Get to know the accomplished individuals who will present at the TEDxGreenville conference on April 8th! In this series, writer Jennifer Oladipo asks some compelling questions.
Kenya Jackson-Saulters is an author, speaker, and founder of the Outdoor Journal Tour, a personal development experience which uses outdoor adventure, meditation and writing as tools for self discovery.
What was the last idea, big or small, that you thought was an idea worth sharing?
A few years ago, I became fixated on which stars were bigger than the sun. First I discovered Betelgeuse, then Rigel, then VY Canis Majoris. Each of these stars is billions of times bigger than the sun. Knowing this changed my entire idea of God and spirituality. I realized that there is no way that anything I could ever hope for was impossible in a universe that had given birth to objects so huge they can only be measure in light years. My mind was blown, and I continue to share this idea with the women I work with.
How does your work or art affect the way you see yourself?
Honestly, I feel most empowered when I am in my element. My work makes me feel useful, grounded, and spiritual. My work has also allowed me to see myself as a whole person— one who can make mistakes and still be powerful and perfect. In many ways, my work has made me much gentler on both myself and others.
In 2013, I volunteered at TEDxPeachtree. Before that time, I had very little knowledge of the TEDx program. My experience, however, was so incredible that I became an avid listener of other TED and TEDx videos. I’d always hoped that one day I could grace the mainstage, but it was definitely a surprise when I was nominated. I am attracted to TEDxGreenville because of its geographical location. It’s right in the middle of the deep south and southeast, which I anticipate will lend itself to an interesting mix of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives. That excites me as a presenter.
What is your favorite TED talk and why?
At the risk of sounding trite, I would have to say Brené Brown‘s first vulnerability talk is still my favorite. That talk inspired me to be more authentic in the way that I showed up in my work and in my life. It really challenged me to be transparent and honest about my motivations, which helped me develop a deeper understanding and compassion for the women I work with. Now, I’ve built a program that meets people where they are without the shame of over emphasizing the space between “here” and “there.” That talk also inspired me to craft a new brand of self-help — one that isn’t so hyper focused on positivity that it denies the presence and importance of real true human emotion.
Have you ever been lost in the woods? What’s your trusted navigation tool?
This an interesting question, especially since I am the CEO of an organization that routinely leads women on nature hikes as a form of self-discovery. Because of that, however, I have actually never been lost in the woods. I make it a point to know my way, since I’m leading others. However, if I am lost in the woods, the first thing I am reaching for is my cell phone. On the off chance my cell phone doesn’t work, I would look to the sun. The sun will always tell you which way to go.
For more information about Kaleidoscope speakers and performers, visit our 2016 presenter page, where extended bios are available. The April 8th event is sold out, but watch for details about our free live feed.