16 Feb 2015

Powering Up: Women & Leadership in the Meetings & Events Industry !

How women can excel within the meeting industry

Here is a very interesting session held at EMEC 15 on « Women & Leadership in the Meetings & Events Industry ». You can watch this webcasted session here.

We are pleased to introduce this important topic in your European Newsletter and here’s the first article of a long series, based on an interview done by Maguy Sicuro, Managing Director SICURO EVENTS, VP Membership MPI France-Switzerland with Fatiha Hajjat, Founder & Curator of TEDxLyon. Enjoy!

 

Serendipity or why we TEDx

By using serendipity as a modus operandi, we open ourselves to new avenues and solutions that were not initially within our radar.

Fatiha Hajjat, Founder & Curator of TEDxLyon & Director @ Shine Unlimited was a speaker at our MPI educational entitled «New trends in public speaking » which took place in Lyon, France, last November. Fatiha has also just organized the 2nd edition of TEDxLyon at the end of January. Passionate about this rather new activity (she created the first TEDxLyon in 2011), she explains hereunder how she enjoys bringing this event together, getting the most out of her selected speakers and using serendipity to explore unexpected avenues.

Please Fatiha, could you tell us who is behind TEDxLyon ? 

At TEDxLyon we consider ourselves as ideas curators and community builders. We are not event organizers per se: we just use events as excuses to meet our community, share and pollinate ideas that can change the world. We are a collective force made of passionate volunteers from all walks of life. A core team overuns the organization of the event and we hire volunteers for specific roles throughout the process

How is a TEDxLyon event organized?

We do follow very stric guidelines coming from TED in the US. Yet, within these constraints, there is tremendous space for our intuition and creativity to unfold. We start with no budget and believe in Creative Partnerships ie in our search for partners we go for those who share the same ethos. We are not interested in simply getting a line of budget covered. We want our partners to be involved and see how our theme and ideas can be cascaded within their organizations. For example we offer TEDx talks projections followed by a debate animated by one of us within their business. However our partners are not involved on the choice of speakers and the programme.

Our speakers are chosen for their ideas and are not paid. We choose them carefully, within the frame of our theme. Once we’ve found the speakers that share our values and defend great ideas, a lot of our energy goes into extracting the quintessence of their meaning. Our coaches (and myself) take them through a demanding storytelling coaching. We make sure our speaker panel is eclectic and covers different disciplines. Our speakers know that they will be transformed by the process: it is part of the deal. At TEDxLyon, we are particularly keen on scouting and finding new voices that we feel need to be heard, and a high percentage of them are local voices. We put diversity at the centrestage. We practise audience curation as the strength of our events lies in the diversity of profiles. We make sure our audience includes all industries, age groups, gender etc...

Our promise is to create the right conditions for our participant experience to be outstanding and for serendipity to emerge.  

Serendipity was the theme of your recent TEDxLyon. How did it emerge?

I came across the concept of serendipity while preparing for an MA in Applied Imagination at Central Saint Martins School of Art in London. I remember the incredible sensation as I stumbled upon the word and could finally verbalize this « built-in »experience that had paved my entire life. Serendipity is a force/quality that emerges from a system when the conditions are right. It is the Holy Grail of the creative process as it brings surprises, new avenues and untapped resources.

In 2011 as I was settling back in France after a long stay abroad, I found out about the TEDx license again out of serendipity as I was browsing the web gathering new coaching material for a client. The prospect of pioneering such an event in the region immediately appealed to me. I had no clue how I was going to build it but I knew I trusted the process enough to give myself a chance and do it.

Serendipity as a theme was a fantastic opportunity to build an eclectic speaker & artists line- up and touch upon disciplines as wide as cosmology, neuro-science, improv or even literature. I met my team out of serendipity and as we went along with the process, it caught us by surprise by becoming our very own mindset and modus operandi.

Our theme is our thread and we use it as a canvas to choose the artists on and off stage and all the other event components: catering, animations, etc...The devil is in the detail and every single item should resonate with the theme.  

Your experience as a TEDx organizer will most probably inspire our community. What would be your conclusion ?

We localize the global and globalize the local. As TEDx organizers, we are part of a large and worldwide community that shares common resources. We get inspiration from other events and regularly share best practises. We are most probably completely mad to put so much energy, as volunteers, in such a demanding exercise. But we are addic-TED and we feel so privileged to be part of something so much bigger than us !

Interview done by Maguy Sicuro, Managing Director SICURO EVENTS, VP Membership MPI France-Switzerland with Fatiha Hajjat, Founder & Curator of TEDxLyon 

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