TEDxUtica hopes to inspire change, improve city


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Inspirational speakers from Central New York and across the country will be in Utica Wednesday night, fostering conversations with community members on how to make the city a better place.

"Some friends of mine, we all got together kind of over a pint, like many good things happen and we said you know, we should just try to do something a little bit audacious this year," said Ryan Miller, one of the organizers of TEDxUtica. "It's kind of like putting some of the world's smartest minds in a room together and they share their big ideas and inspire people."

TED stands for technology, entertainment and design. It's a conference featuring speakers that inspire positive change and collaboration. It's gone global since it started nearly three decades ago and now it's coming to Utica.

Kathryn Stam is an associate professor of anthropology at SUNY-IT is hoping to turn her dreams into a reality, starting by attending TEDxUtica Wednesday night at the Resource Center of Independent Living in Utica.

"I think that the refugees and immigrants have really brought a lot of richness to our community and there are a lot of people who don't realize what's out there and so I just feel like that's sort of my burning dream- how to get people to communicate better and appreciate each other," said Stam.

Nine speakers from Central New York and around the country will be featured at the event.

"The speakers are talking about everything from paying it forward and kindness projects, kind of ideas where one person can really make a huge difference in their community, all the way up through someone like John Zogby talking about millenials and what that demographic shift means for our area," said Miller.

It's the first of it's kind in Utica, and the organizer said it's something the area needs.

"There's just this wide swath of folks in this area that are doing really great things on a micro level and a lot of them I don't think get the attention that they deserve or just it's so fragmented that a lot of times people don't know what other folks are doing so we're hoping that people will get to meet each other and maybe combine ideas and just get them moving forward," said Miller.

It's about more than starting a conversation, it's putting words into action.

"We're hoping that after Wednesday night a lot of folks are going to know more about other people that are doing great things in the area and they'll be able to get the conversation going and really work together to make the area better," he said.

"I think we're starting to see changes in lots of different areas and I think this is just one example of really why Utica rocks," said Stam.

People had to apply for tickets and there was only room for 100 attendees. But, if you didn't get a ticket you can attend a live streaming of the event at Mohawk Valley Community College Wednesday at 5 p.m. and you can tweet your questions to the speakers.

Connect with Anna on Facebook and Twitter.

What's On