The Goodyear Theater is absolutely gorgeous. Between the history of the company, its impact told 400 different ways by Akronites and the eerie Law & Order vibe near 1201 East Market St, I kept my expectations fairly low for the venue itself. Having a TEDx talk under my belt and attending two prior to this one, I knew what to expect on the information side and grabbed a coffee from the concessions before heading inside the theater. The stage was backed by a rose red theatrical curtain and the outside of the stage is lined with gladiator gold trim that probably has an MGM styled lion frozen mid roar. In the center of the stage hung a jumbotron thanking sponsors, sharing the wifi password and below that was the TEDXAKRON standing sign.
About the 30 minutes before the event started, you could’ve gotten the illusion that the event would be under attended. Seats quickly filled to what would be TEDxAkron’s highest attended event. A few minutes later, Mayor Dan Horrigan shared some kind words on Akron and it’s communities, then we met our first speaker. The theme this year was “One Day” where our speakers traveled from struggles in the past to one day in our future where we can create a kinder world for our children.
We received a plethora of perspective of ways to improve Akron’s future throughout its 26 communities. Kara Ulmer spoke on how she learned to listen through working with different cultures on a project in Uganda. Rachel Lovell informed us on how we can help rape victims in Cuyahoga County and the importance of staying on our officials about rape kit completion. Bill Considine received a few applause breaks throughout his heartfelt speech on the future of healthcare in our country and how this conversation can’t exist without our youth being at the forefront.
Every speaker that took the stage spoke with purpose and patience. No long winded strategies on how we can change the world tomorrow, but direct steps in doing our part for Akron’s communities and therefore being an example for those around us. The vibe amongst attendees was pleasant and shattered any comparison to “just another networking event.” Cards were shared through genuine interest of who is right in your backyard doing cool things. We may not be perfect but one day we’ll look back on a Saturday afternoon at the Goodyear Theater and realize we physically put those plans in motion and made ourselves better.