TED Talks return to Memphis this week

TEDxMemphis is back for its second year with another diverse lineup of speakers ready to share their "ideas worth spreading"  on August 27.
TED is a non-profit organization whose mission is to spread ideas via short and powerful talks. The organization started in 1984 as a conference to converge the topics of Technology, Entertainment and Design, but today nearly all topics are covered at TED events. 
In 2015 a team of community organizers along with the New Memphis Institute worked to launch TEDxMemphis, the first conference of this kind for the city. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. The first TEDx Memphis event in August of 2015 sold out with a crowd of 1000+ gathering to hear 17 speakers talk about what's next for Memphis. 
On Saturday August 27, TEDxMemphis will host The Value of X, the second all day conference featuring local speakers covering a wide variety of forward-thinking topics at the University of Memphis' Rose Theatre. 16 speakers will present their own TED Talks including Ron Garrison, CEO of MATA; Leslie Smith President, CEO of the EPIcenter, and Terence Patterson, President and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission
Tosha Downey, Director of Advocacy at Teacher Town Memphis will be delivering a talk titled "Investing Locally in Order to Compete Globally."

"I attended last year's event and felt the line-up of speakers was very refreshing--such great energy!" explained Downey. "I think it's important for Memphis and the world see how talented and amazing the people of this city are and what the opportunities are for growing and improving our city. I am delighted to be able to share some of my own insights." 
"The diversity of the line-up of speakers is so exceptional. From every industry from education to technology, the whole spectrum is covered. I feel like my voice is a unique puzzle piece in making the line-up complete and a good representation of the things that are happening to make our city great," added Downey.
Local social justice leader Tami Sawyer will ask audience members "If not you, then who?" in her talk. "TEDx Memphis is an important platform that gives me the ability to encourage positive change in the city," explained Sawyer. "A lot of people enjoy and appreciate TED Talks and my goal is to impart lessons from my experience that inspire people to be the change they want to see in Memphis and the world." 
Speaker Dr. Mario Brown, Manager for Leader Assessment & Development at First Horizon National Corporation, has long been a fan of TED. "TED Talks have always been an inspiration to me. When I heard about TEDxMemphis I was floored when given the opportunity to speak," said Brown. "I thought 'this is the opportunity of a lifetime!' I am participating because my life's passion is to share ideas and help others realize things about themselves and their potential so they can go on and follow their passions and make this a better world, one opportunity at a time."

Dr. Brown will speak on "Inspiring the Disenfranchised to Action." 
The organizing committee of TEDxMemphis aims to make the event an annual staple in the community. "According to TED’s rules for TEDx events, we cannot grow the size or length of the conference," explained Organizer Luke Jensen. "But we plan to continue producing a high quality experience full of inspiring speakers. Our continued goal of TEDxMemphis is to inform and inspire Memphians and do our small part of making Memphis a better place to live." 

To purchase tickets to the TEDxMemphis conference on Aug. 27, go here.
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Read more articles by Amy Hoyt.

Amy Hoyt is High Ground News' Community Engagement Specialist, which suits her love of Memphis and its inhabitants.