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I am honored to be a part of bringing TEDxGatewayArch to St. Louis.
This past May 2019, we celebrated our 16th event, Healthcare Head-On half-day conference. The best and brightest minds were on stage to share their personal experiences and expertise, to a sold-out audience, on how their work is positively impacting healthcare.
How TEDxGatewayArch came to be in STL
Several years ago, the universe tapped me on the shoulder to inform me that TED was somehow going to be a part of my life. I have learned that when such messages make themselves known, it’s best to steer clear of making assumptions about what that role might be and, instead, be open to the possibilities and not miss an opportunity.
One day in 2011, I received a Facebook message from my friend Bob Sommers. He wanted to let me know that his brother, Steve, was going to bring TEDx to St. Louis and was looking for others who had an interest in joining him.
Independently, Steve Sommers had been reading Wired Magazine and came across an article about TEDxBozeman. He searched online, to learn more about TEDx in St. Louis, but found no active presence in town . . . he decided to make it so.
Bob shared that he had thought of me right away – yay for the universe making sure to let him know. I was totally excited!
Steve and I met and hit the ground running. Since 2011, we accomplished many successful events. We are honored to be the Co-Founders of this amazing organization.
What is the “x” in TEDx?
The “x” in TEDx stands for “independently organized.” Over time, the “x” has come to mean so much more. TEDx is a global movement; connecting the world to “ideas worth spreading.”
From the iconic red rug, amazing people share their important work; people fueled by passion and heart-driven to make a positive impact on our world.
Our own TEDxGatewayArch is a volunteer run, non-profit organization, with a passion for showcasing St. Louis and its people. From our own red rug, we feature speakers connected to our area and whose work influences are felt on both a local and global level.
What is the Mission of TEDxGatewayArch?
The mission of TEDxGatewayArch is to create an inclusive and equitable community of thought leaders in the St. Louis region.
We focus on curating TED-oriented thought-leaders and topics that have an intrinsic connection to the St. Louis region but may not be broadly known or understood by most St. Louisians. We provide the community with events, connections and ongoing information that will help them propel the St. Louis region to greater vibrancy and prosperity.
The TEDxGatewayArch Team
It takes a strong team of people to put on a TEDxGatewayArch event. Our core team is beyond talented and extremely dedicated.
Elaine Thompson is our Director of Speaker Selection and Facilitation, Casey Epley is our Director of Marketing and Tyler Sayer is our Director of Media. Our team, along with our many sponsors and volunteers, come together to create Events Worth Attending.
We are one of many TEDx organizations. I have personally twice attended TEDFest, a gathering of TEDx organizers from around the globe, who come together to learn from each other so we can each bring this movement to our own communities in a meaningful way.
What Does it Take to Create a TEDx Talk?
The speakers that grace the St. Louis stage each put in approximately 60 hours to craft their 18-minute (or less) talk. We partner them with a speaker facilitator to help them prepare to give their talk of a lifetime.
There is no magic formula for creating a TED or TEDx Talk. The one key thing that all the talks have in common is that they focus on a single idea, packaged and delivered with authenticity, recorded, then shared.
Each talk inspires or motivates because it is presented by a person who is living their passion and creating waves of positivity; they share new and unique perspectives and invite the viewer to expand their own horizons, consider a new way of thinking, or engage in a new way of being.
Who is a TEDx fan?
And then there is the audience, an integral part of this global movement.
At the conclusion of our event in May, Steve and I came onto the stage to close out the event and thank our sponsors, team and volunteers, for without them these events would not be possible.
But we also had to thank the audience. Those that attend a TEDx event are forever curious, always learning, open minded, invite their views to be challenged and are willing to change their views based on new information coming in. They are optimistic and have the ability to see beyond negative media.
Our audience is not passive, they understand that though they may not have control over all that occurs, they do have control over themselves. What’s more they are willing to implement initiatives meant to evolve humankind, even when it feels like there are so many forces bent on de-evolution.
I shared this gratitude from the stage that evening and it resonated. I loved that I said it, I loved that I meant it, and I loved the many nods in agreement from the audience.
And I’m thankful I get to share it again, here, on another vibrant St. Louis platform like EQ. Thank you to the ever-evolving humans out there!