TEDxYYC is an independently-organized event, run entirely by volunteers. The enthusiasm of TEDxYYC speakers, entertainers and hosts are reflected backstage by the many volunteers required to design and deliver such a noteworthy event. This blog series looks behind the scenes, and meets the friendly faces of Calgary’s largest TEDx event.
TEDxYYC: Hi Josh! Thanks for sitting down with us today. Let’s get right into it – How many years have you volunteered with TEDxYYC?
Josh: Hi! I think this will be my 4th year with TEDxYYC… yeah, that sounds about right!
TEDxYYC: Why did you decide to volunteer?
Josh: A friend who had been involved for a year or two initially approached me, and of course I was familiar with TED, so I was keen to jump onboard and see what it was all about. Since then, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the event, and the process – it’s something that’s become very important to me personally.
TEDxYYC: As the Chair of TEDxYYC, what are your main responsibilities?
Josh: My two primary roles are to, a) work with the board of directors to establish and maintain TEDxYYC’s mission, vision and strategic priorities, and b) work to lead and support the efforts of our core TEDxYYC organizing committee in all their varied efforts.
TEDxYYC: Explain the types of tasks you’re handling six months prior to the event, versus what your main tasks are the day of the event?
Josh: We’ve spent a lot of time in the past couple of months, at various levels of the organization, discussing the future of TEDxYYC. We have endeavored this year – concurrent with organizing our 2016 event – to affirm the sustainability of TEDxYYC, and ensure it remains a consistent annual event on Calgary’s civic calendar for years to come. This has involved a lot of strategic priority discussions, and revamping of organization structure. Year-round volunteer and partnership involvement will continue to be something we develop and hone. And of course, we’re currently busy confirming speakers, planning stage design, engaging with our followers on social media, etc. – which are obviously the much more fun aspect of organizing the event!
TEDxYYC: What’s been your favourite part of the volunteer experience? Is there one moment in particular that has stood out for you?
Josh: For me personally, I feel it’s important to give back to my community in a way that represents who I am as a person. I love discussion, I love gatherings, and I love events. By being involved in TEDxYYC, I get to bring my expertise and passion to the table in a way that provides value to the community I live in. That’s what it’s all about; it’s the people, it’s the ideas, it’s the shared sense that what we’re doing is important to our city.
TEDxYYC: Of all the past TEDxYYC talks, which is your favourite?
Josh: So many good ones… Chris Turner’s talk from 2013 was one I really enjoyed… Elizabeth May’s talk from 2014 was a fascinating one for a lot of reasons… and I really liked Steve Keating’s talk from our event last year – very emotional and inspiring.
TEDxYYC: What are you looking forward to the most about TEDxYYC 2016?
Josh: The day after the event?! Just kidding… Honestly, for me, it’s really all about the process – I take great joy in getting to know our new partners and volunteers, and working with committee members to both brainstorm new ideas, and solve problems that arise. I’m looking forward to seeing what our team produces – it’s such a creative, diverse and proficient group of people, and I’m really excited to see what we pull together and present to our community… I know it’s going to be fantastic, and I can’t wait for Calgary to see it!