Heidi’s Favourite TED Talk


Talk: re:Think Children’s Media by Lesli Rotenberg, Senior VP, Children’s Media at PBS

Link: http://www.tedxsmu.org/talks/leslie-rotenberg-rethink-childrens-media-tedxsmu-2012/

Why: I love Lesli Rotenberg’s talk because, as a mother and media professional, I think a lot about the impact of media on children and am interested in viewpoints offered on it. However, I have found that there is a tendency to paint all media – games, television, movies – with one broad stroke: BAD.

Lesli takes a nuanced approach. She concedes that there is actually good media out there and, while working with the world’s largest creator and distributor of high quality children’s programming may have an impact on her thinking, her arguments do not begin and end with public/educational television.

She talks about how media, even the games that we as parents love to hate, can teach children powerful lessons in grit and tenacity and inspire curiosity.

Because, as she notes, our job as parents is to prepare our children for the rest of their lives. And, if media can live up to the aspirational goals of cultivating the positive qualities we wish to see them develop, then the media is doing its job, just as we expect our teachers and scout leaders and the other adults in our children’s lives to do.

She notes at 15:40 in the talk: “All media should spark children’s curiosity and should expand their possibilities and it should give them the confidence to keep trying and never give up. And if we could do that, then the content we create can have an impact so much longer.”


About Heidi Lasi (Design)

Heidi Lasi, an award-winning director, producer and writer with over 25 years of experience, is president of Communicarium, a firm specializing in strategic communications, marketing and PR.

At Communicarium, they believe in the value of strategy and a cohesive vision to bring your goals and objectives to life. While the media landscape changes, the message must remain focused and true. They integrate traditional media approaches with social and digital in all their forms, to their greatest benefit and effectiveness.

Their tagline “The playground for serious communications” says it all: They take a fun, creative dynamic approach to state of the art communications reflecting clients’ brands in a modern, dynamic, exciting and accessible ways integrating graphic design, copywriting, social and traditional media, video production, and digital.

Review of TED 2015 and TEDActive


I had the pleasure of travelling to Vancouver and Whistler last week to absorb TED 2015, and participate in TED Active.

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It was 5 days of talks and over 100 speakers yet somehow it seemed to abruptly end on Friday.  Just as quickly as it began, it was over.  This surprised me for some reason, and left me wanting more.

Many have asked me all about the experience, so I thought I’d share!


How was the conference?

Incredible. Overwhelming. And then incredible again. The people and conversations were unbelievable.

What is the difference between TED 2015 and Ted Active?

TED 2015, or “big TED” as it was often referred to during the week, is in Vancouver. It is the full lineup of talks happening live.

TED Active is hard to put to words.  TED Active mostly happens in Whistler, where the talks are broadcast live from Whistler.  The entire conference is organized to maximize conversations and activities for attendees.  The majority of attendees are TEDx organizers, who are able to take advantage of seminars and break out sessions answering our questions on all things TEDx. So although we do watch all the talks happening in Vancouver, we do a heck of a lot more between the sessions as well!

 Which speaker was the most inspiring and what was your favourite talk?

This is a really tough question. There were so many incredible talks.  However there were two sessions that definitely had me on the edge of my seat.  These were “Life Stories” and “Just and unjust”.  These sessions left me with a serious headache due to the emotion they evoked!

If I was to create my top ten list of talks from the week, these would be my favourites:

  1. Monica Lewinsky
  2. Gary Haugen, Human Rights Activist
  3. Anand Giridharadas, Author
  4. Alice Goffman, Professor of Sociology
  5. Sarah Jones, Playwright and Performer
  6. Roman Mars, Digital Storyteller
  7. Dame Stephanie Shirley, Philanthropist
  8. Abe Davis, Computer Scientist
  9. BJ Miller – Palliative Caregiver, moving. Compassion
  10. Tony Fadell, Product Creator

 Why is it better to attend in person than just watch the talks when they are released?

The TEDActive conference is not simply a conference room with the talk’s webcast. It was back-to-back events that connect you to the smartest and kindest people from around the world.  These TEDx organizers covered companies, Universities, Cities, States, and Countries.  I was constantly listening and learning from those around me.   The reflection and sharing of the ideas after those talks solidified a meaning around them.

 What did you learn?

