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TEDx focused on regionalism, NWI’s bright future

Over the course of the several months, a group of young professionals worked together to bring you TEDxCountyLineRoad. In a nutshell, TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting events focused on sharing “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Independently organized TED events are branded TEDx, with the “x” indicating the event is independent.

Individual TEDx events are all self-organized and subject to certain rules and regulations. TEDxCountyLineRoad was the first of its kind to be held in Northwest Indiana.

In our planning, we worked as a team to bring esteemed, compelling presenters together to motivate our audience. We were extremely pleased that tickets sold out in a matter of days.

With the generous support of our sponsors, including The Times Media Co., Lake Area United Way, United Way of Porter County, NIPSCO, Burke Constanza & Carberry LLP and Task Force Tips, we were able to present a first class event that shined a bright and positive light on the future of the Calumet region.

Our speakers focused their talks on a multitude of topics. Economist Brian Wesbury shed a different perspective on the cause of the 2008 recession. Entrepreneur Norma Williams shared how she went from being a struggling single mother to a successful owner of a painting company that creates opportunities for disadvantaged women. LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo used inspiration from Walt Disney to encourage attendees to create the happiest place on earth in Northwest Indiana and focus on happiness as an economic development strategy. Pastor Bob Bouwer asked us to identify Northwest Indiana’s “wow factor” and what we can do to duplicate it in our daily lives.

Perhaps by coincidence, “wow” seemed to be the takeaway from the morning. During the networking session toward the end of the event, we had the opportunity to engage in several conversations with attendees and our fellow committee members.

Jennifer Doffin, assistant vice president and branch manager for Centier Bank, shared, “Wow! I feel privileged to have been a part of such a unique and inspiring event in our region. Though each speaker's "talk" was unique and entirely their own, at the end of the event I realized they all connected for me in a very significant way.”

The next day, Ty Warner, executive director of the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission and TEDx attendee, shared, “Things are really coalescing in Northwest Indiana for a great future, and this event was a microcosm of what’s making that happen. It only gets better from here.”

TEDxCountyLineRoad was the second project our volunteer committee has put our time and energy behind in 2014. Many of us worked together in support of the South Shore rail expansion. Our group consists of professionals with backgrounds that include government, nonprofit, business and design. Our ages, race, religion and political backgrounds differ. The common thread that holds us all together is our passion for the place we all call home.

We have a deep desire to promote collaboration in Northwest Indiana and to leave this “place” better than we found it. We hope to encourage our community leaders to do the same.


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