Important Event Updates for Fall 2020

Published in News

It has been a tumultuous year for our events, but we've got a great line-up coming in Fall 2020!

TEDxCountdown in YYC

It all begins with TEDxCountdown in YYC on October 14 from 7-9 p.m, where we're collaborating with our colleagues at TEDxYYC and TEDxYouth@VictoriaPark plus the great folks at Calgary Climate Hub to present an evening of content drawn from the TED Countdown event occurring on October 10th. Together, we'll be curating a special selection of talks from the more than 50 speakers taking part in TED Countdown, and combining the talks with a superb panel of local experts to add context. Above all, we'll all be focused on getting your thoughts about how and where we can accelerate our journey to a low-carbon future by 2030.

» Learn more and get registered!


ENGAGE: Connected

For TEDxCalgary, we're pivoting to a series of smaller all-virtual events for Fall 2020 and Winter/Spring 2021. That starts with ENGAGE: Connected on November 18 from 7-9 p.m., which will be an evening of LIVE talks and deep discussions among participants on how our process of connecting has changed (or not), and how we can do it even more effectively going forward. We'll be featuring some of the amazing speakers who were lined up for our planned in-person event, and recording and streaming their talks from our partner space at WeWork in Calgary. As with all of our events, a big part of the event will be engaging you -- our valued participants -- in discussions about the talks.

» Learn more and get registered!


Update on ENGAGE: Deeply Postponement

Sadly, the continuing saga of COVID means that we still can't meet safely in larger gatherings. With great regret, this has forced us to indefinitely postpone our planned 10th Anniverary ENGAGE: Deeply, which already had been postponed from its original March 28 date to October 31. As no one knows when current restrictions will lift, we've decided to cancel the event listing and refund all current ticket holders over the coming days.

The core reason for doing so was the realization that the event just wouldn't be the same if it weren't in person, and held at a suitable scale. Above all, cancelling was an intentional decision to not put anyone at risk when we don't need to: October 31 should be spooky mask-wearing fun for an entirely different set of reasons!

» Read more


We invite you to stay connected to our continuing journey around the ENGAGE: with Ideas theme that we have for 2020/2021. Subscribe to our news to keep up to date, or check out our social media channels.


Staying Engaged in a Time of Isolation

Published in News

We find ourselves in a time of great uncertainty that demands a period of physical isolation, but that doesn't mean we and our ideas need to be isolated socially.

Like many event-focused organizations, TEDxCalgary (and many other TEDx teams worldwide, including TED itself) has been impacted by the physical isolation or distancing measures deemed so necesary to slow or stop the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19 infections. We know that these are being referred to as "social distancing", and why that descriptor is being used by governments and health professionals, but we feel that the term creates the wrong mindset. Physical distancing is absolutely essential to flatten the curve of infections spreading and reduce pressures on health care systems. But how do we stay connected to one another in a time of isolation?

Fortunately, we know that we're not the only ones who think that way. Societal crises like these can be unifying moments, or they can tear us further apart. Globally, there is a chance for governments to coordinate efforts and collaborate in ways they haven't done for many years. At the same time, there also is very much a chance that the response turns into one of more profound divisiveness and isolation. We genuinely hope that the spirit of collaboration wins out, and that we emerge with a better sense that the world is far more connected than most people care to realize. Although alarming in a moment of pandemic, that very connectedness as a system should also encourge us to be more understanding of the world around us.

