15 June, 2011

Event: TedxHouston

tote bag image from tedxhouston 2011
This past Saturday I went to TedxHouston which is a independently organized event from tedtalks. The day started out getting a tote full of swag-which seems to be automatic with conferences (just like sxsw in Austin). The totes seem like the most exciting part--we did get a $5 giftcard to amazon and a book on Houston's biodiversity. But you know what-those things are neat but I never expected anything. As I walked to the door I was more excited by the speakers I would hear than the free things. I brought my own water bottle as other accepted the plastic water bottles offered. We forget that sometimes it's better to say "no" instead of just accept things because they are FREE.

But beyond my rant about swag-which is very kind of the conferences to supply the attendees because some make quite a trek--in the end it makes us feel good/special to the Conference.

Anyhow, there were some great speakers and some not so great. I'll focus like I did with the Ottawa Festival on what I think is the "Best of."

Best of TedxHouston from my perspective.
Chris Seay who is a pastor at Ecclesia in Houston. Although I would consider myself spiritual, I would never say I'm religious. Which is a strange place to be when many people want you define where you sit specifically in spirituality. The point is he didn't make me feel uncomfortable for my indecision but told us a story. The one thing I remember about going to church when I was little was the stories-that is what humans need most-something they can make tangible in their own lives to build a moral understanding between each-other. Not look down on eachother because they are predominantly of a specific faith. He also talked about imitation. And how we must understand ourselves through the people "who shape us" so we can look at how we(humans of all sorts) "share a common story."
This isn't what he spoke of but it's a good view of his work:


Nina Godiwalla

who talked about the complexities of power. She talked about these principles to notice in positions of power:

"1. noticing who we are excluding and including.
2. create inclusive cultures
3. step up and speak up (welcoming work cultures)"

AND

Angela Blanchard

talked about poor communities and how we cannot expect someone to change by saying all the negatives about a community. But rather see the positives and asking the right questions, "what are your skills?" rather than "What is wrong with your community?"

"You Cannot Build on Broken"

She talked about her own family and how she was lucky because her "parents could see beyond that." They could see what was good in their lives, not what was broken. "Embrace people on their own strenghts"...and..."stand next to them rather than in front of them."

Also, smilebooth photo (no smiles allowed)
TedxHouston Smilebooth