How TEDxPCL began

The summer of 2018, I won a free summer university course in Hong Kong. The campus book store held many titles I’d always wanted to read, and some I hadn’t yet considered. ‘TED Talks’ by Chris Anderson (CEO of TED) was one such book that I have fond memories of reading. That September, I headed to my secondary school’s headmistress and said “I’d like to host a TEDx event here, I’ve read up and I know what to do”. I still remember the butterflies in my belly when I sent the email, I was finally doing something ‘big’! Needless to say, she was on-board, so with a friend we applied for the license. It usually takes TED 6 weeks to respond, but after 4 weeks I sat back and pondered… “I have A-Levels in 6 months, there’s only two of us on the organising team. This isn’t going to work.” I got back to TED to withdraw our application and vowed to try again at uni.

The mad September rush pushed my TEDx ambitions to the back of my mind as I made new friends and acclimatised to the hectic London life. One October afternoon, I sat down with Sebastian Reca, then head of societies. In conversation we reached the TEDx topic. We exchanged stories of ambitions organising such an event. As it turned out, Seb had been working on this idea for a while but was too busy to properly pursue it. His team of three (Himself, Sandra Thompson as the first speaker, and Eva-Marie Bello on finances) was young and, as such, I took the relay as Organiser. We started talks with Will Holt (Dean of Pearson Business School), trying to push to make this a student-run event. Little did I know, there had been 3 failed attempts at a TEDx before, which made it all the harder to convince the Executive Team to let us do this. However, come December, we had the green light and applied for the license in late January!

On the 3rd April, once in lockdown and working from home, I received that awesome email. “Congratulations, you’ll be hosting TEDxPCL on 9th October 2020)”. And so the journey continued. Every Friday morning, 10:00, our crew team comes together to discuss everything going on. Since October, we have created over 100 logo iterations, interviewed over 45 potential speakers and have had 20 online meetings. We’ve understood the challenges of COVID-19 and those of being a student. We’ve built a name for ourselves through our fantastic marketing team. We’ve struggled with funding and learnt how to cut costs efficiently. And now, we’re gearing up for the day. 6 weeks away is one of the biggest events Pearson College London will have ever hosted, the first event I have ever organised, and the opportunity for 15 amazing people to share with the world some really valuable stuff.

My name is Thibau Grumett, and my 2 year long dream is soon going to become reality! We’re hosting this event because it’s a win-win-win situation. Pearson College London students will learn, and some will get incredible experience by either speaking at or hosting the event. Ideas worth sharing will reach millions on YouTube. And, my favourite, we’re leaving a legacy, as we hope TEDxPCL will be run by a new team each year, coached by their predecessors. Each of these benefits will happen annually!

The TEDxPCL Team

- Thibau Grumett - Event Organiser
- Joe Clark - Event Manager
- Sebastian Reca - Event Producer
- Evamarie Bello - Financier
- Gabriel Knowlson - Marketing Manager
- Annie Wisbey - Creative Designer and Marketing Co-Manager
- Alex Tang - Escape Representative and Graphic Designer
- Sandra Thompson - Advisor

Despite receiving our TEDx license in April, we are yet to all meet in person. As a result of COVID-19, virtual meetings have become our normality; this means that TEDxPCL has been organised purely via digital platforms. COVID-19 was not our only hurdle. Evaluating sound acoustics, choosing our venue as well as audience capacity and finances have all proved to be difficult, organising and collectively coordinating a TEDx event is not easy in the slightest, let alone during a global pandemic!

Fortunately, throughout the process, we have been mentored and advised by many insightful individuals including: Roxanne Stockwell, Ian Palmer, Will Holt, Lisa Giles, Anita Gribble, Martina Sargiacomo and Russell Honeywell.

The Speakers

We have formulated our 14 speakers, with wide ranging topics, with our current list of speakers and titles including:

- Andrew Griffiths - The Power of Meaningful Networking
- Bella Glanville - The Science of Online Dating
- Carl Taylor - The Illusion of ‘Now’
- Chris Jones - The Joy of Being Naive
- Chris Waters - The Importance of Now
- David B Horne - The Fight For Fairer Funding
- Laraib Atta - How I Used Isolation to my Greatest Strength
- Lisa Barrett - The Biggest Danger to Your Organisation
- Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor - Touch-typist to CEO
- Marina Suarez - How and Why to Reduce Our Foodprint
- Ryan Conlan - The Secret Upside of Dyslexia
- Samuel Okusaga - The Advantages of Being 'Disadvantaged'
- Sandra Thompson - The Customer Experience Remotevolution
- Sofia Lindman - Why Now is the Time to Unlearn Everything We've Been Taught About Work

Joining us online

As with all TEDx events, the talks will be recorded, edited and be made available on TEDx’s social channels. Keep an eye on their YouTube. It will be live-streamed on YouTube and Twitch on the 9th October, which will be made available to anyone. We hope to push it through Pearson Plc to all their staff, through other universities and learning institutions, other large corporations, other countries, other continents… and obviously Pearson College London students!

TEDxPCL is going to provide a whirlwind of knowledge to our audience and will be an event to remember for generations at Pearson College London. Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn to stay updated, and head over to Eventbrite to book your tickets!

See you on October 9th 2020!

-By Thibau Grumett (2nd year Business Management Student)