We were tickled to have the following cartoon from Sam Hester in The Sprawl shared with us today, by long-time collaborator Colin Jackson with Calgary on Purpose (a big shout-out!). Sam is an amazing graphic recorder who wonderfully captured our 2014 Wilderness event at the Calgary Zoo. The full comic is very much worth the read, but here's the panel that really resonated with us, explaining why PHYSICAL isolation/distancing is necessary, but SOCIAL isolation isn't desirable in a time of need:

Sam Hester 2020 - The Sprawl Calgary

Image from The Sprawl Calgary, by Sam Hester

In making our own decision to postpone our planned March 28 ENGAGE: Deeply event to October 31st, we knew it was the right thing to do in the circumstances. All the evidence pointed to our event having higher risk factors given its very nature: people spending a prolonged period (up to 7 hours) in close proximity, sharing ideas face-to-face. That's actually the magic of our in-person events, and what was set to make ENGAGE: Deeply most special. It was intended to develop new connections among participants, and foster deep conversations. Our mastheard image for this story highlights the intimacy of those connections, and why our participants emerge with a different sense of connection. They don't just listen to the ideas of our speakers — they help create even more powerful ideas and stories together, by virtue of the connections they make in person.

Our revised event date gives us opportunity to make ENGAGE: Deeply (Take 2) even better, and more meaningful for the fact that it will occur after we (hopefully) emerge from the events and anxieties of today with new perspectives to share. In the meantime, we'll be hard at work trying to find ways to keep us connected and engaged socially with one another, and still sharing the ideas that matter more now than ever. Keep tuned as our amazing team of volunteers brainstorms on options!

-- Jonathan Perkins, Curator and Co-Founder


Lourdes Juan--Rescuing Community Food

Published in ENGAGE: Deeply (2020)

What does a spa, an urban planning consultancy and a bus loaded with fruits and veggies have in common? Lourdes Juan builds teams that solve problems.

Lourdes is a Calgary-based entrepreneur and planner who oversees dozens of staff and hundreds of volunteers at the diverse companies and non-profits she’s founded including Soma Hammam & Spa, Hive Developments and the Leftovers Foundation.

Shocked at how much unsold bread a single bakery in Calgary had at closing time, Lourdes founded Leftovers in 2012. Today, the large charity works with nearly 100 Alberta restaurants, bakeries and grocers to keep more than 300,000 pounds of edible food out of landfills every single year by repurposing it through partnerships with local businesses or redirecting excess food to hungry Albertans who need it the most. In 2019, Lourdes and her team launched Fresh Routes, a social enterprise that creates new ways of providing healthy and affordable food to Canadians including through Calgary’s first mobile grocery store.


Grace Auger--Bridging Cultures

Published in ENGAGE: Deeply (2020)

Grace Auger is Cree from the Bigstone Cree Nation in Treaty 8 Territory in Northern Alberta, and is a proud mother to three adult children and grandmother to five grandchildren. Grace was called to the Alberta Bar in 1997, and while attending Law School she had three children under the age of eight. She articled and then worked for the Alberta Justice Calgary Crown Prosecutors office for almost seven years.

She currently works for Legal Aid Alberta as a Staff Lawyer/Duty Counsel on the Siksika First Nation, in a program that is unique to Legal Aid and Siksika Nation. She has been a lawyer for over 20 years and truly enjoys the practice of law. Through her work she encounters many Indigenous people who are fearful of the system and afraid to speak up due to the scars and historical trauma of residential school. This profession has given her the opportunity to help empower people and give them a voice, especially Indigenous people.

In 2009, Grace received the Esquao Award for Justice by the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW). She is the recipient of the 2018 Women in the Law in Leadership Award (WILL) for Leadership in the Profession (Government). In 2019 Grace was awarded University of Calgary Alumni, ARCH award for Career Achievement.

Grace was Chair and Co-chair for the First Nations Women's Economic Security Council. She was also, Vice President and Acting President for the Indigenous Bar Association. Grace has spent many years to help bridge the gaps in both the Western and Indigenous societies. She encourages young Indigenous people to believe in themselves and to have the courage to go for their dreams. She often says, “If I can do it, anyone can, it just takes hard work, determination and dedication”.

The privilege of being a lawyer coincides with the responsibilities to work towards change in our Justice system that can work for everyone and she is grateful for the opportunities this career has given her. 

