From subsidy-less affordable housing, to a virtual symphony, to the future of bionic limbs, this year’s TEDxPortland delivered awe and inspiration with each of its 13 speakers. The oldest of the local TED “x” events, the day-long conference has a rich history of spreading ideas, sharing knowledge and building community in Portland.
ZGF shares TEDxPortland’s commitment to knowledge sharing and community and we have been involved with TEDxPortland since its inception eight years ago. ZGF’ers not only serve on the board, but are past speakers, too, and each year we send a ZGF contingent to experience TEDx.
Alluding to one of Portland’s characteristic charms, the theme of this year’s event was Bridges— with speakers focusing their talks on mending the divide between today’s social and political differences.
In the spirit of TED, we want to share our most inspiring moments from the conference:
Who was your favorite speaker and why?
Tyrone Poole hit on something I strive to do in my creative work when he said, “people that don’t know what the box looks like always think outside the box.” It is easy to let what we already know suppress hidden opportunities. — Mak Shibuya, AIA, Associate
It’s difficult to choose a favorite…but the speaker that stood out was Colleen Yeager, a mother fighting for equality for her transgender son. Her message, “everybody deserves the right to be themselves,” is indicative of the fact that not everyone feels free to be their true, authentic selves out of fear they won’t be accepted. Her story inspired me to spread compassion and open-mindedness, showing people, especially children, that this world is meant for them, no matter who they choose to be. — Megan Donaldson, PR Coordinator
What are your 3 key takeaways from the TEDx Portland conference?
1) The energy that people possess and exude for something they are passionate about is incredible. In our own personal way, we have the possibility to be influential, whether it’s positive or negative – so choose wisely. 2) We need more empathy in this world. Be yourself and develop your own sympathetic magic of authenticity, intuition, and transparency. 3) Life is work, family and everything in between. There is no balancing act, it is enough. Do it well and lovingly toward yourself and those that surround you. — Sophie Hong, AIA
Read and be critical of data and information, be a student of history (precedence matters), and be inclusive and embrace diversity. — Gene Sandoval, AIA, Partner
How do you plan to apply your takeaways to your work at ZGF?
Watching the art of storytelling unfold with each speaker was magical. I took inspiration from the very structure of what I saw: how to craft and tell a great story that makes people take notice, take notes, and a week later still get teary thinking about it (that’s me getting teary!). I want to bring that level of storytelling to our projects at ZGF and help every one of us build up the chops to tell our stories with the emotional precision of the TEDxPortland speakers I saw. — Monica Schaffer, Associate Partner, Director of Communications
Lead, push our leaders, clients and partners to embrace and promote reform, on behalf of community and through our built environment. — Peter van der Meulen, AIA, LEED AP, Principal
“Nothing significant ever happened without challenges. Without challenges there is no brilliance.” (Mira Kaddoura) – I’ll stop missing 100% of the shots I don’t take and appreciate the failures alongside the successes. — Kim Bandy, Assoc. AIA, Associate
For more info on TEDxPortland and videos of the speakers from the past eight years of TEDx goodness, please visit TEDxPortland.com.