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Are You Inspired? Jason’s Thoughts on the TEDxKC Event

August 30, 2012 / in General Information / by

Are you inspired? Let me clarify. Do you enjoy your work and look forward to doing whatever it is that you do to make a living? I am not saying you need to feel that way every day of the week, but generally, are you happy about what you spend your time and energy doing? If you have any hesitancy in answering that question with YES, you might want to take a minute to think about why.

This concept, among many others, was presented on August 28th at the TEDxKC event held at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. The theme for the evening was “The Long View” and included presentations from ten different people/groups (more information including pics and bios at the TEDxKC site

The whole Blue Gurus crew went….me, Mic and Melissa.  It was interesting that there were about 1,500 seats available for the TEDxKC event and more than 14,000 people wanted to buy them. Obviously, the event was sold out (frustrating many people when they tried to buy tickets and the Performing Arts website went down because there was so much demand.)  Mic went “old school” and called the Performing Arts box office.  He was able to get us great seats in the middle, right behind orchestra.

If you haven’t heard of TEDTalks, you might want to watch a couple of them here to get a feel for what the event was like.  The idea behind TEDTalks is that they are “Ideas Worth Spreading” and are 10-20 minute presentations about all kinds of topics and ideas that are usually thought provoking and moving. 

I enjoy these nuggets of thought from people that really care about what they are doing, what they have learned and the advice they are sharing.

At TEDxKC, many of the presentations were great, a couple were amazing and a few left me bored to tears. For the sake of brevity, I am going to focus primarily on the presentations that were amazing.

Janine Shepherd – You Are Not Your Body

Janine is a walking paraplegic; she is also a qualified pilot and aerobatics instructor, international speaker and author.  Her story was about preparing to be an Olympic athlete and getting hit by a truck during a training ride.  She went on to describe in great detail the process of waking up in the hospital, being told she would never walk again, getting out of the spinal center in a wheelchair, working hard to start walking again, finding purpose again by taking flying lessons, and becoming a certified pilot because she couldn’t use her legs.  This all happened over the course of just 18 months.  She told the story as she walked around the stage, with a limp, but she was WALKING against all the odds.

I was struck by the thought that I really don’t have much to complain about.  Talk about getting some perspective!  And I have a new respect for the concepts of “working hard” and “courage”.  If you have 5 minutes, watch the video below to hear some of her story.


Amber Rubarth – Featuring Dave Eggar and Max ZT

This was one of my favorite parts of the evening.  Amber, Dave and Max played some amazing music that was mesmerizing.  Standing ovation.  It is hard to put into words how good each of the three were as artists, and it all came together in such an amazing way. 

Mic and I ran into them in the reception hall and were able to get a great picture. Don’t we look like groupies?  I was an instant fan of their work and plan on picking up some of their solo project CDs.

The Not So Pretty

The presentations that didn’t do much for me weren’t lacking in good content; it was the way the speakers delivered the information. 

It was more a problem with presentation skills. I pay close attention to professional speakers as I am always trying to improve my style and approach when I am on the stage. I think it is important for a speaker to establish a flow and pace that is easy for the audience to follow and get caught up in. When speakers use long pauses, say “um” too often or have monotone voices, I really have a hard time staying engaged.


Overall, it was a great evening.  It was a fun way for our team to spend an evening out together socially. I saw a bunch of friends including Dave Cacioppo, Maureen Purcell, Dr. Michelle Robin and more. 

I am definitely going to TEDxKC again next year… as long as we can get tickets!

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