December 4, 2014 Mitchell Derrey

As presentation designers, we don’t regularly get to work
with a speaker AND watch their final delivery of the slides. It often feels
like we send our work out into the ether. TEDxRainier gave us an opportunity to see our work come to fruition, and to
work alongside the cast of speakers – a surprising mixture of characters that
are each unique, yet strangely tied together through TEDx’s carefully
orchestrated theme. It’s not often that an astronaut, a mountaineer, and a
Native American glass artist are in the same room, let alone on the same stage.
But that’s exactly what you should expect from TEDxRainier. In fact, throw in
a bioengineer, a CEO, a musician, and an asteroid miner and you’re just halfway

There is something so inspiring about watching each speaker
unfold their story – often across a lifetime of dedication to their field. As
you can imagine, most of the people on stage work in areas that don’t often put
them in the spotlight, when so much of what they do deserves attention and
recognition. I can tell you it isn’t
easy distilling the kind of intensity these speakers possess for their work
into twelve minutes of on-stage content.

Sitting backstage on show day, I was reminded of the pivotal
role Silver Fox plays on the TEDx team. Through countless phone calls, emails,
multiple drafts, and rehearsals it became apparent that our hard work paid off once
the speakers hit the stage. Suddenly, the graphics that we created and
developed took on a different dimension. Projected floor to ceiling, they added
another layer to the stories. They helped to clarify, emphasize, and solidify
the speakers’ points. They helped spur emotion and illustrate complex theories.
In some cases, they even helped to ease the speakers’ nerves.

It’s easy to forget the importance and the impact of what we
do when we often don’t see or hear the final presentation. It was a rewarding
and wonderful experience to be in the room for the live show. As special as it
was watching the speakers share their stories, it was just as special knowing
that I was a part of the unique team that helped make it possible. I’m
grateful to TEDxRainier for allowing me that opportunity.

Photo credit: TEDxRainier 2014