Exhilarating. Simply exhilarating. I cannot think of another word to describe the feeling of actually standing on a TEDx stage and delivering a TEDx talk. I write this before I get the opportunity to watch my video back, but I deliberately write it now so as not to be desponded from the cringe-effect that watching yourself delivers.

I found out in April this year that I was chosen to do a TEDx Omagh talk. I was excited and proud and full of anticipation. As the months rolled on, I gave my topic much thought and wrote my thoughts on paper and on my phone on the go. I had a concept but I hadn't crafted it to a TEDx talk format. This takes work. Lots of work.

I finally decided upon my topic and I was happy with it. It felt right and it felt like a theme that fitted in with the TEDx Omagh theme: Transforming Our Future.

Upspeaking. Standing Up To Talking Down

This theme surprised many when I delivered my topic. Given my profession in digital marketing and social media everyone expected to me to deliver a business topic. However, I chose to deliver a personal topic.



Here's a snippet.....

JSB TEDx Omagh Talk - My interpretation of the voice

JSB TEDx Omagh Talk - My interpretation of the voice

Right throughout the process of preparing for my TEDx talk I kept in regular contact with TEDx Omagh Curator, Matthew Beaumont. The curator's role is more than event management in my view. The success of any TED or TEDx event hinges on the speakers and the quality of their address and delivery. Therefore, I knew in my own mind I didn't want to let Matt, the attendees or the TED founders down. So I kept in touch with Matt and sent him my thoughts, views, queries, stresses and eventually my final address to review and give feedback on. He was a fantastic mentor and I credit him for getting me over the TEDx line. Thanks also to Catherine who managed the social media accounts and who is equally super helpful and positive.

I was third on the line-up which meant I wouldn't have to wait too long to have my 15 minutes of TEDx fame. Admittedly I was extremely nervous, stressed, anxious but I was determined to keep my cool when taking to the stage. I winked at TEAM JSB in the second row and off I walked. Once on I took the mic and announced to the audience that "I am taking a deep breath now." And so I did. I also of course gave them my Twitter handle (even though we were wifi challenged).

I describe being on a TEDx stage as a little 'out-of-body' - I was in the zone and all I had visualised I tried to deliver. I cannot comment on the outcome until I see the video.

I enjoyed this day more than most of the days ever in my life.

TEDx Omagh is up there with babies, marriage and graduations.

Speaking of family - Tom, Sophie and little BobbyB made the trip from Galway to support me. Tom and Sophie were also the only two people (apart from Matt Beaumont) who got sight of my TEDx talk and their words of encouragement meant that I would deliver it as I wrote it and as I felt it. Thanks guys. BobbyB is already preparing his TED talk - so watch this space.

Sophie, Tom, little BobbyB and JSB at TEDx Omagh

Sophie, Tom, little BobbyB and JSB at TEDx Omagh

TEDx Omagh

BobbyB loving TEDx Omagh and looking forward to his own TED future

Sophie, JSB & BobbyB

Sophie, JSB & BobbyB


My message was all about using your voice, the power of the voice and the ruthlessness of the voice when it's used to talk down. So I was #upspeaking.


Apart from delivering my own address, I had the opportunity to listen to each and every one of the 16 other speakers. I would like to pay tribute to each and every other speaker who entertained, inspired, educated and challenged our thinking. You were amazing.

In order of appearance:

Lord Alderdice, Jim Breen, Ben Smithwell, Carol Brill, Anita Dennison, Samantha Kelly,  Josh Bachynski, Martin Dowson, Terry McHugh, Liam O'Neill, Siobhan O'Neill, Maria Walsh, Emer Maguire, Dermot Devlin and Catherine Brogan. Well done to Nick O'Sheil of Omagh Enterprise Centre who MC'd the proceedings.

TEDx Omagh Speakers

Some of the TEDx speakers: Left to right - Dermot Devlin, Siobhan O'Neil Emer Maguire, Carol Brill, Anita Dennison, Samantha Kelly, Catherine Bogan, MC Nick O'Sheil, JSB, Ben Smithwell and Martin Dowson






A big shout out to Dermot Devlin, Samantha Kelly and Carol Brill who were stalwarts of support on the day.

Samantha Kelly aka Tweeting Goddess, JSB and Carol Brill

Samantha Kelly aka Tweeting Goddess, JSB and Carol Brill

Joanne Sweeney-Burke and Dermot Devlin

With Dermot Devlin, founder of My Way Access, Disability campaigner and all round friend and legend. Here we are waiting for our audience to arrive :)












To Nicola Taggart who did my hair and make-up (along with some of the other ladies) it was something less to think about!

TEDx Face

TEDx Face

Here are some of the photos from the event. Thanks to everyone who came along and I hope you enjoy my TEDx talk - which will feature on this blog post when it's live.