TEDx SoCal To Focus On ‘Thriving,’ Sharing Creative Ideas

July 16 Event To Feature Local Luminaries As Mini-Version Of Exclusive TED Conference

by Sean Belk, Staff Writer

Long Beach is lucky enough to host the exclusive TED Conference each year that has drawn famous and inspirational speakers, such as Bill Gates and Al Gore, to converge on the ideas of “technology, entertainment and design.” But this year, the city is opening the doors for the general public to attend its own mini-version, with an interesting cadre of local luminaries.

The TEDx SoCal conference, x standing for independently organized, is expected to offer a day-long conference and interactive experience that features short talks and performances, spawned off the TED goal of “ideas worth spreading.” The event is held July 16 at the Center Theatre from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The city’s own TED conference was introduced by City Councilmember Gerrie Schipske, who requested the city council apply for a license from TED, as a way to offer a similar event to community members who had otherwise been shut out of the invitation-only conference.

Tickets are now on sale at a price of $40 for general admission and $20 for students, and can be purchased at http://www.tedxsocal.org, where people can watch a short video of the upcoming event. About 200 tickets have already been sold, according to organizers.

After forming  a planning committee, consisting of community leaders from around Long Beach, a theme was created to have the TEDx SoCal event centered around “thriving,” focused on the way communities, organizations and individuals are flourishing and prospering. The event touches on four specific categories: well-being, creative cultures, sustainability and lifelong learning.

“We talked about surviving to thriving,” Schipske said. “People really did talk about the difficulties in the economy and the difficulties in people’s lives now, and we wanted to capture all of that. So we wanted to actually make it more of a positive focus.”

Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the event is expected to inspire those who attend in a positive and creative way.  “When you leave at the end of that Saturday, our goal is to have enabled the speakers to share their message so that you leave inspired and that you leave feeling that there’s areas in your life where you could thrive or maximize,” Goodling said. “It’s motivational, educational, insightful, and that’s the idea, through music and through short talks and performances.”

The event is not only expected to be another boon for businesses and citywide economic impact, but should help put Long Beach on the map, Goodling added. The city, to some conventioneers, has been looked at as “the new undercover cool,” he said. “It’s almost like having the good house-keeping seal of approval that we’re able to execute and entertain a group like this,” Goodling said.

Schipske added that having the SoCal moniker broadens the city’s reach as a pivotal part of the local region. “These are the kinds of events that, not only put Long Beach on the map, but provide a source of revenue. It’s tourism and travel,” Schipske said. “I think we need to have more of them.”

There will be performances by Paul Dateh, a singer and hip-hop violinist, and the Takio Project, an award-winning American Taiko Group. The conference features two official TED speakers, or TEDsters, Dr. Sylvia Earle, an American oceanographer, explorer and a 2009 TED prize winner, and Chip Conley, auther and executive chairman and chief creative officer of Joie de Vivre Hospitality.

Other speakers include: Dr. Judy B. Rosener, author, researcher and Professor Emerita at UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business; Josh Tickell, environmentalist and director of the 2008 Sundance Audience Award winning documentary FUEL; Lalo Alcaraz, satirist, writer and creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip “La Cucaracha;” Tim Carpenter, founder and executive director of EngAGE; Darren Saravis, founder and CEO of Nectar Design; Nick Pugh, artist, designer and teacher; Rebecca Harrell Tickell, producer, author and activist; Elizabeth Amini; founder and CEO of Anti-Aging Games, LLC; Charles Gandy, cycling, pedestrian and livable communities expert for the City of Long Beach; and Diana Hendel, CEO of Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Hospital.

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