From the Desk of the Speaker Selection Committee Chair

By Rachel Hutchisson


Ok, I have to admit it. I’m seriously inspired.

And you will be, too, when you check out the amazing TEDxCharleston 2014 speakers and performers we announced today. They’re just plain incredible.

Today was a big day for the TEDxCharleston team, a day when we finally got to share the result of a lot of hard work figuring out who would take the stage this April 8th at Memminger Auditorium. Was the process fun? Yes. But it was also really really difficult.

We live in a community of truly talented, interesting people. There are so many stories that need to be told, so much to share. And all vying for a small number of coveted spots. I had the great honor of chairing the speaker selection committee this year, which means that I was in charge of steering the process through three detailed phases and working with a group of perceptive, smart and open-minded people to make the ultimate speaker decisions. Now, as the selections are announced, we are taking a moment to step back, to let the excitement bubble up and to imagine what these talks will be like – live!

Speaking in public isn’t easy for many people. And even if it’s something you’re good at, it can take a lot of work to craft the kind of talk that’s typical of a TEDx event. So picking speakers is about connecting to both the idea and the person delivering the idea. Trying to get at the chemistry of what will happen when the two combine on stage in a performance.  Because TEDx talks really aren’t talks. They’re performances, they engage the audience, they create a moment that drives those who listen to respond with action.

I hope you’ll join me on April 8th, as I sit in the audience and watch the magic unfold. I hope that the day isn’t just a day, that something connects with you on a deeper level, that you’re motivated to act, do, respond. And I know, as I look around at the audience that day, I’ll be looking at people who someday will step onto the TEDx stage themselves. 

April 8th can’t come soon enough.  Get your ticket today!

Rachel Hutchisson (@RachelHutchssn) is the director of corporate citizenship and philanthropy at Blackbaud, Inc., a 2,800-person technology company that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations.  She is a member of the#GivingTuesday core advisory team, leads her company’s involvement in the A Billion+Change pro bono initiative, and serves on the board of the Coastal Community Foundation.  She recently launched Business Doing Good, a website offering advice for businesses about how to build give back functions.