Category Archives: TEDActive 2015

Meet Your TEDActive 2015 Hosts and Ambassadors! (Part 1 of 3)

Every year, we invite members of the TEDActive community to help us craft our shared experience. From pre-conference dinners and post-session discussions to gift exchanges and dance mobs, attendees host, sing, play, perform and teach!

This year, 30 of you will play a major role in the experience of other attendees — especially those who have never attended the conference before — by serving as TEDActive Hosts. Hosts welcome people as they arrive, orient them, and help set the tone of a safe, fun and friendly environment. They keep the community connected throughout the week by facilitating introductions and conversations, and by leading fun activities and workshops. They are our community connectors, experiential guides and TEDActive sherpas.

We want you to get to know all of our amazing TEDActive 2015 Hosts. Here are our first nine: With so much local knowledge of Whistler, they’ve also agreed to serve as TEDActive Local Ambassadors! Feel free to connect with them through the TEDConnect app and in person with your questions about Whistler, Vancouver and Canada. They’re excited to share all that this beautiful corner of Canada has to offer!

Without further ado, please meet:

Carel Nolte


Carel is currently training for his second ultra marathon (60 miles!), consults financial services companies on strategy and brand, loves wine, chairs a school board St. Stithians College, and assists with the growth of a not-for-profit company, and works with the Johannesburg Organization Services for the Homeless. All while learning from the TED community and enjoying life’s rides!

Lynn Yeldell


Lynn co-founded L Style G Style in Texas in 2007, with the mission of telling stories of the LGBT community to break down barriers, open hearts and change attitudes. She’s a New Orleans native, passionate traveler, avid advisor and constant connecter. As the first female student body president at the University of Alabama, she loves politics and SEC football with equal fervor.

Niki Dun

Niki Dun

Super happy to be a TEDActive Ambassador and Host, Niki is a born and bred Vancouverite who loves “design for good,” community building and communications. Passionate about projects that aim to make the world a better place, Niki seeks to make that her life’s work. Like most native Vancouverites, you’ll find that Niki owns a whole lot of waterproof breathable items and cute rain boots, but no umbrella.

Niki Ernst


Niki is passionate about bringing people together and amplifying their voices. A TEDx Organizer and TEDx Ambassador for Europe, Niki has organized, mentored and hosted numerous TEDx events in Austria and is currently organizing a TEDx event in his second home, San Francisco. When not occupied by TEDx, he tours startups, entrepreneurs and curious minds through Silicon Valley and helps people organize and voice their thoughts through his School of Talk. Niki is 42 years young and the father of three wonderful kids.

Rafael Salazar


Rafael is a serial entrepreneur. He has started non-profit projects that give children the opportunity to develop their creative, innovative and entrepreneurship skills. From innovation camps to design mentorship to developing projects that impact children’s education, Rafael has blended his professional career with his greatest passion: developing new ideas with social impact.

“TED has meant to me a great opportunity to broaden my intellectual knowledge and meet amazing people that share common passions with me. At the end people make ideas possible, and that’s what innovation is all about.”

Rysia Wand


Rysia volunteers with the TED Open Translation Project as a Translator and Language Coordinator. She grew up in Poland, but soon started traveling the world as a violinist with various orchestras. For a number of years, she translated fiction, studied linguistics and rode the high-tech wave in Israel. Now she’s raising her family in beautiful British Columbia, where she also teaches English, learns new languages and devotes her time to translating for TED.

Trent Yeo

trent photo

Trent is a “happy generalist.” He directs Ziptrek Ecotours in Queenstown, New Zealand, and is a strong advocate of sustainability in tourism. He sees ‘fun’ as the catalyst for anchored and meaningful outdoor experiences to build empathy for the natural world. Trent grew up as a Chinese Malaysian Australian, spending time in Asia and having business partners in Canada to get a diverse view of the world. In his spare time, he’s building an online video platform to help people understand the intricacies of culture and place in New Zealand for Chinese visitors, with the goal of bridging cultural gaps through useful information.

