Photo by Svetla Morrison

What I Wish I Knew: PechaKucha Akron Founders

PechaKucha Akron volume 5 is right around the corner, which means that the volunteer founders have been organizing these quarterly events in Akron for almost a year. We asked them what they wish they had known when they first started organizing these “mini-TED Talk” style presentations which aim to inspire community connectedness and creative collaboration.

Nicole L Mullet

“I wish I had fully appreciated the bravery of our presenters before they took the stage.  It is something I am so keenly aware of now that I don’t know how I missed it that first time. For someone to get up in front of 400 people and give something to the audience is a beautiful thing…and it does not come without a cost. A lot of these folks are asked by friends or even people they hardly know to share their stories. And they do it. They open-up and give of themselves and they trust Akron to treat it carefully…and so far I hope we haven’t let them down. They jump. We have to catch them. It’s part of this unspoken pact we have at these events.”

Annal Vyas

“I’ll put my two cents in: Something I suspected, but didn’t truly realize, was how much Akron was willing to help! Akronites are passionate about their city, and I was amazed how people just offered their support to this cool project. It’s been awesome.”

Staci Jordan Shelton

“I really wish I knew there was such an appreciative, robust arts community. I’ve met so many amazing people and made new friends and contacts.”

Brit Charek

“I wish I had known what a hard act Annal is to follow when I volunteered to emcee the first time! 😉 But really, I’m amazed at the passion and energy in the room both on and off the stage at every PK. It’s what keeps us going as organizers!”

Yoly Miller

“I wish I had understood then what great potential PechaKucha Akron has in educating and influencing people, and how a democratic process can work in bringing great ideas out into the public sphere. Akron is primed for amazing things and hearing different voices sharing their stories keeps the fuse lit. You can’t be complacent after an Akron PK, you have to talk about what you heard, what you saw, and what you experienced. I’ve had so many intelligent conversations weeks after an event. It’s amazing how eager people are to talk about and discuss those hard subject our speakers bring up. PechaKucha has allowed us to take ownership of our conversations not because we had one engaging motivational speaker tell us what to do or how to think, but because in hearing those individual stories we can see that we all have mutual struggles, adversities, and triumphs. The fact that not one single person chooses who we get to listen to ensures that we aren’t railroaded into one way of thinking, or one way of seeing the world. It makes you think hard about becoming a presenter or inviting someone to present. You don’t want to pass that spotlight to just anyone because we deserve so much better than the same-old-same-old.”

Heather Roszczyk

“Just how supportive Akron would be. It’s always scary to offer up something new – truthfully, the original password to our PK files and accounts was “hopethisdoesntsuck” (we’ve changed it, don’t bother). But the city showed up to this weird thing no one could explain with a name it couldn’t pronounce, because that’s what we do. We support each other. I hope it encourages others to see how far their idea can fly!”

Photo by Svetla Morrison.

For more information about PechaKucha Akron, check out their website at or find them on Facebook.