Meet our TEDxAberdeen 2022 speaker: Sarah Rochester

Speaker: Sarah Rochester

Talk Title: We don’t need a reason

TEDxAberdeen 2022 is fast approaching, and has already been marked in many people’s calendars. With a theme of ‘movement’ underpinning all talks, our speakers are busy preparing to deliver insightful, educational and thought-provoking presentations that are sure to spark deep conversations amongst the audience. 

Communications Manager, Sarah Rochester, is one of our 10 captivating and compelling speakers at this year’s event and will present “We don’t need a reason”, an inspiring and motivational experience on her decision to stop drinking alcohol. 

We asked Sarah to explain her interpretation of the theme ‘Movement’, her highlights of her TEDxAberdeen journey so far and why this is an idea worth sharing…

What inspired you to take part in TEDxAberdeen and share your idea? 

“I’ve been a fan of TED talks for years, watching different speakers present various topics. The views and traction they receive are incredible and while they take place all over the world with an international audience, I think TEDxAberdeen is a brilliant way to be part of a global movement at a local level.

“My idea is based on a personal journey, and although it’s specific to me, the concept behind it is to get people thinking. My topic, ‘We don’t need a reason’ discusses my decision to stop drinking alcohol, but the actual key message can be applied to almost anything.

“As soon as you say you’re no longer drinking alcohol, for a split second before people know the full story, they assume you’ve experienced a ‘rock bottom’ scenario. But that’s not my story. 

“I want to share my idea because despite what society implies, you do not need a reason to make change, it can simply be because you want to and you feel it’s right for you. Once you know that something doesn’t serve you anymore, you have the power to walk away. I want people to feel seen.” 

How have you interpreted this year’s theme on ‘movement’? 

“For me, the theme ‘movement’ wasn’t about the literal sense of the word, it was more the meaning behind it. 

“Societal pressure can often dictate people’s actions. I’m hoping to move the conversation on from current stigmas and assumptions and I want people to really think about how their decisions affect them. 

If there’s a thing in your life, which no longer serves you, especially if that sits awkwardly with you now, you can give it up. It may not be the dictionary definition of a problem, but you can move on from that, without a reason.” 


Why are you passionate about this topic and what do you think the audience will gain from your talk? 

“My passion to speak about this stems from the absence of information. There’s not much content for those who don’t feel they have a ‘reason’ to make change, especially regarding giving up alcohol. Typically, the online content is more targeted at those who may require professional help to treat alcoholism. That content couldn’t be more valuable, but I hope my presentation can help fill that void, because you can’t be what you can’t see. 

“The key goal and my biggest wish is that the audience feels seen and when they leave the event, that they ask themselves questions. They don’t need to question their own relationship with alcohol if it’s not relevant, that’s my story, but I hope it encourages reflection on other relationships or activities that don’t bring them joy.” 

How has your TEDxAberdeen journey been so far and what are you most looking forward to? 

“So far, a real highlight for me has been the unwavering support I have received from the conference mentors, Derrick and Bob, as well as my fellow speakers. We’ve met a few times as a group and the workshop series, especially the session focusing on storytelling, has been really useful. I’m learning from people who know how to deliver my story properly, and their advice has been pivotal to my experience. 

“When you write something down, it doesn’t always translate the same way as when you stand up and say it out loud. Working with the mentors is integral to ensure I deliver it with impact, so when the opportunity arises to stand up, present and receive constructive criticism, that’s the real bit for me.” 


What does being part of TEDxAberdeen 2022 mean to you? 

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to spread the word about something I’m really passionate about – I could give someone the tools to start their own journey and that’s astonishing. However, it’s not just about the outcome of the talk. This experience is an incredible chance to meet my fellow speakers and hear what they have to say too. 

“By the time we get the event wrapped up in November, it’ll all be done – we’ll be finished speaking and will have been on this journey together, and I think that’s amazing. People from all walks of life who I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet before are already becoming really important to me.”

To experience the magic of this incredible event and be one of our 100 live audience members, visit our sign-up page to register your interest in becoming a TEDxAberdeen 2022 attendee.

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.