Thursday, October 13, 2016

TEDxSarasota Enlightens and Inspires, Part 2

One difference between going to a day of TED talks and watching a single talk from the comfort of your home is that you have an amazing assortment of ideas being thrown at you all day.  And that's what TED is really all about -- looking at the world differently through the cross-pollination of disciplines and ideas. Here are highlights from more speakers at TEDxSarasota whose messages are still bouncing around in my head.

Joseph Michelli
Joseph Michelli works with companies like Starbucks and Zappos to train their employees to deliver "extraordinary customer experiences." He does that by asking execs what makes their company unique. What makes them stand out amongst a sea of competitors? How do they want their customers to talk about them?

This was interesting, but not particularly relevant to my life. But he quickly brought his message down to a personal level.  At the end of our lives, most people can be summed up in one sentence.  What do you want your "legacy statement" to be? Write it now--define the message yourself--and "live into it."

Before anxiety broke out across the room, Joseph explained that your legacy statement doesn't have to be anything particularly grand. It can be something as simple as the message he and his wife crafted for their family, which had to do with living honestly and with commitment to each other. The point is to spend some time thinking about what you want your message to be and keep it in the forefront as you move through life.

Joseph was an incredible speaker -- funny, engaging and honest. You can get a sense of his (corporate) talks by exploring his website here.

Yael Katz
Dr. Yael Katz is the CEO of BrainCheck, an organization at the center of "the intersection of neuroscience, data and technology." If you think that doesn't sound like something typically of interest to me, you're right. But like the other TEDx speakers, Yael brought her talk down to a personal level. She became interested in brain science in part because of her grandfather's dementia, a situation many of us can relate to. 

BrainCheck's products enable you to establish a cognitive health baseline and track changes over time. Their application in the area of sports concussions is obvious. But the products can also be used by people like us to look at what's changing in our own brains. It's a tool that can help our doctors diagnose what's happening as we age.

Yael wasn't peddling their product from the stage, so I had to track her down to ask about costs. It's $40 a year to keep an ongoing record of your cognitive health. It seems like an awfully reasonable price for a product that can truly help you prepare for your future. For more info, click here for BrainCheck's website.

Denise Kowal
Then there was Denise Kowal, founder of the Sarasota Chalk Festival (which takes place in Venice). Now we were totally in my wheelhouse. The Chalk Festival is one of my favorite events all year. The creativity of these artists is amazing -- and even more incredible is the fact that the works of art are only there until the next hard rain. This year's festival (whose theme is Love & Peace) runs from Nov. 11-14 and is a must see for any art lover.

Denise grew up with a father who was a sculptor. They lived in artist colonies and on college campuses. The creative process was always a part of her life.

Dorrit, Janice & John at Chalk Festival

She founded the Chalk Festival as a way to make viewers "an essential part of fine art."  The event features traditional pavement artists and 3D pavement artists from around the world. (The megaladon shark from two years ago still graces the Venice Airport runway. Unlike the other artwork, the signature 3D art designed by Kurt Wenner is done with paint that will endure.) One of the fun things about the day is that many of the artists are there and happy to chat with you about their work. Seriously, if there's one event all year that you make an effort to attend, this should be it. Click here to get to their website.

And so I end my reveries about TEDxSarasota -- at least for purposes of this blog. It was a thought-provoking and fun event, and I'm already looking forward to next year. In the meantime, you can view videos of previous TEDxSarasota talks by going to YouTube and typing in "TEDxSarasota." This year's talks should be online by the end of the month. It's the next best thing to having been there. 

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