Trevor Maber


Trevor joins us from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in the middle of the Canadian Prairies. When he’s not busy teaching at the University of Saskatchewan, he’s out adventuring to places far and wide — including his ‘second home’ of British Columbia where he spends several weeks each year. Growing up in Canada (and snow!), one of the things he appreciates most is the diversity of seasons and activities. Winter brings skiing, skating and his latest snow-friendly addiction, fat biking (rentals available in Whistler!), while summer equals hiking, biking, water sports and endless sunshine. He’s also an expert on the best way to stay warm in the mountain snow (hint: it involves a fireplace, friends and other easy-to-find ingredients)!

Will Clarke


Will is the author of two New York Times Editors’ Choice novels from Simon & Schuster. He is currently an Executive Creative Director at Integer \ TBWA, where he’s become a tireless advocate for creative excellence in the field of omni-channel communications. He’s a founding member of Integer’s Retail Arts Lab and his work has been recognized by Cannes Lions, The One Show, Creativity, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, and The PRO Awards.

… Stay tuned to meet our next group of Hosts!

10 Signs You Should Be at TEDActive This March

TEDActive is for the thinkers, doers and dreamers of the world. An action-packed event that runs parallel to the annual TED conference, TEDActive is meant for people who want to hear new ideas — then create ripple effects of action around them.

TEDActive 2015 will take place March 16-20 in Whistler, British Columbia, and explore the theme “Truth and Dare.” Never attended before? On the fence? Not sure how you feel about Canada? Here are 10 signs that you should apply to attend TEDActive this year:

  1. You love brainstorms. The act of sharing ideas, piggybacking on what others say and considering multiple points of view? That’s what you thrive on. At TEDActive, you’ll find brainstorm sessions — both organized and informal — on topics that range from education interventions to the future of transportation.
  2. When you hear about a problem, you immediately start thinking of solutions. To you, problems aren’t insurmountable — they are more like puzzles to be solved. At TEDActive, attendees love to help each other overcome obstacles in their lives, whether it’s thinking about how to start a company or how to find better balance. Attendees bring this problem-solving point of view to watching TED Talks, too. While they absorb ideas, they get sparks of inspiration on how to take action — and recruit fellow attendees to help out.
  3. You like making new friends. Yes, it can be hard to walk up to someone and just start talking. But somehow at TEDActive, that’s easy. TEDActive attendees don’t just bond at the conference — they keep in touch year-round.
  4. You care about making a positive impact on your community. Whether through volunteering, organizing events, contributing to the arts or getting involved in politics, you go above and beyond for the people in your area. Attendees at TEDActive build a strong community throughout the week of the conference — and then bring that spirit back to their hometowns.
  5. And global issues matter to you. Yes, you like to keep up with the news. But you’re even more excited by the opportunity to hear directly from people experiencing it firsthand. Last year, TEDActive attendees hailed from more than 60 countries across the globe — which made for some fascinating conversations.TEDActive attendees prefer not to sit still. Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED
  6. You love to ski. And/or dance. TEDActive isn’t about sitting still. In between sessions, you can bundle up and think about the talks you just watched as you get on the chairlift and hit the slopes of Whistler. And TEDActive is famous for its parties. By night, you can warm up by moving your feet to the music on a swirling dancefloor. We think you’ll love this year’s mountaintop party, which includes a gondola ride to the top of Whistler Mountain.
  7. You value learning for the sake of learning. When it comes to knowledge, there doesn’t always need to be an end goal. You love stimulating your mind with new information. TEDActive is full of opportunities to learn, from exhibits that show how black holes really work to stations that explain how to link bananas into a piano connecting them to a circuit board.
  8. You love TED Talks. At TEDActive, you’ll watch all the sessions of TED2015 from a comfy, cozy simulcast theater. It’s a powerful group viewing experience — one where you get to have vibrant discussions and hear other perspectives during session breaks.
  9. You love to explore new places. Whether it’s the snowy mountains of beautiful Whistler or the beanbag filled corners of the theater, you’ll enjoy experiencing all kinds of spaces and locations at TEDActive.
  10. You have big dreams. Perhaps the biggest sign that you are a TEDActive attendee at heart: You believe that you can achieve wild feats. TEDActive attendees excitedly encourage one another to go after their boldest goals.

