Storychick and ROCSoup at TEDxRochester

Saturday was a huge day!  Not only for myself, Tony K, and the organizing team, but for all of the speakers – including me – who I’ve come to know through gathering and sharing their backstories over the past 6 months!  (I still need to do one more.  My bad.)

You can catch up on the Superhero Backstories here. Each speaker’s name links to their backstory post – except for Matt. Working on that. The backstories are largely transcripts of what each speaker told me, but some kneading and shaping of the dough of the story does take place to get it just right – not revealing too much, teasing enough to draw the curious.

My talk was first. After Larry, the emcee, opened with the story of ROC Soup, I picked up the metaphor and stirred the pot.

My objective: get people excited about story and what it can do to strengthen communities. To lift the blinders that sometimes fall into place and bucket “storytelling” with children’s storytimes only. I had an exhibitor table where I had additional information about some other examples in my talk, recipes for different types of stories to spur ideas, and bookmarks with opening lines, closing lines, and recommended reading.
The TEDx stage is a story of its own. While some may consider it a local event and akin to speaking in front of a large crowd elsewhere, that really loses the point of TEDx and the TED mythos. Think of all of the amazing people and ideas that have come from TED and their associated events. The video of my talk goes onto YouTube from TEDxRochester and is curated by TED folk so that it could be seen by so many more! The audience is smart and motivated and want substance to give them ideas on making our city and world better. No pressure – tons of pressure.


I had fears that the talk I had memorized at the top of the week and had run in my head probably 5 times a day was not going to be there when I stepped into the spotlight.

But I stepped out and it flowed. I had fun telling my stories and talking about my passion and where I think it can take us. The ROC Soup metaphor was strong and pulled the pieces of the talk together nicely with the call to action. Here’s the opening bit, as a teaser – of course I’ll post the full talk here when the video is ready.

ROC soup, the pooling together of the resources on hand to create a scrumptious new whole. There’s so much awesome in the concept.

The Vietnamese have a saying “A grief shared by many is half a grief. A joy shared is twice a joy.” Imagine sharing our joys and woes, our stories, in a great community pot. People can toss their stories in, building into a comprehensive community story. Amplifying joy. Diminishing grief. Pulling us together in celebration of the story.

All it takes is people willing to share – to toss their stories in – and someone willing to listen.

Do you want to know what’s really cool? It’s already started!

People told me that I seemed quite calm and natural, that I’m obviously a born storyteller, that the talk just flowed. Phew! However they saw it, they were excited. I got a lot of great traffic at the table and had some great exchanges that will hopefully lead to good coffee/beer/lunch conversations and future projects! I pulled Twitter responses to the talk together here.


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