Being a part of the TEDx ecosystem is the truest form of community service I can imagine.



Being a part of the TEDx ecosystem is the truest form of community service I can imagine.

  • What causes someone to want to spend 1000 hours a year producing a TEDx event?
  • How do you go about building a team of volunteers that share your enthusiasm for the mission of TEDx?
  • Where do you find speakers with interesting ideas to bring to the red circle?

I've been attending TED since 1993 and have co-produced several TEDx events in Santa Barbara since 2010. We've celebrated 100 speakers with a combined total of over 20.4 million views of their talks on YouTube.

The image on the left is from my talk at TEDxFargo in front of 4,000 people. Typically I am behind the scenes and this experience was transformational for me, in that I have the deepest empathy for speakers and now know how to coach organizers about speaker development and prep from a personal perspective.

Each year, at our own event TEDxSantaBarbara, we have the opportunity to implement what we've learned from other organizers at places like TEDSummit and TEDFest.

In 2017, I started a podcast called, Hacking The Red Circle It debuted with interviews from every continent, including Antarctica. These podcasts are full of tips and tricks that I'm able to implement and share with our team at TEDxSantaBarbara and the other TEDx events where I'm a mentor.

In 2020 with the advent of COVID we had to pivot and come up with something completely different. In May we started produced a weekly series of livestreams called Making Waves: Conversations with Influencers and Disruptors. The show gives us a chance to stay connected to the community and look at the myriad of challenges we're facing through a different lens.


"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change."

~ Brene Brown, TED Speaker
In the years I've been involved with TEDx, one thing that impresses me is the quality of the people involved. I've learned a great deal from them, and many have become friends. I met Mark Sylvester through TEDx and grown to consider him a friend. He, too, recognizes the incredible people involved and has developed the podcast series "Hacking the Red Circle" to share their stories. Even after curating more than two dozen TEDx events, I still learn something from each interview and seek to apply what I've learned to make our events better.

Dr. Randall Bretz

TEDxLincoln, TEDxYouth@Lincoln, TEDxLincolnWomen, TEDxLincolnSalon

Mark Sylvester is a systems thinker. I enjoy thinking through, processing, and implementing ideas with him. He is able to visually conceptualize an idea, the process for implementing the idea, and provides you with tools to facilitate its success. I am currently working with Mark on two initiatives: podcast conversations with urban health influencers and a member portal. It’s a productive and engaging collaboration.

Yonette F. Thomas, PhD

Urban Health 360


Let's have a Conversation.

I find that it's much easier for us to have a quick call to find out how I can help you. To set one up, just let me know how to contact you and a note about what you'd like to talk about. We'll be in touch within 24 hours.

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