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Audience Reactions from TEDxUniversityofNevada 2018


As a follow up to last month’s TEDxUniversityofNevada event, we asked various attendees to share their thoughts and reflections. Read on to hear more from Debbi Engebritson with the RSCVA; Kori Griffith with Whole Foods; Stephanie Kruse with KPS3; Kyle Kuczynski with OCG Creative; Katie Shive with Guild Mortgage; Michael Tragash with Yelp; and Sig Wawdo with Microsoft.

TEDxUniversityofNevada 2018 Reactions

What was your favorite talk from this year’s event and why?

Debbi Engebritson: Allen Stone. I was familiar with his music and that part of his session was wonderful. His presentation was surprisingly impactful – while his style was very relaxed and humorous, his message on Mental Real Estate and gratitude really hit home.

Kori Griffith: I found Sharyl Attkisson’s talk on fake news very enlightening. She opened my mind to the reality of the relationship between media, politics and the public, and did so in an unbiased informative way.

Stephanie Kruse: I was enthralled with Cara Brookins’ account of her children’s and her journey to build a house… on their own, with only YouTube for company… to draw a new line in the sand after a traumatic family experience. I was fascinated, albeit a bit skeptical. Still it drew tears and “wows” from me and the group I attended with.

Kyle Kuczynski: I found it incredible that the University can produce two vastly different individuals, but at the end of the day we still need to stay true to the spirit of the first amendment. I felt Orrin’s talk did service to both sides of the political aisle and put everyone in their proper place. It was humbling, but ultimately it reinforced to me the need to communicate and speak honestly with one another. Regardless. Julie’s talk was astounding. The way she entered onto the stage gave me shivers and I found it fascinating how a burka really acts more like a mirror. Reflexively it reveals to you your own prejudices and insecurities. Incredible. Finally, IoT is simply fascinating to me. I take an interest in tech (obviously) and I am an avid Black Mirror watcher so that just hit the spot.

Katie Shive: I really enjoyed Cara Brookins’ talk. Her story is one of courage, resilience and grit. She took a hard situation and turned it into a defining moment for her entire family – wow!

Michael Tragash: Can I combine two? If so, I’d combine Joe Sabini’s (student speaker) thoughts on integrity and authenticity with David Burkus’ on networking to create a business ecosystem and value base that ensures all parties win. In fact, it’s pretty much exactly how I operate daily.

Sig Wawdo: My favorite “talk” was from Allen Stone. He is such a talented musician with an amazing voice and his performance felt like an intimate concert. His message about finding his identity and overcoming the challenges he faced in building a successful music career really resonated with me.

What was the best idea shared at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2018?

Debbi Engebritson: Misfit Veggies – seems like “best idea” would be a bigger idea, but the ripple effect of what this program is doing – helping less fortunate afford fresh, healthy food and decreasing waste in a meaningful way touched a lot of issues.
Kori Griffith: There has to be a balance of give and take in this world, especially when it comes to our country’s freedoms.

Kyle Kuczynski: In terms of actionable, everyday ideas for quick implementation David Burkus takes the cake. I found it fascinating that even at the 3rd level of relationships there’s a calculable influence on yourself. For me, really good TED talks offer up intuitive advice or thinking that changes your thought processes or behavior immediately. After Burkus’ talk I reached out to a long lost acquaintance from my past.

Michael Tragash: Tough question because this was a very powerful lineup. I really enjoyed the talk on the various “robes” we wear and how our outward appearance leads to snap judgments. Admittedly, the night before at the Speaker’s Dinner, as I was seating guests for dinner, I saw Dr. Hogan and her guest, who was wearing a hijab and burka. I assumed the woman in the hijab to be the speaker, and for some reason, I was incredibly apprehensive about approaching her. The apprehension stemmed only from not knowing how to properly and respectfully interact with her. When Dr. Hogan took the stage and gave her talk, I quickly realized how inadvertently, and unnecessarily, judgemental I’d been. We’re all people.

Sig Wawdo: I think the best Idea was that we should not segregate most sports by Gender shared by John Brenkus. It’s really thought provoking, if a little controversial, and challenged us to imagine a world that isn’t clouded by our own preconceived beliefs.

What were your biggest takeaways from this year’s TEDx event?

Debbi Engebritson: This was my fourth year attending and each year I can’t imagine the following year providing more material that I can take away and share out – I can hardly wait for the videos to release before I share the ideas out. My biggest takeaway is – don’t miss any of these events!

Kori Griffith: Have an open mind. Everyone is living their own journey, but we are ultimately all in this together.

Kyle Kuczynski: Mindfulness was my biggest takeaway. Mindfulness in all things: technology, relationships, economy, law, environment etc. – it’s all interconnected and essential to making educated decisions. TEDx reaffirmed why this is essential.

