Strictly Business TEDx Santa Cruz
This year’s TEDx Santa Cruz features 22 talented and insightful individuals sharing their perspectives. (TEDx Santa Cruz Committee)

As a beacon of innovation and enlightenment, TEDx Santa Cruz shines brightly on our community’s horizon, inviting us to explore the depths of human creativity and ingenuity countywide. This year’s theme, “Rising Together,” features 22 talented and insightful individuals sharing their perspectives.

TEDx Santa Cruz

Firstly, we owe tremendous gratitude to the original organizers who launched TEDx Santa Cruz in 2011, just two years after TEDx SC’s inception under the auspices of TED. Several of the original founders are still involved with this year’s production alongside current organizers Nada Miljkovic, Consuelo Alba, Jenny Kurzweil and Elana Solon. Thanks to their collective leadership, I might not be writing this article, nor would the speakers address “Big ideas, solutions, and challenges.”

If you’re a TED enthusiast like myself, you’re familiar with the caliber of speakers it attracts, and TEDx Santa Cruz delivers just that. Rooted deeply in the renowned TED Talks phenomenon, this local event promises to captivate and inspire audiences with diverse speakers, each offering unique perspectives and insights.

The TED Phenomenon

Before delving into the magic of TEDx Santa Cruz, let’s take a moment to understand the origins of TED Talks and how TEDx emerged as a powerful extension of this global platform.

TED, an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, was founded in 1984 by Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks. Initially conceived as a conference bringing together experts from these three industries, TED aimed to foster dialogue and exchange ideas worth spreading. What started as a small gathering has since evolved into a global phenomenon.

The popularity of TED Talks can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the format itself is incredibly engaging, with speakers given a maximum of 18 minutes to convey their ideas concisely and powerfully. This brevity ensures that each talk is packed with substance, leaving a lasting impact on the audience. Secondly, TED Talks feature speakers who are experts in their fields, offering unique insights and perspectives that challenge conventional thinking and inspire new approaches to problems.

Building upon the success of TED Talks, TEDx was introduced in 2009 to bring the TED experience to local communities worldwide. TEDx events are independently organized but adhere to the same principles of TED, featuring live speakers and TED Talk videos. The “x” in TEDx stands for independently organized events, highlighting the grassroots nature of these gatherings and the diversity of ideas they showcase.

Join the Experience

As TEDx Santa Cruz takes center stage in our community on April 13, we can witness firsthand the transformative power of ideas. From drag performance to climate change activism to the importance of local news and much more, this event aims to demonstrate that collectively, we can rise together and address issues affecting us locally, nationally, and globally. Expect stimulating conversations, ignited passions, and inspired action.

I am honored to be one of 10 coaches working with the 22 selected speakers, supported by the organizers and their presenting sponsor Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, alongside many others. I am privileged to be part of this journey of discovery and enlightenment. Let’s unite as a community to witness the spirit of innovation and curiosity that TEDx Santa Cruz represents in its 5th annual all-day event.

Join us on April 13 and view last year’s winning speakers on their website Secure your tickets at Many thanks to the sponsors, volunteers, coaches and speakers for their invaluable contributions and support.

Janet Janssen is a Life in Business coach and consultant who offers training on Leadership, Mindset and Public Speaking. Contact her at [email protected] or visit

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Janet Janssen is a Life in Business and Speaking Coach, Leadership Santa Cruz County board member, local Chamber member and Distinguished speaker with Toastmasters International. She provides individual and team-building workshops in leadership and public speaking. Currently, she is a volunteer coach for April’s TEDx Santa Cruz. Contact her at


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