My European TEDx Experience

Back in April, only a few months after my first TEDx talk, I had one of the worst health scares of my life. Whisked away in an ambulance with a failing pancreas in severe pain – I was so unsure of what would come next. For the next three days, lying in a hospital bed, I had heaps of time for self reflection and some of the things that I kept thinking about:

  • Would I see my love Dylan and our dog Atticus again
  • Would I see my Family again
  • Would I keep that promise to myself that I would give another TEDx talk

Priorities are funny, aren’t they?

So many other dreams before had come to thought but never to action. How humbled and honoured I am that this TEDx dream came true, HAPPENED and in Europe no less!

Please let me tell you about this European TEDx Experience.

One of the world’s top Hospitality Management schools which is in The Hague Netherlands granted me the honour & distinction of being one of their 6 speakers for their very first TEDx event on Friday October 6th 2017

Before heading to the Kelowna airport I stopped at my school where members of my family and TONS of students allowed me to do one last practice of my talk in the lecture theatre… and it went great… and this made me nervous….I have watched competitive Figure Skating for over 30 years to know that a solid practice isn’t always a good thing… I did NOT want to Patrick Chan this TEDx event.

After 3 flights and being awake for over 28 hours (yet again eh!!) I made it to Amsterdam just a few days before the event. I have some really good friends from Vancouver who now live in the capital of this Kingdom with their almost three year old daughter… and got to spend some time exploring this EPIC city, which included a Canal cruise, trip to a “coffee” house **wink wink** and a walking tour of the window “models” in the red light district… we had to call the ladies models because we were with a 3 year old of course.

Then I made the short trip down to The Hague to experience the finest in World Class Hospitality. It was so easy to forget that the organizers of this event, the people working the hotel (or as they call it Skotel), the fine dining restaurants were ALL STUDENTS… because they were obviously exceptionally trained and well prepared to be career ready for working at the finest hotels and hospitality hot spots for the elite of the elite around the world. It seemed every minute detail was carefully planned, crafted and executed to the highest degree possible.

For the dress rehearsal I stumbled, tripped on the Red Circle Carpet, really messing up… and this made me feel SO GOOD…. Now I knew I was ready.

Some of my observations – it was really obvious I was from North America… myself and a professor from this school, who was originally from Chicago, were the only ones who did not hold our knives the entire time we ate…after I cut my steak I then put that utensil down… but in refined dining you are to use the knife for the entire meal as a way to shovel food to your fork or spoon. Who knew? Not me obviously….

This school reminded me of Madame Olympe Maxime – the headmistress of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic from the Harry Potter movies…. super refined and really Tall… OMG it seemed like everyone in the Hague towered over me… every male and female were extremely good looking and were giants. Seriously – the dudes here are HOT!!…. if you have never been to the Netherlands then make plans to get here ASAP.

The event seemed to be flawless and pitch perfect… as for my talk… I will let you be the judge of that… when the talk is uploaded to the page I will let you know but it was LiveStreamed and you can see it all here –

Bottom line I was very pleased with my performance and the overall experience.



The biggest surprise came at the dinner…. I was expecting a sit-down meal… but these students were determined to put on the finest European festivities and I was blown away at every detail… It was not a dinner but an elegant extravaganza that I will never forget. They had flair bartenders who crafted stellar martinis including bourbon sours and were very liberal with the bourbon… I have video proof to show its impact on me, an edible microgreen bar with the most intense flavours in the mouth that reminded me of the jelly beans from Harry Potter, an epic sushi bar, the most mouth watering meat bar, a Bug Table… yes… real BUGS that were so tasty,  Lobster shots, Ice cream bar and Sooooooooo much more… as the bourbon kept flowing it seems I have forgotten most of the night after a certain point.

The most important thing… is I have made so many new friends from all over Europe and my commitment is to come back to this continent and see them all again. As I write this blog post I am already looking at flights for next summer.

I also hope that this is not my last TEDx…. I want more… this has me hooked now. When you get a chance also check out the last talk at this event – it is titled At My Age by Richard Morris…. I am going to make this required watching for all my students looking to pursue their dreams

A big thank you to the organizing committee and to everyone I met during this wonderful European TEDx experience.

Thank you sooooooo much

Big Canadian HUGS