TEDxLaval, Ermenegildo Gildo Conte, Organizer

In Curating by Mark Sylvester

The Hack:
Stick to the essentials. Get rid of everything else.


Gildo Conte is the Organizer of TEDxLaval, located on an island next to Montreal, in Quebec, Canada. His passion and energy are infectious, and I bet it's great fun being a part of his small, five-person team.

His first brush with TED was when his kids said, "Dad, do you know about TED?" He says that it was a magical moment for him. He's purposely kept the event small, 150-250 people with nine speakers in an evening event. I love that he serves cocktails before the show.

His biggest surprise was that the reach of the event in just two years has been remarkable. Gildo says that there has been a good reaction from outside the region. His biggest challenge is that the French community of Laval doesn't know about TED or TEDx. We've heard this often from other Organizers, and it doesn't appear to be isolated to any given region. As much as we think everyone's heard about TED, the reality, is they've not.

In 2018 they've managed to produce four Salons, plus a Youth event. Remember, this is with a team of 5. That's impressive.

The video, just below, is the original promo that Gildo mentions in the episode.

The best-kept secret is to keep a small team Gildo Conte, TEDxLaval, Organizer

The Lightning Round

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

    He's been doing TEDx for three years, and first heard of it when one of his kids said, "Dad, do you about TED?"

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

    They've done three main events and 4 Salons in 2018, including a Youth event.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    They have a small show on purpose, less than 250 people, with nine speakers in an evening event. Unique: serving cocktails before the show starts.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Curating. He says that they have a very good coaching process and have coaches come in from outside the TEDx world to help.

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

    The reach of the event in just two years.

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

    The French community doesn't know about TED. There's no prominent University, and it's a challenge to reach out into the Community.

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

    Stick to the essentials. Get rid of everything else.

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

    The Talks. Knowing how hard everyone works makes it enjoyable to see them come to life.

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


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

    Try to make everything an experience. See if you can get a sponsor to fund an experience.

Featured Episodes


TEDxUCLouvain – Creating an Experience in spite of COVID

Finding ways to be creative and stay connected to your TEDx Community during these challenging times of sequestering and dealing with a global pandemic can test even the most creative Organizers.

Lara Stein – Founder of TEDx

On the first day of TED2019 in Vancouver, Randy Bretz, TEDxLincoln, Emeritus, and I were honored to interview the founder of TEDx, Lara Stein.

TEDxSydney – Remo Giuffre – Organizer

Remo Giuffre, the original licensee of TEDxSydney, has the envious position of curating one of the most widely respected TEDx events in the world.