Meet The Volunteers – Noozhawk Feature

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Local Volunteers Put Their Passions to Work for TEDxAmericanRiviera

Meet Dawn Mitcham, Pia Dorer and Terry Baxter, three of the ‘ambassadors’ for this year’s Nov. 11 event

The TEDx phenomena is based on the ability of local organizers to rally people around the mission of TED: “Ideas Worth Spreading.” As it goes against the ethos of TED to make profit from these efforts, organizers of TEDx enlist volunteer labor wherever possible. However, that requires planning and flexibility as the volunteers work around their day jobs and other commitments.

“People are motivated by various reasons,” said Mark Sylvester, executive producer and co-host of TEDxAmericanRiviera.

He relates wisdom from Hani Zeini of Sientra, one of the event sponsors: “People want to feel like their skills are being utilized to the fullest, and that they are part of something bigger than themselves.”

Sylvester and his team work diligently with TEDxAR ambassadors — the name they have coined for volunteers — to determine their skill set and interest areas so they can maximize their pool of creativity and passion.

“With 3,000 TEDx events happening around the world, we are a part of a thrilling, global movement, and the ambassadors are a critical part of that,” Sylvester said.

Organizers work year-round putting together the speakers, staging, theme, technical production, venue logistics and finances. Collectively, Sylvester estimates the team has 1,000 hours invested by show time.

Standout ambassadors for this year’s TEDxAR event, set for Nov. 11 at Bacara Resort & Spa, include:

Terry Baxter, Lead for the Youth Project

Born in Missoula and raised in Santa Barbara, Baxter first discovered TEDx while researching local movers and shakers.

“I appreciate learning from forward thinkers that do not fear a challenge and aim for quality results — no matter how grand the vision,” Baxter said.

Heading up the youth component of this year’s event with talented local musicians and a tribute to TEDxAR veteran and cinematographer Mike DeGruy, Baxter acknowledges that finding volunteers who follow through is challenging.

A mother of three, she founded B Production Co., Professional Fundraising, Community Events, PR & Marketing Services.

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