There are many great ways to start a new job. But I have experienced none quite as good as meeting hundreds of people—from all corners of the globe—who are extremely passionate about improving their communities through big ideas.
When I accepted my new role as director of the TEDx program, I knew I would meet a lot of TEDx organizers. But little did I know that, just a few weeks into my new position, I’d be traveling 3,968 miles away from the TED office in New York to meet with 300 of them at the TEDx Workshop at the TEDSalon Berlin. I had even less idea how deeply I’d be moved by this global community.
At the TEDx Workshop, I came face-to-face with organizers of all ages, careers and interests, all who have one thing in common — a relentless dedication to spreading new ideas. From a mother organizing a TEDxWomen event while balancing a busy life raising children and working a full-time job, to a 16-year-old student inspired to change her hometown by hosting a TEDxYouth event, the workshop introduced me to the incredible diversity of the TEDx community. The group truly came alive in the conversations, debates, discussions and adventures shared in Berlin.
Each person I met had an entirely different story — a unique, compelling desire to organize their event — which each unveiled as they spoke about what attracted them to the program and how they are approaching it in their part of the world. These stories showed how TEDx has grown, how it continues to grow, and how it shapes the people and places that make it possible. With an average eight events occurring each day, across 167 countries, there is so much to learn from this global community.
I left Berlin inspired by these 300 TEDx organizers — by their stories, their creativity and their zeal for seeing the world transformed by ideas. It left me energized, excited, and ready to work with the TEDx team to do all that we can to support them.
Jay Herratti is the new executive director of TEDx. He lives in New York and has two dogs that don’t like wearing snow boots.