TEDxOttawa: Q&A with Sarah Ormon

TEDx Ottawa is taking places this Saturday, October 22

Sarah Ormon is crazy for great ideas, meeting new people, and helping others find new and fulfilling experiences. Her passion is in communications and she thrives on finding innovative ways to share, collaborate and explore how individuals, organizations and communities interact. She is a product marketing specialist for InGenius Software by day and the lead organizer for TEDxOttawa by night!

So, from a high level, tell me about the TEDx conference series.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxOttawa, where x=independently organized TED event. At our TEDxOttawa event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx event, including ours, are self-organized.

Natasha Kyssa, founder of SimplyRaw, will speak.

Who is putting on the Algonquin event?

The event is being put on by a group of volunteers made up primarily of Algonquin Alumni. Two of us went to TEdxConcordia and thought, “Why don’t we have something like this in Ottawa”. When we returned from Montreal, we looked into up coming TEDx events in Ottawa. When the search came up empty, we decided to put the wheels in motion and organize TEDxOttawa, a feat that hasn’t been attempted since 2009.

What can attendees expect?

Designer and musician Steve St. Pierre will speak about "The Art of Doing" (Photo Credit: David Kawai)

A great time!

The speakers topics vary greatly so they can expect to be inspired, educated, enlightened and entertained on a variety of topics. Additionally, the can expect to engage with others in the Ottawa community by talking with strangers during breaks between TEDxTalks. Our attendees are just as diverse as our speakers and have some great ideas and insights to share. The talks are basically a catalyst to getting conversations and actions started between the attendees. 

What about those who follow the hashtag on Saturday – what can they expect?

We actually encourage our attendees to turn off their cell phones and be in the moment of TEDxOttawa and take it all in. Despite this, we know that there will be those eager attendees, and a few of our TEDxOttawa volunteers, tweeting the highlight of the speakers’ talks and describing the overall atmosphere of the event.  

Have you learned anything about Ottawa from this experience?

I’ve learned that the Ottawa community is a vibrant one (despite the lack of excitement happening on Sparks Street after 6 p.m.) With more than 300 applicants to attend TEDxOttawa, we know that the community is craving ways to get involved in these types of events.  

Writer and spoken word poet Brandon Wint will perform.

What are you hoping the impact of this event will be?

I hope that when people leave the event they feel inspired and enlightened by the things that are going on in Ottawa. There are so many people with great ideas to share that we need to explore and celebrate what is going on in this city. Most of all I hope that take this new found inspiration and enlightenment and act on it! Our theme was chosen as Creative Actions not only to highlight some of Ottawa’s trail blazers, but to kick start a movement. I usually say that “Ottawa is cool, it just doesn’t know it yet”, but after TEDxOttawa I hope that it will!

 Thanks Sarah! We’re looking forward to the big day on Saturday!