Tonya Fitzpatrick
“Finding Truth in an Uncertain World
Bridge Builder
Thursday November 2nd 2017
The Mill Auditorium  MORE INFO

When I woke up on the morning of October 2, 2017 to the horrific news about the mass shooting in Las Vegas, I began to question the validity of my TEDxWilmingtonWomen talk for the first time.  The foundation of my talk is centered on the strength of our common humanity, the goodness of (most) people, and the importance of connecting cultures.  These are the same positive messages that my husband, Ian, and I share through our World Footprints platform.  But watching the senseless tragedy in Las Vegas unfold and reflecting on the countless other egregious acts in recent months—South Carolina, Florida, Paris, London, Manchester, and Virginia to name a few, I began to reexamine the final draft of my talk and question if I should scrap it altogether.  “After all,” I wondered, “will this audience embrace my positive message when we are confronted by frequent evil acts like these?”

But then I thought about what a world without hope would look like and it wasn’t pretty.  I also remembered the countless strangers who have shown me kindness and the numerous selfless acts of others who came to the aid of those in need.  I realized that my TEDx talk did not need to be changed because my Idea Worth Sharing is needed.  With so much division in the world and preconceptions about other cultures it is important to offer a message that bridges the cultural gap and inspires hope.

It also occurred to me, however, that I would need to tweak my talk so that I don’t look Pollyannaish.  Crime happens everywhere and some people are predisposed to wrongdoing.  But those people are in the minority and we can’t control the actions of others.   We also can’t allow the singular horrific act of an evil person keep us from celebrating life or each other.   Indeed, love always trumps hate and fear. I hold these beliefs to be true but, admittedly, I experienced some confusion when trying to reconcile he Las Vegas incident against the backdrop of my TEDxWilmingtonWomen talk.  In the end, my positive message won.  Now I look forward to sharing my talk to the TEDx audience in just a few weeks and, hopefully, will touch someone’s heart.


Tonya Fitzpatrick loves talking about the transformative power of travel and she has done so on several stages including TEDx, the Women’s Economic Forum in India, the North American Travel Journalist Association, and FestiGals conference in New Orleans.  She has also served as moderator for the Environmental Film Festival and a film presentation at the National Press Club. Tonya is a lawyer by training but an intrepid traveler and global citizen by heart and the latter inspired her to create World Footprints Media  where she producers and co-hosts the multi award-winning World Footprints podcast with her husband, Ian.  READ MORE

2nd Annual TEDxWilmington Women :: Bridge Builder :: Thursday Nov. 2nd 2017 :: The Mill Auditorium ::  MORE INFO