On April 5, the red stage curtains of Blondeau Amphitheatre opened on TEDxHECParis2019, the third TEDx event organized at HEC Paris. With a passionate organizing team made up of 13 students, including several members of the HEC Paris MBA’s Public Speaking Club, the 2019 edition promised a spectacular line-up of inspiring speakers.
This year’s theme, “Crawl, Walk, Talk,” paid tribute to the challenge of articulating and sharing brilliant ideas. Patricia Wilson, the MBA ’19 student who masterminded the 2019 edition of TEDx, explained: “You know what motivates people to practice public speaking? TEDx.”
We couldn’t help but be captivated when the first presenter, Joaquín Marcano, MBA ’20, stepped onto the stage and asked us all to choose between two boxes labelled “A” and “B”. “You guys have absolutely no idea what’s inside of the box, and yet you voted for it,” he pointed out before leaving time for a thoughtful pause. His presentation illustrated the challenges of representative democracy and urged us to “start a worldwide brainstorming session.”
“You guys have absolutely no idea what’s inside of the box, and yet you voted for it.” – Joaquín Marcano, MBA ’20
This message of leveraging the power of a community – our community – was echoed by many of the 14 speakers that night. From a dynamic plea to reduce waste from disposable menstrual products to a discussion of the fallacies of rankings, every speaker touched upon a concept, however simple, close to our everyday lives. MBA ’19 student Lucía González Schuett, who previously worked in fast fashion, shared her journey of a year without buying: “I began to appreciate so much more what I had decided to keep.”
An HEC Paris MBA alumnus, Lucas Carbonaro, recounted his experience of successfully swimming across the English Channel. His story was one of many that engaged the audience with a profound reflection on our perceptions of the world. “In perfect conditions, I’m an average swimmer, but in extreme conditions, I’m extraordinary,” Lucas mused as he tried to resolve the apparent paradox.
Audience members who left the theatre still pondering the questions raised were able to meet their favorite speakers and continue the conversation at the networking apéro. Months of hard work choosing the topics and preparing for the complex event logistics most certainly showed through.
To watch all the TEDxHECParis speakers from the 2019 event, visit: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rOJf8sQ0PBv8q0oohmTXuDG