Photo Credit: Neepin Auger


James Stauch--Innovating for Community Prosperity

Published in ENGAGE: Deeply (2020)

In his role as Director of the Institute for Community Prosperity at Mount Royal University, James has led the creation of non-credit, co-curricular and credit-based programs for students and practitioners in social innovation, community investment and the economics of social change. James previously served as a philanthropy executive and consultant, including as senior executive for the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation in Toronto. He has served as chair of the Arctic Funders Collaborative, International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network.

James has published extensively and is the lead author of an annual scan of trends and issues, produced in partnership with Calgary Foundation, and is a leadership faculty member for the Conference Board of Canada’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Institute. James is also a regular contributor to the Future of Good and KCI Philanthropy Trends.

His most recent publications include co-authoring a Students’ Guide to Mapping a System, published by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University, co-authoring In Search of the Althruithm: AI and the Future of Social Good, in partnership with the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, The Loney Companion: 10 Steps to Starting a Social Enterprise in Canada, produced with Encompass Co-op, and a chapter on the role of business in the community, as part of a forthcoming textbook on the nonprofit sector in Canada, produced by Carleton University and the Muttart Foundation.


Sona Khosla--Connecting for Social Good

Published in ENGAGE: Deeply (2020)

Sona Khosla is VP Marketing at Benevity, Inc., the global leader in corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software. Her background includes 15 years in marketing disruptive technology ranging from international online payments to stock imagery. In 2015, she led a campaign that ranked #2 on Adweek’s Top Stories of the year.

Mid-career, Sona decided to make her lengthy work week “mean something to the world,” so she jumped at the opportunity to join Benevity. At Benevity, she’s busy keeping her pulse on the data, trends and dynamics shaping our industry. By providing these insights and best practices, Sona helps some of the world’s most iconic brands promote and grow their programs to create a purpose-driven company culture.

Sona is driven by finding ways to enable humanity to do more of the innate good that is in all of us, and she’s inspired by the idea that companies and their people can be the biggest force for social good. Despite an extreme distaste for her first marketing class, Sona later discovered that a career in marketing was, in fact, her destiny.


A legacy of engaging deeply

Published in News

It's actually a bit misleading to describe this year's ENGAGE: Deeply event as our "deepest, most engaging event ever." 

The truth is, we'd like to think that ALL of our events over the last decade have been part of building toward this year's culminating event for our 10th anniversary of operating as a team. Along the way, we've always strived to make each event as deeply thoughtful and engaging as our imaginations and resources of the time allowed. When you browse our photo albums on Flickr, we hope that you can see the genuine intrigue, curiosity, and engagement of our event participants.

In that continuing quest, we owe an incredible depth of gratitude to the curator (and licencee) who led the effort throughout most of our years together: Rahim Sajan.

In all things, we've worked as a collective team to conceptualize, plan, and carry out the events of the last ten years. But we still needed someone to spark our imaginations, to light our creativity, and get it to that all-important point where the effort can be sustained. That role was (and still is, just a little more behind the scenes for this year) played by Rahim as a masterful curator, tireless speaker coach, and continuously guiding hand. It's a proud history for us as an organizing team, and an amazing legacy to Rahim's passion for putting great ideas on stage and always working toward encouraging people he touches in his work and volunteering to be RESOURCEFUL HUMANS, not mere human resources.

If you haven't already, we encourage you to visit our past events page to browse the themes and watch some of the talks by the speakers we've had during the last decade. You'll see some commonalities along the way, as we've always stayed true to the UN Sustainable Development Goals that help inform our curatorial voice. We've always been genuinely curious about the world we live in, and seek to build toward a more positive, inclusive, and pluralistic future. Throughout this year, we're going to try and bring back some of those voices in the form of speaker alumni podcast interviews, and hopefully by highlighting some of those influential ideas during our March 28 event -- as selected by Rahim himself.

We very much hope you'll join us on March 28th. It's going to be an amazingly deep and immersive event, but it's the not the first one we've had that can make that claim, and it won't be the last.

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