Speakers Reflect on TEDxYoungstown 2018

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – It’s been more than four months since TEDxYoungstown 2018 and memory of the event is still strong among its speakers.

On Sept. 22, 2018, the 20 speakers – some local, others from around the country and world – shared their stories at the DeYor Performing Arts Center. For Cassie Clouser of Poland, who spoke about beliefs and mindset, the opportunity was more about speaking at the cultural event – it was about a “mutual exchange of ideas,” she said.

“It’s about watering and tending to a creative and transformative process alongside other great minds,” Clouser said.

Speakers Clouser and Jaietta Jackson each formed side businesses after their experience at TEDx, they said. Jackson, a communications professor at Youngstown State University, leveraged the public speaking experience to start One2One Communication Consulting.

“I have since started my own diversity training and public speaking company,” Jackson said. “TEDx was an enriching experience that enhanced my public speaking expertise.”

Until she was selected to speak last year, Roshni Di Stefano of Boardman had only aspired to attend a TED or TEDx event, she said. In her speech, Di Stefano discussed the positives of Youngstown as a verbal “love letter” to the community.

Di Stefano, a physical therapist by trade, said the experience created a feeling of camaraderie and friendship with the other speakers. They bonded through the work, she said, which included spending four to six months working with a specialized speaker coach at no cost to them. The speakers are connected through social media and remain actively involved in each other’s lives

“I felt honored and privileged to meet and share the stage with amazing speakers from all walks of life,” she said. “It’s an incredible amount of work, but at no point in that journey did I ever feel I was walking the road alone.”

Jenilee Taylor of Cuyahoga Falls also felt supported in her experience. A theater and public speaking veteran, Taylor recognized TEDx as a unique experience, but endured a wave of stage fright right before her talk, she said.

“Then I walked on the stage and all of the practice and preparation (with the speech coach and TEDx team) took over,” she said. “It was magical!”

“I was taken aback by the attention to detail and how TEDx Youngstown provided a comfortable, supportive and relaxing environment prior to speaking,” Jackson agreed.

TEDxYoungstown 2019 takes place Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Ford Family Recital Hall at DeYor. Speaker applications are open until the end of February. Those interested in speaking at TEDx should visit TEDxYoungstown.com.

TEDxYoungstown is an independently organized TED event that shines a light on forward-thinkers, game-changing concepts, artists and creatives, according to the organization’s website.

Pictured above: TEDxYoungstown 2018 speakers included (front row, from left) Jan Rutherford, Jaietta Jackson, Roshni Di Stefano, Kyla Sokoll-Ward, Candice Michelle, Catherine Bosley, Darrell Wallace, Lawrence Henderson, Jonathan Altfeld, Lindsey Catarino, Monika Lutz, (back row, from left) Eric Thompson, Josh Dykstra, Jim, Donovan, Unni Turrettini, Jenilee Taylor, Cassie Clouser, Ken Clowes, Rex Mann and Eric Hodgdon.

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