Good Place Akron


TEDx Akron:
Spreading Out-of-the-Box Ideas,
Celebrates 2nd Year Locally

By Katie Sobiech

If you haven’t already caught on to this phenomenon, allow us to introduce you to TED. TED is a fascinating non-profit, full of bright ideas that started as a 4-day conference in California 25 years ago. Only recently has it really begun to spread like wildfire – creating TEDx’s, or independent conferences, to share even more ideas locally. TED invites some of the world’s greatest “thinkers and doers” – giving them a platform to share their world changing ideas.

At the click of a mouse, viewers are granted “Access to the world’s most inspiring voices”. More than 900 TEDTalks are now available, for free, on their website ( TED enlightens the world through, their annual conferences and local TEDx events.

TEDx Akron, their local branch, is bringing its 2nd conference, TEDx Akron 2012 – “uneXpected” -to the University of Akron’s Student Union Theatre this Friday, October 26th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In 18 minutes or less, speakers are given the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences with the world.

This year’s line-up of 6 speakers includes Olympic Gold Medalist Dominique Moceanu, Dr. Katherine Rawson – Associate Professor of Psychology at Kent State University, Ted Senf – Global Trainer at Allstate, Kristie VanAuken - Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the airport, Hal Walker – A Musician, and Lynn Budnick – Executive Director at ACCESS, Inc.


Bringing it to a Local Level

TEDx Akron began 2 years ago - the “x” symbolizing an independently organized TED event. It was organized by Sam Falletta, CEO of Incept, in an effort to bring members of the Akron community together to discuss issues that impact the community and bring a positive change to the world beginning in Akron, Ohio.

“Sam and I both love to watch the TED videos and are fascinated by it. We love the whole idea of it,” Ned Parks, Co-Organizer of TEDx Akron and Founder and Owner of New Directions Learning and Development, said.

With one conference under their belt, they are ready to take on another – one year later. This Friday it will take off, focusing on unexpected ideas, outcomes, results or events that challenge the notion of status quo or how people think things should be.

“The idea is to give people a concise amount of time to talk about what their story happens to be - a discovery, their research, work or what they’ve accomplished – and to have an eclectic group of ideas. It’s a laser beam focus of an eclectic group of people talking about a wide variety of topics, but all focusing on ‘I didn’t expect that to happen’ ,” Parks said.


“The topics are diverse but the theme is all ‘uneXpected’. It’s brain food. It’s a way to hear and see something completely different from the way you’re used to seeing and hearing and to just open your mind, sit back and relax and go ‘Wow there’s really some cool stuff out there. What can I do? How can I get involved?’ If something calls someone to action that’s fine and if it doesn’t, that’s fine too,” Parks continued.

Ted Senf will talk about what he learned during his 28-day pilgrimage called the “Camino de Santiago” across Northern Spain.

Dr. Katherine Rawson, Associate Professor of Psychology at Kent State, is going to talk about testing.

“She was deemed one of the top 100 researchers by President Obama last year. She’s really a fascinating individual,” Parks said.

And there will be a big surprise…

“The big surprise – the unexpected surprise is... You'll have to attend to find out and believe us, it will be worth it!


Getting Involved Year-Round

The cool part about this is that it isn’t just a one-day event, but promotes action to take place after the conference.

“At the event we’re going to have a call to action to keep the momentum of TEDx moving. People are going to be able to sign up and volunteer at ACCESS for the renovation project and anything else that they find,” Parks said.

“Were supporting ACCESS, the homeless shelter and what they do for women and children. We’re going to have a call to action right at the event for people – things they can actually go do at ACCESS to help. I think they’re going to renovate the bedrooms that they have there. Sam’s company is putting forth the money for the materials so the people can just do the work,” Parks said.

Every year they want a different group to be featured as their “Call to Action” or “Actions Worth Doing” group.

“The TED moniker is ‘ideas worth spreading’,” Parks pointed out.

“We’ll be looking for a different group every year with a different theme and get people involved in all sorts of things,” he continued.

At the event they’re going to promote audience participation and input, including their opinions as to who next year’s speakers should be.

“We’re hoping to grow it, get the word out and get more people invested,” Parks said.


The Bigger Picture

An annual “TED Prize” of $100,000 and granting of “One Wish to Change the World” is given to one individual TED deems most fascinating. The wish is unveiled at an awards ceremony at a TED Conference – which has led to the collaboration of many great endeavors in the past.

TED also hosts events internationally, such as TEDIndia, referring itself to a “global community”, “welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world”.

They’ve even branched out with TEDWomen, asking “How are women and girls reshaping the future?”


Get Your Tickets Now

“There’s nothing quite like being there,” Parks said.

And watching the speakers on video just won’t cut it. Parks says there’s nothing like “The electric of sitting in the audience with other like-minded people. You never know who you’re going to meet there. It could be any number of folks.”

“Buy a ticket. Come. Enjoy. Or buy a ticket for someone else if you can’t make it. Support it and get your mind opened up,” Parks said. “We’re really looking forward to it!”

To get your tickets and find out more about TEDx Akron go to:! Also, don’t forget to follow TED on Twitter at or on Facebook at or

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