TED phenomenon comes to Delray Beach on Friday
In the spirit of the original TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading,” TEDx comes to Delray Beach this Friday, organized by local resident Becky Woodbridge, a flight attendant, speaker and coach.
Originating in California 29 years ago, with two major TED events each year, the organization (originally focusing on Technology, Entertainment and Design) brings together the world’s leading thinkers and doers, all with the modest goal of changing the world.
Speakers, who talk anywhere from three minutes to 18 minutes, have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende, and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Woodbridge, a member of the Florida Speakers Association, first heard a TED talk with Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work on vulnerability, one of the most-watched talks on TED.
“I was blown away,” Woodbridge says. “I was hooked immediately. I watched six hours non-stop of TED talks.”
This experience led Woodbridge to become more involved. When she saw the chance to host an event in her own community, she seized the moment, applied for and obtained the license to host the TEDx ― the “x” means an independently organized TED event― conference.
The event at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts, hosted by personal coach Laura Berman Fortgang, is open to the public, but interested parties must apply for admission. The cost of a ticket is $100/$75 for students and admission is not guaranteed.
Why this approach to ticket sales, which might seem elitist or exclusive?
Not so, according to Woodbridge, who says the event is sold out. Applying for tickets allows the organizers to read each person’s application and choose a diverse group of attendees.
“We want a diverse audience of diverse disciplines,” explains Woodbridge. “We want a cross-section of ages, races, ethnicities and interests. All participants will interact with each other in experiential workshops as a way to build community and spark creativity and ideas.”
The speakers for this event ― The Human Experience ― are also chosen by application.
This group includes 27 leading thinkers, innovators, artists, philosophers and entertainers from the fields of technology, entertainment, visual and performance art, design, music, ecology, and education.
Kartick Satyanarayan flew in from New Delhi for the conference. Satyanarayan runs Wildlife SOS, a charity working to save India’s wildlife, including bears, elephants, leopards, reptiles and the Bengal tiger.
“I started this charity with a colleague in 1995 and due to persistence and focus, we have made a difference,” said Satyanarayan, who didn’t want to reveal the topic of his talk. “Each year we need to raise $2.5 million to support our efforts, and each year we seem to do it.”
“Most problems can be solved,” he says, “and each person can have a huge impact.”
His expectations for the event are to make contacts, look for support for his cause and to motivate people to live in a sustainable way.
Likewise, Dr. Janet Courtney, a play therapist and adjunct professor at Barry University, will speak about her kinesthetic children’s storybook, Magic Rainbow Hug, a book she wrote based on the Ericksonian metaphoric therapy model, incorporating relaxation exercises, guided imagery and healing touch.
“I’m honored to be invited to this gathering,” Courtney says. “Becky worked tirelessly to pull off this event and invited a wide range of interesting speakers. It’s going to be an exciting day.”
“My book illustrates the curative nature of a magic rainbow hug and is a way to help children heal from trauma or autism,” she says. “They get to experience touch in a joyful way and the book is a way for parents and children to bond.
“The images in the book speak to a child’s unconscious,” she said. “It can ease a child’s anxiety, worries and fears and is entertaining at the same time.”
The event will be broadcast world-wide and as part of Project ASL, will be broadcast live in American Sign Language. Hearing-impaired viewers can gather at Google Hangout and watch the live event with sign language interpreters.
“This is all about the human experience,” Woodbridge said. “We have ensured that this event is nothing but a deep breath of unrestrained imagination.”
Details about TEDx Delray Beach, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts, can be found at www.tedxdelraybeach.com. Other speakers include: Alex Shaw, a 12-year old guitar prodigy, Dr. Joachim de Posada, a motivational speaker and co-author of Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet, Frank McKinney, Delray Beach’s own real estate mogul, and David Mezzapelle, author of the Contagious Optimism book series.
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