Speaker Spotlight

Barbara McAfee

TedXBend | 04.28.17

1. This year’s theme is “US Humans” What do you immediately think of when you ponder US Humans?

I immediately think of that beautiful book put out by Life Magazine in the 1960’s that featured faces of our human family. As a young girl I pored over it for hours, fascinated by the worlds that lived behind the eyes of the people in those photographs. I still carry that same curiosity about people and practice it mostly in airports these days.

2. Who has had the most significant influence on you in your adult life and why?

In the late 1980’s I went – shaking in my boots — to a voice workshop led by members of The Roy Hart Centre in southern France. One of the teachers of that weekend was Saule Ryan. His gentle, playful, and kind way of teaching made it possible for me to open up vast new territories in my voice…and my life. Now after nearly 30 years of friendship and collaboration, we teach together. I don’t know who I would be without Saule.

3. What is it about your work that keeps you going?

I am endlessly fascinated by how voice impacts all aspects of people’s lives – their relationships, work, self-concept, physical health, and spirituality. I sometimes think of myself as a “midwife for voices” – and am constantly surprised and delighted by what is “born” in people’s lives through the vehicle of voice.

4. What is your passion outside your idea worth spreading?

As a songwriter and poet, I am endlessly fascinated with the creative process…where ideas come from and how they emerge into form. It’s a compelling mystery that I hope I never get over.

5. Where’s the one place you’ve visited that you’ll never forget and why?

Coming up with too many to focus in on one.

6. Describe an unforgettable moment that shaped who you are

See #2….

7. List three words that describe you.

Authentic, reverently irreverent, irrepressible

8. Are there any books that contributed to who you are? Is so, which one(s)?

As a lifelong bookworm, there have been many. I found a deep kinship and resonance in the poetry of Mary Oliver, Rumi, and Hafiz. In the work world, I enjoyed the work of Margaret Wheatley, Peter Block, and Parker Palmer. It was one of my life’s honors to have collaborated with all three of these wise ones.

9. For your talk content, what’s recommended reading?

Well – my book – Full Voice: That Art and Practice of Vocal Presence is an obvious one. Can’t think of others. The source of this talk has been years of community song leading – not book learning.

10. Why do you want to speak at TEDxBend?

I’m excited about visiting this part of the world for the first time – and delving deep into my topic.

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