TEDxShekhawati – Masarat Daud, Organizer

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The Hack:
It's ok to let people sit on the ground. Especially with 7,000+ attendees.

How do you prepare an event for 7,000 people in rural India from 4,100 miles away in London, and don't hit the ground running until a week before the event? In this episode, we talk with Masarat Daud, the Organizer of TEDxShekhawati, located about 150 miles west of New Dehli. There were so many challenges producing this event that you'll not want to miss a minute of this compelling conversation.

Masarat grew up in Dubai and has lived in London the past seven years. She and her family produce this fantastic TEDx in spite of overwhelming odds in their way. For instance, they marketed the event by printing leaflets and going door to door and talking to hundreds of families about TEDx and why it was essential to the community.

Did I mention, it's also Free! And a one-woman show. Wow. Yes, she produces the event by herself. She says that now, eight years later, she feels like she's just starting to scratch the surface.

What surprised everyone was that the women in the village showed up. The venue itself, loosely constructed of tarps and fabric was itself a huge risk. What else was in their way? The entire concept of an event based solely on ideas is as foreign a concept as could be imagined.

Masarat's driving goal is to accentuate TEDx' mission for education, diversity and bringing ideas to the community, especially girls. Her vision is that more girls will start going to school.

There's so much here to encapsulate in a simple abstract. You will appreciate one of her closing comments, "Maybe the impact of TEDx is event bigger than I thought!"

Catch their Facebook images here.

Leave me alone for 10 minutes after the show is over to process what just happened. “Masarat Daud, TEDxShekhawati Organizer

The Lightning Round


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

    She grew up in Dubai and has lived in London for the past seven years, and she manages the production of her event from 4,100 miles away. Her first TEDx was giving a TED talk at TEDxDubai in 2009

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

    She’s produced three events and did a small TEDx-in-a-box event as a pilot.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    They have to go door-to-door to market it with printed leaflets. Everything they do about the event is not what you would expect for an event of 7,000 people.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Organizing, ground campaigning and Curating.

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

    That everyone showed up. Because the event is free, there was no ticketing system required.

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

    The cultural challenges of multiple religions, mixing men and women, and pushing hard against a culture that doesn’t promote education for girls.

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

    Deal with the whole event with an intense sense of courage.

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

    Finding ways to measure the impact of the effort.

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

    TEDxIslamabad in Pakistan

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

    Don’t be afraid to let people sit on the ground.

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