“We chase ideas, not speakers.”
That’s the goal of TEDxSeattle, says Lee Gibbs, co-chair of the speaker team. “Notoriety isn’t nearly as valuable to us as a new idea that will ignite our audience’s imagination and allow them to see the world in a fresh way.”
TEDxSeattle returns to McCaw Hall on November 18 with 14 local speakers who will address this year’s theme, “Changing Places.”
It’s easy to just invite big names, says Gibbs. The challenge for a successful TEDx experience is to find people who are passionate enough about an idea to share it in a compelling way.
SHW partnered with TEDxSeattle for the first time this year. Our Senior Vice President for Event Services, Lorie Thomas, recognizes the shared values the volunteer group has with our team: passion and hard work. In our 39 years as a company, we’ve seen it over and over: that Passion + Hard Work = Magic.
This year the speaker team did something different: speakers were required to self-nominate. The instinct was right on, as more than 200 people submitted their ideas. Between self-nominations and the team’s own professional connections in Seattle, the final selection of speakers come from a diverse range of disciplines and backgrounds discussing everything from how to end child trafficking to the future of virtual reality.
Looking for sponsors to support the daylong event, the TEDxSeattle team focused on partners that would support both the national organization’s motto and this year’s local theme, “Changing Places.” Andrea Driessen, Partnership Team Lead, says it was important to work closely with each company sponsor to develop attendee experiences that provide a new perspective, and not simply sell a brand.
“No one is just sitting around waiting to write a check,” says Driessen. “We want to create value in our partnerships, and we work with those businesses for months to create engaging experiences that benefit them, but also feel more like a learning opportunity than a sales pitch to attendees.” For example, another year they worked with WSECU to have attendees evaluate their spending habits, starting a useful conversation with reps from the credit union and other audience members.
TEDx is a series of independently organized events inspired by the TED mission to present “ideas worth spreading.” They are run entirely by volunteers; in Seattle, those are professionals who share a passion for sparking conversations that could drive meaningful change in a community.
“I want to express my amazement and appreciation for the team of volunteers that has come together to make this event happen,” Elizabeth Coppinger, TEDxSeattle’s Organizer, told us. “They are all busy professionals, and it really is amazing to see the caliber of the team we’ve created through the inspiration of the TEDx concept.” While magic doesn’t happen overnight, the profound impact that it can have on a community makes the hard work well worth it.
You can get to know some of this year's speakers below, or to learn more about the event visit the TEDxSeattle website. Purchase tickets via their online portal. Questions about an event? Reach us through our online contact form.
Aji grew up in the woods of the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington, where he developed a deep love and connection to the forest and waters of the Pacific Northwest. He is now an activist, working to protect our environment.
Ava Jordan Holmes, founder of Fashion for Conservation (FFC), believes bridging the gap between the industries of conservation and fashion is a key to human survival.
Seattle to Portland in 20 minutes? Charlie Swan, co-founder of Pacific Hyperloop, is working to make that happen.
Fariba Alamdari, Vice president at the Boeing Company, is a strong advocate of diversity and is a speaker at diversity forums and believes in a compassionate leadership style focused on achieving results based on trust and respect for all.
Jennifer Hansen, Senior Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is an equity advocate with a fierce dedication to ensuring information and scientific knowledge is free and available to all.
Jevin West, Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, co-founded the DataLab — a collection of faculty and graduate students focused on data science and analytics.
A licensed marriage and family therapist of 23 years, Patty is also the co-founder and President of the StolenYouth board, which works to end child trafficking.
RedWolf Pope is the CEO of Maru, co-founder MediaDojo Inc., a lawyer, as well as the United Indians Communications Coordinator.
Sandy Cioffi is a Seattle-based film and video artist. She has produced and/or directed several independent films, including the critically acclaimed Sweet Crude, Crocodile Tears, Terminal 187 and Just Us.
Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH, combines extensive experience as a technology business leader, global health advocate, and social innovator to accelerate great ideas and bring lifesaving solutions to scale.