Simone Cavanaugh


Simone Cavanaugh is the founder and Director of Pivot International, a non-profit organization that provides adapted equipment and sustainable access to medical services for children with special needs in developing countries, starting with Nicaragua.

Diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at the age of six, Simone was in a wheelchair for seven years and has since spent her life working with and advocating for children with special needs around the world. She has been the Arthritis Society’s Childhood Arthritis Spokesperson for over ten years and worked with organizations such as Viomax, MAB-Mackay School and Handicap International. She has also worked for the Government of Ontario and recently completed a human rights internship with the Center for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland in Galway. In addition to running her organization and full-time studies, Simone is a motivational speaker, Equity Commissioner for McGill University and Coordinator of Women in House, an organization that promotes female participation in Canadian politics.

Simone is a McGill University law student in her final year, completing a Major in International Human Rights and Development. She is the recipient of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Award, Forces Avenir’s Étudiante engagée par excellence prize and was named a Loran Scholar, recipient of the largest undergraduate scholarship in Canada.

What is TEDxMontrealWomen?

The TEDxMontrealWomen event challenges each and everyone of us, as members of society, to question and define our values and beliefs in an effort to create an awareness and understanding of why we behave as we do, what motivates our behaviors and what drives our decisions to conduct our lives as we do. With this increased consciousness, we discover that we are more empowered than we previously thought to make positive, disruptive and impactful changes in whichever spheres of influence we choose. TEDxMontrealWomen is an independently organized event and an integral part of the global TEDWomen community.

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxMontrealWomen, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxMontrealWomen event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.