Reflections of TEDxYYC: Co-chair Highlights

 

One of the best things about being involved in an event like TEDxYYC is knowing you are helping to create the memories people take away from each event. Speakers, audiences, and organizers are all impacted by the energy created each year, and that only improves the events that come afterwards. Each year builds on the excitement and momentum of the ones before. While planning a new event is always a thrill, everyone has their favourite memories that bring them back to contribute, year after year. Everyone who takes part will experience something that drives them to come back for more. It might be a certain talk, it might be feeling the energy of the crowd, or simply the experience of attending overall.

TEDxYYC Co-chairs Kurt Archer and Brooke Boser

Kurt Archer and Brooke Boser are the returning co-chairs of TEDxYYC 2018, each with several years of experience helping organize the event in different areas. Boser served on the marketing team for two years before stepping in as co-chair last year, and Archer was brought in to help with the TEDxYYC website in 2012. After taking over the website, he eventually moved into the co-chair role where he has served for three years. While their roles often overlap to ensure everything happens according to their critical path, with teams updated and moving ahead, they do each have a focus to ensure they can use their individual talents. While Boser keeps the actual event production moving, Archer can spend more time on the content curation, working to ensure they bring the best speakers to each event.

TEDxYYC is dedicated to creating the kind of experience that makes people want to return. It’s rare to find such a large event organized entirely by volunteers, but that simply proves that the event is something special that reaches people in a way they won’t soon forget. Each event brings a new mix of speakers, and adds to what each contributor takes away. While every member of the TEDxYYC team has their favourite memories of each event, the co-chairs see it all – the team members connecting and creating, the roster of speakers building as each is confirmed, then finally all the details coming together in one amazing day of inspiration.

Highlights from TEDxYYC Co-chair Brooke Boser

The energy of event day is the reason why Boser loves TEDxYYC, calling it a high unlike any she’s ever experienced. Watching the seats fill up and feeling the energy and anticipation from the crowd is a huge rush, topped only by the impact of the speakers as each takes the stage. By the end of the day, the feeling of happiness and accomplishment can’t be beat. She remembers a specific talk by Marni Panas where the audience’s reaction moved her greatly, and how she could tell before the end of the talk that an important moment was building. She hurried from where she was organizing behind the scenes to get to the wings of the stage just in time to see the audience rise together in a standing ovation. She was then close at hand to see the speaker and her coach embrace afterwards in an emotional moment. These are the experiences that bring the organizers back year after year, making all their efforts worthwhile.

Highlights from TEDxYYC Co-chair Kurt Archer

Archer remembers a speaker connecting with a little girl and her mother after her time on the stage, and realizing how much the talk had inspired this young girl. The speaker was Julia Harding from the UK, who addresses sexism in gaming. Hearing her perspective on the topic was eye-opening for him, but also very moving as he watched the immediate and personal impact created by her message. He says that moment of connection and inspiration is why they all love TEDxYYC and return each year to do it again. Knowing those moments are possible helps the curation team stay motivated to create that kind of experience for everyone, year after year.

Memories of TEDxYYC

Every TEDxYYC event brings new ideas and fresh perspective, but is built on a foundation of what has come before. Experience helps the team anticipate the challenges that lie ahead, and prepare for them as best they can. Though as anyone who has spent any time event planning will tell you – there are no guarantees. Technical difficulties can create complications, and can be terribly random if caused by external factors. Event teams need to be able to handle anything that comes up. Archer has vivid memories of the TEDxYYC website going down a few days before the event, and having to rebuild it overnight. The team has learned to expect anything, and to rally as needed. Some years the excitement over tickets builds more slowly then moves quickly as the event approaches. Other years there is a flurry early on for early-bird tickets, and no matter which occurs, they need to constantly shift and adjust planning. Run entirely by a tightly knit group of volunteers, this is one nimble team.

Boser, Archer, and the team will be using these their experiences to create a fresh take on the event for 2018. Working together, they’ve built out an event theme that will guide what TEDxYYC can bring to the people of Calgary this year. They’ll be working hard to curate a speaker roster full of richness and diversity, that will resonate with people in this city. What does Calgary need to hear today? TEDxYYC works hard to answer, and shows no sign of slowing down. With 2018 being the ninth event for this group, they will also be looking to create an exciting tenth anniversary event next year.

Every TEDxYYC event impacts its audience in different ways, inspiring new ideas, fresh perspectives, and inviting people to create, collaborate, and innovate at new levels. Speakers bring their best to the stage, and the energy they bring is contagious.

What will be the moment that moves you at TEDxYYC this year? What will be your favourite memory from the event? There’s only one way to find out. Tickets available soon!