Experience 'the life of an idea' at TEDx

If you want to be inspired by thought-provoking storytellers and visionaries, then you won’t want to miss TEDxSevenMileBeach, a one-day event at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort on June 10. 

A selection of speakers from the Cayman Islands and around the world will showcase their ideas, exploring the theme “The Life of an Idea: Plant. Nourish. Harvest.” Speakers will share their unique approach to encouraging and promoting great ideas that can be achieved through these three stages. 

Speakers include Karima Mariama-Arthur, communications consultant and strategic leadership adviser and founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport; Shannon Seymour, director and clinical psychologist at the Wellness Centre Ltd.; Avital Zeisler, a hand-to-hand combat specialist, author, women’s empowerment coach, and creator of The Soteria Method; Billie Bryan, a graphic/Web designer, artist and musician who is also a transgender woman; Chris Bailey, a human resources search consultant and soon-to-be president of the 2016 Cayman Islands Society for Human Resources Professionals; Claire Kemp, a “people gardener” at Unboxed Consulting; Dominic Mason, who runs Product Tank Brighton (U.K.), which caters to the product manager community; Jason Nehra, a teacher and faculty head of science at Cayman Prep and High School; Kelly Bos, a psychotherapist who focuses on individual, marriage and family relationships; Laurie Kingwell, an early childhood development teacher; Kim Kadiyala, a customer experience designer and efficiency expert; and Cayman Prep and High School student Zoe Conolly Basdeo, who will be discussing how Cayman’s social and cultural environment impacts her life as a young Caymanian.  

More than 200 people are expected to attend. Tickets are still available by applying for attendance by May 9. Organizers are looking for some key traits in attendees, as stated on the TEDx website: 

“We are looking for passion. We are looking for creativity. We are looking for an edge. With only 200 seats available, the committee is tasked with evaluating each application. Attendees will represent varying industries ranging from financial services, arts, fashion, sports, education and entertainment. We thank everyone for their interest.” 

If you don’t get a chance to see the speakers in person, all of the talks will be available on YouTube after the event.  

Past speakers 

The first TEDx event in the Cayman Islands was held last year with the theme “Connecting to Possibility,” and 11 speakers addressing 100 delegates. 

Organizer and TEDx licensee Marzeta Bodden said in a statement: “The feedback from attendees and speakers from TEDxSevenMileBeach 2014 was overwhelmingly positive with an incredible 100 percent of those surveyed confirming the event was brilliant or good overall. 

“Not only did attendees take many valuable ideas away from them after the event, many of the speakers have had opportunities to network in other countries and develop international relationships, which means the event has opened exciting doors for them. To feel the enthusiasm for TEDxSevenMileBeach, we have doubled the capacity for attendees, so this year there will be space for 200 people looking to attend.” 

As of press time, there had been 9,800 YouTube views of combined TEDxSevenMileBeach 2014 speakers thus far. One of last year’s stand-out speakers was Caine Smith, an entrepreneur, thought leader and founder of Atelier Experience Design, a Cayman-based company with clients in the U.S. and Europe.  

Smith creates experiences for some of the world’s largest brands, including cruise lines, theme parks, ski resorts and online communities by leading teams of designers, engineers, developers and project managers to deliver game-changing products in the world of technology.  

His talk on the subject of “Experience Design,” now on YouTube, focused on how our worlds are changing to the point where technology is becoming a “connective tissue between the digital and physical worlds.” He spoke on how we can integrate the online and offline worlds in order to bring about higher levels of personalization to consumers.  

“Companies need to start making things personal to me, things that matter to me, and not talk to me like every other person. Engage with me on a one-to-one level and make my life as convenient and easy as possible and talk to me in the right time, location and relevance. This new way of thinking is relevant to every brand; every company; every type of experience. You can apply this thinking to everything,” he said in his talk. 

He cited the example of watching TV, which could be personalized to present a viewer with channel options geared to knowing what they already want to watch, rather than allow a viewer to waste 30 minutes looking through 300 channels. Another example he gave was creating technology that will know when your car needs to be serviced by connecting it to your garage, which will simply book you in for a service (behind the scenes) without you having to lift a finger. 

“This is when technology works passively and can improve our lives rather than us glued to our phones and not interacting with the physical world around us,” he said while on stage. 

Speaking with Smith recently, he explained that he is an avid TED follower who never thought he would really get the chance to speak. “After being accepted, it was an incredibly difficult challenge to try and distill my ideas down to 10 minutes. I talk for hours in boardrooms with executives, but talking for 10 minutes like this was such a different experience. Afterwards I realized that I had actually helped focus our company on what it is we do. 

“I think one big takeaway [speaking at TEDx] is that you get to interact with such a diverse group of people that typically we wouldn’t usually get to meet. We all work in our own fields and so typically we meet like-minded people,” said Smith. 

Other doors have opened since Smith’s talk, including an initiation to speak in other locations, such as being the closing keynote speaker for a large media conference in Amsterdam. 

TED background 

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers.  

What started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas through talks which are given at annual conferences and made available, free, on TED.com or YouTube.  

Past TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani and Philippe Starck, to name a few. 

TEDxSevenMileBeach is an independently organized TED event licensed to Marzeta Bodden in Cayman from TED. The “x” in TEDx refers to an independently organized TED event. At any TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. 

For more information on the TEDxSevenMileBeach event or to view the speakers’ bios in more detail, visit www.tedxsevenmilebeach.com.  

Caine Smith captivated the audience last year with his talk on “Experience Design.”


Speakers on stage at last year’s TEDxSevenMileBeach event. – Photos: Melissa Wolfe.


dience members at last year’s TEDxSevenMileBeach event held at Harquail Theatre. Photo: Melissa Wolfe.