While organizing TEDxGrandviewAve and imagining what our event would look like in February, I felt the urge to attend another TEDx event for some motivation. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend TEDxAkron, held at the University of Akron in Ohio. The organizer, Sam Falletta, generously offered me the chance to see their event in action.

One of my favorite things about TEDx is the community of organizers and teams. Our events all have one goal in common: giving you an experience to remember. Most event organizers and team members have attended a TED or TEDx event before and have experienced that incredible feeling of being able to view things differently or a whole new insight on a common life topic. It’s what you hear, see, and experience at a TEDx event that really gets your mind thinking, your eyes opened and your imagination going.

TEDxAkron’s theme was “uneXpected.” And unexpected it was. I took a harmonica lesson with the whole theater, cried watching the stories of homeless families, was asked “how much does my life weigh,” learned how a man hears colors, and listened to Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu’s life-changing story.

At the end of the event, I had pages and pages of notes, quotes and new thoughts written down. It was truly inspiring to see all of the attendees connect over this event brought to their community. Conversations were created over new ideas and speakers were given an opportunity to share their thoughts with the whole theater. It’s safe to say everyone walked away feeling the TEDx experience.

And since sharing is caring, I can’t help but to show some of my favorite talks and videos from the event.

Ted Senf: “Travel Light”

Ted (coincidence, huh?) spoke about what he learned on a hiking journey in Spain. Along the way he met locals that all taught him a different lessons from asking questions such as: “Where are we going so fast?” and “Why are we taking so much with us?” From this, Ted encouraged us to enjoy the journey, travel light and enjoy the moment.

Lynn Budnick: “Everyone has a story… some use cardboard to tell it.”

One of the most touching talks I’ve heard in awhile was by Lynn from ACCESS, a shelter for homeless single women and homeless mothers with their children. She talked about not just helping these women with basic necessities to survive, but giving them educational tools to help turn their lives around. Her talk concluded with an emotional video of the women’s success stories. There wasn’t a dry eye in the theater!

Marcel the Shell

In between all of the serious life thinking, we were pleasantly surprised with one of the most quirky little movies I’ve seen in awhile. How did I not see this YouTube star before?

Neil Harbisson: “I listen to color”

At TEDx events, usually a few TED conference videos are played to switch up the day of live speakers. In this talk, artist Neil Harbisson, speaks about being a “cyborg.” He was born completely color blind, but with the help of a device attached to his head, he now hears colors. Imagine being able to look at a Picasso painting and hear a symphony!

After reading about all that I learned at TEDxAkron, I hope that you will consider joining us for TEDxGrandviewAve in Pittsburgh! Many thanks to the TEDxAkron team for letting me join them for the day, great job by everyone involved! More information on their event can be found at tedxakron.com.