‘Inspiration for Innovation’

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Keiba Murray, Organiser of TEDxLamahaSt

TEDxLamahaSt set for Umana Yana

By Gibron Rahim

THE power of words is often underestimated. Yet, words have the power to hurt or heal, create or destroy. They can inspire ideas or spur to action. This fact undoubtedly inspired the creation of TED Talks and the self-organised TEDx Talks. Guyanese will once again have the opportunity to experience the inspirational power of words when TEDxLamahaSt comes to the Umana Yana this month.

TEDxLamahaSt will take place on February 21, 2020, at the aforementioned Umana Yana. The theme for the event is “Inspiration for Innovation”. The Pepperpot Magazine was able to speak with Keiba Murray, founder and owner of Live ProActive and the event’s organiser, and learn about the expectations and logistics of planning such an important event. The “x” in TEDx refers to the fact that these events are independently organised, as opposed to TED Talks which are organised by TED Conferences LLC.

Murray noted that she was aware of at least one other TEDx event that was held in Guyana – TEDxRobbstown. That event was organised by Nadia Sagar and was held on December 28, 2015, at the Theatre Guild. TEDxLamahaSt will be held under a different licence, with Murray being the licence holder. She explained that the process of becoming a licence holder naturally begins with applying. The licence is valid for a year and would need to be renewed to maintain it.

Though independently organised, TEDx events need to follow regulations that are in keeping with the TED brand. “They’re very detailed in terms of how the event should be carried out,” Murray said, “but in the end, the end result is for us to film the production, send it up to them and they [will] put it as part of their TEDx lineup.”

Much thought went into the formulation of the theme for TEDxLamahaSt. Murray related, “I think we are at a very pivotal point in the history of our country where our people need inspiration.” She added that we, as Guyanese, need to be able to inspire each other to innovate. “We need more inventors, more innovators, more people creating stuff,” she affirmed, “so that we can be a nation of producers rather than consumers.” According to Murray, there is a need to bridge the gap between the opportunities for innovation that are available and the individuals who need those opportunities.

It was with that idea of inspiring that kind of innovation that the speakers for TEDxLamahaSt were chosen. “We tried to choose some of the best that Guyana has to offer in terms of individuals who are comfortable delivering ideas on a public stage,” Murray explained. In addition, she has been working along with Pamarysa Bobb, President of the Cacique Toastmasters Club, to ensure that those presenting who are not avid public speakers are prepared to handle the international stage.

The speakers were also chosen from various backgrounds within society. They are Vishal H. Joseph, Dr Vishnu Doerga, Lisa Mae Agard and Harrison Hunter Reid Fischer. Joseph is a youth advocate who recently completed his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). He currently serves as CARICOM Youth Ambassador for Guyana as well as being one of two Caribbean Regional Focal Points for the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth. In addition to serving in other capacities, Joseph founded Bookworms, a non-profit which serves children and students from disadvantaged socioeconomic settings in Guyana.

Dr. Doerga is executive chairman of ActionINVEST Caribbean Inc., as well as being a certified ActionCOACH. He holds a PhD in management, specialising in entrepreneurship, as well as an MBA and engineering qualifications. He has served as past president, chairman and councillor of several business support organisations, including the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce (GCCI) and the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS), with over 20 years of private sector development service. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of GoInvest.

Agard holds a master’s degree in business administration, in addition to a postgraduate diploma in international studies. She also studied French at the Université des Antilles and Université Nancy 2 in France. She has more than 10 years of experience in managing and coordinating projects at a national and international level. Her experience ranges from strategic leadership and administration of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM) Secretariat to Project Coordinator of the Guyana Youth Empowerment, Inclusion and Reconciliation Project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Fischer is a serial entrepreneur, international speaker, and world traveller. He went from being fired from almost every job he ever had to currently running two businesses. One of these businesses, Koohlah, is helping to relieve the global obesity epidemic by crafting affordable and delicious radically healthy snack foods. The other helps American financial institutions structure their benefit programmes to instantly generate substantially more income for both their employees and owners. He is also currently on the advisory board for two charities – Help For Children and National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Much has gone into organising TEDxLamahaSt. Murray is working with a team of entrepreneurs who have helped organise events of this nature before. “I am very glad that they are able to add value to the process,” she said. She noted that Pulse Entertainment, one of the event’s sponsors, is providing an LED screen for the event, in addition to handling light and audio production. KeyNote Photography is providing two videographers and a photographer. “I’m very excited about the work that has gone into the planning and we’d love to have more sponsors on board.”

The event on February 21 will not be the only edition of TEDxLamahaSt planned for this year. Murray related that they are already planning for another event in May. She noted that any sponsors who want to come on board can select either event or dually sponsor both events. Speakers are already being gathered for a selection process. “We’re hoping to have an exciting lineup ready and waiting.”

TEDxLamahaSt is open to the public on a ticketed basis with a fixed number of tickets being available for purchase. They will be available at KoKo on Robb and King Sts. Keiba Murray can also be contacted at 647-3925 for further information.