TEDxZurich was set up over 10 years ago and is exclusively run by volunteers contributing their time to organising several TEDx events each year. While the main focus lies on the speakers and their innovative talks we want to take a closer look at some of the people behind the scenes who tiredlessly and passionately pull the strings to make these magic events happen. A diverse dream team of curious people from all walks of life with one mission: to share ideas worth spreading.
Meet Hanna who has been with us for many years and is now co-leading TEDxZurich next to her exciting job at ZHAW. The Swedish engineer with a love for bold ideas has always been attracted to the mission of improving the status quo and shaping a better future by sourcing ideas from the global and local community and sharing them with the world.
I truly believe great ideas can come from anyone and anywhere. It’s all about inviting people in to be part of the conversation and to take action in their own spheres of influence.Hanna
Similar story for Sara whose passionate engagement with TEDxZurich started when watching a TED talk that made her curious and had her sign up as a TEDx volunteer right away. Fast forward the energetic yogi and event planner heads the audience experience team by coordinating everything from event decoration to circus acts and intriguing interactive games for our audience in between talks.
Volunteering gives me the wonderful opportunity to brainstorm, collaborate and co-create with empowering and inspiring people who may not have crossed my path otherwise. It gives me a feeling of mattering and belonging.Sara
Each of our TEDxZurich team members has a special story that attracted them to the organisation in the first place. When former co-lead Christina went to one of the first TEDxZurich events almost 10 years ago she was so impressed by the talks that she decided to continue her academic studies. She went on to organise TEDx events at her university in the US and returned to Zurich to give back to the precise event that had given so much to her.
I strongly believe in the power of ideas. They touch people, and awaken our curiosity. TED talks inspire and engage the audience in the craft of story telling, and that’s exactly what drew me in most!Christina
Christina now curates our speakers and shares some insight around our expectations from speakers and the challenges that come with it.
Interested speakers that are inspired to apply can do so on our website (https://tedxzurich.com/nominate-an-idea/). More important than the first contact is for the speakers to really wow us with their perspective and idea. At TEDxZurich we really want to give the audience and our later online viewers ideas that they may never have heard of or encountered before. This doesn’t mean you have to have climbed Mount Everest while juggling balls without the use of oxygen, or found the cure for cancer. The narrative we follow and ask of our speakers is to consider “what makes your voice special and how is your idea in this context groundbreaking or new?”
The biggest challenge we’ve faced over the years with speakers is that they underestimate the work we expect them to deliver in reforming and improving their speech. Again and again we find that even speakers that do take the process very seriously describe how personally confronting and challenging the experience is – often in the best way possible.
Becoming a TEDx speaker is a very reflective process and many come out the other end feeling like they’ve gone through a complete transformation.
Then there is Ralf and his team who look after technology at TEDxZurich. They are the ones to thank for the perfect sound and image at our events, while the marketing team makes sure our events are promoted and exposed across all media for a wider reach, for further visibility and to share ideas with our audience.
Our social media man Vinz is the one doing the magic behind the scenes: essentially and in true TED spirit he transfers knowledge and information packaged into good storytelling. And when asked why he joined TEDxZurich the journalist responds with a smile:
I love being in contact and discussion with interesting people and TEDxZurich indeed bursts with diverse and inspiring human beings. It just energises me and makes me feel alive!Vinz
Our events would not be possible without our sponsors and this is where Xenia comes in. She first volunteered at a TEDxZurich main event and was so inspired by the energy and team spirit on that day that she is now leading the partnerships team thanks to her background as a knowledge management and collaboration expert.
I love being part of a community of creative, open-minded and fun people where I can be innovative, put ideas into practice and try out new strategies while expanding my network inside the community but also on a broader scale.Xenia
In addition to the core team and the associates who are committed all year round TEDxZurich is also supported by on-the-day volunteers. They help making our events an unforgettable experience and typically help out in catering, in speakers support, in ticketing & wardrobe and in making the audience experience extra smooth and special. On-the-day volunteers are organised by our head of volunteers Doris who focuses on sourcing a diverse team from all backgrounds, age groups and nationalities in true TED spirit. So what drew the mother of three to TEDxZurich?
When she attended her first TEDxSalon event she was impacted by how simple ideas can inspire so much change. She had just resigned from her role as talent director after 15 years and the live TEDxWomen talks were the catalysts to start her new business as a travel coach by combining her background in transformation / personal growth with her life-long passion for travelling.
It’s gratifying to volunteer for a cause you believe in knowing first hand that it will inspire change.Doris
Reach out to Doris if you are interested in supporting us on our next event, to get an insight into TEDx and to become part of the TEDx community.
And if you are inspired to become part of the core team check out our open positions: https://tedxzurich.com/get-involved/