Speakers at the TEDx CentralWyomingCollege event gathered for a group photo afterwards. (Ernie Over photo)
(Riverton, Wyo.) – From all appearances, the first ever TEDx talk at Central Wyoming College was a resounding success, both in attendance, about 400 folks, and content. The stated goal of the event was presenting “thought-provoking presentations and discussions that will spark innovation and foster connections between participants.” From all appearances, it seemed to do just that.
So, who is TED? And why was there an “x” behind the name? TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading and TEDx is an event that is self-organized locally to bring a TED-like experience to community audiences. TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design. Those invited to present at a TED event are asked to give “the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less.”
For the CWC event, six speakers and two videos were featured. Among the presenters were three Fremont County residents, John Kanengieter, Anne Even and Jason Kintzler, plus three filmmakers from Boston, a Harvard Fellow at the Forum for Growth and Innovation, and Ashlee Lundvall of Cody, the current Ms. Wheelchair USA. Chris Jones of Riverton was the Master of Ceremonies.
Audience members were urged to participate in the event through displays and comment boards placed in the lobby of the Peck Arts Center Theatre, and all the speakers were available for one-on-one meet and greets.
Here are some highlights:
Phil Hessler, Galen Knowles and Adam Schellenberg opened the session and told the story of Far From Home: The Power of Human Connection and Storytelling, a documentary film on a Ugandan man who will be the first to represent his country in the Winter Olympics. Their subject, Brolin, came to the United States when he was 12 years old to meet his birth mother and to capture The American Dream. It wasn’t easy, but he found his voice through snowboarding, and the film documents his story.
Maxwell Wessel, Harvard Fellow at the school’s Forum for Growth and Innovation. “Change isn’t in your DNA” was the topic of his presentation in which he left the audience with some key messages, including: • Great success stories tend not to repeat themselves; • We are different when we are young: We dream bigger. As we mature we “know better”; • Innovation is challenging because the things that make you good make you bad.
Anne Even, Grant Project Coordinator at Central Wyoming College made her presentation about Life Happens Outside the Comfort Zone. Repeatable quotes from her presentation: • To become comfortable become uncomfortable; • You need a support system to help you make your goals.
Ashlee Lundvall became a paraplegic at the age of 16 and her life dreams changed dramatically. Her presentation on A new Adventure: A Story of Inspirational Innovation told of her adaptations that led her to becoming Ms. Wheelchair America and a hunter while living a dream in Wyoming. One of her key points was “It’s what you do when change happens that matters,” and “It’s not easy to let go of old dreams; you have to have the courage to go after new ones. Let go of your fears and go after your dreams.”
Jason Kintzler’s story was about Attainable Innovation. He said solving problems is at the root of innovation. The CEO of PitchEngine in Riverton and Lander, a content creation platform with more than 45,000 users worldwide and the author of The New American Startup, Kintzler shared his story of the ascension of PitchEngine. He also said innovation can transform communities and he talked about the creation of County10.com and how that digital media source had transformed local news in Wyoming.
John Kanengieter asked the audience to Rethink Risk: Living Without a Net. John has been a trainer at NOLS, and for NASA and the U. S. Naval Academy and others in the dynamics of teamwork and leadership. His point he wanted the audience to leave with was to innovate themselves through taking risks with mind, heart and self. “When we risk, we always learn something. Without risk there is no innovation,” he said. “Risk is something to be explored, and it leads to new ways of thinking. When we risk, we learn and when we learn, we innovate.”
Learn more about TED by clicking here.
Photos by Ernie Over. Click to enlarge: