TEDx Memphis 2015

This past weekend I joined nearly 1000 other business leaders, students, teachers and interested citizens on the University of Memphis campus (Rose Theatre) to hear Memphis’ first TEDx talk. It was an amazing event that lasted over 7 ½ hours and featured a wide array of speakers from dancers, rappers, filmmakers, builders, growers, preachers, doctors, lawyers, and executives from the worlds of sports and logistics.   

TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages and TED talks are routinely viewed by millions on You Tube and other social media. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events (like Memphis) help share ideas in local communities around the world.   

The 17 speakers that spoke last weekend were given 18 minutes each and were divided into 4 blocks with topics as diverse as their presenters. FedEx CIO, Rob Carter gave an artful, historically informed tour of Memphis with river, rail and runways morphing into the wide world of digital connections.  Kimbal Musk with Kitchen Community touted “real food” as the next vanguard for innovation. Interesting stuff for sure!   

One of my favorite presenters were Katie Smythe, founder of New Ballet Ensemble who opened the event with “Wide Open Dance: A Tale of Two Cities” which was a reference to Memphis separated by race and class and touted access to arts as a path to educational and personal development. I also enjoyed Dr. Sarah Petschonek who challenged the audience to “Volunteer on your birthday and maybe this year, the day you were born will also be the day you find out why.”   

There were several other interesting presentations from Todd Richardson with the nationally acclaimed Crosstown Concourse project as well as Jason Wexler with the Memphis Grizzlies who both spoke about civic renewal and the character of Memphis. It was really inspiring and I must say it made me proud to be a Memphian! At the end of the day, I am sure I speak for everyone that attended TEDx that it was not only an “immensely civilized” but an extremely successful event as well. Can’t wait to attend next year and get inspired all over again!    

Posted by Jay Myers at 1:59 PM