Celebrity Speakers New Zealand talent, Dr Lucy Hone, has won favour globally and been named among the Top 20 TED Talks
of 2020 for her talk, ‘3 Secrets of Resilient People’.
Known globally for its powerful live talks, the TED platform covers all topics from science and technology, to business
and global issues, in more than 110 languages and features online. Its Top 20 list features talks that “captured
people's attention and took off the quickest, intriguing and propelling us to the end of this world-shifting year”. Lucy
is in esteemed company, alongside Bill Gates, author Elizabeth Gilbert and Holocaust survivor, Werner Reich.
Initially presented to a local audience at TEDx Christchurch, Lucy’s heart-wrenching talk resonated so powerfully with
the live audience and subsequently online it’s now been viewed nearly 3 million times – elevating it to the official TED
platform and making her the only Kiwi on to the Top 20 list.
Lucy is a director of the NZ Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience, adjunct senior fellow at the University of
Canterbury, a published academic researcher and best-selling author. In 2014, she experienced an unimaginable tragedy
when her 12-year-old daughter Abi was killed along with Abi’s best friend Ella and Ella’s mother by a speeding driver on
their way to a lakeside holiday.
“In the blink of an eye I found myself flung to the other side of the equation. Instead of being the resilience expert,
I became the grieving mother trying to wrap my head around unthinkable news with my world smashed to smithereens. In my
talk, I shared the three strategies I relied upon to help get me through that devastating time, and because of Covid,
they have suddenly been picked up by people all over the world,” she explains.
Celebrity Speakers managing director Louise Ryburn says being selected as an official TED talk is a significant
achievement in itself. Of the approximately 200,000 TEDx talks that have been given around the world since 2009, fewer
than 1,000 have made it to TED.com; of the hundreds of TEDx talks that have been given in New Zealand, just four have
made it to the main site. “In New Zealand, Lucy is in our top 10 most requested speakers, and is our only speaker
getting sustained interest from the US and beyond. She’s now working with some world leading brands, flying the flag for
“More importantly though is the impact of Lucy’s work. People who have shared it on Twitter have described it as “a
brilliant and empathetic way to build resilience for those who struggle with grief”; “an absolute must listen”, and,
“great advice for tough times”.
Ryburn, whose organisaton represents Lucy on the New Zealand public speaking circuit, says that while she has always
been in high demand for speaking engagements, since COVID Lucy has found new audiences and her work is reaching people
“who need to hear it at a time when we are all struggling to cope with global change and loss as well as any personal
trauma we may be experiencing”.
“She is reaching people around the globe with a powerful message of resilience and hope—coupled with practical,
achievable strategies. Lucy is doing extremely important work that is touching people in a profound way and changing
thousands of lives as a result,” adds Louise.
“Completely stunned” is how Lucy says she felt when she learned her talk had made the TED Top 20. “To have my TEDx Chch
talk get promoted to the actual TED platform was a big enough honour, discovering it’s one of the Top 20 of 2020 is too
big to contemplate. Two consistent themes emerge from the feedback I get after a talk: thank you for giving me a way to
live and grieve at the same time; and how useful they find the ‘is what you are doing - the way you are choosing to
think or the way you are choosing to act - helping or harming you in your quest to get through whatever you are facing?’
“Since my TED talk, I have received invitations to speak at conferences and in workplaces in all corners of the world.
Doing so makes Abi’s short life live on somehow, making something good come from her senseless loss.”
As well as this particular conversation, Lucy speaks on a broad range of topics developed from her decades of working in
the field of resilience and wellbeing, including a new course, Coping With Loss: A Helpers’ Guide to Resilient Grieving
created to help health professionals during the pandemic.
“There’s plenty more material to share beyond my TED talk. Understanding our psychological wellbeing, what helps each of
us get the most out of live and cope with whatever is thrown at us, is complex and requires people to really understand
what works best for them.
“What I love most is making it accessible and useful in everyday life – and reassuring people that it’s okay to be real,
not perfect. I don’t just have one talk for Celebrity Speakers.”
COVID has sent demand skyrocketing for the Institute’s services.
“We now work weekly with international clients, training them in resilience. The biggest change is in the widespread
recognition and understanding of the importance of understanding how to look after your own and others’ mental health,
and the fact that I can now do all this work from my home office, and don’t have to get on a plane each week. The
pandemic has also brought so much loss to the world, in all its myriad forms that I hope I can help ease through my own
experience and the work that we do.”