Before that iconic red circle appears on the stage and speakers deliver punchy TedTalks, hundreds of hours of preparation take place behind the scenes.

“We didn’t know going into this what our theme would be, but through the process the stories revealed themselves,” says Colleen Campbell (Comm’18), volunteer speaker coordinator for “Game Changer: TEDxCU 2018.”

She served with four other CMCI and Leeds School of Business students on the 2018 TedxCU executive committee. Each year, the all-student committee—with the guidance of Department of Communication Instructor Jeff Motter—chooses and coaches speakers, develops a theme, produces the marketing and completes all other duties needed to pull off the event.     

TEDx events are organized independently but follow mandatory ground rules and branding guidelines set by TED. The students receive training and then coach speakers through the process of delivering their speeches to match the TedTalk style.

For Campbell, the intense months of planning before the April event were among her best experiences at CU. They also were supported by what she learned from her professors.

“As a communication major, community and bringing people together is central to what we do,” she says. “Whether behind the scenes helping to edit manuscripts or leading a team of students on the speaker committee, I feel confident in the skills my communication classes have given me.”