TEDxWilmington will return in April 2021 with a new license holder and a whole new objective.
Dr. Dan Young, director of the Doctor of Business Administration Program at Goldey-Beacom College and curator of TEDxGoldeyBeacomCollege, is leading the new TEDxWilmington, which had been in limbo since 2018.
“It seemed as though they were not going to rerelease that particular franchise,” said Young, who has previously been the organizer for TEDxWilmingtonUniversity and TEDxWilmingtonUniversitySalon and a co-organizer for TEDxDover and TEDxHarlem, in addition to TEDxGoldeyBeacomCollege and TEDxGoldeyBeacomCollegeSalon. (Phew.) In the end, his experience with TEDx and commitment to remaking TEDxWilmington sealed the deal.
The main goals for the new TEDxWilmington, Young said, are inclusion and access, with a different kind of sponsorship model.
“Instead of getting sponsors, I’m trying to get corporate and organizational members of TEDxWilmington where we have a year-long relationship,” he said. “TEDx events tend to come with moral hazard. It’s much easier when you have several partners who want to be members of this movement of education and engagement in our communities, and they help pay for the different components.”
Organizations and businesses that enter into this sponsorship relationship will have a seat at the table to discuss opportunities that the state of Delaware should be boosting. They will have access to additional services like diversity and inclusion training and nonprofit board training, as well as free tickets for employees plus some extra tickets to distribute to youth in grades K-12.
The goal is that the events, on both the speaker and attendee sides, represent a cross-section of Wilmington as far race, gender and sexual orientation, as well as things like age. “If, for example, 25% of the city is made up of people under 25, 25% of our speakers should be under 25,” said Young.
The first event is scheduled for Saturday, April 24, at Theatre N, which has been undergoing a high-tech makeover that will allow the event to be livestreamed. Ticket prices aren’t yet set, but Young said they will never be more than $29.99.
“It’s much more about accessibility, it’s much more about transparency and much more about engaging the community in a real way where everyone feels as though they can be a part of this,” he said.
Some of the speakers on deck so far, all of whom have ties to the area, include:
- Jeffrey Benson, president of Benson Development Group and member of the Seaford School District Board of Education
- Chef Robbie Jester, culinary director for High 5 Hospitality
- Heather Mitts, three-time Olympic Gold medalist for the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team
- Reggie Walker, former NFL linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals
“Not only do I want to change the game as far as who the speakers are — because I want to focus on having speakers that are the voices of Wilmingtonians and Delawareans and people who have some sort of a stake in Delaware — but also I also want to change what it looks like to work together through these events so organizations can feel as though they’re really helping people gain knowledge and be inspired in a different way,” Young said.
Young will shift his organizational focus from TEDxGoldeyBeacomCollege to TEDxWilmington, but Goldey’s TEDx events will continue under new leadership at the school.
“One of the things we’re doing now is trying to figure out a transition to [the new] organizers, because TEDxGBC has been doing great,” he said. “Our event for women in entrepreneurship and others have been really well attended and well thought of, so we’re going to keep those rolling.”