What to expect at TEDxFortWayne

Brene Brown’s ideas about “The Power of Vulnerability” have sent ripples of change around the world.

Brown is a researcher of the qualities within us that make us human, such as, vulnerability.

She explains that to brave our changing social climate, people must desire to confront their inner fears of shame. Being vulnerable is key to the core of a meaningful human interaction.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness,” Brown says.

She’s speaking at a TEDx event in Houston, and in a way, her speech illuminates the power at the core of TED talks, in general. They're short speeches about “ideas worth spreading," and when people are vulnerable enough to share their ideas, meaningful interactions can take place.

Lauren Zuber speaks at a previous TEDx event.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and it’s a nonprofit that began as a conference on these topics in 1984.

Over the years, it has evolved into an event that features talks on topics of all types from science to business to global issues in more than 100 languages.

While the national TED talks have been popularized by videos on YouTube and TED Radio Hour on NPR, smaller independent versions of these talks are happening in communities around the world at events called TEDx (x for independent).

After a three-year hiatus, TEDxFortWayne is back with a lineup of 11 speakers set to take the stage on March 24 at Manchester University.

Organizer Mark Hagar says the theme this year is “Resurgence,” which speaks not only to the event’s revival, but also a resurgence of the mind and soul of northeast Indiana.

“There’s a resurgence of the event itself, and then it does reflect this attitude that we’ve recognized now across northeast Indiana and certainly in Fort Wayne when we talk about the Riverfront development, and The Landing project, and the Electric Works at GE,” Hagar tells WBOI. “All of these things are representative of a resurgent pride in our community.”

Even so, he says the speeches at TEDxFortWayne will not be limited to community pride. They will range from topics like stopping homelessness before it happens by April Gerard, to the power of community champions by Christophe Dessaigne, and how design impacts behavior by Rena Bradley.

Hagar says 40 people applied to be speakers at TEDxFortWayne this year, and a team of seven judges narrowed it down to the top 11 speakers who will present at the event.

All of the speakers chosen have local ties, either living in Fort Wayne, or being raised here.

Hagar says you don’t need a degree to give a TED talk about a subject. It’s more about the power of your idea and having something important to say.

“I think everybody has a TED talk in them,” Hagar says. “It takes expertise, experience, and passion.”

TEDxFortWayne is made possible by a group of regional volunteers.

As for the audience, he encourages them to come willing to look at local issues and ideas with an open mind.

“We specifically want some new perspectives, new ways of thinking,” Hagar tells WBOI.

As the big day approaches, the speakers selected for the event are working with three TEDx coaches to refine their ideas into succinct talks.

The full-day event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. will feature local food and coffee, as well.

Hagar says his team of volunteers has been working hard to get things in order and create a model that future TEDxFortWayne events can follow.

“There has been phenomenal community involvement,” Hagar says. “A core team has come together quick, and we’ve grown that out as more people have offered to help. It’s the spirit of TED to allow people to come together."

Attend the event

For tickets and more information, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tedxfortwayne-x-indpendently-organized-ted-event-registration-41352213584.

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Read more articles by Kara Hackett.

Kara Hackett is a Fort Wayne native fascinated by what's next for northeast Indiana how it relates to other up-and-coming places around the world. After working briefly in New York City and Indianapolis, she moved back to her hometown where she has discovered interesting people, projects, and innovations shaping the future of this place—and has been writing about them ever since. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karahackett.