TEDxQuebec – Denis François Gravel

In Curating, Marketing by Mark Sylvester


The Hack: Insist on quality people on your team. Choose wisely.

Denis François, a presentation coach from Quebec, said, If I can't go to TED, TED will come to me. He'd been trying to get to the main event and finally produced a TEDx, to bring the TEDx experience to his community. He really loves creating TEDx Salons, for their intimacy.

He appreciates putting the light on ideas and speakers found in Quebec City. His approach to managing all of the stress around producing an event is to focus on staying calm.

He reminds us that the core energy of a TEDx event is the people.

TEDxQuebec and don't miss the 360˚ video of Denis and the stage at the end of this post.

The Lightning Round

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

    Denis François was looking for a way to give back to his community and volunteers a lot. He was trying to get to TED, but as we all know, that's pretty hard to do and can be expensive as well. So, when it became feasible to produce a TEDx, he jumped in and brought TEDx to Quebec City.

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

    He's helped create five main events, 9 Salons, and 4 TEDxLive simulcasts. He loves the intimacy of a 50 person Salon. We talked at length about Salons and how they provide a unique opportunity to focus on a single topic.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    It's all in French. His experience with the TED brand is that it (was) predominantly English focused. 95% of the Quebec community speaks French.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Marketing and Curating. Every item on the budget is underwritten by a partner. His curation skill comes from his natural curiosity. I'd say that being able to produce a TEDxSalon from start to finish in one week would qualify as a superpower too.

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

    How many doors opened up to him. People in the community sincerely want to help.

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

    Communications seem to be the biggest ongoing issue, now as they look to celebrate their 5th anniversary, it's still something he struggles with for each event, even after five years.

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

    Focus on marketing and keep the emphasis on Ideas Worth Spreading

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

    Curating. 60% of the speakers come from him inviting people to the stage. He's so curious, he's always on the hunt for interesting stories, then looks to find the people behind them.

  • 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?

    Insist on quality people on your team. Choose wisely.

360˚with Denis François on the TEDxQuebec stage

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