Tuesday was my first TEDx Winnipeg experience. And I have Brent Toderash, who asked me to volunteer on the marketing committee, to thank for it.
TEDxWinnipeg 2017 was a packed day of interesting and inspiring speakers, meeting new people and live-tweeting the whole experience. As I look back, what stands out to me are the common threads and interconnections between the speakers – a testament, I’m sure, to the care and dedication the organizers put into selecting the program.
Our Common Humanity/Our Human Community
Dene Sinclair led off the day talking about travel. One of her most memorable travel experiences was sharing traditional stories with a Bedouin guide in Jordan. Dene’s messages was that “who we are connects us,” and she encouraged us to travel as guests in others’ lands, rather than explorers trying to discover the next “new” thing.
That thread of connecting ran through Sonya Ballantyne’s talk about creating indigenous superheroes, based on her love of the classic superheroes Batman and Superman, and weaving those influences with her own experiences. Jon Waldman talked about the necessity for men to open up and connect over the shared experience of dealing with infertility. And Joel Carter shared how storytelling at the end of life can ease a patient’s pain.
In the afternoon, Ali Saeed told his remarkable story of surviving 7 years and 4 months of torture in 11 different jails in 2 countries, and how he now seeks a “green revenge” with an open heart, unfolded hand and open door to help those who are refugees as he once was. Alyson Shane talked about her experience of online communities as supportive and caring – not the trolling and cyber-bullying we hear about on the news – at a time in her life when she had no support at home.
Better Living by Design
Johanna Hurme, in one of her signature pairs of show-stopping high heels, was the first to speak about how design can make our lives better. Thoughtful architecture and city planning, she argued, can re-use existing spaces, build structures to stand the test of time and changing use, and create efficient, sustainable, walkable cities.
Ryan Mayberry picked up the theme of design and technology, sharing his vision for a new technology of art history that identifies each unique piece of art, records its provenance from its creation to its most recent sale, and collects stories about its use and influence along the way.
Tatjana Brkic shared her research into social innovation in business, telling us about the many businesses around the world and in our own backyard that are addressing social challenges, making the world a better place and turning a profit at the same time.
Finally, Andrea Kraj spoke about her work developing resilient, responsive, smart energy grids that use a mix of renewable resources, bio-fuel and fossil fuel to reduce dependence on diesel, provide more reliable electricity and make energy cheaper for customers, especially in remote communities.
Know No Limits
Mike Lund was the second speaker of the day, and challenged a common limitation many of us feel – time. Mike has developed a nifty little calculator to find out how much time you really spend at work – whether that’s hours in a year or your whole life. The answer – not nearly as much as you think. So, Mike asked – what will you do with all that time?
Rana Bokhari spoke about her experiences being the first female, Muslim, and youngest leader of the Manitoba Liberals. Her message – don’t let others limit your dreams.
Mike Johnston spoke about his love of two subjects many might think incompatible – science and poetry. He encouraged us to embrace every part of ourselves – not to compare ourselves negatively to others or to abandon an interest because we’re not “good” at it. Instead, use every piece of ourselves to achieve our goals.
Steve Langston closed off the program with a talk on “goal smashing.” He shared his experience and strategies to achieve big goals – weight loss, starting a film company and taking up environmental causes – by breaking them down into smaller, achievable goals, and measuring success in achieving those more manageable milestones.
There was a buzz in the air from the moment registration opened at 7:45 until the last guest left on Tuesday. If you missed the event, you’ll be able to catch the talks that interest you as they’re released in videos over the next few weeks. And watch this space for information on TEDxWinnipeg 2018!