Welcome guest blogger Vanessa Rogers. Rogers, after getting a Communication Studies degree from the University of Texas at Austin, spent three years teaching English in Chile and South Korea after a study abroad program in Italy stirred her wanderlust. She is currently studying in an international MBA program at UTSA to expand her skillset and to one day own her own business.
I heard about TedxSanAntonio through the grapevine, by chance. “Did you hear that Ted talks are coming to San Antonio?” a friend whispered during accounting class one afternoon. “What!?” I nearly yelped back, my heart beating with excitement, my brain whizzing into overdrive. It took tremendous will power to listen to the rest of the lecture and abstain from pulling out my smart phone to look up the details.
Until then, attending a Ted Talks event had been a distant dream, an unattainable goal. TED ( Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading by anyone from any field with something inspiring, educational, or motivational to say. It began in 1984 as a conference to bring together people to simply talk and share. TED has since grown into a clearinghouse of knowledge and inspiration with worldwide videos posted to the web for free. In a world brimming with violence, hunger and pain, TED attempts to pacify, feed and soothe by not only acknowledging the world’s largest issues, but also presenting attainable solutions. When TED Talks began posting videos online, it quickly became a global sensation attracting an audience in the millions. According to the website, as of November 2012, TED Talks have accumulated over a billion views.
TEDx Events, although not officially put on by TED, are independently coordinated on a local level to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to simulate a TED like experience through dialogue on a much more local level. TEDxSanAntonio has just completed its third year, and I had the pleasure of attending.
Saturday mornings, 8 am, I am usually far from being awake, let alone out of bed and alert. On that Saturday morning however, the morning of San Antonio’s third annual TEDx, I got up much too early. As I sipped on the complimentary tea and nibbled on fruit, my brain mushy in its morning haze, I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the mingling crowd of fellow TED enthusiasts. After some ironically technological related issues, we were seated in Trinity University’s Jane and Arthur Stieren Theater anxiously awaiting the twenty-two speakers.
The speakers consisted of educators, musicians, healthcare researchers and workers, an award winning sustainability architect, a story collector, a butterfly evangelist, and a councilwoman just to name a few. The speakers spoke from five to twenty minutes, enlightening, entertaining, educating and inspiring us to not only perceive the world differently, but to move through it with resolve. From Gage Paine’s talk about practicing silence; a countercultural yet powerful tool to achieve simple honest communication, to Cassandra Santori’s talk on her grassroots campaign for worm composting, each spoke passionately about their field and how it could impact us as citizens of not only San Antonio but the world.
I will be honest, some of the presentations weren’t as polished as the official TED Talks. But San Antonio proved to me that day, that it wasn’t a sleepy big city as it is often thought as, but a rumbling giant with a throng of inspiring leaders, movers, and curiosity seekers on the cusp of great things. San Antonio’s momentum might not make as much noise as other large cities such as New York or Houston, but that doesn’t mean its not aspiring to greatness, only that its methods aren’t quiet as loud. Like Gage Paine postulated; to be honestly heard, we must also be comfortable with quiet.
This year, I volunteered to join the organizers of TEDxSanAntonio. I follow in the footsteps of local community leaders whose dream is that TEDxSanAntonio will not just touch and inspire San Antonians, but will energize the world to dream impossible dreams, to risk more than others think is safe, and to create solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. If you are interested in learning more about TEDx San Antonio, please visit the website at tedxsanantonio.com.