Last Friday, I spent the entire day being inspired by the 22 featured speakers at TEDxRVA. Over 1,000 people came into the Carpenter Theater at CenterStage to hear the TED talks, and they were amazing! From Secretary of Education Anne Holton’s love letter to Richmond Public School to Dr. Ram Bhagat’s talk about his improbable journey through education and community healing using the drum as his heartbeat, to Courtney Farrell’s amazing message to young women, the TED talks were inspiring, motivating, scary (thanks Joel Levine), and emotional. But as wonderful as they were, the talks were not the best part of TEDxRVA.

No, Gwar wasn’t the best part. Nor was the stellar production, which featured some groundbreaking innovation. And no, Andy Stefanovich’s “lovely” introductions were not the best part of TEDxRVA 2015 either.  So what was the best part of TEDxRVA? Without a doubt, it had to be The People!

The People who spent countless months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes making TEDxRVA 2015 the largest and best RVA TED event to date. The People who spent hours upon hours rehearsing their speeches, meeting with coaches, working on slides to make the most of their brief moment on the red dot. The People who lent Ipads, made runs back and forth to the airport, set up tents on 6th street, and served food. The People who came to the Carpenter Theater bright and early, eager to meet a new friend and ready to be inspired. And finally, The People that gave all those smiles, hugs, tears, kind words, and high fives to culminate a job well done.

Full disclosure, this year I had the privilege to work as a member of  the core team – all of whom are volunteers. The work that all of the volunteers did – sacrificing their time away from their families and paying jobs, deserves more credit that I can give them in these few words. From the start of the planning process, to the final farewell, The People were the absolute best part of TEDxRVA. Here are a few photos of The People that made TEDxRVA great:


Courtney Ferrall brought the house down!


Dr. Ram Bhagat with his son at the start his TED talk


The amazing smile of high school senior Annie Ward




Jessica Rathbun-Cook speaking to a student after her talk


Cheats Movement contest winner Amy Wentz and Pam Miles. People do win on the Cheats Movement #WESEEIT


Micah Bam Bamm White with Andy

Brad and Farrah

Brad and Farrah working backstage

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Todd – the man that ran the show!

All photos by The Cheats Movement – follow this site on Facebook, Twitter, and IG for more photos.

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