DeAndre' McDay, Guest Photographer
Photo courtesy of DeAndre’ McDay

By TYESHA VINSON, Student Life Editor

The University of Michigan-Dearborn hosted their first TEDx event October 19. The program was filled with very diverse speakers with inspiring stories.

The day started off with conversation, coffee and snacks while the TEDx team and the speakers prepared to get the show started.

The first speaker was David Farbman, an outdoorsman and founder of the Carbon Media Group. He managed to push through opposition from lobbyists and death threats to make his dreams become reality.

The main focus of Farbman’s story was that we are all hunters. He used Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg as examples of hunters without weapons.

Farbman said, “Mother Teresa hunted down social injustice and social inequality amongst the world’s most afflicted. Oprah hunted down unthinkable success. She did this in a male dominated television industry, she empowered millions along the way and today Oprah hunts for better education in Africa. Zuck continues to hunt to connect the world’s six billion people across the social network we all know as Facebook.”

He believes that everyone is a hunter because we all have goals that we set, whether they are big or small, we all have a target. Much like hunting, people complete little tasks along the way to help them hit their target.

Using his own personal struggles with starting his business Farbman encouraged the audience to “stay in the hunt.” Adversity will always come while trying to make positive change, the difference between the people that succeed and the people that fail is that the people that succeeded pushed through the adversity.

Through Farbman’s story, the audience was given the boost they needed to set goals, work toward them, and “stay in the hunt.” After Farbman a Metro Detroit author, Joseph Bastian, stepped onto the stage and told the audience a story about the power of storytelling.

During his story, Bastian stressed the importance of telling your story and the impact it could have on the world. He described a story as an expanding force, a flame, to be passed on to others.

Bastian said, “We all have a story to tell. We are writing our own stories everyday, with every encounter, in every interaction, whether we want to or not. It doesn’t matter where we are in life. It’s never too late to acknowledge the fact that we are all storytellers. Our stories are important, our stories have meaning, our stories need to be shared, so tell your story.”

Your personal story can have an impact on the people you tell it to and the rest of the world, but it’s up to you to share it. Imaan Ali, a University of Michigan graduate, used the power of storytelling to talk about her life, her fashion, her future, and how all of that made her into the woman she is today.

Ali said, “It surely takes work within yourself to reach the stage where you attract positive people.”  She demonstrated that having confidence in your abilities, your appearance and who you are as person will help you build your own support system in those times you may feel abandoned.

Nabeela and Mateen Jaffar pulled on the heartstrings of the audience as they told the audience of the difficulties they had communicating with their own son, Salmaan, who was diagnosed with autism at age four.

The engineering couple used their knowledge of software and technology to create an app on Salmaan’s iPod that would allow him to communicate with his, parents, teachers and everyone else.

Technology being used to give someone a voice, to allow someone the ability to communicate, is what TED is all about. The story of the Jaffar family showed just how powerful technology and teamwork can be when helping others.

In just the first session, the audience was able to dig into the lives of people that have brought change into the world through innovations in hunting, storytelling, teamwork and technology.

The TEDx team gave the audience a musical break with The Gravity Club, a trio consisting of an acoustic guitarist, a mandolin player and a violinist. After a quick break they jumped into session two with Keith Cooley, the CEO of Principia, LLC.

Cooley brought the future of the world into question, which seems suitable since TEDx is meant to be a “global discussion about our shared future.” He urged the audience to be conscious of the present, but be concerned for the future of education and the environment we live in.

David Landau, an entrepreneur, talked about the constant improvements in technology and how it can positively impact the health of people around the world. He showed the audience that there are ways to use our technology for things other than Candy Crush and Twitter.

Jason Raznick continued in the tradition of talking about determination through stories of his childhood struggles and present success as the founder and CEO of Benzinga.

Matthew Richmond chose to show how logging off can be better than always being online. He managed to create an entire business making dresses from unconventional materials out of a state of boredom without technology.

Richmond said, “The opportunities that have been presented to me have been phenomenal just from honing boredom.” The TEDx team had another surprise for everyone during the second break…caffeinated popsicles.

After the “Pick Me Up” snack and a performance by a Jazz band, the final session started. Cory Page, a UM-Dearborn graduate, kicked things off by telling his story and how it led him to a life of service.

Through his determination to live a healthier life that was about helping others, he inspired others to want to serve their communities and the people around them.

Angel Mechling told the story of her life and the constant changes she endured as a child in the foster care system. Her story was very touching, but it also called for people to take action to help prevent children from getting lost in the system like she did.

Marty Stano, a U-M graduate, showed the audience that technology isn’t always a necessity. In fact, he showed them that sometimes going without technology, among other things, could bring out the best in you.

Stano is a minimalist that’s no stranger to sleeping in ditches. He’s traveled all over the world, taken beautiful pictures and his living conditions are less than desirable for most people.

He cut out all of the things he felt weren’t essential to improving his quality of life, so that he could make room for the things that did make him happy. Stano’s minimalist lifestyle allowed him to save money, have more free time, and better overall health.

Stano said, “The real home that we live in, it’s not an apartment, our parents house or a tent. Our real homes are our minds. And because I spent the last two years living and pursuing my curiosity, passions and dreams I was fortunate to have great moments of happiness, gratitude and wonderful learning experiences.”

The last speaker of the day was Patrick Klepek, the videogame news editor for giantbomb.com. Klepek talked about the Internet and its power to build people up or tear them down with a few strokes of a keyboard.

The overall message TEDx UM-Dearborn is simple. Have confidence in yourself when no one else will, fight on through the adversity, tell your story whether you fail or succeed, use what you’ve gained to help others, be inspired and be innovative.