Radical shift was on the mind of the 10 speakers and over 250 attendees of the first ever TEDxSquamish event at Quest University on Saturday (Nov. 2).
But it was the event's graphic recorder that seemed to sum up the event perfectly.
Artist Erin Stewart Elliot painted a picture throughout the entire talk based on the vibe on the room and by what speakers were discussing and at the end of the event displayed her work to the audience.
“Radical shift is possible through individual values, individual skills and abilities, shared values, an articulate plan and coming together with a singular radical vision,” she said. “I think the whole day has been transformational, in the same way that a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.”
Elliot defined the day but it would have been empty without each unique speaker. Squamish Nation member Alice Guss kicked off the event, welcoming everyone to the traditional Squamish land and then sharing her stories about growing up as a First Nation citizen.
TEDxSquamish organizer Craig Davidiuk said Guss was the perfect person to start the event.
“What was great about Alice is she gave us context about where we are and what it's like to be First nations People growing up in the last 100 years,” he said. “To give some context for everyone who is here right now - a lot of people especially at the university don't know whose land we're on.”
Long-time Squamish resident and local historian Eric Andersen was next with a talk that was heavy on local historical content. Davidiuk said Andersen displayed 65 images in his “amazing” 18 minute talk and noted Andersen has a very entertaining and interesting presentation style.
Cindy Petitt, who helped co-develop the Langley School District's Project Resiliency, was next and she discussed how the project came about and how 25 years of working with at-risk youth taught her how to work with those who most need our help.
Well-traveled Squamish resident Ian MacKay then shared his many experiences with humanitarian work around the globe and how he wants to make the world a better place.
“He nailed it,” Davidiuk said, calling MacKay's one of the event's best speeches. “He got the first standing ovation and he did it without notes or a clicker – he's so calm and collected.”
Local artist Stan Matwychuk shared the success of his Homebase Studio and Davidiuk said it was great to have Matwychuk on board.
“It was interesting to see one example of a different model of organization that has created a huge ripple effect in this town,” he said. Now there's a huge art scene, it was already there but it needed something like Homebase Studio to pull it together.”
Following a snack break, speed flying athlete Sean Dillon showed off the passion he has for his relatively new sport. He honoured his late friend Jeff Bertoia, who died in a speed flying accident and promoted the sport as a great challenge.
“The sport is here to stay,” Dillon said. “I want to build awareness and acceptance of the sport – if you want it, go out and get it.”
Event host Tamara Stanners told Dillon he did Bertoia proud after a nice ovation from the audience.
“His speech was a metaphor for how he is,” Davidiuk said. “It was a bunch of jumbled parts until you stand on the edge and jump and he needed to stand on the edge in order to get his speech to launch.”
Author Arno Kopecky shared his journey to the Great Bear Rainforest and wowed the crowd with the personal and emotional stories he encountered during his trip to area. Kopecky, who's book The Oil Man and the Sea was released last month, also received a standing ovation.
Local teacher Anne Thomson discussed her life long love of the arts and how Mamquam Elementary is using the new ArtsStarts program.
“Arts are not extra,” she said. “They're an integral part of the learning experience. The arts touch your play and work – we should do arts not just because artists do but because humans do. We need to recognize imagination and knowledge as equal.”
Talks shifted from art to math as Quest University's Chief Academic Officer Ryan Derby-Talbot went through a typical problem in one of his classes and tried to convince the audience that math isn't all the scary.
Derby-Talbot noted that one Quest student went from hating math to appreciating it and even developed a formula that the school uses to this day to put roommates together on campus.
The final speaker of the evening was Jayson Faulkner, the General Manager of the Sea to Sky Gondola. Faulkner said one of the things he's most proud of with the gondola is how fast he and his group worked together with local groups.
“We were able to get approval from the four local groups in 17 months,” he said. “When I told developers that, they said that just doesn't happen. They told me I should write a book.”
Faulkner spoke about the past gondola proposal in 2004 and said his group's goal is to attract both outdoor enthusiasts and the average tourist.
“We have the enthusiasts coming to Squamish but so many of those other people don't view Squamish as a destination,” he said. “The enthusiasts already have a great idea of what Squamish is all about but we wanted to change the perception for others and get them to come have a unique Squamish experience of their own.”
“We hope the gondola can become a new chapter for Squamish and it becomes something that everyone can embrace,” he said.
Davidiuk said the day was a huge success.
“I honestly couldn't have scripted it better,” he said. “I am so proud of my speakers, the variety of topics we covered today were expressed so eloquently and perfectly. We left hardly any bases untouched. I'm excited to see what comes out of all of this, this is just the beginning.”
He said he was thrilled with the relationship he developed with Quest University and hopes that the students that volunteered were inspired. He also announced that there will be a Squamish simulcast of the TED women's event in San Francisco on Dec. 5. The location for that event is to be determined.
Davidiuk also hinted that the event is likely to return next year.
“Just try and stop it,” he said, with a smile. “It's something I'd like to do and everyone was so great to work with.”
For more on the event, visit www.tedxsquamish.com.