What’s It Like To Speak At YTH Live? Kristen Tilley of Planned Parenthood Shares Her Experience

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Every year, we bring together some of the best & brightest innovators in youth, tech, and health at YTH Live, to expand the conversations on public health, design platforms for youth-health, technology-based health solutions, and more. We’ve had a lot to show for it in participation and speaking, as some of the names that appeared at 2016’s conference included actress Morgan Saylor, Juicebox startup founder Brianna Raider, and Planned Parenthood Managing Director & director of Across The Line’s Kristen Tilley.

What better way to give you an inside look into what it’s like to actually attend and speak at the conference than talking to one of the attendees, themselves? Kristen is a fantastic example of how the YTH Live platform can be facilitated to give users a direct experience with their technology innovation, rather than just speaking about it. She presented on our Virtual Reality as Empathy Amplifier: A Virtual Journey through Anti-Abortion Protestors” workshop about her interactive VR film Across The Line, which examines what the reality of the experience of getting an abortion is like, without any propaganda or agenda.

Since Kristen’s work was so well-received at our conference, as well as respected in the broader public health world, we wanted to sit down with her and give you a glimpse into YTH Live, from her perspective.

ERIN MCKELLE: It’s such a pleasure to interview you, Kristen! First, we’d love for you to tell us a little bit about who you are and the work that you do at Planned Parenthood, especially as it relates to youth, tech, and health.

KRISTEN TILLEY: My name is Kristen Tilley, and I am the managing director for PPX, or Planned Parenthood Experience. PPX focuses on patient experience and employee engagement and everything we do falls under these two entities. Across The Line was born as a virtual immersive experience to create an empathy bridge between viewers, patients, and health center staff accessing health care. My passion and social justice experience have brought me to the tech world.

ERIN: Was 2016 your first year speaking at the conference? Attending? What was your experience and knowledge level of YTH Live, before this year?

KRISTEN: This was my first time at the conference. I was unfamiliar with YTH but quickly got up to speed from some of my Planned Parenthood colleagues who have been attending this conference, previously worked with YTH, and have had a very positive experience with both.

ERIN: We try to make the conference as engaging as we can, to attendees and speakers alike, since we truly believe in creating an interactive conference that surpasses the typical presentations you might find elsewhere. In what ways did you find YTH Live to be engaging as a speaker?

KRISTEN: I welcomed the chance to attend other sessions and panels – the opportunity to learn from both conference attendees and other professionals in the tech and health field was incredibly valuable!

ERIN: Let’s talk a little about your presentation at the “Virtual Reality as Empathy Amplifier: A Virtual Journey through Anti-Abortion Protestors” workshop of your VR experience “Across the Line.” I can say as someone who attended your session that your work was one of the most engaging of all of the presenters we had, thanks to the innovative VR technology you used. How did you design your talk and what did you hope to accomplish with it? Do you feel you met that goal?

KRISTEN: Actually, YTH was one of the first opportunities we had to present the VR film in a conference session format  and we were totally experimenting.   This was the first time we’d ever tried a group viewing of the film using the Google Cardboards so we weren’t sure what to expect.  Luckily, the YTH attendees embrace experimentation, and were open minded about the session.  We wanted to give attendees the opportunity to walk away inspired to try new methods of storytelling coupled with strong research and analysis.

ERIN: What kinds of networking opportunities did you find at YTH Live? What were some ways you engaged with other speakers and attendees that you found to be useful and would suggest to those wanting to make the most out of their time at the conference?

KRISTEN: Networking was everywhere at the YTH conference! Every single person I talked to helped me expand my professional development in some way. For me the most beneficial place was the communal tech space which was an incredible incubator for making connections with other peers and leaders in the tech industry. Another great place was the lunch fair where we were able to see what everyone else brought to the conference.

ERIN: What were some of the direct results you found from presenting your VR work at YTH Live? Did you come across other opportunities?

KRISTEN: We were able to get great feedback about screening our film on a large scale. This was very important to the future progress of Across The Line. Other attendees also gave great marketing strategies and outreach suggestions. All in all, this was very beneficial to both my personal professional development and Across The Line’s success.

ERIN: Finally, if you could tell next year’s cohort of attendees and speakers one piece of advice on how to make the most of YTH Live, what would you say?

KRISTEN: Network, Network, Network! Take advantage of every opportunity you have to connect with peers from across the country who do similar work and who also want to help make a difference.
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Thanks again, Kristen for your insight into what it’s like to speak at YTH Live and your great advice to next year’s conference attendees! If you want to have the opportunity to present at the conference yourself, submit an abstract with your proposal by Friday, 10/28 11/4. We look forward to see your work at YTH Live 2017!


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