Kim Gemmell of Chilliwack spoke about ‘The Value of Human Connection - Unplugged’ during last year’s TEDx Chilliwack. The deadline to be a part of TEDxChilliwack 2018 is Dec. 1. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

TEDxChilliwack looking for next year’s speakers

WATCH: Last year’s ‘potty-training cows’ video highlighted by TED International

Did you know you should potty train your cow?

Well, you would know if you attended last year’s TEDxChilliwack event. The talk by Dr. Alison Vaughan was one of the day’s most intriguing — and not just for the potty talk. Vaughan explained how technology can be used to increase the welfare of farm animals and reduce the environmental impact of farms. Watch her full talk below this story.

While last year’s theme was Future Shapers this year’s will be Time to Reboot. Berris Karden, director of TEDxChilliwack, says the theme will give this year’s speakers a chance to delve into the original root of TED Talks; Technology, Entertainment and Design.

And there is still a chance to be one of those speakers. The application process is already underway, with a deadline of Dec. 1. Nominations and self-nominations can be made at their website,

The deadline to apply is a little earlier this year, Karden notes, and they are hoping people will help get the word out about the opportunities TEDxChilliwack provides. It’s a unique event, with three audition nights held in January at Cottonwood 4 Cinemas. About 40 applicants will be accepted for the auditions, in which they’ll be asked to present a three-minute elevator pitch. That pitch can be about their research, their inspiration, or anything else that could win over the coaches and audiences.

Each night, the coaches and audiences will pick their favourites. A total of 12 speakers will move forward to the final TEDxTalk, to be held on April 14 at G.W. Graham Theatre. And between January and April, the 12 speakers will each work one-on-one with their coach to polish their final talk. A further three speakers will be brought in as keynote speakers (TBA).

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” says Karden. “What really blew our minds last year was that you get a number of speakers with all different levels of practice. Some people just have a great idea but not experience, so there’s all kinds of nerves and energy going on.”

For some speakers, it will be the first time they’ve ever addressed a room of 100 people.

Karden’s excited to see what innovation is going on right here in Chilliwack.

“Basically our view here is ‘change is constant, don’t get stuck in the past,’” he says. “Let’s get new ideas, reinvent ourselves, find new ways of thinking. Chilliwack is amazing.”

And that leads back to that potty-training video. It didn’t just intrigue the audience last year, it grabbed the attention of TED International organizers, who featured it as a breakout video. It’s had almost 10,000 views on Youtube.

To learn more about how to get involved in TedXChilliwack, either as a speaker, an audience member at the auditions, or at the final event in April, visit


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