Talking about diversity & inclusion, as a young public speaker
Being a young speaker in the industry can be daunting.
Imposter syndrome. Feeling as if you’re out of your depth because of your age. Self-doubt about whether you can stand side by side with veteran speakers.
Those were the doubts I had when I first started my journey. But now, after delivering 2 TEDx talks at 21-years-old, and being given platforms to speak on, I realise that our greatest strength lies in our diversity. That when we embrace that, we add unique value to any audience.
Being a first-generation migrant born in Bangladesh, and raised in Australia, the feeling of being different is all too familiar. But as I grow older and experience more of life, I’ve come to understand that embracing the discomfort of being different is what brings confidence.
Confidence to speak on stages in front of thousands. Confidence to stand up for your values and identity. The confidence to empower the idea that age is no barrier, but an opportunity.
I am a firm believer that there is no right time to get started on any venture. There’s only a right attitude.
If you come from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, lean into that. Your struggles with racism, perspective on the importance of culture, and how that can resonate with the emotions of audiences are critical. Lived experience is fundamental in how captivated an audience feels. I felt that when I delivered my TEDx talk and had members of the audience come to me after the event and utter the words, “Thank you for saying what I always wanted to say but was never brave enough to”.
There may be obstacles that are extensive because of your age, but there are also opportunities as extensive on the other side.
Diversity and inclusion is about being bold and disruptive.
It is about being a role model that can engage with many communities that feel the same way. It is about giving a voice to those who feel voiceless.
2021 was a difficult year, and we had to learn resilience the hard way. Irrespective of the battle, I learned that it becomes easier to bounce back when we realize who we are and all the battles we have fought before. Realizing that our identity and diversity is powerful enough to change lives.
Be proud of who you are and where you come from. Let us celebrate diversity from the top of our lungs.