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TEDxPeachtree: An Eye-Opening, Unforgettable Experience

What is TEDxPeachtree? What is TED?

A year ago, I had no idea what TED was or what it was about, nor did I know the existence of TEDxPeachtree. I was invited to step in as an interim Content Editor for the weekly blog posts on TEDxPeachtree by a dear friend, Wendy Ho.

She explained to me what TED was and introduced me to TEDxPeachtree. I Googled TED and learned more about ideas worth spreading. Admittedly, I had no idea such an awesome concept existed. I quickly got acquainted with TED Talks and was eager to be a part of the TEDxPeachtree team, made up of all volunteers.

It was exciting to learn more about TEDxPeachtree and TED through our writers while editing the weekly blog posts. I was exposed to many inspiring and wonderful TEDx and TED Talks. Working alongside the TEDxPeachtree team and being the Content Editor, I was able to learn about and meet each of the 2013 speakers before the event. This made my first TEDx experience very special and I treasure it greatly.

Thanks to Wendy Ho and the TEDxPeachtree organizers for this valuable, eye-opening, unforgettable experience. Not only did I work with great people, but I made some meaningful friendships. I truly feel like I am a part of something greater.

As I step back this year, I would like to part with this inspiring presentation by Rashid Nuri, a speaker from the 2013 TEDxPeachtree. Looking forward to discovering what illuminates us in October 2014!

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Pek Suan Yew-Wyland enjoyed her role as the Content Editor in 2013 TEDxPeachtree, and wishes the best to the 2014 team!

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Treasured Relationships

Treasured Relationships

Editor’s Note: Volunteers make up the engine that makes TEDxPeachtree go every year. This post is from Grace Liao who attended TEDxPeachtree 2012 and decided to join the all-volunteer planning team for TEDxPeachtree 2013. 


Children from Papua New Guinea.

As a volunteer for the 2013 TEDxPeachtree event, I certainly understand the importance of speakers, sponsors, and volunteers. However, the importance of attendees didn’t quite sink in until conference day.

I met Ivette at last year’s conference and I  knew my day was off to a good start.

She asked if I was learning Python to which I nodded in amazement. “I read your profile on the TEDxPeachtree blog, ” she said. Content Editor Pek Suan Wyland wrote an article about me earlier in the year and Ivette had read it. Before I even had the opportunity to introduce myself to Ivette, she introduced me to PyLadies, an international club for helping women learn the Python programming language, and a Python course offered by Coursera, an organization that offers free online courses by university professors!

As a result of that conversation, I have attended every PyLadies monthly meeting since then. I have also found a Coursera Python course that matched my needs and have since completed a few sessions.

Each year brings enhancements at TEDxPeachtree and 2013 was no different. Each attendee’s name badge was printed with a conversation starter: “Ask me about [the attendee’s favorite topic].” Mine was “Ask me about Taiwan.” This worked perfectly for me. During lunch, I sat next to Christy, an attendee who started a conversation by asking me about Taiwan.  We chatted about Taiwan and about her topic of interest: books. Turns out Christy enjoyed books related to linguistics. We were so engaged in our conversation about her native language (English) and my native language (Chinese) that we did not notice that lunch was over and everyone had left for the afternoon sessions.

Without the conversation starter our name badge, I would probably have never known Christy’s love for books or about, a network of readers and book recommendations. We would probably not have exchanged business cards and she would never have known I was looking for a Toastmaster club. Another serendipitous result of the TEDxPeachtree experience was Christy was able to recommend a Toastmaster club that was located close to my workplace.

In my hometown, we like to use a Chinese term, “Yuan Fen (緣份),” on relationships we treasure. It means the fate or chance that brings people together. TEDxPeachtree is definitely creating Yuan Fen for our community.

Image credit: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Flickr.


About the Author

Grace Liao is an analyst in the financial services industry. When she is not researching public companies and industries, she enjoys reading and biking. Recently she is in training for biking over 300 kilometers in two days.


Posted in General, TEDx, Volunteers0 Comments

TEDxPeachtree 2013 in Poetry

Rachel Pendergrass - Poet

Rachel Pendergrass – Poet

What does catalyze mean to you?

Rachel Pendergrass summed it up in poetry at TEDxPeachtree 2013, and then read it on stage!

To catalyze the world we must create
Be it art or jobs or tools to help us learn.
Don’t think it’s not your job to change our fate;
If you want to change the world – go. It’s your turn.

Find what inspires you. Make that your tool.
Be it bottles, bikes, bees, beats or biospheres.
You’ll find that with creation there’s no rules
except that it will take blood, sweat and tears.

You may at first be overwhelmed by choice-
of what and where and how and why to change.
Start small; the key is to limit your voice.
Once you have confidence, expand your range.

So when you leave don’t let today pass by.
Its up to you to keep the day alive!

Read what attendees had to say about this year’s sold out event, and see captured moments on TEDxPeachtree 2013 Storify.

peksuanyewwylandPek Suan Yew-Wyland was inspired by TEDxPeachtree 2013, and proud to be part of the team!

Posted in General, Speakers, TEDx, Volunteers2 Comments

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Wilson

Chris WilsonChristopher T. Wilson, Esq. dreams of starting his own country where he can banish political parties and stop the incessant arguing in which they engage. Until he can establish his own brand of Libertarianism in this utopian land, he’s perfectly content to help share “ideas worth spreading” as legal counsel and Board of Directors member at TEDxPeachtree.

A corporate lawyer and Atlanta managing partner with the worldwide law firm FisherBroyles, LLC by day, Chris joined the TEDxPeachtree team several years ago after reading about TED and becoming intrigued by the concept. “I thought the sharing of ideas and the coming together of so many talented individuals was a place I wanted to be,” he said.

Fortunately, Chris didn’t have to look very far for a local TEDx group, as his firm had been providing legal services as a TEDxPeachtree sponsor since 2009. “I started assisting TEDxPeachtree founder Al Meyers as part of our sponsorship, and my role just grew from there,” Chris said. “I’ve always enjoyed the TEDxPeachtree experience, so when the opportunity arose to help out in the board member capacity, I jumped at the chance.”

Chris, who stays busy providing quality legal service to his clients and caring for his two daughters as a single dad, said his most favorite thing about volunteering with the TEDxPeachtree team is meeting such talented and creative people and watching them create the experience for attendees each year. “The volunteers here at TEDxPeachtree are some of the best I’ve ever witnessed,” he said. “It’s simply amazing.” And, he said, he’s looking forward to continuing his work with TEDxPeachtree as long as he can.

When he’s not dedicating his time and know how to FisherBroyles and TEDxPeachtree or having some fun with his children, Chris also finds time to volunteer on the board of directors for the Southeastern Railway Museum and One World Adoption, as well as on the advisory board for the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia. Miraculously, he also manages to squeeze in some time to play tennis and hit the links with friends.

With seemingly endless energy and always quick with a joke, Chris embodies the thesis of his favorite TED talk: Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die (originally delivered at a Stanford University commencement in 2005), and we’re so happy he does!

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If you’d like to find out for yourself how hardworking and hilarious Chris really is, you can find him at TEDxPeachtree 2013 on November 8 at the Buckhead Theatre.

meredithprudenAtlanta native, freelance writer and interactive marketing consultant, Meredith Pruden is the TEDxPeachtree MarComm director. She is also a ravenous technophile, social media fanatic, word nerd, finicky foodie, landlocked surfer and scuba diver and avid traveler raising a cheeky, soccer playing teenage son.  

Posted in General, TED, TEDx, Volunteers0 Comments

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