In my four years organizing with TEDxNYU, I had served as the Director of Speaker Curation, Vice President and in 2016, I led TEDxNYU’s 7th annual Conference as the organization's (first female!) President. The Conference theme, On the Brink, explored crucial tipping points across education, science, art, business and identity.
The leadership team and I began organizing the Conference one year in advance with a vision to use our platform to build community across the TEDxNYU team and chosen speakers. I believed that creating community within the organizing team and between our speakers would create a meaningful experience for our conference attendees. As a way to build this community, I co-organized a series of speaker training workshops with the NYU Leadership Initiative that focused on the ideation, drafting and delivery of the speakers' talks. I wanted to offer these workshops so that the speakers could get to know one another on a more personal level, exchange ideas and support one another in the creation of their talks. We held the workshop series over the course of four months and I could see how their collaboration caused their talks to weave together to create a cohesive story arch for the conference.
In addition to preparing the speakers, I worked with the leadership team on Conference production, fundraising and marketing. Together, we built an original set, fundraised, formed partnerships with local vendors such as Dos Toros, KIND bars, Insomnia Cookies, Passion Planner, HBO (and more!) and sold out tickets to the conference.
The evening before the conference, the Vice President (now current President!) and I met to discuss last minute details about the conference. Our meeting ran late into the night and by the time I got home, I knew I’d only catch a few hours of sleep before having to wake up to begin preparing for the big day. So, I took a quick nap and woke up at 5:30AM to transport Conference props to the venue and get myself ready for the event. By 8AM, the TEDxNYU team arrived to the venue for our morning meeting. I delegated responsibilities across the team and everyone was busy at work for the next two hours.
When doors opened at 10AM, we had breakfast, interactive activities and the theatre prepared for our attendees. The seats in the theatre filled up and I was excited to see some familiar faces in the crowd. The Vice President and I introduced the Conference and the event took off from there. I loved watching each speaker take their turn on stage as I had watched their talks transform throughout the months leading up to the event. The Conference ran smoothly and the audience was engaged and in good spirits. At the end of the conference, the attendees stayed to mingle and the speakers and team exchanged posters to get signatures and notes from one another to remember this meaningful day. After the crowds cleared out, I was finally able to reflect for a moment - my team had come a long way since the beginning of the year and they worked so hard to make the Conference a success. I could not have had a better end to my four years of work with TEDxNYU.
Thank you to everyone who made that day magic!