Last November, State Street (STT) introduced a new team-building exercise: The financial-services company hosted its own TED event, modeled on the conference series that promises “riveting talks by remarkable people.” While TED speakers have included big names such as Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg, State Street drew upon its own pool of about 30,000 employees. “We had people from all geographies and all levels of the company,” says Hannah Grove, State Street’s chief marketing officer, who came up with the idea.
Grove, a TED Talks fan, suspected that TEDifying State Street might help the Boston-based company market its brand, as well as promote employee bonding and the cross-pollination of ideas. In 2012 she proposed a partnership to TED, which recently started a professional development arm, the TED Institute. TED last summer launched pilot programs to curate corporate TED events with State Street, Boston Consulting Group, and Intel (INTC). “It really is an exercise in brand storytelling,” says Ronda Carnegie, TED’s head of global partnerships. “It makes you realize that corporations are made up of people.”