TEDxFondduLac – Sarah Spang

In Organizing by Mark Sylvester


The Hack: Delegate when you can and trust your people.

Sarah Spang is a first-time organizer for TEDxFondduLac  and social entrepreneur. Her team is working hard for an event that will happen in August of 2017. Her Taste of TEDx story begins with a visit from TEDxFargo's organizer, Greg Tehven.

She visited TEDxOshkosh in 2016 with a few friends from the community and met others from Fond Du Lac at the event. This coincidence encouraged her to take the plunge and apply for a license to produce a TEDx in her town. She's a community organizer, full-time student, and holds down a day job as well. What's that cliche that suggests if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. That's Sarah.

Her exuberant spirit and attitude are clearly evident in this conversation. She's in love with her town, and the mission to bring TEDx to the community is a driving force that helps her get things done.

Go big or go home.Sarah Spang, TEDxFondduLac Organizer

The Lightning Round

  • Her town invited Greg Tehven of TEDxFargo to speak at a non-profit. His message of community involvement touched a nerve in a good way for her. She followed up with him and learned what it would take to produce a TEDx. She and friends visited another TEDx to get a sense of the vibe and what it would take. She, like other organizers, was initially ignited by watching TED Talks.

  • She's still in the pre-event planning stages for a show in August of 2017. This was a great interview to understand what pre-show jitters are like for an organizer.

  • Her experience in local non-profits informed a sense that having the community involved from the onset would be the key to success. She's been working the circuit of service organizations, getting the word out and keeping the vibe very small-town. There's a lot of education to be done, informing the citizens what TEDx can mean to the town.

  • Organizing. Sarah says that her strong organizational skills are one of the things that convinced her to tackle this project.

  • How challenging it would be to raise the funding or $10K. She thought that two phone calls would be sufficient.

  • Time management. She's leaning heavily on scheduling tools to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

  • Take a break when you feel like your body and brain need it. Don't wait until you're burned out. Marks' note: this is supposed to be fun, remember that.

  • Her birthday is the day before the event. This means that her approach is going to be that the event will be one-big-party.

  • TEDxFargo

  • Delegate when you can and trust your people. Sarah's a control-freak (self-admitted), and this can be challenging.

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