Imagine a day filled with brilliant speakers, thought-provoking videos and mind-blowing conversations.
Every TEDx event is a unique, community-based gathering where participants and viewers unleash new ideas, inspire, and inform. While every event is independently coordinated on a community-by-community basis, all TEDx events have certain features in common.
TEDx events feature short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances that focus on big ideas. They cover any theme that fosters learning and inspiration, generates a sense of wonder, and provokes meaningful conversations.
Every TEDx event presents multiple issues from a variety of voices from different disciplines. They’re designed to be fun and diverse, with room for every point of view.
Community-driven and free of bias
All TEDx events are organized by local volunteers and—like all TED events—do not have a commercial, religious or political agenda. Their goal is to spark conversation, connection and community.
We spoke to Doris Menard, this year’s TEDxIE co-license holder with Giulia Camargo, to discover how TEDxIEMadrid worked under this year’s unique circumstances. Here she shares her insights.
Where are you from and what’s your relationship with IE University?
I’m a military brat from the US (near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—a small town called Farrell). I’m a current Global MBA student and I also work in the Master in Finance programs.
Tell us about TEDxIE in general; how does it work?
TEDx events are organized completely independently of TED events. Usually they bring people together in a real space, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was our first-ever virtual TEDxIEMadrid. The theme was “What Are The Odds?” and that proved to be fitting on so many levels: personally, professionally, and within the context of the event itself, because of all the challenges we faced right up to the day of the event.
What were the odds we would pull together a TEDx event amidst a pandemic and enforced social distancing? What were the odds we could convert a traditional TEDx event into a digital gathering without sacrificing the value of being physically present?
Thankfully our team of students, mentors, faculty and staff were amazing. Over the months we struggled and conquered together to create something bigger than ourselves. We were also able to help our community with HOGAR SÍ.
How did you decide to be part of the event and what was your role?
I’ve always wanted to participate in TED as they have served as inspiration and guidance in my professional and personal life. I haven’t always had role models, and these talks have served to guide me. I was the TEDx license holder for this year’s event.
How is TEDxIE important within IE University?
Our objective is to inspire, but also to invoke change in people and our community—to make them want to create an impact and build something bigger than ourselves. This resonates with IE University because the IE community is the future. They’re already doing so much at every level, through clubs, groups, impact projects and so on. I look at IE University and, just as with TEDxIE, it inspires me to do more. I think this passion is already ingrained in the IE community’s DNA.
What was the topic of this year’s TEDxIE event? Who were the speakers?
The “What Are the Odds?” theme was all about adversity and challenging antiquated, standardized models, being critical of predefined systems and embracing new perspectives. We wanted to invite inspiring individuals who, against all odds, found their path and achieved their goals.
We had some amazing speakers this year from a wide variety of fields:
- Abidin Mohamed from Western Sahara, an IE University student and global filmmaker.
- Nathalie Jacob, who has written a book about the after-effects of brain surgery. This left her unable to work, but she has found a passion for helping others.
- Shiva Roofeh, a global trainer and facilitator in Leading by Design and Cultural Intelligence.
- Ibrahim Al-Marashi, a visiting professor at IE University’s School of Global and Public Affairs.
- Amelie de Marsily, Academic Director at IE University’s newly created Center for Health, Well-Being & Happiness.
- David Bernardo, CEO of LITS (Life Is Too Short), a business focused on the physical, emotional and spiritual transformation of teams in some of the world’s largest and best-known brands.
Each speaker took unique paths through life and demonstrated exciting and different ways of seeing the world. Through their stories, we wanted our community to reflect on how they might beat the odds themselves.
What were the main challenges and achievements from organizing the event?
Challenges came from every angle. From obtaining the actual license in the first place, to putting the best team together and then working well together.
The best parts were growing together—we all came from different backgrounds, cultures and educations, yet we were all working towards the common goal of producing a great TEDx event for our community. We all believed in the goal, and everyone played a part in achieving it.
As a license holder of TEDxIE, what would you say are your main takeaways from the event?
- Trust in yourself (and those around you).
- Plan for the worst and expect the best.
- Things never go exactly as planned, so just enjoy the ride and prepare the best that you can.
- The team is everything: you can lean on one another for laughs, frustrations and successes.
- Everyone has something unique to bring to the table. Give them the freedom to create, learn and build up the team’s knowledge.
What do you recommend for future participants?
Come with an open mind. Be ready to learn, participate and engage.
This year’s TEDxIEMadrid was a one-of-a-kind experience. Participants were able to join the event online and learn from each inspiring speaker. All the effort visibly came together in what transpired to be an incredible opportunity for everybody involved.