It’s Monday morning, I should be diving head first into client work.
But this Monday is different, I am nursing what is described as a TEDx brain whiplash / hangover. I spent my Sunday attending the TEDx Brisbane event as a guest of Howard Smith Wharves – the venue that hosted the event this year. And, I honestly am in awe of the what I witnessed.
When I found out I was the recipient of a ticket my inner voice instantly shrieked YES! As an independently organised TED event, I was thinking about how it would be as I’ve consumed many TED talks online. So many phenomenal talks are out there in cyberspace of TED events around the globe and TEDx Brisbane certainly didn’t disappoint. What I hadn’t factored was the central ethos of TED and how this would translate into the event on the day. I have never in my life experienced an event like it (and I have attended MANY events over the years being both an attendee and assisting with the running of events). The community that has been built is one of complete and utter openness and camaraderie. I’ll admit my introvert tendencies were having a bit of a hard time – but being in the presence of 600 people who were being so completely open to walking up to complete strangers and striking up a conversation purely for sharing stories and ideas was completely mind-blowing. They also utilise an app on the day for all of the attendees to connect and share their ideas, takeaways and make connections in the lead up to the day as well as during the day – and the organisers utilised the technology to communicate to all attendees throughout the day as well. The use of this technology made for an utterly seamless attendee experience.
Now, on to the thing that brings everyone into the event – the speakers. It was highlighted time and time again throughout the day that the organisers put a great deal of effort into curating the speakers that are selected for the stage and it definitely shows – in a phenomenal way. It was so refreshing to attend an event where the central ethos is ideas that need sharing – purely the sharing of knowledge, findings and ideas in each speaker’s respective fields. I loved listening to speakers sharing their work and ideas without the pitch at the end of every presentation (there’s nothing wrong with that, but it was such a different feel). There was one session where 11 brave souls stepped onto the stage and presented a 150 word, 1-minute pitch for their ideas (which was the only pitching of the day). 12 speakers in completely different fields and I connected to something in each and every one of their presentations. You can actually watch the live stream of the speakers from the day on the TEDxBrisbane Facebook page here.
My top 3 speakers of the day:
Dr Dinesh Palipana received a standing ovation on the day and very rightly so – such an inspirational story and the fact that he’s continuing to challenge any barriers that are presented to him is truly inspiring.
Astrid Jorgensen from Pub Choir – it was so good that her presentation was so interactive (nothing better than a sing-a-long with “We’re All In This Together”) but also tickled my creative bones that have been lying dormant and has me seriously considering getting back into playing guitar.
Prudence Melom from E-raced and her story as a refugee and how she is paying it back to her new home here in Australia – I cannot even begin to fathom her life prior to coming to Australia and the work she is doing to help change the conversations in schools is just beyond exceptional.
A special mention to Rob Capon from UQ and his work in creating a new approach for reversing the tide on the Toad and the population impact they are having on ecosystems with the Cane Toad Challenge and their toad traps and bait attractants. As a North Queenslander this is such a needed solution as the Cane Toad is such a pest.
Sprinkled amongst the speakers were phenomenal performers – singers and poets who brought a whole new dimension to the day and as a live music lover I just absolutely LOVED it. It was a great way to bring creativity into the day alongside with the ideas being presented. This year’s performers were Leonie Kingdom, Keelan Mak and Austen.
The venue – Howard Smith Wharves – was a huge excitement for me (having previously worked in events, I love checking out venues) and boy oh boy, it did not disappoint. The location is obviously a huge drawcard for this new precinct and is such a huge positive for Brisbane. The food, was exceptional, hands down the best event catering I have had, and my friend that was my plus one has pretty strict dietary requirements and they had oodles of options that they were able to eat (which never happens). I admit, I ate WAY too much food, but it was so damn good. The staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating at every turn, they absolutely made the day run so well.
The TEDx Brisbane team is headed up by Juanita Wheeler and they have an advocate program where past TEDx Brisbane attendees are able to volunteer to work as team members on the day and act as advocates and get in touch with every attendee prior to event day to answer any questions and assist them on the day. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to meet my Advocate in person on the day (there was so much going on!) but it was a fantastic concept and made the event even more welcoming. Massive kudos to Juanita and the team because their hard work (all volunteered) made the day run lock clockwork and the overall experience was nothing like I’ve experienced before.
So, What’s Next?
The theme this year was What’s Next and I am well and truly asking that question for next year! I will most definitely be applying to attend next year’s event, the content is incredibly inspiring, thought-provoking and there are so many ideas running through my head thanks to the concepts presented yesterday. The connections, the conversations, the looking outside of just yourself and asking what can I do to help make the change – there’s nothing like it. Oh and I’m waiting 72 hours before I go do anything crazy…. If you want to know what that’s all about, then apply to attend the 2019 event – you won’t be disappointed.