Kellie Garrett is one of the five speakers who will be sharing their talks at Regina Public Library’s TEDx event on Thursday, March 22. 

The talks will be directed to an audience of over 100 people, who will be attending the event, followed by the speaker videos being shared on the official TED library and with TED’s 8.5 million Youtube subscribers.

Garrett’s talk connects her experience being the mother of an autistic child to the changes that need to be made in order to achieve world peace. “I’m using autism as an example of opening our minds to different ways of being,” said Garrett. “The main crux of my talk is that the root of most war is differences in ideology or beliefs and that if we have a prayer of lessening it we need to be more curious about other ways of being and one of the ways to do that is to foster a more open mind.”

The idea for this talk started when Garrett’s son Connor —now 25— was about eight or nine years old. She had to change the way she thought about things to be able to understand her son’s needs. “I thought I was a perfectly open-minded individual,” she said. “I have a kid with autism, my mind goes straight to everything he can’t do because my limited experience with disabilities led me to think he couldn’t do anything.”

It wasn’t until a “series of interactions with amazing teachers” that Garrett started to open her mind to, instead, focus on all the things Connor could do. “I use that as an example of we don’t know what we don’t know, until we are jolted into awareness,” said Garrett. “Because our minds seek information and data that reinforces our own views, so we are kinda hooped on the open-minded front unless we really are mindful of it and seek out people who are different from us.”

Thursday’s TEDx event will also cover a variety of topics with speeches by rancher Adrienne Ivey, business educator Jordan McFarland, musician Karley Parovsky, and Podcaster Shawn Broom. Even though each talk will draw its own crowd, many people are attending the event to be able to network with other like-minded people in the area.

“Looking more to observe the event, I assume I’m going to hear some very interesting presentations on some things and meet some interesting people, and have an opportunity to schmooze a little bit and hand out my cards and promote my project a little bit,” said regional coordinator of Makers Making Change, Kevin Smith. 

"I own Vaping The Way and I’m involved in a couple other businesses, I have a social media marketing agency and I’m starting a food truck for the summer, so I like to go to events like this just to network with people, talk with people, meet other business owners, and other people who know people,” said Owner of Vaping The Way, Brett Bostick. 

Even though his number one priority is to meet new people, Bostick is still interested to find out what kind of speeches he will hear at the event. “I am pretty curious, I think the whole thing is about being creative so I’d like to know what other business owners have done to be creative here in the city,” he said.

This curiosity from the people in attendance is exactly what Garrett wants her audience to have in order to take away her message. “The main thing would be that people feel curious enough to ponder if they’re open-minded versus not, and seek ways to become more open-minded,” said Garrett.

The sold-out event takes place from 1-5p.m., at the Regina Public Library film theatre. The guests will be invited to keep the conversation going at the after party hosted by Crave Kitchen and Wine Bar.

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