PHOTOS: TEDxWaldenPond Delights Crowd at Concord’s Emerson Umbrella

A community-based version of the popular TED talks hit the Emerson Umbrella Saturday, Oct. 13 with a focus on “urban inspiration.”


Despite the intentionally restricted attendance during its test phase, dozens of quizzical locals dropped $100 to attend the TEDxWaldenPond2.0 on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts.

It was a TEDx Talk, a localized version of the popular TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks, planned in four weeks with collaboration from TED as part of the City 2.0 campaign.

Local organizer Marie “Twinkle” Manning was able to bring more than a dozen local speakers to talk about what the event’s marketing director, Cynthia Ellis, described as, “envisioning the future of the community … a day of urban inspiration” exploring the question of, “What does a community need to move into the future?”

The Talk – Part 1

A total of 15 speakers were brought together for a series 15- to 20-minute PowerPoint-guided lectures. The event was broken into two parts and emceed by Tony Gallo of HawkPartners in Cambridge.

The night kicked off with a breath-taking musical performance by award-winning violinist Siri Smedvig, who played a series of complicated Tchaikovsky pieces after evoking the essence of Henry David Thoreau in addressing music's imaginative powers.

With the stage set, the first presentation was from Polly Peterson, author of the book Stirring the Nation's Heart: Eighteen Stories of Prophetic Unitarians and Universalists of the 19th Century. Peterson's speech focused on the idea of “taking history to heart” through a feminist perspective and how Concord can deepen its understanding of today and prepare us for the future by examining its important historical roots.

Next came David Ropeik, a consultant and Harvard instructor who specializes in risk management. Ropiek's speech involved what he calls “the risk perception gap,” focusing on what happens when we get risk wrong by looking at how fear is translated from stimuli to understanding in our brains.

Young entrepreneur, Matthew I. Growney, who in November 2005 was named one of Boston's most influential people under 40 by Boston Business Journal, followed Ropeik with his talk about stoking entrepreneurship in the surrounding area by “understanding the local obligations an values of new business creation.”

Following Growney was Adele Fleet Bacow, the president of Community Partners, Inc., whose institution focuses on building the relationship between public and private sectors to increase productivity in local Boston-area communities. Bacow's talk examined the “role of art in urban development” in order to revive or strengthen cities.

Founder of the Healing Essence Center in West Concord, Jonathan Glass along with his partner, Katherine Glass, detailed eastern healing traditions including “the five goals of life according to Ayurveda” an ancient Hindu text. Also detailed in this talk was the goal of “bringing awareness of our spiritual nature into our everyday lives.”

Finishing up the first part were filmmakers Drew Scott Pearlman and Jamison Jacobs, two local videographers and educators whose talk focused on their subject matter of “developing the power of [the] mind and body to create a more centered, expansive and harmonious way of life.”

Part 2

After a brief intermission, during which attendees were offered snacks and drinks provided by the numerous sponsors, the Prema Bhakti Band sang traditional Bengali music called Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which once again set the stage for another round of speakers.

Jump starting Part Two’s talks was Jackie Woodside, a professional speaker, trainer and coach whose talk focused on time management and “ushering in a new era of possibility” while decreasing the need to rush.

Jillian Vorce, a consummate networker, followed Woodside by talking about “the lens of connectivity through relationships” focusing on how she built her global network.

John Boynton, the force behind the Bradford Mill Beautification Project, was up next. Boynton's talk surrounded a “simple formula for building dynamic communities.”

On Boynton's heels was Deborah Diamond, whose background is in dance and psychology along with various massage and chiropractic techniques. Diamond's talk centered on the idea of “healing in relationship to consciousness” out of her practice in Acton.

Developmental psychologist Mary Ann Christie Burnside followed with a speech about “relational health and mindfulness [in] education.” By examining the benefits of healthy parent-teacher-student relationships, Burnside's talk implemented Ghandi's idea of unity and change by being, “the change you wish to see in your family.”

Lastly, Anna Huckabee Tull, another local, award-winning musician and accomplished Life Coach and Psychologist, wrapped up the series by unveiling a new song she specifically composed for the evening at TEDxWaldenPond.

Still to Come

The complete TEDx talk was recorded by the TED team and will be made available on their website “within the next two or three weeks,” according to Ellis. Patch will publish a reminder when the time arrives so readers can see the full video of the first of what Ellis called,“hopefully many” TED Talks that come Concord's way.


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