Sig Wawdo: That there is a large audience of people in Reno that are hungry for ideas worth spreading

Which TEDx speaker were you the most inspired by, and why?

Debbi Engebritson: Cara Brookins – the strength and tenacity that was required to take her children from a bad situation into an unknown situation and care for them while building a home with (for) them and learning and teaching at the same time. Wow.

Kori Griffith: Cara Brookins was incredibly inspirational. Her story was so relatable and touching. As a mother of two small children she made me feel like no obstacle was too big to overcome..

Kyle Kuczynski: I found Mariana Atencio’s passion for her heritage as a Latina refreshing. I think what this really gets back to is understanding and appreciating your heritage in a meaningful, yet non-discriminatory or exclusionary way. To me, Mariana demonstrated that you should be proud of your heritage, but you need to use that energy to educate and ultimately help others.

Katie Shive: I was most inspired by Cara Brookins. She defeated so many odds and overcame enormous hurdles to make a better life for her children. She chose hope instead of defeat and strength instead of weakness.

Sig Wawdo: Again, it must be Allen Stone. I admire how he grinded, worked hard and faced his obstacles head on to build his music career and do what he loves.

Name one perception you may or may not have had before TEDxUniversityofNevada and describe how that has changed?

Debbi Engebritson: I used to think that there would only be a few talks that I would relate to, but I find that so many others provide a lesson or provoke thought.

Kori Griffith: I had always envisioned TED talks as educational. I thought they were marketing tools used to create a better business model. I now know that while they are still educational, they are also inspirational, touching and fun.

Stephanie Kruse: I had only been to one TEDxUNR program before. Then our company, KPS3, dove in and was a sponsor, providing marketing and communications strategy, advice and services. We were intimately involved in only one aspect of TEDxUNR because we had our heads down and were sprinting to help sell out the event. Then I walked into the room that morning. Wow. How cool. And then I experienced the energy, the organization and the passion. I was enlightened about how much more goes into this kind of undertaking and how magical it can be when it all comes together.

Kyle Kuczynski: I have to return to Julie Hogan here. The experience of a Muslim woman wearing a Burka is entirely foreign to me, so when Julie flips the script and uses that experience to show us our own insecurity and prejudices I found myself amending my own perception of Muslim culture and more specifically Muslim women.

Sig Wawdo: I had the perception that most sports needed to be segregated by gender. Based on the facts and arguments presented by John Brekus this has changed. I feel that, as a society, we should explore integrating more and more sports, giving the same opportunity and access to resources to both genders.

How has this TEDx experience changed you as a person?

Debbi Engebritson: My mind is so much more open – at least to give thought to an idea I wouldn’t normally investigate.

Kori Griffith: I am more informed and enlightened. I have heard wonderful, relatable stories from all walks of life. I feel great about putting myself out into the world for whatever it may bring!

Kyle Kuczynski: I don’t look at the experience of TEDx as life-changing. Instead, I think of it more as part of a normal maintenance cycle. We need to spend time thinking more broadly and continually try to seek out new ideas. TEDx fulfills this imperative for me.

Katie Shive: TEDx presents wonderful talks that both inspire and challenge me. I leave intrigued and perplexed. It’s a wonderful mix of emotional and I love how it brings our community to the table to talk about ideas that normally might not be discussed.

Sig Wawdo: It’s made me more open minded, curious and empathetic.

What is your favorite thing about TEDxUniversityofNevada?

Debbi Engebritson: The energy and positivity it provides to a very broad demographic.

Kori Griffith: I loved that it still had a local vibe even though the speakers came from near and far. The audience was fantastic. It’s wonderful to be able to have a friendly, open dialog with people who aren’t like-minded.

Stephanie Kruse: I loved the energy before, during and after the event. It’s palpable. People are LONGING for what they are about to hear and experience.

Kyle Kuczynski: TEDx is a marketplace for ideas! The discourse that occurs in this environment has so much potential to change everything. Getting people to stop and think in abstract and challenging ways is difficult, but its what makes TEDxUniversityofNevada incredible.

Katie Shive: I love being part of such a tight knight team who is committed to serving our community with excellence and passion. Everyone involved has incredible drive and a desire to provide a platform for ideas worth sharing.

Michael Tragash: It’s cliched, but the ideas truly stick with you. After each event I find myself sharing learnings and specific talks in everyday conversation with people. The response from them is always … “I can’t believe I missed it!” or “I really should’ve been there!”

Sig Wawdo: I enjoy the quality of the speakers and production. Working as a volunteer, I got a behind the scenes view of all the hard work that goes into putting the event together. It is a great forum for learning, growth and the sharing of ideas.