Three Bryant alumni took center stage at February’s TEDxBryantU 2020 event. United by a desire to change the world, the alumni were among the eight presenters drawn from across the Bryant community who came together to share ideas, perspectives, and advice. Each drew from their own expertise across a variety of professions and disciplines and aimed to inspire innovation and spark conversations that would extend beyond the campus. The theme of this year’s event was “Vision 2020.”
“TEDx is such a respected organization; to be included is truly an honor,” says Don Wilson ’92, ’94 MBA, who spoke about building confidence and facing uncertainty in both life and business. “Especially when you can share something you truly care about and you think can help other people.”
Lauren Freidrich ’07, who urged the audience to “Be the Catalyst” and use their unique skills and knowledge to ignite change, says being part of a TED event had been a life goal. “It’s exciting to get up on stage and say, ‘This is my knowledge, this is my strength, this is what I have to share.’”
A community event
TEDxBryant 2020 gave voice to a wide range of Bryant community members, including students, alumni, staff, and friends of the University. “We’re all united in that we care about the world. We care about learning and we care about being better as people. I think the best way to do that is with a diverse group,” notes presenter Jennifer Sahady ’05, who discussed the importance of honesty in managing finances in a relationship. “More than ever we need opportunities where we can share ideas and different perspectives.”
“Bryant does a great job of involving alumni and bringing the community together. It’s great to come back and be part of the community,”
“TED is a powerful platform with a world-wide reach, so to be able to share all of the ideas coming from little Smithfield, RI, was a great opportunity.”
“Bryant does a great job of involving alumni and bringing the community together. It’s great to come back and be part of the community,” added Freidrich.
Ideas worth sharing
A student-run initiative, TEDxBryantU is independently organized and licensed by the TED media platform. Samantha Scoca ’18, inspired by Bryant’s culture of innovation, applied for a TEDx license in 2018 and brought the conference to campus. The 2020 committee was excited to continue her legacy.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of something bigger and I wanted to create a difference on campus,” says the conference’s lead organizer Sarah DeSantis ’21. “It was a special experience to help create a platform for the Bryant community to share their perspectives and bring the community together.”