TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde Interview

The following post was originally published on Strath Union website.

We’ve all heard and love TED Talks.  Guest speakers imparting wisdom about their chosen subject ranging from philosophy to business and everything in between.  Did you know that Strathclyde have their own TED talk committee?  We are delighted to be chatting with TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde about their next major conference, life in lockdown and everything in their Strath Life.

Introduce yourself!

My name is Maisie Keogh, and I am the Co-Organiser of TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde. I work closely with our Lead Organiser Sheik Malik to manage a team of over 50 students from all levels of study and all four faculties across the university. We aim to plan and deliver an outstanding Annual Ideas Conference and this takes an incredible amount of coordination.

We have five individual teams; Marketing & Communications, Finance & Sponsorship, Speakers & Curators, Logistics & Operations and IT all dedicated to helping to realise our ambitions! Each is headed up by a brilliant team leader who helps to delegate tasks and ensures that the members are working cohesively towards our shared goals.

What is your role within TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde?

My role is incredibly varied and some days I am following up with emails from potential speakers and sitting in on meetings with future conference sponsors. Other days, I am leading smaller collaborative projects with external partners and writing articles helping to highlight our society.

When did TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde start?

TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde began around seven years ago and each year the society has held an Annual Ideas Conference, so it is a well-established and much-anticipated event at the university. We are especially excited to be hosting our 2021 event as we have been planning its various aspects for the best part of the year. Our 2020 conference with the theme ‘Everything Connected‘ saw 12 international speakers give talks on a wide range of subjects from international trade to aerial mobility. The speakers were from many different backgrounds, but all were passionate about their subject and had an inspirational story to share.
Looking ahead to our 2021 event, we are hoping to make this our best conference yet!


How did the Lockdown impact your strategy for this conference?

Lockdown has of course had a huge impact on how we have approached planning for this year’s event. In 2020, our conference was held on the 14th March which was the day immediately before the first lockdown. Our lead organiser was trying to deal with an incredible amount of stress which is completely natural when you are organising a conference single-handed but when you factor in a pandemic on top of that, it was exceptionally difficult!

He did a fantastic job of hosting a successful event and now we are taking the lessons we learned from 2020 and applying them to this year’s conference. Typically, TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde holds the Annual Ideas Conference in March/April time but we are planning something very special this year and are keen to hold an in-person event. This is why we have decided to postpone it until the Autumn. This not only gives us more time to select the very best speakers from around the world, but it allows us to focus on the details and make it a very special event for all attendees.  

Is anyone allowed to submit ideas for the conference?

We have already finalised the theme for this year’s event and we will be releasing it publicly soon, which we as a team are very excited about! We have also just released our speaker’s application form and we have already received several fantastic entries. Absolutely anyone can apply, and we welcome applications from all those who have an inspirational story or an innovative idea they would like to share.

Who would be your perfect TED talk? 

I am incredibly passionate about TED talks and if I could have anyone come and give a talk at our conference it would be Whitney Wolfe-Herd who just became the youngest female CEO to become a self-made billionaire after she took her company Bumble public. I find her to be an incredibly inspiring woman who champions female empowerment and gender equality wherever she goes, so I would love to see her on campus!


What is one fun fact people might not know?

A fun fact is Malik, and I are both PhD students, so we have to manage our time incredibly well! We have so many projects that we are working on, but it is our dedication to hosting an amazing TEDx conference that gives us the energy and drives us to succeed. We always welcome new members to the society and whilst we have filled our team positions for this academic year, we would still love to have new people join us to attend our general meetings and to follow our social media channels.

I am so proud of the work that I do with TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde. I have been able to make a real difference and help to organise a conference that has the power to make a positive impact on people’s lives.  We’d also like to thank our sponsor Novel Student Accommodation for their support!

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