This month my hometown of Holland, Michigan hosted the TEDx Macatawa 2023 event. The event was attended in-person by many thought leaders from our community who are engaged in making Holland a better place. It was also livestreamed to reach a broader audience.

TEDx events are independently organized local events modeled after the influential TED conference. At a TEDx event, a diverse group of speakers share “ideas worth spreading” in short, powerful talks of 18 minutes or less. TEDx events bring the spirit of TED’s mission of ideas, knowledge, and inspiration to local communities around the world.

Hosting a TEDx event can provide numerous benefits for a community. First, it showcases local ideas, innovations, and leaders. The speakers are members of the community who have expertise or compelling experiences to share. Their talks highlight local issues, achievements, and inspiration. For example, TEDx Macatawa 2023 featured 7 speakers from the Holland area of Michigan sharing their knowledge and experiences on topics like sustainability, education, and entrepreneurship.

In addition to amplifying local voices, a TEDx stimulates discussion, debate, and connections. Attendees can engage with the speakers and each other during networking breaks, after-glow receptions, and social media engagement surrounding the event. The ideas presented on stage prompt conversations that can lead to new partnerships, collaborations, and initiatives that benefit the community. TEDx events are designed to facilitate these rich interactions and dialogues. The talks do not end when the speakers walk off stage—they are just the spark that ignites deeper community engagement.

Organizing a TEDx event takes considerable effort but yields rewards for the community. It requires finding sponsors, recruiting speakers, promoting the event, managing logistics, and creating a memorable experience. This work is done by dedicated community volunteers who want to contribute for the common good. For example, TEDx Macatawa was organized by a team of 10-15 Holland-area residents donating a total of over 10,000 hours of their time and skills as a gift to the community and the world.

In summary, hosting a TEDx allows a community to amplify its unique ideas and voices, bring people together for enlightening conversations, and create an impactful shared experience. TEDx Macatawa 2023 showcased the Holland community’s knowledge, creativity, and passion for the betterment of the region and the world.