TEDxMidAtlantic Day 2 Session 2

Session 2: Committing Ourselves

A recurrent quotation in today’s session was this one, which also does a great job to sum up and expand the program’s “Be Fearless” theme into a distinction between the life of a risk-taker and that of a comfort-seeker:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
— Theodore Roosevelt

Bill Shore (@billshore) challenges conventional thinking about managing charity efforts. Why not evaluate a non-profit by the amount of good that it does rather than upon its administrative cost ratio? His organization, Share Our Strength, has set a goal to end child hunger in the United States, and has forged strong partnerships with restaurants, food producers, and other corporate partners.

Darell Hammond (@DarellHammond) began his talk by recalling his happy childhood in a group home in Illinois, funded by members of the Moose organization, where he and other children were given ample opportunities to play in the home’s playground. Called to action by a story about two inner-city children who died playing in an abandoned car, he created KaBOOM!, an organization which helps build playgrounds in underserved communities to satisfy children’s need for unstructured play.

Gautam Gulati (@drgautamgulati) calls himself a healthcare artist, and calls for a dramatic remaking of the health care industry to increase coordination of care and improve outcomes for patients.

Kakenya Ntaiya (@KakenyaN) grew up in a Masaai village in Kenya and told a powerful story about her coming of age as a young woman. Having been engaged for marriage at the age of 5, she was discouraged by the manual labor and servitude of a traditional woman’s life, and chose teachers as her role models. She was the first woman in her village to gain the permission of her village elders to come to the United States to study. She is now giving back to her village by building an academy for girls.

Jason Seiken (@jseiken) spoke about transforming the culture of the PBS digital media department. His team improved the look of the web site and created some playful videos “remixing” well-known PBS personalities like Mr. Rogers and Bob Ross. One of his many pieces of advice about leading a revolution is to make at least one change that satisfies a key stakeholder; in his case an edgy web site redesign incorporated new features enabling member stations to make local programming available to their viewers on the pbs.org web site.

Brian Conley (@BaghdadBrian) is a freelance journalist and filmmaker who specializes in reporting from areas of crisis and conflict around the world. His organization, Small World News, provides training and other resources to other aspiring reporters to share their stories from places such as Libya, Iraq, Egypt, and Afghanistan.

Geoff Tracy (@chefgeoffs) described the entrepreneurial path that took him from launching his first successful restaurant, Chef Geoff’s, at age 27, and beyond to a small and growing restaurant empire in the Washington D.C. area.

Classical Revolution (@ClassicalRev) orchestrates impromptu classical music performances in public places to preserve and increase public appreciation for the artform. The session closed with a performance with a blended ensemble from the Baltimore and Washington D.C. chapters.

Next: Session 3: Wide Open

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