Countdown Is On to TEDxYoungstown

By Vince Bevacqua

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — It’s crunch time for TEDxYoungstown. This year’s event kicks off at 9 a.m. this Saturday, and the organizing committee’s to-do list is long.

“The next few days will be non-stop activity,” says Greg Smith, TEDx Youngstown license holder. “We are committed to doing everything we possibly can to make this a show to remember.”

TEDxYoungstown comes loaded with expectations, Smith says. Last year was the first year Smith and his team reintroduced the annual conference to the Mahoning Valley, and many in the national TED community felt the local event was one of the best in the country, he says. The hard work that earned TEDxYoungstown that recognition is the same game plan this year, he says.

“Our committee has been working on this one morning for 10 months, and our speakers have been in intense rehearsals for more than six months. We take it seriously,” Smith says. 

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the DeYor Performing Arts Center downtown, attendees will hear a series of 15 short talks on a variety of subjects: ways to reduce suicides, innovations in gene therapy, fitness tips for traveling professionals, how artwork can help us better understand a child’s feelings and many, many more.

“There truly is something for everyone,” Smith says. 

The speaker roster – which is available at – includes local personalities and speakers from across the country. One speaker hails from Germany and will speak about the impact of design on our society in the future. 

Earlier this year, more than 126 people from all over the world applied and auditioned to become one of the 15 speakers who will take the stage Saturday morning. 

“There’s something special about seeing a skilled speaker at work,” says Vince Bevacqua, co-host of TEDx Youngstown. “Most of us experience TED Talks through online video, and that’s great. Seeing these talks live is an entirely different experience. There’s a sense of excitement and of community. Audiences really enjoy it.”

TED was developed as an annual conference devoted to “ideas worth spreading” in 1984. TEDx are locally organized TED talks and, this year, Youngstown will join 3,600 communities all around the globe hosting a TEDx event.

For more information, or to buy tickets for Saturday’s event, visit

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