Carlyn Montes De Oca
“The Life Changing Power of the Animal-Human Health Connection”
7th Annual TEDxWilmington Conference // 27 September 2018
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Carlyn Montes de Oca TEDxWilmington Wilmington Delaware TEDx

Meet the Speakers: Carlyn Montes De Oca for TEDxWilmington
Fri. 17 August 2018

One of my goals for 2018 was to do a TEDx talk. Imagine my excitement when TEDxWilmington accepted my application to give a talk in July! Not only was I walking on air, but my family was proud, my friends were excited, and then – the event was canceled.

My excitement vanished like a wildly deflating balloon. To recover, I took an uncharacteristic day off of my book projects and replaced my productivity with a pint of Coconut Bliss vegan ice-cream and several naps to numb my pain.

The next morning I gave myself a pep talk and by that afternoon I was back into the swing of being a full-time author. Although writing, marketing and promoting my books focused my disappointment in a positive direction, the memory of losing my TEDx opportunity remained.

About a month later, I opened my email and caught my breath as I read the words – “The TEDxWilmington tribe is delighted to inform you that you have been officially selected from a large pool of applicants to give a TEDx talk at our 7th Annual Conference on Thursday, September 27, 2018!”

I had been over the moon excited to be selected for the first TEDx event in July, but now my joy felt like it extended into the next galaxy. I realized that when you lose something that means so much to you, having a second opportunity feels that much sweeter. And like a precious gift, you value it that much more. Because of this second chance, I am committed to giving the best talk of my life.

When life hands you a disappointment, don’t dismay. Take a nap, focus on meaningful work, and keep hope alive. A second chance may come when you least expect it.


the TEDx process: Carlyn Montes De Oca for TEDxWilmington
Tue. 4 September 2018

Life doesn’t stop when you have a TEDx talk. Words that go with giving a TEDx talk – Exciting! Thrilling! Amazing! …More words that go with giving a TEDx talk – Yikes! Oh no! Help!

Remember the adage, “Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it?” For a long time I dreamed of giving a TEDx talk. But when TEDxWilmington knocked on my door I didn’t count on so much else going on in my life. In the last few months I’ve had to close down my long-time acupuncture practice, said tearful goodbyes to friends and family, and moved from Marin County, California to Santa Fe New Mexico – 1100 miles away. And if that wasn’t enough, as I busily prepare for my talk, I’m also about to launch a new book. Did I happen to mention the word – YIKES?

When you are accepted to TEDx it’s not just about “giving a talk.” There are several deadlines to meet such as –

  • Writing outlines
  • Shooting videos
  • Required reading
  • And writing blogs – just like this one

With so many balls in the air it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what is required. But now I appreciate the method to the madness.

The TEDxWilmington calendar of deadlines, which at first elevated my blood pressure, has become my trusted ally reminding me what my next task is and when it is due. The required reading fills my mind with insights to make my talk better. And writing this blogc gives me a voice to track where I am in my own process.

When life hands you bubble wrap and packing boxes and at the same time the opportunity to share an idea worth spreading, don’t get bogged down by the details. Take a breath, take a step, and reach for your dreams.


Reflecting: Carlyn Montes De Oca for TEDxWilmington
Thur. 4 October 2018

My heart is full.

This is not the predominant emotion I expected to feel after giving a TEDx talk. When I imagined this moment months ago after being accepted to TEDxWilmington, I thought I would feel relief it was over and happy I didn’t flub my lines. Instead I feel a profound sense of gratitude, connection to my community, and deep sense of empowerment.

I practiced my speech many times when walking with my dog, Rudy. I’m sure he wondered why I was always talking to myself instead of giving him a treat for being a good listener. But my talk, The Life-Changing Power of the Animal-Human Health Connection, was inspired by him, other rescue dogs like him, and all the animals whose pain has touched my heart and molded me into an animal advocate. And in speaking on their behalf, I have found my truth, connected to my purpose, and discovered my uniquepuzzle piece in life.

TEDxWilmington has gifted me the profound honor, privilege and rare opportunity to share my puzzle piece with the rest of the world. Because of their guidance, encouragement, and belief, I spoke in the strongest, most heart-felt, and genuine way I have EVER communicated.

I don’t expect everyone will resonate with my message. And that is ok. But many people approached me after the event sharing how I inspired them; some with tears in their eyes. To touch another human heart in this way feels extraordinary.

Coming from a background of having well-meaning people tell me how I should feel, what I should believe, and what I should say; speaking at TEDx left me feeling like I have found my true voice again. And it is a voice I will continue to use over and over on behalf of the animals we share our world with.


For over twenty years, Carlyn Montes De Oca worked in the film industry on movies such as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Three Men and a Little Lady. When the high stress and demanding hours combined with poor nutritional habits began to have a negative effect on her health, Carlyn made a change. Working days and going to school at night, Carlyn pursued a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and graduated Summa Cum Laude.   READ MORE 

7th Annual TEDxWilmington Conference // Thursday September 27th 2018

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