On Friday, Matthew and I attended our first TEDxCLE event. From the moment we arrived at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the energy was palpable. This year’s theme was The Maker Class and featured speakers who are “makers” in their fields.

I thought I’d share with you a bit of the notes/tweets/quotes I jotted down from each speaker, in the hopes of sharing at least of bit of the inspiration and energy I left TEDxCLE with.

Tom Benson – NASA Glenn Research Center

Tom Benson shared with us what he believes the 10 characteristics of creative people are: expertise, environment, timing, synthesis, “ah-ha,” muse, interests, luck, persistence, and guts. He also told us that when his career turned from purely research to education, he could “reach more people and have more fun.” I think I had my own “ah-ha” moment, since that’s exactly what I want for my career too!

Dar Caldwell – Co-Founder of LaunchHouse

Entrepreneurs create jobs and vibrancy.” Dar Caldwell wants to make Cleveland a friendly environment for young entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality. LaunchHouse, which he co-founded, gives entrepreneurs that environment with mentorship and connection with other entreprenuers and investors. Most of LaunchHouse’s investors are under 30 years old, what Dar Caldwell calls “a true grass-roots movement.” He ended his talk with a sentiment everyone in the room shares: “Cleveland, I’ve fallen for you!

Dr. Lisa Damour – Center for Research on Girls, Laurel School

Dr. Damour wants to help young people grow up, not just age into adulthood. To do that, she helps teach risk assessment, goal orientation, and recognizing crazy spots. “We all have aspects of our personalities that are completely irrational.” The idea is that once teenagers can recognize those in their parents, they can deal with the crazy spots and spend their energy more productively. “Who invented fire? I’m sure it was a cave teenager, messing around.” The power and creativity of young people is virtually unlimited, but we also should help these young people become responsible grown-ups.

David Rabinsky – The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland

“I love life. I love everything I’m doing right now. Life is excellent.” David Rabinsky was, and still is, living his dream. He was running an off-premises catering company, busy and happy between work and his family. Then he started to notice his eyesight was failing. David was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. He sold his catering company and went to work at the Ritz-Carlton as the director of social catering. He – and his adorable helper dog Kody – have adapted to the changes life handed him. David lost his eyesight, but not his dream and is one of the most positive and happy people I’ve ever listened to.

Next, we had the opportunity to listen to live performances from Lolah Brown and Cloud Nothings, as well as two previously-recorded TED talks.

Justin Bibb/Genna Petrolla/Josh Taylor

This talk was all about civic engagement. And since some of my favorite quotes from TEDxCLE came out of it, I’ll just share those with you:

“Talent attracts capital, not the other way around.”

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

“Look outside your usual social networks to create communities that are inclusive.”

“Lack of leadership is not an excuse to not move a great idea forward.”

Mort Epstein – Epstein Design

This is what we call an ego trip…” So said Mort Epstein as he took us through pictures of the many creative and beautiful design projects of his that cover the city of Cleveland. But Mort Epstein did more than just design. He was involved in Fair Housing initiatives across the city. One of his most iconic designs was meant to unite students at Cleveland State University across racial divides.

Dr. Brian Grimberg – Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Dr. Grimberg spends his days studying and hoping to eradicate malaria, a disease which is still prevalent in many parts of the world. Dr. Grimberg told us that malaria is largely responsible for the development of Cleveland, as settlers moved away from the river (and malaria). The wealthiest settlers moved up into the “Heights,” where the mosquitos could not travel. Today, Cleveland is leading the world in the development of new drugs to combat malaria.

Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie – Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Dr. Haile-Selassie is a patient man. After first discovering a piece of a human fossil remain, he and other anthropologists worked for 14 years to fully excavate and reconstruct the entirety of the early human. Talk about being persistent!

Philip Niles – Student at Case Western Reserve University

“We don’t buy green bananas. We want to make things happen and we want to make them happen now.” What Philip Niles wants to make happen is the more open sharing of clinical trial data. Rather than waiting for studies to be published, if the data is shared immediately, cures will be found faster and the quality of life for patients will improve. Philip not only is passionate about this idea, he is passionate about his adopted city. He ended the presentation with a sentiment that we all share: “I hope you guys realize we live in a great city. Not just a good city, but a really great city. 

I hope these snippets of the great talks we heard at TEDxCLE resonate with you too; whether it’s finding inspiration for your own life, for your love of Cleveland, or both. TEDxCLE was an incredible event and I can’t wait to put this inspiration into action!

6 Responses

  1. Everything was OUTSTANDING. Tom Benson was an outstanding way to start the shindig off. David and Cody were a wonderful talk too. I was in the front row, DIRECTLY in front of them. I wanted to jump up and help pull the carpet out of Cody’s mouth, but had to sit on my hands!

  2. Thanks for sharing your notes and experiences. I went to TEDxDetroit last summer, and it too was very inspiring. It’s wonderful to see/hear passionate people speak about cities that don’t always get positive publicity on the national level. Cleveland certainly does have a lot to offer, IMO. If only the winters weren’t so cold! 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.