TEDx Charlottesville: The Best of Us

On November 15th, 2013, Charlottesville hosted it's first ever TEDx event. For those who are unfamiliar with TED, it is among the most popular conferences in the world where incredible speakers share art, technology and ideas to inspire their audience. TED has revolutionized the conference format, and TED videos number in the millions.

The TEDx is an independently organized event, and the team behind TEDx Charlottesville included a number of Darden staff and faculty, as well as student volunteers. I spoke with one of the organizers, Lisa Stewart, who is Director of Darden's Institute for Business in Society, about her experience helping launch this event. It took almost a year of planning and a broad campaign that touched all parts of Charlottesville. However, the results were as expected: Inspiring.

As a student volunteer I had a chance to attend some small part of the broader event. In the 2 short hours I sat in Paramount Theater, I heard an amazing performance by Charlottesville's own student sting orchestra. The school orchestra has played across the world, and their repertoire has influences that range from the classical to cajun. John Hunter who is a teacher at a Charlottesville public school, discussed a game he invented to challenge his students in a very unique way. The World Peace Game, has been converted into a documentary and the book is making waves in the education community. The audience was also treated to a speech from his former students on the impact of the game and of their teacher on their lives. John spoke at TED 2011 and his speech is embedded below. Who knew he was a Charlottesville native?

I can go on and on, but will still fall woefully short of sharing what inspires. Its why we need events such as these. I'm sure that even at Darden there are these stories that exist in the ether. There are stories that will inspire and challenge us, and we only need to create the space for them to be shared. I think that is why our clubs exist. That is why we should conferences, classes and speakers. If we can inspire each others, I believe that is how we change each other, and thus the world.

If you have time, check out the full livestream of the event. You might have to skip around a bit to find different speakers, but it will be well worth the time. I had a chance to listen to 2 Darden professors speak (Ed Freeman and Martin Davidson) and seeing them on stage reminded me of the privilege of having them in our classrooms. It reminds me that we are surrounded by special people, and in the 1 or 2 years we have at Darden, my hope is all of us can be inspired by those around us.

You can check out the livestream of the event here.

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