TEDxSaoPaulo – Elena Crescia – Organizer

In Curating by Mark Sylvester


The Hack: Look at problems like LEGOS. How can you play with them, and learn at the same time?

Elena Crescia is a TEDx Organizer, a TED Talk Translator and a force of nature. She is from a city of 20 million people and is not awed by producing an event for 10,000. Seriously. Not at all. Last year they successfully hosted 5,000 in a new soccer stadium and saw they could easily double the crowd and reach more people. So, they said, “Yes, let’s do that.”

The stadium is large enough for them to have an inflatable planetarium with five telescopes and a working television studio, built just for the day. There are some logistics to deal with that other organizers don’t worry about, like firefighters, ambulances and other emergency services to name a few.

So far, the team at TEDxSaoPaulo has organized over 30 events, and Elena says once you’ve done a big event, it’s impossible to go back. With 10,000 in the stadium, it’s still only half full. What do you think they’ll do for 2018? Stay tuned.

We make time out of thin air.”Elena Crescia, Organizer, Social Entrepreneur

The Lightning Round

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

    She started listening to TED talks in 2006 and started as a volunteer in 2009. Brazil held one of the first TEDx events on the planet. She was invited to TED Global in 2012, and it changed everything for her. She says her birthday present was a TEDx license

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

    She’s been involved with over 30 events and says when she did her first event and asked for volunteers, only 14 showed up.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    Well, it’s for 10,000 people and only takes up half the stadium. There are so many people that the user experience and things to occupy people become extremely challenging and exciting at the same time.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Curating. Elena has a personal pledge to have at least 50% women in the red circle, focusing on the ‘unheard.’ She says she wants to create “new heroes.”

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

    When one of their speakers was invited to speak at TED Global, and another one of their speakers was asked to become a TED Fellow. The creativity we have as a community never ceases to awe me.

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

    Remembering never to lose the curiosity and the willingness to have long conversations with new people, no matter how busy you are.

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

    If you have great ideas on stage that make people want to talk, then provide long breaks for them with food and beverages – that’s all you need. Elena also suggests never to think a small event is less important.

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

    10,000 people and the TV station they’re building to interview guests during the breaks, creating an all-day show for the simulcast.

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

    She’d love to do an around-the-world tour and see TEDx events on the way. Including, TEDxSydney, TEDxSingapore, TEDxBrussels, TEDxAmsterdam and TEDxBerlin

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

    Before every event opens it’s doors, she says to the team, when it’s always really hectic, “We have to remember, if (we) the organizing team are not happy, then no one will be happy. Don’t let little problems put you down.” The hack is to have fun while you are learning and solving problems.

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