A lot. I learned that the attendees really make the conference what it is, and we all have our own skills to contribute to a bigger cause. I have never felt out of my league in a room of international superstars, but I also have never felt more inspired.

TEDActive maintains a brand for not promoting a company agenda for a good reason.  When you strip a selfish layer of speaking-up at a conference and start to listen and contribute shared ideas, this is where real building and collaboration happens.

It was an incredible week.  One that will be hard to beat professionally in the years to come.  However, I`m happy to be home now and looking forward to our TEDxKanata event this week.

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Angela’s Favourite TED Talk


Talk: Changing Education Paradigms by Ken Robinson

Why: Ken Robinson’s TED talk “Changing Education Paradigms” is one of my favourites.

There are many different types of learning and many different types of intelligence. Unfortunately, as Robinson notes, our current system doesn’t always encourage people to work with their strengths, and thus limits them from achieving their full potential – perhaps achieving something the world has yet to conceive.

Through my years in high school, I often found myself thinking that my time would be better spent doing other tasks, or learning more about subjects that I genuinely wanted to pursue instead of solely those in the assigned curriculum. Fortunately for me, I was still able to pursue my interests outside of school and later on in life, but things don’t work out like this for everyone.

In fact, I’ve seen many people become lost after high school because they weren’t prepared to make a decision on how to move forward. They were stuck in the conveyor belt mentality, waiting to be told where to go next. This is an unfortunate reality facing youth and—with the job market being as competitive as it is—a troubling one.

I think that different people, with different specialties, working together is key to driving innovation. Though I think there are pros and cons to the current public school system, the reality is that everyone has a different set of strengths and our society could benefit greatly by taking advantage of these differences.

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms

About Angela Stairs (Social Media)

Angela has been trained in the art of the communication, with a particular agility on social media. She believes that different points of view make the world a more vibrant place and is always open to discovering a journey through a new perspective.

Currently Media Relations Specialist at JS Communications, she is an adaptable storyteller with experience in writing and editing for newspapers, magazines, and online publications, as well as developing targeted messaging for communications and marketing projects in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.

Deborah’s Favourite TED Talk


Talk: TEDxFlanders – Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHEMVhNEIuI

Why: A World Champion Skydiver’s Story of Survival and What It Taught Him About Fear, Adversity, and Success!

This is not only a story of survival, it is an inspirational story of following your dreams, overcoming obstacles and achieving success.  Dan B.C., as he is known in the skydiving circles, delivers an excellent talk about facing hardships and misfortunes and how to overcome them to achieve success. His philosophy is if you truly want it bad enough, you can achieve it.

We all have something we are passionate about, whether it is flying, traveling or writing. It is our strength and determination in pursuing that passion that defines us. As the saying goes, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he/she has overcome.

I know Dan personally and have jumped and trained with him in Perris Valley, CA on the Woman’s World Record, so I have a unique attachment to this particular TED talk. It’s truly an amazing story of what can be achieved if you put your mind to it, and how this determination can apply to our everyday lives.

Find out more about Deborah in the Team section of the website.


Introducing John Fleischauer


John Fleischauer — @bigtalljohn — is a professional speaker and a senior member of Halogen Software’s talent acquisition team. As the world’s only “Recruitment & Talent Branding Magician”, he is an expert at using LinkedIn as a professional resource, and an evangelist of social tools and talent branding as a way of achieving tangible and positive outcomes.

Ask his mom or any of his colleagues. John eats enthusiasm sandwiches for lunch, and is always happy to share his thoughts on today’s recruitment trends and challenges. John holds a BSc in Biomedical Toxicology from the University of Guelph, and he has never lost a nail hammering contest.

Marise’s Favourite TED Talk


Talk: “Your body language shapes who you are” by Amy Cuddy

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en

Why: Aside from using humour and scientific evidence (which happen to be two of my favourite things) to back her claims about body language and its effect on life outcomes, Amy Cuddy’s TED talk mostly appealed to me because it was just at the right place at the right time.

When this talk started to circulate the Internet, I had recently surpassed the confusing-yet-terrifying-yet-exciting milestone in my life known as “graduating university”. I felt like I was at a crossroads in my life and I wasn’t quite sure which way to turn. Carleton’s Journalism School had armed me with all these excellent skills, but was I ready to apply them in the big bad world of business?

