The History of TEDxLancaster

Laura Kendall - Founder of TEDxLancaster

TEDxLancaster was founded in 2014.  The first license holder was Laura Kendall, Director of Visual & Performing Arts at the Ware Center (downtown Lancaster) and Winter Center (Millersville University).  Laura commissioned a Programming Committee, headed by Jason Mundok and Gail Groves Scott.  The Programming Committee was responsible for virtually the entire event.  From curating speakers to organizing the details of the event, the Programming Committee pioneered new ground.  Aptly, the theme "Break New Ground" was chosen.  On May 3, 2014, the inaugural TEDxLancaster was at the Ware Center.  It was a half day event with 10 speakers.  Mark Pontz was the emcee.  The event was limited to 100 attendees, per TED rules.  The rules state that a TEDx event cannot exceed 100 attendees if the license holder has not attended an official TED event.  The event sold out in 8 hours.  See details about the speakers and view their talks here.

Speakers at the inaugural TEDxLancaster (2014): (Left to right): Charlie Reisinger, Stacey Irwin, Michael Schroeder, Robin Spielberg, Melanie Snyder, Teman Cooke, Lauren Chaby, Mark Yim, Craig Dietz, (not pictured) Kevin Strauss, MD

TEDxLancaster's original Organizing Committee (2014): (Left to right): Gail Groves Scott (Co-chair), Colleen Milligan, Emily Laufer, Jim Corrigan, Barry Kornhauser, Bob Vasile, Sarah Billings, Jason Mundok (Co-chair), Laura Kendall (License holder), Barry Russell, Erich Goldstein (Not pictured: Eboni Bryant)

TEDxLancaster Executive Director Bob Vasile with real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran of ABC's Shark Tank at TEDActive 2015 in Whistler, BC

In 2015, a member of the inaugural Programming Committee took over from Laura and became the license holder.  Bob Vasile made TEDxLancaster a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity and set out to grow TEDx in the Lancaster area.  He attended TEDActive in Whistler, BC in 2015, which lifted the 100 person cap on TEDxLancaster events.  His first event as the Executive Director had the theme "Without Boundaries."  The event took place on May 16, 2015 at the Ware Center.  Bob expanded TEDxLancaster to a full day event.  There were 16 speakers and the emcee was Rubi Nicholas.  See details about the speakers and view their talks here.

Speakers and VIP attendees of TEDxLancaster 2015

Bob Vasile with TED Curator Chris Anderson at the inaugural TEDSummit in Banff, Alberta in 2016

In 2016, Bob Vasile was one of just 400 TEDx organizers from around the world to be chosen to attend the inaugural TEDSummit, which included the TEDx Global Forum.  The event was held in Banff, Alberta.  Bob and other organizers worked alongside TED Curator Chris Anderson and the rest of the TED staff to help direct the future of TEDx events worldwide.  One of the initiatives to come out of the Summit was to introduce a new speaker format called "direct to camera."  This allowed a speaker to give a TEDx talk without being on the actual stage.  The talk could be either livestreamed or pre-recorded.  A few months later, TEDxLancaster would become one of the first TEDx events in the world to unveil this new format.

TEDxLancaster 2016 took place September 10th at the Ware Center.  The theme was "Connections"  and the emcee was Meredith Jorgensen Cooke.  The event contained a few TEDxLancaster firsts.  The event had its first 2 person TEDx talk, which was given by Haushala Thapa and Amanda Brown.  Another first was a "direct to camera" talk given by Chris Caldwell.  Chris was one of the first TEDx speakers worldwide to give a TEDx talk with this new, experimental format.  See details about the speakers and view their talks here.

TEDxLancaster 2016's speakers and organizers
(Front row-left to right) Alicia Nordstrom, Rubi Nicholas, Beth Valentin, Nga Chau, Grace Buckwalter, Amanda Brown, Haushala Thapa, Lindsey Gruber (organizer), Meredith Jorgensen Cooke (emcee)
(Back row-left to right) Bob Vasile (Executive Director), Aaron Miller, Arfan Qureshi, Michael Pasrker, Chris Barnabei, Kyle Kuehn, Madap Sharma, Sue Schaffer (organizer), Chris Caldwell (speaker, not pictured)

Another first will occur in 2017 as the inaugural TEDxYouth@Lancaster will take place on June 17th.  Executive Director Bob Vasile applied for and received a special TEDxYouth license from TED to allow this event to take place.  The event will be at the Winter Center on the campus of Millersville University.  A TEDxYouth event is like a TEDx event, but it is for youth and by youth with the help of adult mentors.  Since adults aren't the only ones with ideas worth spreading, TEDxYouth@Lancaster provides a platform for students in grades 6 through 12 to tell the world about their ideas.

Bob was accepted to attend TEDFest in April 2017.  This event brings together TEDx organizers from around the world to share ideas, make connections, and discuss initiatives to make TEDx events even better.  The event runs concurrently with TED 2017 and TEDFest attendees will be able to watch the TED talks via livestream.  This will be the third year in a row that Bob was accepted to attend a TED event.  The knowledge and experience he gains from attending these events directly impacts TEDxLancaster and keeps this local event on the cutting edge of TEDx events worldwide.