By Mansoor Tanweer
An echo is a sound reflection, that when heard creates repetition. This was the idea behind TEDxRyersonU event — to repeat ideas and spread them among an audience, igniting change and innovation.
The Royal Ontario Museum served as the backdrop to this year’s TEDxRyersonU event on Nov. 22.
TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission of “ideas worth spreading” — designed to support independent organizers, like Ryerson, who want to create a TED-like event. This was Ryerson’s fifth edition of the conference.
Echoes screened TED Talks videos and live presenters that included seven professors and alumni from Ryerson to spark conversation and ideas amongst the audience filled with students and professors filled with a diverse set of messages and ideas.
Pamela Palmater, an Associate Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson kick-started the event. She enlightened the audience of the issues faced by indigenous people around Canada and what the audience can do to make “Canada a country we’re all proud to live in.”
Rémy Huberdeau spoke about his creation of the documentary Transgender Parents, offering insight of what it means to be transgendered and giving the audience a different perspective on the definition of family.
Gizelle Lao, a third year Sociology major at Ryerson and winner of the Student Speaker auditions, showed that there are many strategies and ways to reach success and how powerful the combination of these strategies can be.
Advisor at the DMZ, Vicki Saunders, told the audience that, “everything is broken, what a great time to be alive. If you are a creator, maker, or entrepreneur, this is your nirvana.”
She was critical of Canada’s speculation economy, the education system’s failure to reconcile teaching methods the lack of female entrepreneurs. Saunders founded SheEO to support and finance female entrepreneurs and their ideas.
“Women are dramatically underfunded compared to men. If women are funded to the same degree as men, we would create six million jobs,” Saunders said.
Creator of Kwinmedia, a social media marketing tool, Cammi Pham took the stage to present her ideas on the keys to success. Much to the amused puzzlement of the audience, Pham confessed that she had to “lie, cheat, steal, and kill” in order to succeed. She meant fake it till you make it, be true to yourself, borrow rather than steal ideas, and to kill the box that one thinks inside. All exemplifying her mantra, “learn, unlearn and relearn.”
Frauke Zeller, Ryerson professor and co-creator of hitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot and experiment to test the trust between humans and robots. Her presentation began with her asking the audience if they would trust a T-800 from the movie Terminator or the Joker from The Dark Knight. Zeller talked about the developed of hitchBOT and trust around technology
“Our whole lives, our daily lives, are structured around trust. We do things because we trust things will work out and we don’t do things because we lack trust.”
The event ended with Kevin Shaw, the president of a descriptive video service company, Zagga Entertainment. Shaw was a Radio and Television Arts grad who completely lost his sight at age 19, but did not lose his entrepreneurial vision.
He articulated that it is not people that are disabled, but the world that is disabling. Shaw urged the crowd of potential entrepreneurs the need for companies to have a more inclusive design philosophy, called “universal design,” when making products for customers.
“The theme of echoes to me means to take the past and incorporate it into the current,” said Ramsha Naeem one of the curators of the TEDXRyersonU and a fifth-year marketing student. “The ultimate echo would be to put yourself out there and receive feedback on your efforts.”
Photos: Laura Woodward