Full transcript of Ingrid Vanderveldt’s TEDx Talk: The Art of Making Impossible, Possible at TEDxFiDiWomen Conference. This event occurred on December 1, 2011 in San Francisco.
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Ingrid Vanderveldt – CEO, Vanderveldt Global Investments & EBW2020
I mean what a treat but also kind of scary to go after SARK and then TBird, they were amazing, thank you. Whoo!
Okay, so before I get into my presentation, what I’m really curious about, given that this is TEDx for Women: How many women out there think that women are key to our global sustainable future? Raise your hand. Whoo! I do too. That’s pretty much everybody in the room.
Okay. Well. Good news. For many, many years, I’ve built and sold a number of companies, and as they’ve mentioned I hosted a show at CNBC, and I’ve been fortunate to do a number of different things in my life and in my career that have been a lot of fun for me. And people have always asked, “Ingrid, how do you make the impossible possible, how do you do this?” And I’ve never felt like I really had a good answer because I thought, well, you just kind of do it. And after years of really kind of doing it, there really is an art and a science to it — an art and a science to making the impossible possible.
Today, we’re going to talk about the art, because I dare to say, that the science piece, which I’d love to talk about at some point as well, without the art, it really is almost impossible to make the impossible possible. And the reason that this is important now, is because the last company that I built and sold last summer, it was a green energy company. And when I was doing this company, last fall, I really stopped and said, “Universe, what is it that I need to do next? What do you need me to hear?” And I really clearly heard, “Ingrid, everything that you’ve been doing in your life to date has been leading up to where you’re going to go now.”
We need to create a global sustainable future. And the only way to do this is through a new set of eyes, and that’s the eyes of women. And what you’re called to do is to do everything in your power to empower a billion women by 2020. So, I knew that everything that I was doing then, from that point forward — and that was just a year ago — my business, my policy, my TV initiatives, everything needed to line up towards this vision.
But the other thing was, I realized that, well, that’s great, that the things I’m involved in all moved towards that vision. But what happens if I’m not actually doing my part to share my story, and reach out to other women, who are exactly like me and I’m exactly like them, and help them understand the power of possibility, the power of belief, and the power of turning the impossible into the possible.
The Power of Belief
So, I want to share with you three things today, and the first one talks about: The Power of Belief. When I was in the 4th grade, it was really interesting because the principal called my parents up, and called my parents for a meeting. And they said, “Hans and Joan,” my parents’ names, “Dr and Mrs Vandervaldt, your child,” at that time the language they used, I was failing out of school. And they said, “Your daughter is not only learning disabled, but we believe she’s retarded.” — is the language they used. I was retarded.
And my parents, thank God for my parents, didn’t believe what they said — thank you dear God. And they said, “This cannot be.” And the principal said, “She is. And she is failing, she doesn’t listen, you know, nothing’s going right, we can’t do anything with her, we absolutely don’t know what to do with your daughter.”
Well, thank God for my blessed parents who said, “We do not believe you. And we believe she has possibility. And we believe that there’s something else going on here, that if we invest a little bit of time and effort, maybe we can figure it out, and maybe we can actually turn this little girl around.”
So, my parents found a special school, which was many, many miles away from our home. And they somehow got me to go over into this special school. So, the school I was in had four classrooms, in one big room, and I couldn’t really hear very well. This classroom, or this school, had one classroom per room.
Okay. It was many, many miles away from our house, and my parents went back to the principal and the school board and said, “Hey, our daughter, we’ve gotten her over into this school and if you look at the rules, she lives far enough away from this school to deserve busing to get to the school.”
And the principal and the school board said, “Impossible. Not happening. She’s the only one from this area that’s being sent over to that school. We can’t afford it.” And my parents were thinking, well, how are they going to do it. Because my dad was working, my mom’s taking care of all of the kids. How are we going to do it? They found a loophole in this whatever the laws were, whatever, and they said, “No, she deserves busing.” Lo and behold, first day of 4th grade. I go out of my front door, my parents say the bus is going to be here to pick you up. So, now I know, in the 4th grade, I’m going off to this special school.
Well now, the bus comes and picks me up. And the kids — I’ll jump forward and then I’ll tell you the story — the kids in school were like, “Ha ha! You were the short bus kid!” And I was like, actually I wasn’t, because the school had run out of the short buses. So, what they sent was a long yellow bus. You know, that fits like 65 people on that thing. And I was the only one on it! It was awesome. It was totally awesome. Because the bus driver, he became my best friend. And get this, he was like — you can imagine, a 4th grader, pretty small — he was smaller than I was. He was African-American, and his name was Shorty. Shorty and I had a lot in common. We had issues.
Anyways, so, Shorty drives me to the special school on the special bus and it was, I’ll just say, pissing off the school that my bus is taking all this room, and we’re blocking it. So, they decided I need to have my special parking space. So, what happened was: I was the last to arrive at school, just get her in last, get her off, whatever. And then they gave me a special parking spot, so that I’d be the first one to leave school at the end of the day. So, I had my own special parking spot.
Okay. Well, then when I was in school and the kids were like, “Ha-ha, this is the special kid, you’re special,” blah blah blah. Okay, so, when I was in school, they decided that I really did have issues, and I needed more help. So, they gave me a tutor, and that tutor would take me off to some special classes. And they would work with me and train with me, and we’d try to figure out what was going on with my learning disability, and all the other things that they were saying about me.