explanation as to why this really works, Dr. Pat Salber, MD, and Founder of The Doctor Weighs In comments: “researchers have been studying stem cells derived from menstrual blood for more than a decade. Stem cells are cells that have the capability of differentiating into different types of tissues. There are two major types of stem cells, embryonic and adult. Adult stem cells have a more limited differentiation potential, but avoid the ethical issues that have surrounded research with embryonic stem cells. Stem cells from menstrual blood are adult stem cells."
These stem cells are so important when it comes to new findings. “Stem cells serve as the backbone of research in the field of regenerative medicine – the focus which is to grow tissues, such as skin, to repair burn and other types of serious skin wounds.
A certain type of stem cell, known as mesenchymal stem cells (MenSCs) derived from menstrual blood has been found to both grow well in the lab and have the capability to differentiate in various cell types, including skin. In addition to being used to grow tissues, their properties can be studied that will elucidate many different aspects of cell function," Dr. Salber explains.
To show the outpour of support for her efforts and this major girl power research, Villarreal remarks, “women are volunteering their samples happily report the arrival of their periods by giving samples to our lab announcing “de-identified sample number XXX arrived today!" It's a far cry from the stereotype of when “it's that time of the month."
How are these collections being done? “Although it might sound odd to collect menstrual blood, plastic cups have been developed to use in the collection process. This is similar to menstrual products, called menstrual cups, that have been on the market for many years," Dr. Salber says.
Equally shocking and innovative, this might be something that becomes more common practice in the future. And according to Dr. Salber, women may be able to not only use the menstrual blood for early detection, but be able to store the stem cells from it to help treat future diseases. “Companies are working to commercialize the use of menstrual blood stem cells. One company, for example, is offering a patented service to store menstrual blood stem cells for use in tissue generation if the need arises."