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SARAHx at TEDx New Bedford

SARAHx leading a stretch during a break at the 2015 TEDx New Bedford. Photo by Carrie Stalder.

This Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 is TEDx New Bedford day in the city. If you’ve never been, here’s what it’s all about: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) that have come to define TED talk events. TED stands for Technology; Entertainment; and Design. The first TED conference was held in 1984 – and featured the CD; e-books; and CGI from LucasFilm.

The first TEDx New Bedford was held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in 2012. In recent years – as this year – it’s been at the Zeiterion Theatre. Groundwork! member Dolores G. Hirschmann was co-organizer for the first and has assumed leadership since then.

Ted & Groundwork!

But the connections between TEDx New Bedford and Groundwork! run deeper. This coworking facility has been a sponsor of TEDx since its founding in 2014.

And, co-founder, Groundwork! Gallery curator and artist Dena Haden has been involved in setting the stage – literally – for TEDx at the Z since its move to the performing arts center. She’s either co-designed or, as is the case this year, designed on her own the decoration you’ll see beyond the proscenium and speakers.

And finally – drum roll please! – one of Groundwork!’s visionary founders will actually be speaking on the TEDx stage at this Saturday’s event.

That would be co-founder Sarah Athanas – who will run with this year’s theme of “Begin” and tell us all about the launch of Groundwork! in New Bedford – the city’s first coworking facility and a seminal moment in the city’s renewal of recent years.

Naturally, we’re all excited to see Sarah speak at TEDx. A few of us have got a preview of her TED talk – and it didn’t disappoint. How could it? She is one of the Most Interesting People in New Bedford!

The Most Interesting Person…

We jokingly reference “The Most Interesting Man in the World” advertising campaign for Dos Equis beer around here at Groundwork! when referring to Sarah because – it’s true! In fact, we may brand her “SARAHx” going forward – she’s that fascinating.

She’s lived and worked in diverse places around the world. She surfs. She’s a Zen Buddhist. She’s a (fantastic) Yoga instructor. She’s a writer. She’s a designer. And, as Groundwork! proves, she’s a business leader.

She is…the Most Interesting Person in New Bedford. Maybe in a few years, the world, too.

Yeah, that’s a lot to squeeze into a 10 minute TEDx talk. But beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, the talking begins in New Bedford. And, you’ll get a glimpse of many fine South Coast and New Bedford people – but none finer than one of our fearless leader, Sarah Athanas

That makes this TEDx New Bedford a special one for all of us. Made all the sweeter by the beautiful art that will grace the stage, courtesy of our other fearless leader, the brilliant Dena Haden.

Get your tickets here for this outstanding once-a-year event in our city. Organizer Hirschmann clued me in that this TEDx will feature a TED first – not just for New Bedford, but TED worldwide. A special team of effects folks will be creating an on-stage hologram during the day – a TEDfx Talk!

Groundwork!’s motto is “Work Together; Grow Together.” And it’s been fantastic to watch the city, TEDx and so many of our members do just that over the last few years.

This year, that’s on a TEDx stage for everyone to see and hear – from SARAHx herself and many others.

Steven Froias