“What’s Next” was the theme of the first ever TEDx event in Toronto. That event in October 2009, was also the first TEDx event that I attended.
There was no charge to attend but one did have to fill out a form outlining why they should attend, what they hope to get out of it, and how they would contribute to the event. The application questions forced me to think about my own values and what I stood for. I remember writing about what is important to me; equity, sustainability and curiosity.
The event was thought provoking and, in a way, influenced my future professional and personal decisions. Some of the insights were fascinating and the statistics somewhat daunting. I still remember learning that the buildings we live and work in contribute to 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. But in each talk there was a message of hope and some tangible actions that could be taken; I learned about geothermal energy and other retrofit measures that can reduce this impact significantly.
I left the event with great new connections, friendships and a curious mind. At the time I still had a corporate job and was starting to feel a gap growing between my own personal values and those of my employer. This gap continued to grow and unsurprisingly I was eventually laid off as part of major restructuring initiative. This created a progression of professional pivots that led me to where I am today.
When I launched ScaleX I was very intentional about the way I wanted to help companies scale. I wanted to work with organizations who held a deeper purpose that transcended profitability. My goal is to navigate exponential growth challenges with these partners by building diverse and talented teams with strong and engaged cultures. Working with clients who are building better futures has been tremendously satisfying.
One of the coolest things about building my company is having the opportunity to contribute to companies that are making a difference, being an advisor for start-ups like Blaise Transit that are building the future of public transportation and making it a more accessible and sustainable form of transportation.
To me, when the opportunity to sponsor the TEDx Corktown came up, I had no hesitation. In a way it feels like I have come full circle; going from a delegate 11 years ago to sponsoring an event with such a bold goal as part of a global initiative to build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. I now remember struggling with that last question on the application form in 2009; “how will I contribute to this event”. I think back on the connections I have made, the ideas shared, the companies I have partnered with and I now understand that we all contribute by coming to events like this with energy and an open mind; ready to learn, share, question and hope; and most importantly, to take action.
And while 2020 has been an interesting challenge to say the least, this event is an important reminder of the fact that there is a hopeful message to be shared and tangible positive action we can all take. that is “what’s next”.