TEDxTrondheim – Jennifer Wold

In Curating, Partnering by Mark Sylvester

The Hack: Let your staff know how integral and important they are to your success


Jennifer Wold, a New Hampshire native, and expat living in the picturesque town of Trondheim, Norway has a unique point of view on running her TEDx. She’s a classically trained French Chef, and it’s clear when you listen to her that she loves order and a mise-en-place. She’s thrilled to be living with her husband in a community that’s 80% students.

What’s different about her approach to organizing is that she doesn’t consider the team volunteers, she sees them as Staff and treats them as such. There’s a Head of HR on the team, job interviews, and expectations for participation. When I talked to her recently, she’d just come out of two interviews with Malaysian students who will work on the 2017 event.

Jennifer said that Trondheim is the next Silicon Valley and they have a wealth of potential speakers in Tech, Science, Medicine as a result of their being a large University in town. She calls her group the Wild Tribe, they’re seven teams, and each team is a tribe in and of itself. their motto: Tribe first.

Volunteering is a way of life in NorwayJennifer Wold, Executive Director, TEDxTrondheim

The Lightning Round

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

    Jennifer worked as a volunteer at TEDxTrondheim with Martin, the license holder, and curator before being made Executive Director and running the 2016 event. She’s trained as a chef and knows what it means to have a well-trained, well-orchestrated team.

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

    2016, Executive Producer. She’s a part of a growing Norweigan community of TEDx organizers.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    The way in which volunteers are deeply integrated into the event. They have 50 volunteers from 34 countries. They’ve got a Director of HR and treat the volunteers as Staff, not free-labor.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Producing and Collaborating. She says that she’s the Swiss Army Knife of people.

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

    How they have never had to ask for volunteers. They always show up.

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

    The money. It’s a small town, and TEDx is not as well known as it could be, so there’s a lot of educating that has to happen with potential partners.

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

    Make sure that no team is left leaderless. Be sure to have all of your departments organized with clear lines of communication. Have very distinct groups. And keep your information clean. They use Google Docs to keep track of everything, and it’s highly organized (Did you remember, she’s trained as a chef?)

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

    The venue. This year TEDxTrondheim expanded to a much larger and more picturesque venue that will hold 600 people.

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

    TEDxSydney. (Remo: I’ve heard this enough times that we’re going to either charter a plane or have you on the show, soon!)

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

    Making sure that your staff knows how integral and important they are to the success of the event.

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