It's Your Turn to Talk at TEDxJacksonville

June 24, 2014 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The TEDxJacksonville deadline to submit speaker applications is less than a week away, June 30 2014. They're looking for Jacksonville's thought leaders. That means you.

The deadline for speaker applications is around the corner, June 30, 2014. You can apply here. TEDxJacksonville is reaching out to the readership in order to connect with many of the city's thought leaders. That means you.

This year's theme is  "(un)knowing"

"(un)knowing is not ignorance, but rather a conscious decoupling from what have been held as immutable truths. What knowledge–if unlearned–would open minds? What must we (un)know in order to forge more robust connections between ourselves and our world? And if we were to acknowledge the many things we will never know, refusing to make up myths or ascribe meaning to the unknown, would we finally be free . . . or utterly adrift?"


This city is full of great ideas. Thinkers and doers who, when asked or sometimes even unprovoked, are willing to share their insight and intellect. Jacksonville has no shortage of inventors, entrepreneurs, history buffs, visionaries, community leaders, cultural icons, information junkies, magnetizing personalities, polarizing politicians, and fervent leaders. And TEDxJacksonville has the capacity to lift their voices to hundreds in a studio audience, then thousands on YouTube, and possibly millions on as it continues to grow rapidly as a mega media resource. From one single stage, right from our very own city.

Our volunteer team has been on the hunt for speakers for our 2014 conference. People with an idea to spread, knowledge to drop or thought to provoke. And the only real barrier to consideration is a thoughtfully completed, six-question online application.

We’ve met with folks we think have that seed to sow and encouraged them to apply. We’ve tweeted and posted and messaged and hashtagged our little hearts out hoping to reach out and encourage potential speakers to apply. And it turns out, the thought of giving a TED talk is pretty intimidating to folks. Even those who would gladly share their story over a few beers at happy hour or bites of Thai food at lunch.

So, with about one week left until we close speaker applications for this year, we thought it might help ease some apprehension for those considering their submission to share a few words of encouragement from last year’s TEDxJacksonville speakers. Speakers who delivered their talks last October, under red lights and in front of 5 cameras. Those who collectively have been viewed more than 20,000 times online and can now add “TEDx Speaker" to their resume.

What inspired you to apply for TEDxJacksonville 2013?

“My heart inspired me. I hold in my heart some things to be true from my years of teaching and directing and I wanted to find a a way to share it.” — Barbara Colaciello

"I had heard other TED talks and knew that they have tremendous capacity to reach people and help frame the dialogue about issues and values.” — Patricia Siemen

What was most surprising about the experience?

The experience was one of the top two experiences of my professional life. What I experienced, what I learned, what I took away from it will stay with me for the rest of my days. I am a better thinker and speaker as a result of this experience. —Bruce Ganger

On a personal level, the difficulty of preparing and delivering a TED talk because it is so distinctly different that how one generally prepares and delivers presentations. It takes a lot of time! It was also a time of great personal growth and reflection and the experience provided the opportunity to learn more about myself and the power of crystalizing an idea. — Lawanda Revoira

Having to "memorize" was a challenge to say the least -- I constantly speak publicly, work in the courtroom on serious matters, but always with a "crutch", be it an outline, scribbled notes, a podium to hide behind, etc.  It precipitated a level of stress I hadn't experienced in a long time.  Putting that aside, it was like many things -- the pleasure comes when all is finished and you feel -- not that you did a good job but that you did the best you could. I remain incredibly flattered. — Hank Coxe

I enjoyed my experience with TEDxJacksonville. I had not anticipated the time commitment required to draft, redraft, adjust, memorize, and present the speech, but I’m pleased with the experience overall. I felt supported and felt part of something worth doing.  — Ben Warner

What would you say to someone considering to apply as a speaker for 2014?

That I hope they will “go for it” and also enjoy the process. That lots of quite “ordinary” people with a particular experience or message have done this, and that it is a gift to the wider community to hear the various themes and personal stories. — Pat Siemen

The experience was one of the most challenging and rewarding that I have encountered in my professional career.  -- Lawanda Revoira

DO IT!  But take heart in what is going to be asked of you if you are chosen. This is not for the meek of heart or for those who think this is "just another speech.” — Bruce Ganger

Check in with yourself.  If you have something that you are holding in your heart, share it with a friend, and see if they respond.  Are you passionate about your topic and are willing to share your personal story.  Give yourself permission. Wayne Wood encouraged me by saying more than once, " You don't have to have the speech written, you just have to have the germ of the idea.” — Barbara Colaciello

TEDxJacksonville exists to open minds with inspired ideas. Learn more about TEDxJacksonville at, on Twitter and on Facebook at

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Cari Holland has lived on the First Coast for more than 20 years. She bears witness to and enjoys participating in the extraordinary efforts that continuously polish the jewel that is Jacksonville. Cari is an Account Executive at Dalton Agency downtown and a cum laude graduate of Flagler College in St. Augustine. She is active with One Spark, is a member of Hands On Jacksonville’s 2012 Blueprint for Leadership cohort and has served as an Intern on the Board of Directors at Daniel Kids. She has walked on hot coals, loves visiting new places, watches TED talks while she cooks and stops to smell the roses.