Discover the Magic

Ethan Gissendaner


TEDx (x meaning independently organized) is coming to Birmingham with many ideas worth spreading and the message that this city is still a place worthy of its magical moniker. TEDx is similar to the original TED conference, though there are differences (learn more about the distinctions here ). It is a day-long seminar featuring numerous local speakers who are pioneering the renaissance of Birmingham and have unique stories and inspiration to share with Birmingham residents.

For a young professional seeking experience and career opportunities, TEDx is a great platform for exposure and inspiration. It is beneficial to anyone considering the job market in Birmingham (or just seeking a reason to love the city). Co-organizer Matthew Hamilton feels that the conference is all about the city’s future and reminds residents of all ages that they can be a part of the cityís ongoing revitalization. Numerous speakers with a spectrum of titles such as star chef, professor, nonprofit director, prodigy cellist, etc. will be sharing how they have made the most of the opportunities available in Birmingham. They will also be pointing out that there are plenty more opportunities awaiting to be seized. These scheduled speakers have found rewarding careers by investing in their city. They have discovered the magic of Birmingham and intend to inspire all who attend to discover, or rediscover, it for themselves.

For students, especially those aware of the blemishes in Birmingham’s past and present, recognizing opportunity or value in the city may be difficult. Organizers are hoping the conference will offer appealing local perspectives for college aged students who might intend to leave the city after graduation. TEDx intends to spur attendees to action, whether in career decisions or by joining the local revitalization movement by presenting avenues in which students can connect their passions to Birmingham. The hope is that ideas do not stop flowing when the conference ends. TEDx seeks to be a catalyst of sorts to combine student’s ideas with experienced community leaders in order to impact the community. This is the main goal of TEDxBirmingham and one that could greatly benefit any student willing to engage. These speakers and the audience will additionally provide incredible networking opportunities that could be valuable immediately or in future dealings. Having sponsors like Regions Bank, Birmingham Business Journal, Weld, Baker Donnelson Law Firm, and Innovation Depot makes TEDxBirmingham a formidable event and shows that major employers have a vested interest in the future of this city as well.

The event will be held at the Alabama Theatre and will feature food tasting from award winning chef Chris Hastings and local entertainment in addition to their speakers. In order to attend this even an application is required in order to ensure the audience is diverse and relevant. Although the deadline to apply has passed, anyone can attend virtually via the official livestream on Saturday March 1.

TEDxBirmingham is for anyone who calls Birmingham home whether by simple location or emotional connection. It is for professors and stay-at-home moms, for twentysomethings and the retired, for professional writing, undergrads and rhetoric and composition graduate students. TEDxBirmingham has ideas to share and a future to inspire. And whether attending live or online, for Birmingham residents, there is magic to be found.


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