Reflections on Emergence

I just took down all the “get tickets” links for Emergence on TEDxVictoria.com and changed the language to be past tense. This means we have reached the point in time where we have largely accomplished what we intended to do when we started planning this event. There are so many people to thank for this that even writing an update is an intimidating idea.

The short form is that the event was the combined forces of an engaged city, exceptionally supportive partners, courageous thinkers, brilliant performers, and some of the most outstanding organizers I have ever had the privilege to work with.

The longer form is that it has been a significant amount of work, and it’s not over yet. The fruit of this is not just the day, but of course the photos and speaker videos (talks) from the event, which give the ideas worth spreading a far larger wingspan. This year’s theme was very strong, and the speakers were equally as strong and brought it to a new level. We are fortunate to have these brilliant minds asking the hard questions and exploring possibilities.

Effectively doubling the size of the event (from 400 people to 772) meant that there was more hands needed on deck, and a different strategy for marketing and communicating about the event. We made a new communications plan, a new marketing strategy, designed a new website, made a new eNewsletter campaign, made stretch goals for media relations, developed a great relationship with a new media partner, increased advertising spend, designed and activated new volunteer roles, and broadly participated in more community engagement through our Salon events. We had an open house for people interested in getting involved that attracted even more people than most TEDx events.

So much has developed over the last year that it’s difficult to articulate it all short of writing a book. Putting on an event of this scale requires serious attention to detail, vision, time, energy, and perhaps most importantly, relationships. I am deeply grateful for the people I worked with, as well as the opportunities and experiences; quite simply, I was challenged and I grew.

Those who worked on TEDxVictoria have a lot to be proud of; we have accomplished a hell of a lot. The potential of the team is massive, and this was demonstrated.

Other reflections

  • For serious conversations, email is bad and texting is worse
  • For the best relationships, telephone/skype/google hangouts provide tone, which is essential to understanding one another on an emotional level
  • When working with volunteers, emotions largely govern energy, which determines the power of the team
  • Social nights are important with the team
  • I still like building and designing highly functional websites
  • I got excited when I saw other team members post on our blog
  • Most of my responsibilities were prior to the event
  • Proof, proof, proof
  • Speaker coaching is time well spent, and understanding that aspect has given me more insights on how to market speakers/talks
  • The stage design was brilliant, on-theme, dynamic and powerful – I was impressed by how it came together
  • I took the image above from the balcony the night before the event
  • The night before the event is a lot of work for the day-of crew
  • The day-of crew does so much work it’s difficult to comprehend
  • We were spoiled at the after-party, which was also a tonne of work by another talented crew
  • No matter how much social media you do, you’ll always feel like you can do more – same as with the recording label
  • The McPherson is a beautiful venue
  • The Zone has been an awesome and creative media partner
  • Royal Roads University is a kickass Title level sponsor who put myself and 3 other organizers through their Strategic Leadership Program as part of their support for the event
  • Our presence at Rifflandia was awesome and our booth looked better than ever
  • We did a free event about the future of citiesĀ in city hall’s Council Chamber
  • We had absolutely incredible emcees
  • People are still hungry for this type of event according to ticket sales
  • Change is inevitable; attitude makes an extraordinary difference in times of transition
  • People grow when you give them the chance
  • There are so many chances to develop professionally as a volunteer – many of these are opportunities that are not available at the workplace or school
  • Some of the TEDx rules inhibit the potential of partnerships and events; this may be by design, and it can be frustrating
  • Watching so many TED talks on the Internet and then seeing new talks in-person felt like being at a live recording of the Internet
  • I am forgetting something, but that’s okay
  • One thing leads to another

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