Interested? Apply to attend TEDActive 2015! We’d love to see you there.

The Week I Look Forward to All Year Long

We’re all looking for a tribe — a group of people we can talk with, bat around ideas with, make things happen with. And we’re all looking for inspiration — things to spark our imagination, send us off in new directions, and keep us buoyed when things get tough. One week each year, TED hosts a conference where both can be found in spades, against a backdrop of TED Talks (and towering mountains). We’re talking about TEDActive.

TEDActive is an event held in parallel with the annual TED conference that features a simulcast of the full program of TED Talks, and lots of live speakers, while emphasizing connection, conversation and creation in the audience. TEDActive 2015 takes place March 16-20, in Whistler, Canada, and brings together thinkers and doers from more than 60 countries to explore the theme Truth & Dare. We’ll be questioning assumptions, searching for deeper truth and attempting to find richer understanding by asking better questions.

Each year, TEDActive veterans and newbies arrive at the conference to experience a week of TED Talks, workshops, activities, parties and conversations. We wanted to know from past attendees: how has TEDActive affected you? Below, three share their thoughts.


Vico Sharabani has attended TEDActive twice and is returning for 2015. The creative director and producer ofThe Artery, a visual effects studio, he has worked on projects featuring artists like Beyoncé, Bob Dylan and Nicki Minaj. He says that TEDActive has led to many meaningful connections—and given him creative fuel in his work. He says:

“TEDActive is nonstop stimulation, from 8am to 2am—like the best summer camp for adults. I’ve connected deeply with many attendees, and we’ve stayed friends. Some of us meet at events annually, and I’ve gotten together with others in countries around the world. Professional collaborations develop rapidly as well. I have worked with attendees Raghava KK and Marc Azoulay on art projects. Now, going back feels like an opportunity to reunite with everyone. TEDActive exposes you to people who both think and do things differently. When you are immersed in that for a whole week, you get the feeling that everything is possible, on a whole different level.” 


Grace Rodriguez went to TEDActive three times as an attendee—and loved the experience so much that she wanted to be a part of creating it. This year, she returns as TEDActive’s new Creative Director. For her, the best part of TEDActive are the moments that just wouldn’t happen in everyday life. She explains:

“My very first night by the fire pits at TEDActive was magical. It felt like I had gone home and found the other members of my tribe. We stayed up late and enjoyed deep, entertaining, and insightful conversations. Another year, my TEDxHouston friends and I were playing ukulele, and we gathered other attendees around us to sing “Yoshimi” by the Flaming Lips. TED speaker Reggie Watts recorded us on his cellphone and sent the video to Wayne Coyne, the Flaming Lips’ lead singer. Mind. BLOWN. Two days later, a couple dozen of us, led by a physicist, an architect and a military veteran, devoted our collective brain power to form a human pyramid in the pool. As the smallest person, I climbed up to the top of the pyramid and stood up in a moment of victory…only to be barraged by beach balls. All of this to say: I’ve made lifelong friends at TEDActive, and the generous nature and creative spirit of the experience has influenced everything I do. It has taught me to actively seek creative inspiration, embrace long-view strategies, and to savor incredible moments.”


Aaron Tang has been attending TEDActive since 2009 and will be returning in 2015 for the seventh time. He is about to embark on an adventure around the world calledI Said Go! and will be inviting other attendees to travel with him. Because, he says, TEDActive has helped him feel more comfortable getting lost:

“TEDActive is a pollination in diverse cultures and disciplines. It is fire pit conversations, crisp nights with blankets, impromptu music jams, and adventures. From attending year after year, I’ve learned to always have an open perspective about everything in life. One year, I realized, ‘My gosh! Lots of us are lost.’ Lost in a good way—we are constantly seeking, wandering and hoping to learn. This is why we are at TEDActive in the first place; you don’t learn if you are not lost, so you have to make the decision to be okay with feeling lost. I’ve been pretty laser-focused my entire life, so TED has been a great way to try something different. Being part of this community has eased my comfort in diving into the world. Now, I don’t feel too worried about finding a connection in every corner of the globe.”

Interested in attending TEDActive? We’d love to see you in Whistler. Find out more about how to apply »