On the 12th of April 2018, I stepped on the red dot and gave my TEDx. This moment was the culmination of weeks of practice and crafting an accessible TEDx talk on alumni.

6 minutes later my TEDxBallybofey talk was born.

‘We are all connected by one word: Alumni’ – Maria Gallo – TEDxBallybofey  

You can watch the TEDx talk here


Now it’s time to celebrate 5 years since this big occasion!

At the time, I was always excited to share that my TEDx was the first that discussed the topic of alumni connection (directly!). Since then, there are a few other TEDx talks worth watching to inspire students, alumni and alumni-facing professionals alike. Here are 3 of my favourites:

1- ‘Why should University Engage with their Graduates?’ Nathalie Trott – TEDxQueensUniversityBelfast

Nathalie sets out a convincing argument on the value of alumni across an institution. If you are looking to persuade powers in your organization here’s an inspiring start!

(Nathalie and I share an alumni connection with many CASE conferences, the professional association for advancement professionals!)

2- Lifelong Employability – Philippa Dengler – TEDxZurich

Philippa coins the phrase EmployAgility in her talk. Such a concept! She argues that it is the way that we don’t just get a career, but thrive throughout our increasingly longer lives!

(Philippa and I are connected by our studies in the UK so via AlumniUK!)

3- How to Graduate College with a Job you Love & Less Debt – Jullien Gordon – TEDxMidwest

“You are at the driver’s seat of your life,” Jullien reminds us, he argues for a balance of book smarts with street smarts to achieve the life we want.

(No direct known alumni connections to Jullien – yet!)


Finally I want to diversify this long post by celebrating three motivating presentations from the TEDxBallybofey stage from 2018. These are my fellow TEDxBallybofey alumni – worthy of an enthusiastic  mention- plans for our 10th TEDx reunion are already set in motion!

What is important of these TEDx talks (and about our alumni connections) is that they come from a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds, yet we are connected by this shared event. This is a microcosm of the power of alumni networks to push us out of our comfort zones to learn from their stories.

1- Are your Limitations Real? Nikki Bradley – TedxBallybofey

Adaptive adventurer and motivational speaker Nikki challenges us to reconsider the boundaries that place on ourselves.

(I love that Nikki and I share some other fun alumni shared experiences, including the BASE Enterprise Centre and St Angela’s)

2- Are Kids Really the Future? Ian Harkin – TEDxBallybofey

Ian is the founder of Lottie Dolls,  Harkin, CEO and founder of Lottie Dolls, a toy company that ensure each toy is inspired by a real child, and gives children a voice in developing products (and themselves!)


3-  The Power of Taking Action – Susan Adams – TEDxBallybofey

Susan Adams had a vision when she delivered her TEDx talk 5 years ago – to deliver climate literacy programmes at scale across Ireland. 5 years later, she has taken her own advice, mobilized her networks to be the Founder of Education for Sustainability, to empower young people to collectively take action to support our environment.


The world needs more TEDx talks to inspire alumni! Leave your comments of other inspiring talks for students and alumni!