JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Nine speakers shared their personal stories of leadership, self-improvement and resiliency during the first TEDx speaking event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Nov. 1.

"My suffering as someone with an autoimmune disease and as a military spouse is what led me to go to the next level and try to empower others with it," Katie Madison, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron and U.S. Air Force Key Spouse of the year, told the nearly 200 attendees. "The fact that you're existing, shows that you're resilient. There's nothing that you have gone through that no one else can understand."

The 62nd Airlift Wing resiliency office, Top Three Organization and JBLM Total Force Development Council collaborated to make this event focusing on strength through stories a possibility.

"I could not be more pleased with how TEDxJBLM went," said Master Sgt. Nicholas Altgilbers, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron operations superintendent, and one of the event organizers. "The response from those in attendance was extremely positive. Our lineup of speakers far exceeded our expectations and we can't thank them enough for taking the time to participate."

This event was intended to be thought-provoking and provide attendees with a unique perspective on what it means to be resilient and an opportunity to draw strength from others.

Recently, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth Wright announced "a new beginning" for promoting resiliency in Airmen as part of addressing the recent spikes in service member suicides.

"TEDx JBLM may have been a single-day event, but will hopefully spark something much more than that," Altgilbers said. "A culture change needs to take effect in the hearts and minds of the Total Force, among our leadership and our peers, to become more engaged, connected and open to breaking the barriers and stigmas attached to seeking help."