May 09

Lessons from TEDx Piscataqua River

TEDx Piscataqua River

I had the good fortune to be one of 100 attendees to today’s TEDx Piscataqua River event at the newly renovated and super impressive 3S Artspace.  If you’re not familiar with TED talks you should crawl out from under your comfy rock and watch this list of must-sees to acquaint yourself. The gist is that they are short but impactful talks about Ideas Worth Spreading. TEDx is a licensed spin-off of TED talks that are organized within individual communities. Portsmouth, NH has the indefatigable and epically fabulous Crystal Paradis to thank for bringing this bit of magic to our little city.

The whole day was brimming with a fantastic energy and left everyone feeling inspired to get out and do something to make the world a better place. (Though as one of the co-organizers reminded us all at the end, being inspired isn’t enough — the point of today was to get us all motivated to actually go out and make change happen. )

As is the case with most events that are chock full of information and inspiration, it’s easy to forget what was talked about. In fact, some of today is already gone for me (I may or may not be part goldfish). Before I lose the rest, here’s a quick (one sentence!) summary of the things that I took away from each speaker:

Sam Hayward, Taste and Place:

Food tastes like where it is from, and Maine is the most delicious state.

(Sam is the chef and co-founder of Fore Street in Portland, ME. If you haven’t been yet, you need to go to there. Seriously. It is foodie heaven. )

Sara Curry, On the Mat to Recovery:

Yoga is good for you in all the ways, and you should do it.

Dr. Sandra Rehan, The Secret Lives of Native Bees:

Bees are amazing.

Martha Stone, You’re Homeless… Now What?:

Homelessness affects people from all walks of life, for a variety of different reasons. They need respect, dignity, and help to move on to the next chapter of their lives. (Okay, that was two sentences.)

Meredith Bennett, The Power of Yes:

If you want to do cool things like work with Stephen Colbert, you need to say “Yes!” a lot.


Block Six makes delicious food that I thoroughly enjoy putting in my face.

TJ Evarts, The Kidpreneuers Are Coming:

I’m really old and will never be as successful as this 19-year-old already is.

Matthew Loper, Youth Harnessing Religion for Peace (and How They Helped Me Heal):

Taking the time to understand things that seem strange to you, rather than judging and hating, makes you a better person.

Von Diaz, Every Dish Has a Story: 

I want to go to Puerto Rico and eat all of the things.

Reagan Ruedig, Memory of Style: How We Fall In and Out and Then Back in Love With Our Buildings:

Don’t tear down buildings just because they’re ugly (for example – any and all buildings built in the 70s); one day you’ll die and the next generation will appreciate them for being historic.

Aimee Molloy, How to Get a Book Deal:

Don’t take “no” for an answer.

Interspersed throughout the day were also video TED talks, live performances, an imPact session where we were each asked to speak with and commit time/money/psychic energy to one of the non-profits that was present, and conversations with old and new friends (all of whom I hope don’t get sick as a result of seeing me… I have a slight case of the plague that I’m just getting over), which all added together to make what I considered to be a highly successful day.

In the next few days the talks will be up and available on the TEDx Piscataqua River site. Until then, I hope my bite-sized recap will do. I’d love to hear from you — have you ever attended a TED or TEDx event? What did you think? Did it cause you to try something new or change the way you were doing or thinking about something?

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