TEDxVail – Kat Haber

In Collaborating by Mark Sylvester

The Hack: Give. Repeat. Give. Repeat.


Kat Haber is a force of nature. No wonder she chooses to spend part time in Vail, Palm Springs and Homer, Alaska, enjoying nature at it's finest in each locale. She also produces TEDxVail and has done several in Homer.

Kat is an activist and connector. If you've been paying attention, you've seen her at Global, at Active, at Summits, on the Hub and Facebook and maybe in-person at your event. She's been known to come to Santa Barbara too.

Kat's particular passion is her love of our upcoming generations. Her son ran all the tech for her first TEDx in 2009 when he was 14. She continues to mentor and guide young people wherever she happens to be at the time, and if there's snow, she'll be on the slopes.

Be immensely generous and use your time wisely."Kat Haber, Curator/Speaker Coach

The Lightning Round

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

    (See extended note from Kat just below. She sent a lovely email that helps you better understand where her heart's at when it comes to TEDx)

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

    Kat's created 18 TEDx related events and has lost track of how many she's attended (over 80 when she stopped counting). She's also the speaker-mom for TEDMED.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    "The community of Vail Valley, CO, is my happy place. Our unique demographic of the uber-wealthy mesh with the Latino service-sector community." Finding ways to blend these two and provided an accessible event is a constant challenge. She says that Vail is a string of villages, tiny towns. Her TEDx strives to bring them all together.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Collaborating. Specifically mentoring teens and young professionals, women and climate activists.

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

    "How rapidly the global social movement (of TEDx) spread and how diverse it's become."

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

    Her reaction here is that TEDx is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is working with teens, which is also the curse, because they are a fluid workforce and the competition for mindshare with them is challenging. She's constantly thinking about knowledge transfer between transitioning team members.

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

    For first-timers, use great tech tools. Google Drive, Slack, Timelines, Org Charts and Quickbooks. (We agree!) Communication is king.

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

    During the year of planning, only six months is she in Vail. The rest of the time she's either in Homer or someplace else on the planet. What's she's always looking forward to though is appealing to the different audiences, i.e. Youth, Women, etc.

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

    TEDxMixedReality - that's been curated by an AI. (Love this!)

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

    Give. Repeat. Give. Repeat.

Kat writes after our interview:

Started with 2009 TEDActive in Palm Springs-organizing WILD9 held in Mérida, Mexico. I clicked the apply button before finishing the short paragraph offer that read something like: We are thinking of giving you permission to organize your own TED event.

From there a bold, curious cadre of pioneers began crafting what a TEDx could be.

So within a couple of weeks of TEDActive, I was looking around for a team to deliver the first TEDxHomer in Alaska. They were the local teens, digital natives, who could do the tech. They went on to win the President's national environmental award, Ashoka's technology for a better world national competition, a Jefferson Award in the same massive ceremony with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

TEDxVail is nestled in the Colorado Rockies. Epic world class ski community with two major mountains - my happy place. Like no place on Earth.

Demographics: international Uber wealthy skiing visitors, second homeowners, and workers, primarily Latino housekeepers/food service/laborers. Our elevations are larger than our populations of the string of villages from Vail to Beaver Creek, Avon, Edwards, Eagle, and hundreds of nonprofits. Citizens love nature and playing outside.

Intriguing me now: being nodes of impact that connect to build a bridge finely woven fabric of a deeply compassionate community.

The first TED University Talks I delivered a talk xpressing your WILD Side, asked the audience to express their wild nature loudly.
Also, my 4-minute TEDxBeaconStreet Turning Ordinary Teens into Xtraordinary Contributors.


Multidimensional Xplorations-music-drums/gongs/bands/singers collaborating-wow factor
Art-made the word evolution out of attendees this year with 8' red inflated tubes, sets co-created by artist speakers

Track the cash, live ideas from others, how much will it cost and how might we invite a partner to take it on?

Each event We curate -TED Prize, TED-Ed, TED Fellows, TED Translators, artist in residence, apps, new TED ventures-books

Marketing, beautiful, red-Xness curiosity

Looking for a single digital tool that incorporates best of Google Drive, SLACK, timeline, org chart, quick books.

Curating/coaching, look for the unusual, a diverse messenger, dedication to their immense personal Xploration to get to the idea they'll be wearing as a badge of honor gifted to humanity decades into the future-especially live giving females a stage. Find speakers half local, half ideas from outside. Speakers get themselves to Vail; we provide fun, food, fab factors while they are here. Speakers range from compelling personal contributions or hardships and recoveries to hard observational scientific data and breakthroughs, TED-we lean heavily on the E-entertainment.

Superpower-mentoring Teens & Young Professionals. Also: emerged from wormhole of born ready, four hours of sleep keeps me vitally contributing to the knowledge economy.

My biggest dragon: train up teams and then they move on to bigger professional gigs, so each year we reconstruct our teams with key leads. TEDxVail is a Gateway to greatness for many on our team.

Live in Alaska in the summer, so we meet virtually using zoom.

Gifting Vail with ideas worthy of spreading to turn our community into a closer more compassionate community

Joys: collaborations for new businesses/products/art projects, saved speakers lives, connected new relationships,

Gratitudes: Lara Stein-woman with a vision brought 750 organizers together from around the world in Doha, Qatar in 2012. The hundreds of partners over the years who've made TEDxVail memorable. Early adopting Organizers, we were in the trenches together in defining what TEDx is. Now we are forever refining what more this global social movement can be.

Attended/produced dozens of TEDx's over the past eight years.

Best Hack: give...repeat. Be Immensely generous. Invest time wisely-speakers for a year. Mentor kindly. Include intergenerational expertise-teens-digital natives, elder life wisdom.

Take my breath away Moment: an artist speaker and artist in residence revealed on stage that TEDxVail restarted his work as an artist that he had done no glass work for the previous year.

Be intimate. Be true. Be outrageously happy, bring attendees along for that Uber purposeful, meaningful pleasure.
If you don't give, no one will like you. Go deep. Make our tiny valley a happier place. We are small but mighty. Adventurers turning ideas into dreamy realities thru doable calls to action.

Cool kids, smart mentors, kind community leaders, generous parents, love laughing.

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