Meet the Program Design Team

In just one month, many of you will be watching TEDxDonMills come to life. 12 inspiring, uplifting speakers will go on stage one by one and give you something new to think about, a new perspective, a bit of new knowledge and hopefully inspire you to do something differently-however small that thing is- to make an impact in your life and the lives of others as we spend the day thinking about “Designing Tomorrow”. The experience will be a transformative one for you.

We as the Program Design team, a group of volunteers who have been involved in selecting speakers, helping speakers to build out their talks and bring our theme of Designing Tomorrow to life, have also been transformed by our experience. Sitting together we had an opportunity to ask each other questions and today invite you into our chat.


Question: What about Designing Tomorrow excites you the most?

Neha (Program Design Manager): What excites me the most about “Designing Tomorrow” is the intersection between various domains that make up the design of tomorrow. When people think “Designing Tomorrow”, the first thought that comes to mind is technology, but our tomorrow, the tomorrow we want to live in, is so much bigger than that. It’s about community, economy, inclusivity, healthcare, environment, and education. Understanding the intersectionality of these domains within the context of Don Mills, within the context of Canada, is an eye-opening experience. I truly believe that regardless of who you are and what you do, you are a designer of tomorrow, because tomorrow is a product of everything we’re doing today. 

Question: Why does Designing Tomorrow matter?

Jessie (Program Team Coordinator): In modern society, everyone relies on the tangible substance for a living for sure. But I have always believed that there must be a certain degree of the internal drive to desire more or less to become a better version of yourself and be surrounded people who share the same values and perspectives. So when it comes to Designing Tomorrow, off the top of my head, it is the reason to create all the possibilities and have you captivated at all proximities.

Question: What are these speakers going to bring to the Don Mills community?

 Noureen (Co-Executive Lead): The Don Mills community is very special. It is composed of people from all walks of life who truly care about the community around them and have a fire inside them to make the world a better place - for their families, for those in need within their communities, and for the broader global community. When I think of Don Mills, I think of a mosaic of all different types of people who are bound together by many more things that make them the same than those that make them different. Our speakers will touch the community through their human connection. What I love is that every single speaker has a topic that approaches Designing Tomorrow through a different perspective, but each of them will be able to connect with each member of the audience on a truly human level. Of course our speakers will bring their domain expertise, they will teach us something new, share a grand idea worth spreading - but more than that, I promise that you will be moved by their personal journeys, their own ‘why’ and their passion for the work they do.

Question: What is one thing that is most important to keep in mind when Designing Tomorrow?

Alykhan (Co-executive Lead): I believe that inclusion is one of the most important things to keep in mind when talking about Designing Tomorrow. Inclusion is a term that is often misunderstood and commonly used as a synonym for diversity. The Institute for Canadian Citizenship, a national organization focused on building inclusive societies says that “Diversity is a reality, inclusion is a choice”. We must choose inclusion when developing the strategies that will design tomorrow. An inclusive society is one in which diversity is treasured and a sense of belonging for all is the ultimate goal.

Question:  What excites you most about the speakers?

Sheri (Speaker Development Manager): It has been an absolute honour to watch brilliance in action as each speaker works diligently to bring bring their idea worth spreading to the TEDxDonMills stage.  While also being brilliant they are thoughtful, passionate and everyday people.  What I have been able to see of their talks so far makes me inspired to consider how I might impact the world around me with my own idea.  I am really looking forward to seeing the impact of their words on stage for the audience and how it might inspire the community to act.

Question: Describe your experience on the TEDxDonMills team so far.

Alykhan (Co-executive Lead): My experience on this team has been a truly amazing and eye-opening one. It has been an honour to work with such talented people who share the same values and hopes for our future. Our speakers illustrate how anyone can make a difference and in fact true change can only happen when we have people from all walks of life, with varying skills and experiences coming together for a common cause. I can’t wait to see the meeting of these minds on February 9th, 2019 as we embark on the journey of Designing Tomorrow! 

Sheri (Speaker Development Manager): I have been privileged to work with a group of talented speaker coaches who are helping each speaker craft their message and bring their idea to life.  The experience that each coach brings to the table, their willingness to push the speakers out of comfort zones but to also support them has been amazing to witness.   It makes me even more excited to watch the final product on February 9th.

Noureen (Co-Executive Lead): This team brings me joy. Watching talented people learn, grow, contribute, collaborate and create something more special than what we could have imagined on our own is rewarding and magical. From conception of this crazy idea of building TEDxDonMills, to engaging with the community, to the application process, to building the teams, to leading the program design, to facilitating the curation panel, to contributing to discussions across our portfolios to working with our amazing speakers, chatting with them for hours pushing them out of their comfort zone into a place of creativity and brilliance, I have enjoyed every minute - and the best is yet to come!

Jessie (Program Team Coordinator): I found out each person of the team always makes time for the program, every detail of the program regardless of how busy we all are, starting from how to create a spreadsheet to how we make a better speaker experience. Also, we tried our best to connect with each other in person, offline, related to this program or even related to our personal lives to make sure that no one is left behind and everyone will be supportive to each other.

Neha (Program Design Manager): I found reviewing the speaker applications, and interacting with all the applicants a humbling experience. The caliber of every applicant - their thoughts, their ideas, further cemented my belief that the person standing next to me in the subway, or ordering a coffee behind me at Tim Hortons, is a brilliant changemaker and designer of tomorrow. The applicants were ordinary people for the most part, living their lives day-to-day, but trust me when I say almost all of them had ideas that were life-changing. I’m fortunate and thankful that I had the opportunity to read those ideas and understand them.

 We hope that we were able to give you some insights into our journey and the hard work that is put in to bringing you an unforgettable experience. We encourage you to be volunteers in your communities and see the transformation it brings you. If you are attending TEDxDonMills on February 9th at the Aga Khan Museum, please come say hello!