The essence of this talk, in my opinion, is that new chapters in life will always be a bit scary. Whether it’s a new job, a new role, moving to a new city, making the switch from public sector to private sector, many will often hesitate and wonder whether they are cut out for the switch.

As an esteemed social psychologist at Harvard with quite the impressive resume, Cuddy’s most important advice is that you need to “fake it until you become it”. Not to downplay the importance of hard work, Cuddy uses touching anecdotes and exciting facts to reach this conclusion.

This talk gave me the confidence I needed to pursue new job opportunities, and it still remains in the back of my mind anytime I’m looking to make a career or life move. It’s a must-watch!

About Marise Varanda (Volunteer Extraordinaire)

A natural curiosity and a knack for storytelling led Marise Varanda straight into an early career of print and broadcast journalism. Now a Communications Specialist for JS Communications, Marise manages public relations strategies, social media accounts and advocacy campaigns on behalf of clients in the life sciences, automotive, petroleum, technology, and not-for-profit sectors.

Leading the Charge: Presenting Janice McDonald


She is a serial entrepreneur, a role model, and a constant innovator. Her name is Janice McDonald, and she is a change agent in today’s business landscape.

You likely don’t even know it, but chances are you have bought or heard of a product from one of her companies. For me, it was a onesie for my daughter that read ‘iRock’ from McDonald’s company, iStyle Originals. How cute, I thought – a play on words adopting the Apple culture.

But it’s more than cute – it reflects McDonald’s ability to identify trends, and develop unique products with a broad appeal. It’s a testament to her entrepreneurial roots and successes.

It’s also not surprising that WXN recognized McDonald as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2013 and 2014. Or that she was awarded a World of Difference 100 Award in Washington from The International Alliance for Women and a National Leadership Award in 2011 from Canadian Women in Communications.

On March 26th, McDonald will be at TEDxKanata. You’ll want to hear what she has to say.

This blog post was written by TEDxKanata’s Director of Public Relations, Jennifer Stewart.

Worldwide TEDx Statistics Worth Sharing



TEDx image with stats 2015

TEDxKanata – The Burning Question


As March 26th approaches, and I continue to discuss our upcoming TEDx event with anyone who will listen.  The burning question I am repeatedly asked seems to be Why?

Why are you doing this? Why do you want to bring TEDx to Kanata?

The answer for me is quite simple.  Why not?  Why wouldn’t we want to provide a stage for innovators and thought leaders to share their great ideas with our community?  Why wouldn’t we want to provide a forum of discussion around new, great ideas right here in Kanata.   It all just makes sense to me.

Our City is ripe with entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders.  Imagine the power of strengthening those networks and relationships and ideas.

It just makes sense.  The opportunities are endless.

So my question for you is – Why wouldn’t you attend?


Jenna Sudds

Curator – TEDxKanata

Roxanna’s Favourite TED talk


Talk: Shawn Achor TEDxBloomington – The happy secret to better work.

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work

Why: When asked to write about my favourite TED talk, I thought this would be easy. I was wrong! I enjoy so many that I had a hard time narrowing it down to just one. After spending some time going through my list I decided to pick one that matches our TEDxKanata theme of “Driving Innovation.” Shawn Achor a speaker at TEDxBloomington speaks to his audience about “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.” A true and proven fact that when training yourself to think more positively you are healthier, happier and you have the ability to reach your business success. Shawn’s talk motivated me and reminds me to avoid the lows and find the positive in my personal and business life. I hope you find it just as insightful and entertaining as I did.

About Roxanna Grecco ( Sponsorship, Event Day Lead )

Sometimes jobs are tailor-made for people… With Roxanna Grecco she was tailor-made for her job, and she loves it!

With over 20 years of business, group insurance and pension experience there are not many people in Canada who are more qualified to head up and be the President of a Private Group Benefit and Pension Firm.

Roxanna started with Baird Benefits Plus in February 2011 and she has never looked back. Her work ethic and interpersonal skills have catapulted the firm to industry leading status. Outside the office you could find Roxanna on the school council, managing her son’s hockey team, skiing down a mountain with her family or thoroughly enjoying an evening of golf with the Women’s Golf Society at the Marshes Golf Course.