Behind the Scenes and Volunteering for TEDxVancouver

In case you might have noticed, my blogging cadence has been somewhat sporadic in the last few months: it’s because I’ve been volunteering for TEDxVancouver since June. My coworker, Mike, has been involved with TEDx since its inception and the conversation sort of went like this…

Mike: I know you’re into web and social media stuff, would you be interested in helping out?
Me: OMG HECK YES (secretly jumping with joy)

And thus started my unforgettable adventure and experience with TEDxVancouver 2012. I became part of the communications team in which we led the social media and public relations for the event.

The whole TEDxVancouver team is a makeup of veterans of this local branch, partners, and there were those, like me, who were bright eyed and new. Our team was the true essence of Confluence: professionals from different backgrounds, experiences, and skills coming together with one goal of making this event great.

All of us were busy with our respective job, life, and family but we were dedicated in putting in the hours. It was a complex and thorough group effort in covering major areas like speakers, branding, sponsorship, partners, media, production, website, logistics and volunteers. It was like holding another job with attending weekly committee meetings, participating in meetings with our own group, working nights and weekends, checking and responding to emails, producing documents and more…but we didn’t complain because we were so enthused in what we wanted to accomplish.

Personally, I wanted to put my best foot forward and did not want to let my group down. Being part of TEDxVancouver has actually made me re-evaluate my priorities and reinvigorated a new level of drive, inner energy and passion. When friends ask why I’m doing it, I tell them it’s an opportunity to be part of a platform that inspires individuals to learn and re-evaluate how they see the world.

October 21 was a tiring marathon like day but it was all worth it. The production crew worked throughout the whole night and their efforts materialized onto that stage.

Most of us arrived around 5-6 am to start setting up and help out as much as we could. Even though we were tired with dark circles under our eyes, you could feel the excitement and momentum in that venue.

I want to thank the whole organizing committee but I’ll give some extra love to my Comms team.

On Sunday, it was a strong team of 6 who covered the blog, live stream, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email (and you should have seen the mad texting!). On top of that, we had constant communication with PR, the amazing super duo of Crystal and Elliott. Since I have experience with live event coverage, it felt good guiding and leveraging those skills at this scale (only a handful of people know the details of my day job…and it’s sort of funny – long story). We were literally heads down at our computers and smartphones ensuring the audience was engaged on our channels throughout the day.

Here’s the crew –

Elliott: Our mighty Director of Communications.  Wonderful kind-hearted Elliott is a true PR pro who gets shit done, and does it well. He’s been part of TEDxVan for a while now and his experience shows. He made sure word of the event went out to the public and that it got ample coverage. And you can’t help but just smile around him.

Jodie: If I were a psychic, I would see Vice President in her future. We both kicked off our summer with TEDx. We worked together to provide strategic and executional management for the social media program. She has outstanding professionalism, dedication and super organizational skills. Her specialty in national social media programs helped increase growth on Twitter and Facebook. She was also multitasking Superwoman on Sunday with monitoring all of our channels.

Tera: She started to volunteer for TEDxVan back in March so she helped ease Jodie and I into the team. She has great enthusiasm and insight into community management and marketing, and supported the day of live stream and social media monitoring. We had a number of great brainstorming sessions on promoting and building the programs and the audience.

Crystal: Crystal and I crossed paths before because we’ve attended local events together. She was brought on around end of summer to support public relations and her excellent work made a huge impact. Her expertise and professionalism was exemplary…and just damn wow. Plus, she has impeccable style and grace.

David: Experienced social media guru of The SocialVictory joined us around the last month or so going into the event. Aside from getting use to our barrage of emails, he jumped right in and deftly project managed a piece of our program. His efforts on Twitter on event day helped drive us to top trend locally and across Canada.

Cynammon: Talented PR, writer and blogger who managed the live blog. She rolled with the punches and craziness of venue technological fun. She was a whiz with the keyboard and produced quality write-ups within minutes.

And me….. on event day, I was the pseudo photo-journalist with no qualms running around the Orpheum labyrinth, taking up your seat in the auditorium, tweeting, pushing through the crowds, sprinting up and down the stairs, and sitting on floors.

So what’s next? Not too sure yet but I’m already excited for the ‘next thing’ whatever it may be……..and of course there’s always #TEDxVan2013.

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