As an organizer and host of TEDxWaterloo, I wanted to share a few of the moments that made this year's event so memorable.
After nine months and countless hours of planning, we hosted two parallel TEDx events around a single, shared theme - chasingHOME. With this theme, we asked the questions: "Is home a concept or a reality? A place to begin from or a place to return to? Is home where the heart is or wherever you say it is?" From our home planet to our most intimate interactions in home and life, TEDxWaterloo 2013 explored what happens when home is lost and found.
2200 participants came together for TEDxWaterloo & TEDxYouth@Waterloo.
Two dozen members of the Myplanet team made the drive out to Waterloo to take part in the day, and what a day it was! With more than 25 speakers, musicians & performers, it was an incredible forum for sharing thought-provoking ideas.
In organizing TEDxWaterloo for the past four years, there have been a number of ups and downs. One of those ups happened this year when speaker Rob Manning, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, took the stage. The path to having Rob join us was a non-linear one, to say the least. During the week we had scheduled to work with Rob on his talk, news had surfaced that a meteor had struck Russia - and no one at NASA or JPL saw it coming! Needless to say, this delayed our rehearsals and some planning but when all was said and done, Rob gave an incredible talk aided by a scale model of the Curiosity rover (which was delivered just hours before the day began).
Another incredible moment for me happened while out for dinner with the Myplanet business development team many months before TEDxWaterloo. Shortly after dinner, I heard an incredible voice coming from the venue located at the restaurant and decided to investigate. Just moments later, I was sitting in the second row watching the tail end of Andria Simone's first major performance in Toronto. I was hooked and approached her about joining us at TEDxWaterloo immediately after the show. It took some convincing, but on March 27 Andria performed at both TEDxYouth@Waterloo and TEDxWaterloo - and she brought the house down!
As has been described many times on this blog, Myplanet offers "Awesome Day" every other Friday as an opportunity for teams to engage in self-directed professional development. It was an honour that so many Myplaneteers chose to use their Awesome Day to attend and take part in TEDxWaterloo.
The photographs are now online and all 26 talks from both events will soon be available for viewing at tedxwaterloo.com. For now, I'm going to enjoy a few weeks of downtime before we begin planning TEDxWaterloo 2014.