TEDx Oneonta speakers to bring new ideas

·3 min read

Sep. 14—TEDx talks will return to Oneonta next weekend.

Organizer Dan Butterman said TEDx Oneonta speakers will create new connections and bring diverse ideas to the community through the conference on Sept. 24.

Out of 62 applications reviewed in May, five speakers were chosen to present speeches, Butterman said.

TEDx speakers Rosalia Rivera, Anne Therese Gennari, Micah J. Wonjoon Kessel, Lisa Meschutt and Lisa Powell Graham were selected for their diverse and developed ideas that were deemed important for the community, according to Butterman.

"We look for five things out of our applicants," he said. "We want ideas that are ready, ideas that show the speaker is well versed in what they are talking about, ideas that are important for the community and diverse talks that fit in with the rest of the speakers."

When Butterman first got involved in the community, he said, he wanted to know how the people who lived in Oneonta connect with the community.

"I wanted to see how I could engage people in a new way. I love TED talks and I watch them a lot and I figured that maybe a TED talk would do well in Oneonta and it has become a good community event that brings new ideas," he said.

After the TEDx presentations, Butterman said a survey is released to people who attend.

"We have five or six speakers per event, and we always send a feedback survey out to attendees. After the event, every year we get feedback about how a speaker has inspired or connected with someone. The best part is that not everyone is connected by the same speaker. Everyone connects to a different idea or speaker," he said.

For Butterman, each year the interaction between the audience and the speakers is a valuable component to the conference. Networking after the event allows people to engage with each other and share ideas.

"This year, we are excited to host a networking event after the speakers are done. This allows audience members to ask follow up questions or talk and share ideas with each other, maybe make a new friend as well," Butterman said.

Accommodations have always been a struggle for TEDx Oneonta, but Butterman said that Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center will provide the space for attendees and speakers to interact and discuss ideas with each other.

In the future, Butterman said he is hoping to extend TEDx talks to students and to give them the opportunity to present their own ideas.

"Our goal is that we want a diverse audience and stage and having students amongst professionals will create only a positive effect," he said. "If a student applies, we will work with them and make sure they have the tools and programs available for them to succeed. We are always happy to work with the college students, but this is something that will take a little longer to develop."

According to Butterman, TEDx has "multilayers" and levels of impact globally and locally.

"There are 1,500 TEDx events organized every year. We have people coming from Africa or New Zealand, people we don't normally interact with on the daily," he said. "There is a positive ripple effect that comes from these events and TEDx highlights people here that have big ideas as well as people from all over the world."

Butterman said he aims to create a TED stage that's valuable for both the speakers and the audience.

"We have around 340,000 views from across our TEDx talks, topics ranging from farming to business to entrepreneurship. If we are able to connect with people and inspire them then we will see a positive impact," he said.

Alexis Ochi, staff writer, can be reached at aochi@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213