22 January 2024

Businesswoman secures licence to host first ever TEDx event in Griffith

| Oliver Jacques
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Sara Pixley in a courtyard

Sara Pixley wants the first Griffith TEDx to feature local speakers. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

The world’s most famous public speaking forum will return to the Riverina in August 2024 after Griffith businesswoman Sara Pixley secured a licence to host a TEDx event in her town.

TED [Technology, Entertainment, Design] Conferences are international talks posted online for free distribution under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”.

TEDx is a grassroots offshoot of this concept whereby locals run forums in their towns independently.

“I have always loved TED talks,” Ms Pixley said. “I thought, we have so many great ideas here, so I want the whole world to see how awesome we are in Griffith.”

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Ms Pixley, who works in bank commercial lending, teamed up with beauty salon owner Jacinda Violi to apply for the licence to host the event locally.

“We were granted the licence in October 2023. They really emphasised the fact the event is to be entirely volunteer-driven and not-for-profit.

“We want six speakers and are looking for a diverse range. All presentations will be videoed. If you get more than 50,000 views, you get showcased on the TED page. Imagine that? Professional speakers’ careers have been launched by TED.”

The most popular TED talk of all time was titled “Do schools kill creativity?” by British author Ken Robinson. It has been viewed more than 76 million times.

Wagga held its first TEDx event in November 2023.

“I went and saw [Wagga event producer] Adam Bannister. They did an amazing job. I picked his brain; he’s been very supportive.

“We can only sell 100 tickets. That’s all who can see it live in your first year. But if we have the success that Wagga did, where they sold out of tickets in 90 minutes, we’ll livestream it.”

Speakers for TEDx Wagga on stage

TEDx in Wagga was a huge success. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

She said community support in Griffith is needed to replicate Wagga’s success.

“We need some passionate volunteers to get us across the line. Of course, we want business sponsors; we need some cash, but we mostly want people to provide in-kind support, like videographers, graphic designers and caterers. If you can donate your time and skills, we’d love to hear from you.”

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Ms Pixley said the first step will be forming a committee, which will assist in finding partners and speakers for the event scheduled for Thursday, 29 August 2024 at Griffith Regional Theatre.

“It’s not just motivational speakers. We want philosophers, artists and musicians, too. I want it to be local voices uniting the community. Too often we look externally when we have so much here to offer. This is our chance to showcase Griffith on a global stage.

“Our committee will ask for expressions of interest, then people will be asked to present, say, 250 words on their ideas, and then we’ll choose people to do a three-minute pitch either live or by video.

“The art of a good TEDx talk is to simplify what you say so somebody who knows nothing about your topic can understand it, but not so simple that people who do know think you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

If you’re interested in volunteering to help get Griffith TEDx off the ground, contact Ms Pixley through Facebook.

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