Awards & EventsTEDxYoungstown 2019

TEDx Organizer Helps Bring a New Experience in 2019

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Anyone attending TEDxYoungstown on Sept. 7 should have an entirely new set of expectations compared to 2018.

So says Mark Sylvester, who helped TEDxYoungstown founder, Greg Smith, organize last year’s event. Sylvester is executive coach of TEDxYoungstown, executive producer of TEDxSantaBarbara and host of the Hacking the Red Circle podcast.

“This is not just 2018 Part Two,” he says. “It’s going to look different, it’s going to sound different, it’s going to be lit different. And all the ideas are different.”

Sylvester has been involved with the TEDxYoungstown program since Smith approached him four years ago about organizing a TED event in the city, Sylvester says. The goal was to create an event that focused on ideas as part of a revitalizations effort, he says.

After Smith obtained the license for the event, Sylvester helped to develop all the needed elements, including volunteers, development staff, speakers, production, graphics and marketing, he says. His wife, Kymberlee Weil, a top national speaker coach, worked with the speakers. “So, we’re like a matched set,” he says.

TEDx began 10 years ago with the inaugural event at the University of Southern California in March 2019. Since then, it has expanded worldwide, with some 5,000 taking place this year, Sylvester says. While TEDx has “very well defined lanes that we stay in,” such as the look and feel of the show and how events are managed, each event is unique based on its venue, he says.

Some events want to curate outside ideas to bring into the community. Others, like TEDxYoungstown, are a blend of ideas that are curated locally and from speakers outside of the area, he says, some from thousands of miles away.

Preparing to be a speaker is “not for the faint of heart,” he cautions. He quotes his wife, saying “TED is the Olympics of public speaking,” he says. And their job, he says, is to ensure each idea sticks and is properly communicated.

“You have one idea because you’ve got, depends, nine to 12 minutes. And in reality, you’ve got 90 seconds on video,” Sylvester says. “You either get someone’s attention or they flip to another channel.

Watch the video above to hear more from Sylvester about the TEDx process and the TEDxYoungstown event. To purchase tickets, visit TEDxYoungstown.com. The event is scheduled for Sept. 7, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The DeYor Performing Arts Center.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.