We are thrilled to announce that two of last year’s favorite speakers — Kirsten Hunter and Jeff Stern — will be taking the stage to guide you through your TEDx experience this September 7th at the Music Hall. (Get your tickets!)

And in case you don’t remember them from last year (though how could you forget Kirsten’s Instagram cow story or Jeff’s suggestion that you break up with your phone?) this is your chance to get to know them better, and hear what they think about TEDx — including some advice for this year’s speakers.

What do you think makes TEDxPortsmouth such a special event?

Kirsten: TEDx really illuminates the incredible people who are impacting our own community. As I watched our speakers and chatted with folks during intermission last year, I was surprised by how energized it made me feel about being a part of this town. It drew me out and inspired me to pay closer attention to what is happening in Portsmouth.

Jeff: More than any Seacoast event, TEDx showcases the impressive variety of brilliant, talented people that live in this area. Everyone who lives here knows how special this region is, but there’s something really cool about seeing 15–20 members of your own community get up on a swanky stage with dramatic lighting to talk about their area of expertise. It will make you feel very lucky to live here and it will make you a better, more informed, more inspired person. Plus, they have really good coffee.

A few speakers mingling pre-event at our 2017 event — likely remarking at how good the coffee is. *Photo by Raya on Assignment

A few speakers mingling pre-event at our 2017 event — likely remarking at how good the coffee is. * Photo by Raya on Assignment

Tell us how you prepared to get up on stage last year.

Kirsten: The first thing that comes to mind is how fun it was playing around with cow puns when we were thinking about a title for my talk. I was really lucky to have a cow at the center of my talk. #UdderlyHysterical #MooovedToTears

Jeff: I practiced my talk about 200 times. The first line was, “I have always been a late adopter.” To entertain myself, I would walk around the house coming up with variations on this opening line: “I have always been a snake adopter,” “I have always been a lobster doctor,” “I have always flown a large helicopter.” You get the idea. It drove my family crazy.

Some of the aforementioned family members on screen during Jeff's 2017 TEDx talk. *Photo by Raya on Assignment

Some of the aforementioned family members on screen during Jeff’s 2017 TEDx talk. *Photo by Raya on Assignment

And finally … any advice for new speakers?

Kirsten: Really think about what idea you want the listeners to walk away with, and try to have it be one idea, not several. If you are clear on that, fine tuning becomes much easier.

Jeff: Standing on stage at the Music Hall and looking out at 650 people might be a little intimidating. But you’re ready. You know your talk inside and out. You are excited about your subject. And these people are going to love you. Get up there and enjoy your moment. You’re going to kill it. Oh, and remember to floss.

Kirsten's idea involved a cow that went viral on Facebook. *Photo by Kate & Keith Photography

Kirsten’s idea involved a cow that went viral on Facebook. *Photo by Kate & Keith Photography

A little more about our hosts and their own TEDx talks …

Kirsten HunterKirsten Hunter is an educator and community activist who lives in Portsmouth with her two sons. If you’ve been a seventh grade parent in Portsmouth lately, you may know her as the tall lady who somehow made it feel okay to talk about adolescent sexuality in a room with 40 other parents during the annual project safety conference — no small feat, to be sure!

You can watch her talk, “How One Cow Story Exposed the Danger of Homogenized Lives” here:


Jeff Stern is a filmmaker, senior lecturer in media and culture at Bentley University and the creator of the Seacoast Digital Fast. You might also have seen him rhyming about house plants and tight pants at Beat Night at Book & Bar, where he is a regular performer.

You can watch his talk, “How a 48-Hour Digital Fast Can Change Your Life” here.

 

*Featured image: One of our 2017 hosts, Monte Bohanan, speaks to the crowd at TEDxPiscataquaRiver (aren’t you glad we changed our name to TEDxPortsmouth?) * Photo by Raya on Assignment