Our Towns

TEDxYoungstown Delivers Emotional Impact

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A tall, slender well-dressed man entered the stage at the DeYor Performing Arts Center Saturday morning. The moment before he started his talk, the air was light and the audience was at ease. The mood quickly changed.

From the red circle, with an air of quiet confidence, the speaker lunged into his talk, “It Costs More to Care Less.” He shattered expectations of what we assumed he’d cover as he delivered a deeply personal and impassioned story of how, through personal tragedy, he came to embrace the city that’s cost him so much. He helped us feel his pain, made us think, and challenged us to take action. 

“When you care more you see more, when you see more you do more,” he said.

The speaker was Derrick McDowell. And we are grateful that he shared his story and squarely hit the theme of “What’s Next?”

Derrick, inclusion coordinator for the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, joined 14 other speakers at TEDxYoungstown 2019, and a small army of passionate volunteers delivered on the promise of “ideas worth spreading.”

Greg Smith, in his second year as license holder of TEDxYoungstown, said he was thrilled and humbled by the outcome. He’s most proud that the live event changes the lives of both the speakers and the audience. Although one can watch all of the talks on YouTube (and this correspondent suggests you do), attending the live event is what’s truly special.

“I was amazed by how incredibly much the audience feeds the speaker to do an extraordinary job,” he observed. “They are all good, but when the audience gets here and co-creates with them, it’s an amazing experience. There is an emotional bond between the speaker and the audience.”

The emotional impact of TEDxYoungstown delivered by the speakers also was made possible by the efficient and effective team running the event behind the scenes. This year, it again featured speakers from the region as well as those who traveled from across the country.

TEDx Youngstown speakers and organizers gather on the DeYor stage.

Mariangela Abeo flew from Seattle to share stories around suicide and trauma through her photography project. The talk was deeply personal and emotional as she displayed one of the 150-plus faces she’s photographed of people impacted by suicide.

Mariangela not only delivered a great experience but was also amazed by the city of Youngstown, she said. Displaying many tattoos and piercings so common in Seattle, she was unsure of how she’d be received here. However, everyone was “lovely,” she said, and shared friendly greetings as she walked down the street.

“The team from TEDxYoungstown delivered a top-notch experience,” Abeo said. “The support and coaching was amazing and all of the logistics were covered and any stress was eliminated. All we had to worry about was sharing our idea.”

Another speaker, Tom Ruggieri, director of bands at Boardman High School, who was on stage with his student jazz ensemble, spoke to the importance of work ethic in education. “For success in life, if you’re good at doing the job, you can do anything well,” he said. An impact was made while the band entertained.

Joe Moss got the audience to go “Beyond the Beyond” as he shared his perspective on an individual’s relationship with motivation. He spoke to the short-lived tactics of goal-setting when one really needs a long-term vision of something that’s bigger than you to help you change your life. 

All talks will be posted to the Youngstown playlist on the TEDx Talks YouTube channel. The Business Journal will report when they’re uploaded and available for viewing.

Pictured at top: Derrick McDowell delivers his TEDx talk.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.