TEDxCanberra – Ingrid Tomanovits

In Collaborating by Mark Sylvester

The Hack: Be very clear about your value proposition.


Ingrid Tomanovits is the newly installed Licensee of TEDxCanberra (Australia). This event has a rich history going back to 2010. Ingrid's been involved since 2012, originally as an attendee. Many will remember Stephen Collins, the original licensee, who retired last year. He left an organization in perfect shape to transition to new leadership.

Ingrid tells us a story about how they got MINI involved - read at the end of this post. It's going to her hack of shamelessly asking for things. It's a great example of how far you can go, and how your partners can then take it a bit farther. Ingrid suggests that one of her main strengths is being able to 'see connections,' then leverage them for the event.

With their event centered in the country's capital, they see an opportunity to focus on a creating a vibrant, creative community, instead of a news cycle that's driven by politics and the government.

It's been a life-changing event for me."Ingrid Tomanovits, Executive Producer

The Lightning Round

  • Tell us a bit about your background and your TEDx origin story.

    This is Ingrid's fifth year working at TEDxCanberra. She started as an attendee in 2012, and said, "This is the best thing I've ever experienced." Which led to her volunteering and in 2013 was a speaker curator. In 2015, she became an Executive Producer, and in 2016, Stephen passed the license to her. Quite a journey.

  • How many TEDx events have you worked with or produced?

    She's attended 3 TEDx events in Australia and also been to Christchurch. She's planning on attending TEDxSydney this year.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    Canberra is full of amazing people, doing interesting things, so there's no end to the talent. There's also an Innovation Showcase during the event, and their team is committed to changing the narrative of the city. Note: sounds like no small task to us.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Collaborating and connecting my strengths to the team. For me, it's all about seeing connections and potential collaborations.

  • What was the biggest surprise while working on your event?

    How open people are to ideas and how hungry they are for change. She's also surprised when a talk finds it's audience, even if the talk didn't seem to rock the room on the day of the event.

  • Every event has its challenges, what was the biggest dragon you had to overcome?

    She's afraid that even with all the planning, she'll missing something critical. She's self-described as a big picture person and trusts her team to handle all the small details. She also worries that she says yes to everything.

  • What’s one piece of advice you have for veteran organizers? For first-timers?

    Be clear in your intention. Before you start, ask, "What is the character of this event?" Their intent at TEDxCanberra is to be 'absolutely beloved' and an essential fixture in the cultural calendar. For first-timers, if you're a person who's teetering on the edge (of a decision), just do it. Get involved.

  • Looking forward to your next event, what excites you the most?

    Creating a coherent event - that has an emphasis on the entire event - every touchpoint - from online to in-person and helping the attendees feel that they are a part of something, where their involvement is essential to the event's success.

  • What’s a TEDx event that you’d like to attend?

    All of them. (Love this answer). Specifically, she wants to see Hannu at TEDxOtaniemi (Hannu, get on this.)

  • The show is called Hacking the Red Circle, so what's your best hack?

    Shamelessly ask for things. Be very clear about your value proposition and why people should partner with you.

Here's Ingrid's bonus story about partnering with MINI


“Remember when I said that thing about ‘shamelessly ask for things?’ So last year, our then Partnerships Team Leader came up with an idea about trying for a world record at our event – something like ‘how many people can you fit in a MINI?’ And armed with that thoroughly thought out plan, went to chat to the team at our local dealership (Rolfe Classic MINI Garage). MINI saw the opportunity and, while we didn’t do a world record attempt, they came up with the idea of branding the cars for us, and we ended up using them in the lead up to and on Show Day.

It was a fun addition to the day and provided a great opportunity to do things like jump in one of the cars with speakers after they’d just come off stage, and drive around doing a Facebook live interview. We got a lot of great content on the day that was a bit different and fun for everyone involved. The cars also feature in the opening movie we did.

And then Rolfe Classic MINI Garage came back on board as a partner again this year. We are running an Adventure with them next weekend (this was posted in April of 2017) to launch their new MINI Countryman (which is an SUV), which we're inviting other partners to, and we’ll be doing stops along the way, talking about the future of cars and automotive engineering and other innovations that MINI is working on.

This represents the best of what partnerships are about, when you and the partner are both looking to build a long-term, enduring relationship. And they’re a very forward thinking, innovative company so there is substantial alignment with us and what we’re about."

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