GUEST BLOG: Student & Speaker Breakfast Team
TEDxYYC is jam-packed with unique experiences. Last year, patrons could walk around the Jack Singer lobby to see some of the coolest technology out there like a VR machine ready for use, and a bright red Tesla. The talks fill your mind with stimulating ideas, the creative performances pull you in, and the afternoon is filled with fascinating conversation.
But if you’re a student, you can squeeze even more juice out of the TEDxYYC experience – you can sit down with the speakers and chat one-on-one, over breakfast.
The 3rd annual Student & Speaker Breakfast will take place at Hotel Arts on the morning of the event. Students who are over the age of 17 can apply to attend the breakfast, and ten lucky students are given a spot at the breakfast table. Teale Masrani organizes the breakfast, and Jenny Liao was one of the student attendees last year – and now she is on the committee as well.
Here’s a closer look at the Student & Speaker Breakfast through the eyes of Jenny and Teale.
Jenny – Student Breakfast Alumni
What motivated you to apply for the 2017 Student & Speaker Breakfast?
I have always been a huge fan of TED, as there is always something to learn from each talk. When I heard about the Student & Speaker Breakfast, I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I was most excited about getting to meet the speakers and hearing their stories.
What was it like attending the breakfast and meeting the speakers? Did the experience align with your expectations?
The breakfast was beyond anything that I had expected! Initially, I was nervous but excited to meet the speakers; I had prepared questions that I wanted to ask the speakers. When I got to the breakfast, I quickly realized that the speakers were just as eager to meet with us as we were with them. I actually forgot about the questions that I had prepared because of the interesting conversations that we were having. One thing that I saw from each of the speakers was that they were all so incredibly passionate and dedicated in all that they do. And I hope that is the spirit that I will carry with me in my journey.
What was the most memorable part of last year’s breakfast and talks?
The breakfast was like a “behind the scenes” preview of each talk; it was amazing to hear about the motivations and inspirations behind each speaker’s stories. Then when I watched each speaker come up on the stage to give their talk, it was a special moment for me because I knew how much the talk meant to each speaker. Each one came from a personal experience or the culmination of a life’s worth of work. I realized how brave each speaker must have been to share something so personal with the audience.
I also met the other amazing students who are making a difference in their communities. Even after the breakfast, we still keep in contact!
What made you decide to reach out to the TEDxYYC planning committee and get involved?
After my unforgettable experience at the Student & Speaker Breakfast last year, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. My mind kept replaying back to that day and how I had met so many inspiring individuals. I wanted to give back and help build opportunities for students to meet amazing role models so they can be as inspired as I was. Moreover, I wanted to be part of an initiative that helps share stories, build human connections, and support communities. I think initiatives such as the Student and Speaker Breakfast are so important because they bring people with different perspectives together and build compassion within our society.
What is your favourite past TED or TEDx talk?
I love the “Everyday Leadership” TED talk by Drew Dudley and watch it whenever I need a little extra encouragement. Dudley reminds us of how we are all leaders in the little, everyday things that we do, and that leadership is not as far away from us as we may perceive it to be.
Teale – Student Breakfast Volunteer Team Lead
What is your role on the TEDxYYC committee?
I’m the Student Breakfast team lead. My team and I organize and host the breakfast on the morning of the conference with the speakers of this year’s event and a group of ten lucky students. We don’t have too big of a role later in the day, during the actual talks in the evening, but we try to create an unforgettable morning for both the speakers and the students.
What brings you back to the committee each year?
2016 was my first year on the committee. That first year, I developed so many leadership and communication skills, learned a lot about what it takes to put together an event like TEDx, and discovered that I love the event-planning process!
Organizing the Student Breakfast is also a very fulfilling experience. When the students get together with the speakers, there are so many interesting and inspiring discussions that happen around the table. The speakers who attended the breakfast also found it to be an energizing way to start the day. I came back this year and last to keep growing as an organizer, and to create the unique experience again for another group of students and speakers.
What is involved in planning and hosting the Student & Speaker Breakfast?
After my team and I come up with a general vision for what we want the breakfast to be like this year, the biggest part of the process is just getting the word out there to apply! We try to tell as many students as possible about the opportunity, and we hype it up as much as we can on social media and with posters around university campuses and cafes.
We then go through the students’ applications and chose the winning students based on their answers to the application questions. In their applications, we look for general creativity and uniqueness, and well thought-out answers. Since the applications are in a video format, we also look for general speaking skills as those are very important in this environment.
On the morning of the breakfast, my team and I get to meet the students at the venue and hang out until the speakers join us. From then on, we let the students and speakers mingle over breakfast, and listen in on all the interesting conversations people are having!
The students all meet up again in the afternoon to attend the event and see the speakers give their talks from their front row seats.
What is your favourite past TED or TEDx talk?
The band Ok Go did a talk at the 2017 Ted Global conference. They always make incredibly creative music videos for their songs. In the talk, Damian Kulash discussed the question his band often gets asked: “How do you come up with the ideas for your videos.” The talk was super interesting and funny, and I think everybody should watch it!
Get your application in to join us at this year’s breakfast! The application deadline is May 14th at 11:59pm. For more information and to submit your application, visit tedxyyc.ca/students