What an amazing networking event, with quite the diversity of talent in the audience. It was amazing that RVA hosted several high profile people from across the country, and amazing the speaking and performing talent that was represented by RVA.
Theme of the day was "RE_" and we were asked to write down and tweet RE_ words for each speaker. My words included: Reimage, reuse, redo, renew, reignite, reengage, remix, recondition, and rethink.
How did attending TEDxRVA benefit and affect me? Many, if not all, of the quotes captured below are applicable to work and life, and should be applicable in some way to your work and life, whether we are working in a small team, or working among giant organizations. Regardless of the speaker's direct topic, the underlying themes of leadership, imagination, creativity, invention, positive attitude, open-mindedness, customer focus, and listening, respecting and understanding others' perspectives are part of being a successful professional and living a more fulfilling life.
Andy Stefanovich was the host, chief curator, and MC. I was already familiar with Stefanovich from his part in kicking off RVA's C3 Breakfast Club and his book, "Look at More: A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth, and Change." He did a remarkable job setting the stage and keeping the audience excited and engaged between speakers and performers. My quote of the day from him came early:
- "Seek out those moments of truth. They will change you."
Mike Muse, founder of Muse Records, did an amazing job explaining how the art of music is like a political and cultural history map.
- "Let’s go down a road of pop culture and politics."
- "Stand for something or fall for everything."
- "Don’t be passive about your democracy."
- "Music defines a generation."
- "Own your democracy."
Archie Lee Coates, IV of Playlab Inc. walked us through his journey to create the +POOL Project in New York City's East River. A true journey of idea to reality.
- "Exploring is always worth it."
- "You never waste time or money when you are exploring."
- "Self-proclaimed weirdos, not knowing what they are doing, can change the world with ideas."
Jasmine Lawrence, a program manager for Microsoft Xbox and founder of EDEN BodyWorks, spoke about the need for imagination and creativity in public schools to drive an engineering and technology workforce in the future.
- "Only 5% of the U.S. workforce is in engineering and technology. But who’s going to build the data-driven future we want?"
- "You can't solve problems you don't know about. Get out of your box and identify and experience."
- "Science fiction can become science fact by engaging kids with a focus on Identity, Exposure and Experience."
Dr. Lisa Freiman from VCU's Institute for Contemporary Art spoke about how imagination and creativity are being replaced by conformity and standardization in public schools. She gave the example of a student science fair where all the exhibits looked the same and all the experiments were reused from the internet.
- "The North Face Effect: excess conformity and standardization everywhere."
- "Schools used to be thought of places of imagination and experimentation."
- Quoting Andre Breton: "Only imagination realizes the possible in me."
- "I think we are facing a crisis of conformity, an excess of standardization."
Jim Meehan, a bartender, mixologist, and James Beard Award winner, really summarized the nuance of customer service vs. hospitality, and how to lead others to the same understanding.
- "Service is a monologue and hospitality is a dialog."
- "You won't learn what people expect or need until you open a dialogue with them."
- "Manager's job is mixing people."
- "Mirror and idealize people; pollinate and make them happy."
- "Condition people to fit into the environment."
Dr. Tanya Pettiford-Wates of The Concilation Project literally and figuratively walked on-stage with a bag of issues.
- "We all have issues."
- "Issues are bigger than the individual yet we take those issues personally and get offended. Our issues get in the way."
- "Recognize and Respect the issues in between us so we can have a relationship and reconciliation."
- "People in the market are too embarrassed to look upon the truth."
- "You cannot reconcile until you concile."
Ashley Stanley of Lovin' Spoonfuls shared her journey of how an at-whim question about food waste turned into her way to feed the hungry.
- "You don't need to be Somebody to do something, you just need an idea."
- "Food is the most powerful tool toward social justice."
- "Ask yourself what you would do if you were not afraid."
- "I surround myself with people that support me. If we are lacking anything in this world, it's hope."
Jesse Vaughan, the award winning film maker, shared how events in his life incited him to step out from ordinary to extraordinary.
- "Life is a hero's journey and the hero is you."
- "Have you had your inciting moment when you stepped out of your ordinary life?"
- "Don't let your life mean nothing. Be a hero. May the force be with you."
Closing the day, Dr. Danny Avula of the Richmond Public Health Department talked about creating community.
- "Suburban culture treats dependence as a weakness."
- "We have become the most connected but lonely society."
- "Front porch communities have become garages and privacy fences. We disconnect from what makes us human."
- "Dependency creates relationships and community."
- "Acts of honesty creates real relationships."
Other incredible speaker quotes...
- "How can you call it a project if it's not in progress?" -Josh Braunstein, Water Collective
- "Community is not working for, it is working with." -Duron Chavis, Happily Natural Day Festival
- "Modernism is 100 years old. Time to reawaken." -David Rau, 3North
- "It's the journey that matters." -Charlotte Potter & Robin Rogers, Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio
- "If you can do what you do best to help others do their best, that is making a living." -Zoe Romano, world record holding runner
- "I am beautiful because my heart stretches for miles." -Carmen Jones, VCU sophomore
All the speaker bios are here:
Watch the event online here:
Photos from the event are here:
#TEDxRVA tweets (including mine!) are here:
And it has already been announced that VCU will be hosting the next TEDxRVA in November 2014. I will be there!