TEDxRyersonU is excited to participate in this years TEDxWomen salon event, a series of talks held in tandem with TEDx communities across the world.  Our Women’s Event speakers, Bailey Parnell, Lesley D’Souza, and Cassandra Gentile, sat down with TEDxRyesonU to tell us a little bit about themselves, their interests, and the concept behind their talks.

Can’t wait to see these women in action!  Catch them this Thursday, October 27th at the Digital Media Zone. Follow our social media for more info 🙂

Interviews below:



Bailey Parnell

Tell us about yourself.

Bailey Parnell is an award-winning digital marketer and businesswoman with a talent for helping people and brands tell their stories better. Her work and expertise have been featured on CBC, CTV & in other local Toronto media.

Bailey recently founded SkillsCamp, a school for the soft skills where they help people and businesses develop the essential skills needed for professional success. She also currently works in digital marketing at Ryerson University, Canada’s leader in innovative, career-focused education.

Bailey is a frequent public speaker having spoken to more than 10 thousand people. She primarily speaks about social media, personal branding, and media and mental health. She guest lectured my first MBA class at 21 and has been the youngest speaker as multiple academic conferences.

Bailey is currently pursuing her Masters in Communication and Culture and holds an honours Bachelor from the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University. She has previously worked in social media marketing at CBC and Bell Media; assisted instructors in Seneca College’s Social Media: Graduate Certificate Program; and has worked as a local news reporter on Rogers TV.

Describe your talk in a short blurb

Scrolling through social media feeds feels like a harmless part of our daily life. But is it actually as harmless at seems? According to social media & mental health expert Bailey Parnell, our growing and unchecked obsession with social media has unintended long term consequences on our mental health. As social media continues to become part of the fabric of modern life – the “digital layer” – abstinence is becoming less of an option. Bailey think it’s high time we learned to practice safe social before it’s too late. What are the common triggers? How are they affecting you over time? How can you create a more positive experience online? Bailey covers this and more in “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health?”  

What is your favourite TED Talk?


“How Great Leaders Inspire Action” – Simon Sinek


Runner up:

“Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” – Amy Cuddy


Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I have 5 sisters. Take what you will from that, haha.

What’s your favourite 90’s jam?

Way. Too. Many.

Right now, I’ll show love to the profound “S Club Party” by S Club 7. You’re welcome. Also, that video…Fire.


If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?

Perhaps 1945. The war had just ended. The world is about to build itself up again. Most interestingly to me, televisions (the most impactful communication medium up until social media) were becoming widespread in North America. I would love to see how a culture adapted and adopted television into its lives. It’s fascinating. Then I could come back and truly compare through experience the similarities and differences between that and social media’s takeover.

Who was your favorite Power Ranger?

I’ve never watched Power Rangers. I was more of a “That’s So Raven” kid.

What are three words that you use to describe yourself?

Learner. Storyteller. Ambitious.



Lesley D’Souza

Tell us about yourself.

Lesley is the Manager of Student Affairs Storytelling in the department of Student Affairs at Ryerson. She is responsible for division-wide assessment, and works with the Student Affairs Special Projects team to transform good data into compelling stories. She is a curious and passionate Student Affairs Professional with an MA in College Student Personnel who loves empowering self-authorship. She’s also new mom and an avid gardener, tea drinker, writer, musician and random fact junkie. Ask her anything! She hopes to write a book someday, do her PhD and inspire others. Tweeting from @lesleydsz.

What is your favourite TED Talk?

I have any number of favourite Ted Talks at any given time, but recently I found Kristin Neff’s talk, The Space Between Self Esteem and Self Compassion really powerful.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

A lot of people are surprised when they find out that I have a long history of singing performance. I minored in vocal performance during university and performed in musical theatre and opera. I was the lead singer in a band for about 5 years. We were called “Young Doctors in Love” and we played festivals like NXNE & Canadian Music Week, and released two albums while I performed with them. They’re still out there writing, playing, and touring, but I’ve since hung up my guitar; late night Toronto rehearsals didn’t really mesh with toddler and infant bedtimes. I’m looking forward to getting back into performing when my kids are a bit older.

Write a short blurb about your talk.

The days where we believed women had nothing to contribute to the workplace are gone. Research shows that the presence of women in leadership positions is linked to better corporate performance, but our culture still holds onto the ideal that women must be the primary caregivers at home. So why does family success still feel like it’s in conflict with career success? Finding balance between them is possible, but only if we work to discard our stereotypes. Let’s spread the idea that there is no wrong way for new parents to find balance while away from work, because if we can foster a work culture of flexibility and compassion then everyone will win in the end.

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?

I would love to visit mid-19th century France, maybe 1875 or so, and wander Paris during the Impressionist art movement.

What’s your favourite 90’s jam?

I am a diehard Cranberries fan. They were on every mix CD I made in high school.

Who was your favorite Power Ranger?

My favourite was actually megazord, because it brought together so many people into a powerful whole.

What are three words that you use to describe yourself?

Intellectual, loyal, and kind.

CassandraCassandra Gentile

Tell us about yourself.

I am a young woman who is passionate about preventative health,

people, nutrition, and food innovation. I love eating, travelling,

staying active, trying new things, meeting new people, and spending

time with my family. I currently run a nutrition consulting business

and act as a program coordinator for the brand new Science

Discovery Zone at Ryerson University. When I’m not bouncing

around the GTA, you can find me sipping espresso at home and

singing a song.

Short blurb about their talk:
Did you feel busy at any point today? Did you tell someone about it? Our personal narrative has more power over us than you may think. Let me share with you my thoughts about how we use the word busy everyday and it’s impact on us.

What is your favourite TED Talk?

Change the numbers: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity in STEM by

Imogen Coe TEDxRyersonU


Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

After completing my Biology degree, I started training to get into

musical theatre.

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?

1962 to witness the creation of Medicare in Canada

What is your favourite 90’s jam?

Ace of Base, The Sign

Who was your favorite Power Ranger?

The yellow one

What are three words that you use to describe yourself?